The Spirit of the Grand Ole Opry Comes to Tucson | Music

Tucson is 2,625 miles from Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the historic home of the Grand Ole Opry.

But Opry fans can get a sense of the “Mother Church of Country Music” on Memorial Day when the Tucson Opry debuts at the Congress Plaza Hotel.

“It really is a variety show,” said Susan Holden, whose Rhythm & Roots series is partnering with Hotel Congress for the new show. “We will try to do it two to three times a year.”

The inaugural show will feature slapstick comedy, cheesy jokes and a laid-back vibe with performances by a cowboy poet and local musicians alongside two Canadian country headliners. Tucson favorites Chris Brashear and Peter McLaughlin will host the show at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 30.

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The Small Glories have won a number of Canadian Folk Music Awards and a nomination for the 2020 JUNO Awards (Canada’s version of the Grammys).

Arron Ives, courtesy of Rhythm & Roots

Holden, whose long-running acoustic concert series features national and local roots and American artists, had planned to present the Tucson Opry three years ago, but the pandemic canceled those plans.

Here’s what to expect:

What: Tucson Opry, a collaboration between Rhythm & Roots and Hotel Congress

When: 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday; doors open at 6 a.m.

Or: Congress Plaza Hotel, 311 E. Congress St.

Cost: $25 in advance via, $30 the day of the show

Headliners: Canadian roots/folk-pop duo The Small Glories — Cara Luft, founding member of folk trio The Wailin’ Jennys, and JD Edwards — have won multiple Canadian folk music awards and a 2020 JUNO Award (Canada’s version of the Grammy-nominated ). Whitney Rose is an Austin-based Canadian-American country/pop singer-songwriter whose music is inspired by neo-trad country, inspired by Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. His critically acclaimed 2017 album “Rule 62,” produced by Mavericks frontman Raul Malo, was ranked by multiple national lists as one of the best country music albums of that year.

Chris Brashear and Peter McLaughlin will host the first Tucson Opry.

Courtesy Rhythm & Roots

Local acts: The gypsy jazz ensemble Hot Club of Tucson, the Mexican troubadour Salvador Duran and the cowboy poet Richard Tavenner. Matt Nelson, Executive Director of The Arizona Trail, will be on hand to talk about one of southern Arizona’s most underrated and interesting outdoor adventures.

Contact reporter Cathalena E. Burch at On Twitter


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