Last year, the Ryman Auditorium marked its 125th Anniversary as an entertainment venue in Nashville, boasting a history that includes a wide variety of musical acts having walked across its iconic stage such as Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Garth Brooks and Steven Tyler.
But Ryman Hospitality Properties is not resting on the historic laurels, embarking on several new marketing opportunities for the Music City tourist attraction, including the launch of Ryman Unplugged – a new series on the Opry’s online channel that features artists performing acoustic renditions of their songs in the empty Ryman Auditorium, accentuating the world-class acoustical setting that the Ryman is most known for. Billboard is excited to partner with the Opry and the Ryman on the official launch of the series, which includes NEEDTOBREATHE singing “No Excuses.”
Needless to say, the band — best known for Billboard 200 top 10 albums such as Hard Love and Rivers In The Wasteland — said that being at the “Mother Church” is a feeling that always inspires. “It’s cool how this place went from being a venue that we were in awe of and thought we’d never play to now—it kind of feels a little bit like home,” said NEEDTOBREATHE’s Bear Rinehart.
Home or not, fellow member Bo Rinehart (also brother to Bear) says being at the Ryman is a feeling like none other. “I think for me it kind of hit me in waves because as you tell people you’re playing the Ryman, the kind of freak out,” he admitted to Billboard. “In everybody else’s mind, it’s a milestone to you. There will be people that come to the show to be a part of this special place.”
To add their names to such an esteemed list of artists — many of whom are on their personal playlist — is something that NEEDTOBREATHE’S Josh Lovelace doesn’t take lightly. “There are so many artists that have played that we grew up listening to or that we’re fans of now. For them to walk out in front of the stage and sing was such a big deal to them…so many people felt the same way that you felt or you’re feeling in that moment, it can be a little overwhelming. It’s pretty special.”
Enjoy this exclusive look at the new Ryman Unplugged channel below. NEEDTOBREATHE’s Forever On Your Side (Niles City Sound Sessions) comes out July 13, featuring new track “Bridges Burn.” The Forever On Your Side Tour kicks off Aug. 10 in New Braunfels, Texas. Head here for more info.