March 13, 2021
By Steven Boero
The Grand Ole Opry announces the release of a limited-edition vinyl called Unbroken | Empty Room, Full Circle, available on June 24.
The exclusive record honors the performances done in an empty Opry hall after live shows halted on March 14, 2020. For 29 weeks, Saturday night Opry shows continued uninterrupted despite public health orders that temporarily shuttered many other live productions. The Opry continued broadcasting through its weekly WSM radio broadcast and launched the Opry Live television broadcast, which was viewed by more than 50 million people from more than 100 countries during the 29-week period.
“The performances featured on this album brought people together at a time in which they were otherwise largely separated,” says Dan Rogers, executive producer of the album and the Opry. “As a collection, they to me represent some of the most remarkable music made during what I believe will be looked on as a most pivotal time in Opry history.”
The album includes memorable performances from Opry legends like Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Reba McEntire and many more. Opry member Marty Stuart leads off the collection with “No Hard Time Blues” from the Opry’s March 21, 2020 show.
“Country music is no stranger to hard times,” says Stuart. “The Grand Ole Opry is no stranger to hard times, either. It’s 94 years old [now 95] and has been through world wars, catastrophes, and presidential assassinations, but somehow the show has just gone right along and never gone off the air.”
For the Opry’s 95th Anniversary celebration, a limited audience was welcomed on October 3, 2020 and currently hosts limited audiences at its Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday night shows. The Opry, the world’s longest-running radio show, will mark a historic, record-breaking milestone with its 5,000th Saturday night broadcast on October 30, 2021.
The first 1,000 vinyl sold will include a special-edition, album-sized Hatch Show Print commemorating the release.