The show we've been waiting for...The Grand Ole Opry! The highlight of our Thursday will be the magic that comes from the group of artists playing the Grand Ole Opry. This week, Brad & Barry chat with Ketch from Old Crow Medicine Show, who is the mastermind behind this year's show. This is a MUST listen for all Bonnaroovians.
Topics: Bonnaroo, Old Crow Medicine Show
Guest: Ketch Secor
Hey, hey, hey, hey. How y'all feeling? Journey through the stories that define the artists playing Bungaroo. Who are they? What are they? What will you see? The what? Which bands? This year's show is about the matter with Brad Steiner and Barry Courter. You know, come Sunday at Bonnaroo, I'm going to get my ratchet on with Cardi B. But Thursday, I'm getting my hillbilly on with the grand ol' Opry. Have you ever been described as fared of you? You know what? Shockingly, I haven't. What a great lie. I couldn't be more excited about this week because when we looked at the schedule, we looked at the lineup when it first came out. I think that we all sort of assumed there's going to be some sort of like country music super gem, whether it's Ed Helms and the Bluegrass situation or even the Opry from last year. But when we saw the Grand Ole Opry this year and where they decided to put it, I think our eyes bugged out of our head and said, this is something we know we have to be a part of. Absolutely. And then they didn't release the lineup for a long time until a couple of weeks ago. And then when we saw who it was, our eyes bugged out again. And I think the reason we were so excited about the Grand Ole Opry being on Thursday is because A, they've never done it before. And then B, the fan fest, the CMA Fest is the weekend right before this. And so if you happen to have a giant swath of the country music community all 60 miles north of you three days before your festival begins, you can start to put the pieces together. And if you're the festival and you're courting Nashville as they have been in the last four, five years, it all makes perfect sense. We were able to do this kind of on the fly. Worked hard to try to get our guest and he was cool and he actually was in town to perform on Friday and called, left me a message about the time I was heading down to the festival said, bring your microphone and let's do this. Let me guess if you forgot your microphone. I didn't get the message until the next morning, but he was really cool to work with us and we made this work. Well, we'll talk to a cash from Old Crow Medicine show here in a second, but let's set the table a little bit. The Grand Ole Opry on Thursday. I grew up listening to country music, but not the country music in which you would associate with the industry. I listened to a lot of kitschy Joe Diffie when I was a kid, you know, a lot of goofy Garth Brooks nonsense. And mainly because where I grew up, that's just what all of my friends listened to. And until I finally discovered like neutral milk hotel and death cab for cutie, like I didn't really ever get out of that dorky sort of country stuff. Bless your heart. I know. And so then as I expanded there, I sort of expanded my country palette and I almost went back into time to figure out what in the world, where all this comes from. And then the reason I bring this up is because we talk a lot about what the industry boxes are with with catch. I've always been fascinated by what the Opry has done and what the Opry is because it's so completely out of my wheelhouse. It's so completely out of my like normal zone that it almost fascinates me. It's a world in and of itself. Well, all right, I'll give you my background. I was early, you know, teens, nine, 10, 11, and then early teens when he haul was huge and I hated he haul. Hated. It was an embarrassment. You know, we only had three channels, so there wasn't much to watch. So I probably watched more of it than I ever would have wanted. But I just thought it was the hokeyest, stupidest thing ever. And it's funny because we talked to catch in part because of his involvement with the Ken Burns History of Country Music documentary that he made. And that question came up during the panel discussion that I got to go to in Knoxville is did he haul help or hurt country? That was an actual question. It's an act. Yeah, it's a topic. I'm not the only one. It turned me off to country music because it was so hokey. If you I mean, it's funny now for me to watch it. But that cornpwn stuff was an embarrassment outside of this area. Man, so you were in California or New York watching that you either got it as you know, the humor that it was or that's how you thought of Tennesseans in the south. I have never thought about absolutely same thing with the Beverly Hillbillies. They were both they didn't do the south well. That cliche of barefoot and dumb and right came in part from he haul. That's so bizarre because the south before that was so gone with the wind. Right. I declare it sure is a hot summer day. Yeah, yeah. So so it went from there to then becoming a self parody. Right. And and almost everyone thought it was a parody. That's what I mean. A lot of the country thought, well, that's how we are here. So so let me just let me just pretend that we are in the mid 70s and the late 60s. Right. When he was around. OK, so he was around and you're in a different part of the country and you might maybe be a fan of Hank Williams, Jr. You might be a fan of some sort of country music. But then they put on this cartoon like version of what the south is. And then your ideal of it is completely different for me. And again, I was that of that age, you know, I was into the Ramones and the Beatles and stuff. So we're that that cartoonized the country crowd and cartoons, cartoonized the south. But yet Kiss didn't cartoonize rock music. Fair enough. Fair enough. So Buck Owens was a genius. Roy Clark is a phenomenal was a phenomenal guitar player and they would have great guests. But then you would hit, you know, you'd get the jokes in the cornfields kind of like I said, watching it now, I get it. But then it was such a turn off. What are the other than like he ha and Beverly Hillbillies? What was around at the time that represented the south or country music at all? Was that it? Was that the only thing the national audience had pretty well? Grand Ole Opry, obviously the radio, which to bring things back around, we went to Opryland about that same time. I was probably a teenager. I bought my first concert ticket to Leonard Skinner and the plane went down two weeks before the show. That was going to be my first concert. Some weeks later, we is a family here at Opryland and we noticed this crowd just walking into this building. So we followed them and found out it was the Grand Ole Opry and we took a seat and Marty Robbins was the no. So that was my first concert. And I love it. It did change your your perspective of it. It did. And then this is kind of bringing a whole circle together. The Blues Brothers came out about the same time. I was not a Blues fan, but that movie was my gateway to guys like Delbert McClinton, some of those guys that I started looking up and then backtracked all the way to Robert Johnson. And that sort of opened my mind to country and then discovering Murrell Haggard. I think Mama Tried probably is my gateway. Once I heard Mama Tried, I thought, man, this is good. That's so fascinating. Yeah. I find this again, we get lost, me and you, when we talk about process. I mean, process for music festivals, process and how we get to certain artists. Dude, like I wouldn't I listen to Goofy Country, you know, from ages 12 to 16. And then my gateway to the to the classic stuff was of all people, Hootie and the Blowfish. Because I got so into Hootie and the Blowfish when I was 16, 17 years old. And they would just keep playing country music at their shows. And every show I'd go to, they'd be talking about Roy A. Cuff and they'd be talking about like Nashville country. I'm like, what? Who are these people they're talking about? And the second Napster shows up, I start looking into all this older thing, these older things. I guess that's why I like the the Opry so much. I like the idea of the Opry so much. I've never been. I don't know if I ever will. But I like the idea of it because it seems like it's on an island in and of itself surrounded by what could be the worst part of the industry, which is top 40 pop country music. And I tried to go with this with with Catch a little bit asking him about where the industry is when it comes to the country box. But he said it pretty well that these things have maybe was you that said it. You'll hear it here in a second either way, but these sort of dynamics between the country that he does and the country that's sort of all around him has always existed. And it didn't hit me literally until four minutes ago when you said he had the Beverly Hillbillies. They were running side by side with some of the Hank Williams of the world. Well, and the juniors and the Murals and the George Joneses. So yeah, that was another question that came up as part of the panel discussion. And I had never really thought about it. And I should because you and I have talked about it for a year and a half. There are different boxes that country music is not one thing. And you hear a lot of you read a lot of discussions of, you know, this act is not represent Bro Country, for example. It's just one part of country music. But it tends to be the overarching one, and we all we being some people like me in the media who want to say that's country music and it's bad when people like Dolly are still performing and Brandi Carlile, MKC, Musgraves and all those kinds of. So there's a lot of different boxes. And that's part of what Catch talks about. So we've got some Bonnaroo news to get to here. We promised that we had some a little bit of detail when it came to the number for Bonnaroo. I like to talk a little bit about some other pieces of news Bonnaroo related, some serious stuff here in a second. But I want to jump right in to Catch because, man, we've had a few really, really great moments when it comes to conversations, either with you and I or with artists or fans that we really, really appreciate and respect and like outside of Paul Jane away in the year and a half we've been doing this in the two years we've been doing this. I loved this almost as much as anything that I've done. I did too. It's funny you say that when we hung up yesterday, I think I sent you a note and I said Catch a note thanking him. But I pretty much stood up in my chair in my office and did the happy dance. I love when somebody represents the industry, their band, their profession, their art as well as he did in this conversation. So this is terrific. And I wanted to give you I thought the question that people will hear the Dillon thing was great. We brought that up. It was cool. We get to put to death or put to bed a rumor. Has there been rumors? Well, you're the one said there was all this, you know, whether he'd met Dillon or was Dillon involved with it. I didn't base that on a rumor that I heard. I just misinformation. No, I just didn't know. I mean, if you don't know Old Crowe Medicine Show, the guy that's really behind the songwriter and sort of the driving force behind Old Crowe Medicine Show, which is basically your headliner for the Grand Ole Opry sort of super jam on Thursday night, it catches the one that that sort of took the Bob Dylan line and then created Wagon Wheel around it. And then Wagon Wheel was, you know, did pretty well for them. And then Darius Rucker gets it and then blows it up and makes it, I don't know, seven hundred times platinum, which is why catch is now a multimillionaire. So he's got a lot of things to give to Darius Rucker. But he had to have gotten this from Dylan and you can't just like take some Dylan melody and then just, you know, make some dollars off of it. I know for a fact there is some angling and some back and forth between their camps. And I don't know if Dylan was necessarily happy with it. But who knows if Dylan's happy with it? All I asked him was because I will probably never in my life ever interact with somebody who's had a conversation with Bob Dylan. I don't I just don't I don't know. I don't know if I ever have it. Actually, I've never even thought about it. But when I have this guy who literally took pieces of Bob Dylan and then wrote a song around it, I have to ask him, I don't know anything about Bob Dylan. You have to. It's like it's like if somebody happened to be around the Beatles at the time, you know, you have to ask. I totally. Yes. That's why when Graham Nash was in town the other year the other day, I was again doing happy dance kind of people were like, why so why are you so excited? I said he knew the Beatles before they were called the Beatles. Yeah. So you just don't miss that kind of history. I know. I know. I said I wanted to jump into this real quick, but obviously we don't do anything quickly. So this is why I met Regis. Yeah. OK, so Regis came to Chattanooga one time for this for for one of Barry's papers event, right? So Barry's paper, the Chattanooga Times, she pressed, by the way, we never said hello. I'm Brad Steiner from WDOD radio hits 96. This Barry Courter. This is the what podcast a podcast for Bonnaroovians by Bonnaroovians are so close to Bonnaroo at this point. We're like days away that who cares about introductions? You don't care. So just get on with it. So Regis comes to town and he's doing an event for Barry's paper. And it was like this function for just old people. It was basically a convention center full of blue haired and 85 year olds. And Regis was like the star of the show. He came to do like a small talk or something. Right. And I was the youngest guy there by 50 years. I mean, not even close, four decades at least. And the whole reason I went, everybody was like, why are you going to see Regis? Why in the world are you going to meet Regis? And I said one reason and one reason only. He's met Dave. Dave Letterman. Yeah, Dave Letterman. Because Dave Letterman is my hero in life. I am not anybody if I don't have Dave Letterman. I don't have a perspective. He just he's everything to me. Right. So I wanted to be in the same room shaking the hand and talking to someone who is that close to Dave Letterman. I get it. I'll never get that everybody that comes to town that is a Beatle connection on the same way. And yeah, no, I get it. And that's why I'm with you. This was very exciting. It was that's why I pursued it all morning on a Saturday to try to get him. Yeah, it's a little weird. So so you're the audio is a little funky. I'm on the phone. Barry's in studio and catches on the phone as well. So it was totally on the fly. Barry did a great job to get this. And the fact that we got him when we got him was about the only time we were going to get him. And we really, really had been this entire season. We've been dying to do a show on the Grand Ole Opry. And we were waiting and waiting, waiting until the lineup was announced for who was going to be participating in the Super Jam. We finally got it and been been calling damn near every day trying to figure out a way to get one of them on. And we finally got it. And this was the time we got it. So here you go. Catch from Old Crow Medicine Show on the What Podcast. Oh, doing pretty well. Thanks. I got to imagine. So this is pretty crazy. A few weeks for you. Are you going to be a CMA Fest as well? Yes, I will be. I'll be there in support of Ken Burns and his exciting forthcoming film. Because Barry has been talking about this Ken Burns thing actually maybe nonstop since he went up and saw it. Explain it to me because I still I'm fascinated by it, but I'm still a little bit in the weeds with it. Well, you'll want to learn everything you can about it ahead of time because it's certainly going to be a thrilling television moment here in this country. Did you ever watch Dallas? Because I sure did. Oh my God, I love Dallas. You know, you get into something and serial entertainment is one of my most favorite styles. So here is the story of country music being built year by year in a 16 hour film that took eight years to make. It has about 140 interviews that are culled out of more like 400. And among those 140 people interviewed for the 16 hour film, probably 70 of them have since passed away. So Ken's involvement or Ken's decision to make the country music film happened right at this really pivotal time that I think we're all increasingly aware of, which the heroes, the folks that really the progenitors of the music are rapidly disappearing from this landscape. So here's a film that kind of captures, you know, the last hours of Murl and Murl is sort of the spirit guide throughout the whole piece. Also Marty Stewart, the footage is incredible. The story is anybody who loves America is now going to love country music when they see this film. It does mean like you're not just an ambassador to the film, you're an ambassador for the entire genre of music. And I can't imagine that you thought that you would be that guy maybe in 1998. You know, even before then I was watching Ken Burns movies, you know, at about 11 or 12 when the Civil War series came out and I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley. So I felt that the Civil War series on my PBS station was talking about my hometown because they kept talking about the high school in my town, R.E. Lee, and they kept talking about the other high school that we played against, Stonewall Jackson High. And, you know, the war was right outside. I mean, it was right over the fence. It was underneath the Walmart parking lot. It was troop maneuvers through mountains that you could see from IA1. You know, it just felt very close. And so the Ken Burns part of it actually feels like something I've been waiting to have happen for a long time and not a surprise. And then as far as the spokesperson of country music goes, you know, I've been really, it's been really wonderful to get to tell my version of the story. But, you know, country music is such a vast thing that, you know, what I've learned to do is just one little part of it. But I love this genre and I love being a part of the country music family. Yeah, it's interesting. Brad sort of jumped right in and nailed it. The conversation that we had, what he's referring, I was in Knoxville for the Ken Burns presentation. You guys were doing a whole sort of bus tour. Ken was there, the producers were there, you were there as part of a panel. And it's fun to hear you talk about it in your backyard because I am literally sitting on Missionary Ridge as we're doing this interview. So I get that, you know, and when I moved down here from Indiana, people used to say, are you a Yankee or a rebel? And I'm like, what are you even talking about? You know, it's very much alive here. But that whole timing of it that you mentioned, you know, we lost all these people, Johnny and Merle and on and on. The timing was just right for this series. I say just right. I think it could have been done anytime, but there are so many levels to this series. Yeah, it's going to be a really beautiful film. I'm really excited about the kind of scholarship that can follow the country music story because, you know, country can be sort of have a sort of xenophobia to it here in Nashville. We like to think that, you know, we made it all up and it's a Nashville thing and we kind of own it and we can tell you what it is and what it ain't. But the truth is that country music comes from Chattanooga and from the copper mines east of there and from the mica mines of Western North Carolina and the coal mines of, you know, Upper East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. And then it comes from Indiana, from bands from the 1930s like the Hoosier Hotshots who sold a lot more records than anybody in Nashville at that time. So I think having the outsider perspective is something that's really great about this film because here you have America's premier documentary and just a treasure of a filmmaker talking about something that has had this tendency to be that, you know, you see the kind of Nashville loves to tell its own stories, blow its own horn. You know, we just watched ABC over the past couple of years. We've had our very own aggrandizing version of ballads. But that's not country music's story. I mean, that's got a lot more in common than the Ewing family than I think the Cash. Let me jump in, Brad, because there was like two or three points that I remember from that interview. One, everyone was asked, you know, who was the powerhouse? Who was the one person they wanted to meet? Who made their knees buckle, so to speak? And every one of them, can you guess who they said? Dolly, of course. The other point that really stuck with me is that country music is very, very vast and different. It's not one thing. And we all want to talk about country radio and pick on the industry or whatever. But correct me if I'm wrong, but it was sort of pointed out that Murl is every bit as different as the Carter family, as George Jones, as, you know, Jimmy Rogers, on and on and on. So we all want to put it in this one box and it doesn't fit into the box. Yeah, it really doesn't. And it never fit into the box, though the industry kept trying to build a different box and then found, you know, a lot of different boxes and bigger boxes, smaller boxes, more boxes. And even in the time that I've been in the music business in Nashville, I've seen the creation of a really big new box called Americana Music. They're all just boxes and they're no different than any of the other boxes. And music just doesn't see boundaries and barriers. Music is fluid and it just can't be stopped. It jumps turnstiles, y'all. I just hit on something that I was actually going to ask and it was basically what do you think the industry or your genre or that genre is right now? You're right. They don't fit into any boxes because nobody's tastes fit into boxes anymore. Like all of our tastes are all over the place, right? Nobody's Spotify playlist is just one type of sound all the way down. And that sort of is, I would guess, listening to you guys, that's sort of the way that you guys have crafted your band and the way that you've crafted your songs is that you're not really beholden to any type of real style, one specific style over another. You're limitless almost. Yeah, we really pride ourselves in being able to play a lot of the different kinds of traditional American sounds. So we'll go out to South Texas and we always pack the accordions and we always do some Tejano music. No kidding. And then when we're out further in the Southwest, there's this great kind of music that the people around Tucson, the indigenous people called the Tejano Odom play and it's a genre, it's a box called Waila which means dance. And so this is a kind of polka music with saxophones and so I can sing a little bit of that. And then I can sing in Japanese and I can sing in Lingala and about six other equatorial African languages. The limitlessness is not so much what we've done so far in the first 21 years of this band but what could be as we continue to grow and learn and be inspired and recalibrated to this beautiful mystery that is ever unfolding, this story of the music of the people of the world and how it unifies us and makes us one. And I think increasingly in times like these, forces of unity, that's what you got to cloak yourself in. Hey Barry, when Tej says something like that, he starts talking about how it unifies. It almost sounds exactly like the brand values and the core values of Bonnaro. Yeah, which is a perfect lead in to kind of why we're talking to Catch. Brad and I, Catch have been so excited about this Grand Ole Opry stage thing since it was announced. It's been like just these three words on the schedule but we immediately latched onto it as this important, big, huge opportunity. And then when it was announced, the lineup and you guys were on it, we both were like, well, we got to talk to them. It seems like it's going to be as big a deal as we think. What can you tell us about it? Well, last year was the first year that the Grand Ole Opry broadcast remotely since, I want to guess, about 1945 when the Grand Ole Opry went to Carnegie Hall. So that in itself, it's been 75 years since the show left Nashville. It's crazy. So for it to travel 75 miles south down I-24 to go to Bonnaroo, it's not nearly as much of a geographic leap. But for the Grand Ole Opry, the leap in this case is not the Opry moving uptown to the city but here the Opry moving to the festival, to the jam campground, to the angel-haired hipsters and millennial generation and all of the books for whom Bonnaroo is the ultimate slipslide. Angel-haired hipsters down the slipslide. That sounds like my indie band. I love that description of it and I love the way that you paint a picture with your words because I know, I just know based on the words you're using, Bonnaroo means something to you. It sure does. Old Crow started playing Bonnaroo the first year it opened. In fact, we were the first band to take the stage and it was like 11 o'clock in the morning on, I guess the show started on a Friday that year. And everybody was stuck in traffic trying to get there so it wasn't much of a crowd but we walked out of the stage knowing that we were outsiders to the kind of particular jam band sounds that were prevalent in Bonnaroo in its infancy before it had sort of become multi-ethnic, eclectic, the kind of golden corral buffet line that it can be now. If you want shrimp. This Post Malone tastes delicious. Little grits with that. I like it. What is the, have you guys already had meetings, talks about how the set's going to go? Well I'm sort of basing it on last year because we were really involved and I was the host and it was, and then there were a number of meetings leading up to this first one. So this is the second one and we definitely know some things we didn't know before and we have our meeting on Monday after this weekend with old Crow with the Rhyman comes to an end. Then we'll open on my Opry at the Roo hat and we'll start talking through. But one of the things that makes the grand old Opry as I think of it so special this year is the lineup which is incredible. Right, right. Do you remember who's on it? Well the name that I'm most excited about is somebody who's actually been to Bonnaroo before and I don't know if a lot of people know Ricky Skaggs. Yeah I mean when you come to Tennessee there's an expectation that you're going to hear some great pick and so even if you came to Tennessee because you're 19 years old and you love Tarramore or you love whatever, something that's got nothing to do with country music maybe, I mean that's even, that's probably super dated. I don't know who everybody's listening to. No, Tarramore's a good one because Hayley Williams from Nashville is curating entire plaza for the weekend at Bonnaroo. So you actually had a very apropos. Okay. You want me to read it? It's you guys obviously, Steve Earl and the Dukes, Morgan Evans, Ashley Munro, Wendy Moten, Ricky Skaggs, Riders in the Sky, Molly Tuttle, the Opry Square Dancers and Bill Cody's going to be doing the announcing. Boy that's going to be a great night. I'm just excited about sharing the Opry with the Bonnaroo audience. So you're coming to Tennessee because you've been waiting all year to see the Arctic Monkeys or somebody but in fact you get to get turned on by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and you get to come all the way to Tennessee from Indiana or Michigan or Connecticut and really get your socks turned inside out by Hillbilly Music. What a great thing and that feels like a kind of responsibility for us here at the Grand Ole Opry is to make an access point to a younger generation for whom even their parents didn't listen to this show. Maybe their grand folks did but we're getting to a time in life in which the Opry has been on the air for 90 some years and it's just not that many 90 year old people left. Well we still have Barry. They all got to get it in. Does CMA Fest happening five days before the Grand Ole Opry show, does that make things easier to pull friends in or does it not really even register to anybody? Everybody on this bill has one foot in Bonnaroo and one foot in fanfare and that's just because like Morgan Evans has probably got more feet in fanfare but probably wants to have more feet in Bonnaroo because I mean if you get that audience behind you, I mean that's big time. I think that somebody like Wendy Moten, she's going to be making, she made her Grand Ole Opry debut not long ago and she's been in the music business for a really long time. This is an African American singer from Memphis who's been in Nashville for quite a while and is working on a project with Vince Gill. She's wonderful. I think whether she was at fanfare or at Bonnaroo, it's a win. Ricky clearly has done fanfare for 30 years so I bet he's really excited. But my favorite part of this y'all is the writers in the sky because that's where the kind of kaleidoscope really gets strange and erratic and wonderful because I think when you start bringing back the sequins suits and the humor and the ribaldness that makes the Grand Ole Opry so special, when you bring that into the Bonnaroo space where you might have people that are just wearing latex paint or whatever they're tripping out on, you go see a band that's been playing for the past 40 years in these costumes and singing beautiful cowboy harmonies. I just feel like that's sort of the ultimate trip, like walking coyotes and like sleeping on a cactus. It reminds me of Wanda Jackson being there several years ago. I walked through Centauroo the next day and I got behind a couple of guys that were probably in their 30s and I don't think they were right, but I'll never forget one of them said to the other, man, not only did she know Johnny Cash, she did Johnny Cash. And they were just so, that whole history though, they were touched by the fact that this woman was there when rockabilly was invented kind of thing. So that's one of the things that we talk about on this podcast a lot, Catch, is that sort of the Bonnaroo audience is there to be introduced to good music. They generally, for the most part, don't care the genre. That's probably not fair, is it, Brad? They're not quite that, they don't go too far afield, but they just want to see good music and if it's country or if it's EDM or blues or whatever, they're appreciative of the fact that Bonnaroo thinks they're good enough to be on the lineup. That's right. I take it more as the Bonnaroo fan or the Bonnaroovian is craving a moment and they can find them damn near everywhere. And I think the Wanda Jackson show was a moment. You're watching country royalty, right? And I think Solomon Burke was a moment and not a lot of people were there. Del McCurry was there last year was a big, big thing. He's been there a couple of times. And we've said that before, especially when we talk about John Prine, I don't mean to be dark and dour about this, but you're not going to have many more opportunities to see some of these royalties play ever again. And when you have an opportunity for a moment, like a John Prine, like a Wanda Jackson, like a Solomon Burke, you have to take it. And I don't care if you're a fan of the genre, so to be, you have to take it. When our eyes lit up, when we saw the Grand Ole Opry thing pop up across the schedule was not so much that the Grand Ole Opry was on the schedule, but it's where they decided to put it. This schedule that they decided to place it at to open the festival like that is really, really gutsy. They're creating a moment right there at the beginning of the festival and they're staking their claim, they're saying this is who we're going to be and we're going to celebrate this for the rest of the weekend. And you can see it through the rest of the schedule. You can see it through John Prine, you can see it through Maren Morris, Kelsey Ballerini, Casey Musgraves, Old Crow Medicine, on and on. You can see exactly what they're trying to do. Look, if you're an intelligent Bonnaruvian, which 99% of the ones that are listening to this are, you know exactly that this Grand Ole Opry show is going to be a moment. It sure was last year, and I think last year maybe we were on Sunday, so it sort of culminated. To get to kick it off this way is really cool. And living here in Nashville and seeing the Bonnaruv press over the past few months, seeing the Opry be at the very top of the page is really exciting. It's awesome. The thing I really like to imagine is if Roy Acuff could transport to Bonnaroo in 2019. Maybe if Lil Nas X was on the bill. Oh yeah, good. And get Roy and Lil Nas together. Now I think that could be some of the kind of country music I want to hear. Well, Brad and I have been lobbying for Dolly, so Ketch, if you have any pull there, we would love to see Dolly on the farm. I think there's not a human being or artist alive that makes more sense to be at Bonnaroo than Dolly Parton, period, end of story conversation. Yeah, so make it happen Ketch. We're putting all of our eggs in your basket, buddy. Yeah, I'd love to see Dolly too, but I'm telling you, I think Roy Acuff back from the dead with Lil Nas, that's my chance. Hey, so I want to go backwards a little bit, and I know this is well-worn territory, and I know that this has gone through a million times, but I just want to hear it straight from you because I've never heard you say it. I know Wagon Wheel was such a big deal, and it probably changed your life. What kind of conversations did you specifically, because you're probably going to be the only person in the history of my life that I know that has had a conversation with Bob Dylan. What did that and those conversations go like, and did you have them at all? No, never met the guy. You never talked to Bob Dylan, even after the success of Wagon Wheel? No. Wow, that's amazing. That is so Bob Dylan. I'll tell you a funny story. He was out, a couple of us were. Remember the year that the, one of my favorite Bonerist stories was when, because Lord, we played it like five, six times, and in many different incarnations. But one of the years we were there, and I was playing, and I was playing, and I was playing with the harmonica with John Thryne, and we were doing, we were standing by Peaceful Waters, you know, Lake Louise, oh, it's one of my favorite songs. Chris Dobson was there watching the whole thing. It was fantastic, right? It was like a country music dream come true. Well, wait, wait, what were we talking about again? Dylan. Yeah, Dylan, yeah. Thanks, okay. So that was the same year that we met these really sweet and cute boys from England, who I'd never heard of until we got up on stage with them and everybody just shouted for the Mumford boys. And Mumford and Sons were made known to me at Bonnaroo in probably 2010, and then immediately after our lives would be intertwined for a couple of years, you know, in far-flung places. So we went, we played all over Europe with them, and we played all over the U.S. with them, and we made this movie with them that won a Grammy award, and we did a lot of work with the Mumford boys. Well, it was sort of their, you know, launch, and they were on the Grammys that year with Bob, and Bob was going to come out and, you know, hang out with them or like do a song with them on the Grammys. So our friend from Old Crow, Gil Landry, flew out to LA for this moment, and he's hanging out backstage, and they're sitting on this couch, and there's T-Bone Burnett, who's the producer on this portion of the broadcast, and we'd just done this recording with him that never came out, and he's sitting there talking to T-Bone, and then this shadowy figure lurking behind the couch pops up, and he says, and he's saying, you're in Old Crow. And Gil Landry says, yeah, yeah, man, hey, hey. And then Bob says, well, you guys are killing it. Nice. So I'm not, I've never met the guys, but apparently he approves. I love that connection to Mumford because it's amazing how long you guys were doing the sort of sound and the sort of band that you were, and how the industry and the sound came back around, back to you guys. I know it's a clumsy, and I fumbled it a little bit, clumsy way of getting there, but your sound became mainstream, and you guys were just, hey, we've been around and been doing this for a while, guys. Right. That's what happens when you're in a band for 21 years. It turns out you're older than Bonnaroo. The fascinating tale, your band's story, and through every iteration, and being able to touch in so many different places of the industry is really, really fascinating. And I don't mean this in any way, but positive, but you're almost like the industry's best kept secret. Even though you've won Grammys, and even though one of the biggest songs maybe ever, it feels like, and this is the best compliment I can give, when I see you guys, I still feel like those are my buddies up on stage. You know? Yeah, no, that's a good way to put it. I think so. It's such a personal connection that you guys have, and it's got to be because 21 years ago, you were everybody's friend when you were doing shows. Let me just jump on that. They played here in Chattanooga just last night, and that was exactly the vibe, Brad. I think you nailed it. It's like everybody in the audience is like, hey, let me introduce you to my favorite band you've never heard of, and the crowd was huge. Your point is right on. Well, you know, when you come from our upbringing musically, it's just when you start on the street corners, it turns out that even the biggest stage on earth is just another version of the street corner. It's the same bit. You know, you're just trying to get people to stand by and dance, and hopefully love it, and you share that with them, and it's real truthful and honest, and there's no smoke and mirror. It's just music and joy and fun and fraternizing and gregarious lovemaking and all that groovy stuff, man. And if you do it long enough, then you find that you get really good at it, but that it kind of reverts to how it was in the beginning. I think that's the thing that what they say about music making you eternally young, that's the case and point of it, that you just feel like you're 14 years old up there, even though you flip the numbers, that's how old you are. Brad, we keep stumbling across themes this year, don't we, Brad? The street corner thing. Yeah, we've had a few buskers on this year. How many have we had that started on the street corners and learned to connect with an audience? What a cool thing. Man, I really do appreciate you coming on and spending some time with us and feeling as though we've got a friend up there. I think that the industry has so few really, really good ambassadors to the arts. Dave Grohl is a really good ambassador. Whatever somebody thinks of Jack White and his product, I think Jack White's a really good ambassador for the arts. And for country music, I don't see, or even the Opry, I don't see many people waving the flag as good as you are. So thank you for that. It's just a fan. I appreciate how well you represent the industry. Well, I appreciate that a lot. And I will see you and all of you out there. I'll see you at Bonnaroo 2019. Thanks for doing this, Ketch. Really, really appreciate it. And I'm really excited about the movie, too. I can't wait for that. Oh, that's awesome. Yeah, it's going to be great. Yeah. September 19th. Peace, everybody. So long. He's thoughtful. He's insightful. Damn near brilliant. I love his choices of words. I love the way that he crafts a sentence. I love the way that he crafts music. I love the way he puts words together and then gives them to us in song form. I was late to the old crow party. I gave friends of mine a hard time for being a fan of it. But see it once. It's so, so, so good. They're great. And they were great the other night here for our festival. And I want to give a thanks to Jim Flamie at Open Eyes or All Eyes Media for making that happen. He's the guy I pestered and said, please. And he got on the phone, obviously made it happen. So yeah, that was terrific. I loved everything about that. It was informative, gives you an idea of what we're going to see in what, 10 days? And this is what I like about every time that he talks, I stop dead in my tracks because I know something that is going to come out of his mouth is going to be very, very, very insightful. Yeah. And and he's going to have a turn of phrase that I'm going to be irritated. I didn't think of first. So like I could I could go back and listen to that over and over and over. Just write down the things that he says because it's just so well crafted. And you know, it takes a special brain. I don't know if he's he's, you know, whip the stuff up beforehand. If so, he got way too prepared for a podcast. But my guess is these things just flow from him naturally. And you got to have a major gift to do something like that. Yeah, he was great. I thought what he told us was great and where we went. We spent a lot of time on the Ken Burns thing, which was terrific. I'm actually really excited about that because I don't think that you can be a music fan and not embrace something like this. I don't know how you I don't know how you missed this. I don't know how you can love this art so much and not want to spend eight hours with damn near one of the best film guys in the world. Yeah, we saw parts of it. We only got to see I don't remember even five minutes, 10 minute trailer. And it's it's good what they did. And he he mentions the timing. And that's right. We spent eight years on it, and it just so happened that we lost a lot of the legends during that time. But they were able to speak to some of them beforehand. And that I mean, that's a weird sort of thing to think about is when you have people still alive now, like a dolly versus, you know, trying to go back in time and piece together things. And they did some of that. But the other thing that is interesting, because of where we live, Brad, I mean, we're two and a half hours from Nashville, we're three, three and a half from the Tri-Cities area where the Carter family came from, where basically country music to a large degree was formed. And I heard this is kind of an interesting I was talking to a guy here who had gone to the museum up in the Tri-Cities area. What museum? The country. There's a country music museum. Is there a Bristol? I think it is. I know. And he asked why, why Nashville? Why is the music started here? Because that's where if you remember all the Library of Congress, those guys used to come down and do their field recordings, go find the pioneers and they do a lot of field recordings. And he asked why, why then Nashville? Why is the Nashville the heart of? And he said, that's where the paper is. He's like, what do you mean? He said, that's where all the contracts and publishing. Oh, how about that? That's where the money. Yeah. The lawyers. You mean it's not in Bristol? No, they didn't shift at all. But what an interesting observation. Yeah, so we have all that right here surrounding us. And so I'm anxious to see the documentary as well. I can't wait for the show. And as far as it goes for Bonnaroo, again, and I can't stress this enough, there are so many places where, and I said this to catch, there are going to be moments. You know, something tells me after all the Bonnaroo's that I've been to and all the music festivals that I've been to, you can almost start to see them coming down 24. You got it, I see the line of Old Crowe Medicine Show, Steve Earle, Morgan Evans, Ashley Monroe, Wendy Moten, which by the way, he's right about that Wendy Moten. She's unbelievable. Ricky Skaggs, Writers in the Sky, Molly Tuttle, and the Opry Square. Dancers, something tells me there's something more magical coming. You don't have Nashville just to the north of you and all of these country artists popping up around the schedule like you do this year. And such a focus on Nashville specifically from Bonnaroo without something up their sleeve. You know, maybe I'm overselling it, maybe I'm being naive and just wishing a little bit too much, but I just got it. I've got this feeling like something magical is going to happen on Thursday. There's no reason they put it on Thursday if they don't have something up their sleeve. If I'm guessing. I tend to agree, but I was watching you as the Writers in the Sky song. That's new to you. You didn't know what that was. I don't know who they are, no. They're great and that's going to be a good show. Catch. Honestly, I thought Writers in the Sky was a Doris Cover band. I swear to God. I think there is one. Really? Okay. We'll see. Every time I hear Writers in the Sky here in town, I think it's a Doris Cover band, but no, it is a legendary band. They wear the costumes. They wear the whole outfit. Yeah. They look like what you used to see on He-Haw quite a bit, but they've been around forever and they're terrific. My point is, is that's the kind of thing that you and I have been stressing this whole time. Get out of your wheelhouse. Go try something that's new to you. Trust Bonnaroo that it may not be for you. You may not like it, but it's going to be well done and you may discover something completely new. Yeah. I understand that, you know, going from Grizz to the Grand Ole Opry is a little bit of a swing. Writers in the Sky, Cardi B. Little schizophrenic. Yeah. Little schizophrenic. I don't think Writers in the Sky are going to be going, oh, carrrr, on stage at any moment, but it is really why Bonnaroo is so great and why we love it so much. Now back to the festival in general, we got a confirmation number. I've been reading how people get a report or they have a source or they know somebody at Live Nation or this or that when it comes to the number of people that are going to be there. It's all well and good and all those people might be totally honest and true, but we just decided to say, screw it. We'll just call and find out exactly what the number is. And so we sort of threw one out as something that we thought was true, much like all these other people did last week. But we called and got the actual number. Yeah. And not to pat myself too hard on the back, but that is the difference between being a journalist and not is instead of spreading rumors, pick up the phone and ask somebody or send them a text. And that's what I did and reached out and the number is 80,000. That is the sellout number. That's what has been since what, the second year? No kidding. This number has not changed. No, no. The first year or so was wide open. It was whatever because they didn't know. And then they decided they needed to cap it. So it's been 80,000. It's been 80,000 since it had a cap. Yeah. It's never been anything but 80,000. So 80,000 is the drop dead sellout number. So when you hear somebody say it's damn near a sellout and it is, and that is something we confirmed as well too, they're very close to selling out 80,000 tickets. Now as far as any of these hundred thousand numbers that we get, the next question that we probably should ask is what's the pluses? After 80,000, how many vendors are there? How many guests are there? Do we count artists? Do we count volunteers? What is that number over 80? We're not going to get a hard number on. But you can, I mean, from my knowledge, there's 2,500 or so volunteers. You can walk around and see how many vendors there are. You can see the support staff. But by the way, you know this for a fact that there are 2,500 or so volunteers because you had somebody very close to you, very involved with the volunteer program. That's right. So I mean, you can get close to that 20,000 if you start adding those sort of clumps of people up. The volunteer number is probably the highest. I have no idea. I really don't. Do you think there are 2,500 people back there in guest camping? I haven't thought about it. I'm just trying to do this math because this is what the next question is going to be. Somebody's going to try and get to the number of 100. And I just want to see how close we can get. With vendors being, I would say 1,000, you know, you got 100 vendors, 150 vendors, everybody brings a few people at a time, maybe 200. So let's just make it 1,000 conservatively. You got 2,500 volunteers and you probably have that many guests back in guest camping. I mean, I think that the number, if I'm being honest, I think it's probably 90. I think you can probably find 10,000 people plus the 80 that are just in and around. Now there aren't day passes. Counted in what? I don't know if the day passes count as part of the 80. Well, that definitely counts towards the 80. It has to. So again, the idea is like when is it going to be the most? When is it going to be the last? At least, and I saw somebody on Reddit say this almost perfectly. And I think that this is right. I don't know what we expected other than 80,000 when you really think about it. I know this is, you know, posthumous and we're almost backwards thinking here, but Fish has not been touring, have they? And frankly, they sell out when they go 60,000 seats everywhere they go. So of course they bring at least 50k with them wherever they go. You got 25,000, I think the number is 30,000, 25 to 30,000 diehard Bonnaroo fans that are going just because of the brand guys like us, we're going to go no matter who's on the lineup. There you go. There's 75,000 people. That hundred thousand number keeps, in my mind, goes back to the McCartney year. And that's where, you know, with a guy like that, suddenly everybody who has any affiliation with the festival that can maybe get you a ticket is your best friend. So there was all those people that came just for that. I mean, you remember that that afternoon it was like, where did all these people come from? Yeah, it exploded out of nowhere and they shut everything down. I don't think we've ever actually said this. I've got some, I've got at the time pretty good access. They let nobody anywhere backstage, nowhere. In fact, didn't they shut down even the freeway? They told, Ashley told me yesterday or last year when we were doing the media tour and I just happened to bring up the McCartney thing, he said, I couldn't even get backstage. It's his festival. It's his festival. And they denied Ashley Capps a way to go from backstage to the pit. He said he had to walk through the crowd to get to the McCartney pit. That is unbelievable to me. That's hilarious. Yeah. So that was a, that was a crazy time. That's not going to happen this year. Fish is not, they don't care. But the number is 80. I think that you can conservatively say 90,000 people will be there, which is great for the festival. And it's, it makes us all feel good because it feels like it's back again. It's relevant again, but it doesn't make for the best user experience. Yeah. I was, I liked being comfortable. Yeah. And I was able to walk around. So the other thing that I wanted to bring up was the very serious thing that happened over the past couple of days when it came to a threat to Centauru. Did you see this? Festival, that was the one that I saw it and it might've come before that, but there was a guy or a few people making some really obscene threats to Centauru, to the campgrounds, to the show in general. Clarksville? Coffee County. Coffee County. Yeah. Whatever police departments there reached out to him, found him, has him in for questioning. And has sort of shut some of that down. I know this feels different because of all the other festivals and especially since Las Vegas and the shootings at Las Vegas, but the guy, same guy that shot up Las Vegas, right? And took out so many people. He was originally going to do that at Lollapalooza the same year, earlier in the year. And you want to hear something crazy? He rented a room, he got a room in the exact same hotel that I stayed at on the exact same floor that I stayed. His room was a good 10 rooms down from mine. Had that gone through. It gives me creeps just thinking about it. I mean, it gives me chills down to my spine. I have forever, ACL Fest is different. ACL Fest, you're far, far, far away from a lot of buildings. So I never felt that sort of danger, but I've always had like a side eye ever since Vegas and I never, never do feel totally comfortable except at Bonnaroo. I've always, always, always felt comfortable at Bonnaroo. I've never once felt like there was a time where it could even be possible. So this sort of threat, this sort of like bizarre rant this guy went on that really didn't make any sense on Facebook and I'm not even going to justify it by reading it. Just reading that sort of shook me to my core because I don't like that feeling of being unsettled at the safest place maybe that I have in my life. Yeah and it's, I mean, not to scare people, but the threat is real. You know, I used to live in that sort of bubble that it could never happen to me, never happen around here type of thing. And then we had the five soldiers shot what, two days before you and I left for Hangout. They were shot here in town and killed. You mean Forecastle? Forecastle. Yeah, I was looking for Forecastle. Yeah, yeah, Forecastle. So it can happen. I don't like saying this because it makes me feel like I'm peddling fear. But we would be derelict of duty as a broadcasters, but then be as your friend to not remind you, please be aware. Just be aware. I know we get lost and we're going to get lost for five days, but please, please, please just keep in mind the world in which we live. I mean, we just saw what happened in Virginia Beach. I mentioned it before, but the security up there when you're walking around, if you're new to it, you're not going to see a lot, but know you're being watched. Remember, we had somebody who sort of works with them tell us about the control room with all the cameras that you don't see. Oh my God, I forgot all about that. Yeah, remember they could tell what time it is on your watch. Oh my God, I forgot all about that conversation. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So you're being watched. If something happens, I would expect that there will be people on top of it pretty quickly. Let me just say there was a time when I was at Music Midtown and I had a lanyard and the person I was with had a lanyard and her friend did not. And so I just decided to take my lanyard off and give it to her and let her go backstage and watch Weezer from the side stage within 45 seconds. I mean, how in the world did you find me? A little tap on the shoulder. Oh, I got, they escort, they carried me out. They literally carried me out and it was totally, totally bizarre. This is my environment, right? This is where I live and breathe. I know what I'm doing here. I couldn't believe I was being carried out of Music Midtown. We were talking with Drew Hulka, remember in that interview talking about what he learned from AC with his festival. He said that level of technology for the weather. Oh yeah. Remember that? He was like, oh, this is how you do it. Sure. Don't have the app on your phone. Yeah, that's, believe me, that ain't the only piece of technology they're using. It ain't just weather they're using the technology for. That's my point. It's a big time operation. Well, there you go. So, the Grand Ole Opry episode, I absolutely am thrilled about the Grand Ole Opry. I'm glad they're featuring on Thursday and Catch could not have been a better guest to sort of put in perspective for us. Right. And I wanted to mention we're getting, you know, it's almost travel time and you and I both created Spotify podcast. I mean Spotify playlist. So people want to listen to some music coming on while they're driving. That's a good idea. In fact, I should probably update. I should probably throw in some more stuff in there that I like because the only things that I put on my Spotify playlist were the ones that I featured as picks. So I might as well just throw some other stuff in that I like even if I'm not going to be going to the show. Yep. I'm going to do the same, add some more because I keep finding new things. Oh, and by the way, the other thing that we confirmed this week is we're absolutely doing Camp Retoroo. Yep. We're going to do a beer exchange. We're going to do a podcast from there. That's right. So we're going to try and bring the whole setup and the whole team and have everybody out to the Camp Retoroo beer exchange. The only problem is that I got to figure out how to bring some of my cellared beer because they're all bombers and glass. I don't know how I'm going to get that in. Oh, that's a good point. Yeah. I don't know how to do that. But yeah, we're going to do that. And I think we have a couple of other things lined up on site. So it's going to be a busy week. All right. We'll see you. I think we got one more show. I think next week we're going to do one really quick odds and ends show and then it'll be Bonnaroo time. Well, we have another interview too. Oh, that's right. Delacy. We'll see you next week and we'll clean up whatever's left up to talk about before Bonnaroo.