Acoustic at the Ryman by Band of Horses is the Pick of the Week

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The Ryman auditorium was built in 1892 as a tabernacle for evangelist Samuel Porter Jones.  It remained a church until 1943 when the Grand Ole Opry took it over making it into a world famous venue for country music.  When the Opry built a new venue in 1974 the Ryman fell into disrepair until 1992 when Emmylou Harris performed a series of concerts there renewing interest in the building as a venue.  It has since been repaired and remains one of the premier concert houses in the world.

While the Opry was primarily an old country and bluegrass venue, it now hosts rock, blues, alternative, and world music acts.  Nearly everyone who is anyone has performed at the Ryman over the last century.  From Bill Monroe to Bob Hope, from Elvis (who received tepid applause at his only performance there) to Widespread Panic artists young and old, classic and avant gard have performed at the venue.

It retains much of its old church feel with its stained glass windows and wood pews for seats.  It is a sacred place. Garrison Keillor once called it "God's own listening room."  I like to say its where God goes to church.  When you sit in those pews and listen to anyone perform it is to be in the presence of the divine.  Every artist I've seen there, without fail, has talked about what an honor it is to be at the Ryman and they treat their performance as a means of worship.  

There have been many live albums recorded there (not to mention decades of Opry radio shows, and The Johnny Cash television program.)  Band of Horses is simply the latest in a long line of artists who have decided that when they want to release an official live album, the Ryman is the place to do it.

Recorded at a two night stint at the venue, Acoustic at the Ryman was recorded in DSD which should give it an amazing sound.  Strangely it only contains ten songs a kind of greatest hits package for a band that doesn't really have any major hits.  They are a terrific band though and their sound was made for the Ryman.  Which is why it is this week pick.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

Our Beloved Revolutinoary Sweetheart/Key Lime Pie - Camper Van Beethoven:  The 1980s indie rock darlings recorded these two records for major label Virgin before breaking up.  Now they are being reissued with new tracks and liner notes.

From Another World: A Tribute to Bob Dylan:  There have been lots of Bob Dylan tribute albums over the years, and even more people covering the man on their own albums.  This one offers a bit of a twist in that it includes covers by a bunch of artists from all over the world including sonorous from Cuba, gypsies from Rumania, poets from Rajasthan and Persian sufis.  Sounds fun.

Dizzy Heights - Neil Finn:  The third solo album from the singer/songwriter from Crowded House.  

White Light/White Heat - The Velvet Underground:  The classic album from the Velvets gets the Blu-ray audio treatment.