Grand Ole Opry Removes Piano Player Tim Atwood And Fiddle Player Hoot Hester (Due To Ageism)
There seems to be more turmoil at the Grand Ole Opry, and perhaps more intrigue than we care to imagine coming from the makers of the longest running radio show. Perhaps more bluntly this is another sad commentary about our beloved Opry
This week it was troubling to learn that piano player Tim Atwood and fiddle player Hoot Hester were released from the staff band. If you are like me–and I suspect some of my readers are–then you too will recall when one of my favorites on the stage, Roy Acuff, would say “That’s Tim Atwood at the Piano—it’s the cannonball– you’ve rode it before.” These musicians have institutional memory and should be treasured.
Here is a sample of Hot Hester and his fiddle with the Melvin Sloan Square Dancers at the Opry.
And a performance with Jeannie Seely and Tim Atwood singing “Tell Me About It”.
It has been made known that the two were fired in the way things are now done by the current Opry management, and that means it happened with a phone call. Cold, impersonal, with no explanation or personal meeting.
Both of these remarkable musicians will be able to play for performers who ask them to be a part of the back-up band. But they will no longer be a part of the Opry staff band.
The cold-hearted nature of what has happened with the management at the Opry tarnishes the mood of this still proud slice of Americana. Opry management needs to better understand there are too many warm memories of performers now gone, and future glories to yet unfold on the Opry stage to continue operating with such recklessness.
I tend to think this move is all about ageism, and to that point some readers may recall what I had to say when the Opry tried to steamroll Stonewall Jackson.
The Opry is making a huge mistake by removing some of the performers that made that stage so mighty impressive over the decades. We are displacing a part of the past before they will leave the stage for the last time and go to the biggest Opry show to be played. It does not need to be that way. Gaylord Entertainment is greedy and as a result we all lose something.