Luke Bryan, Larry Gatlin Bring ‘Today’ to the Grand Ole Opry One Year After Nashville Floods
One year after the devastating floods occurred in Nashville, NBC's 'Today' sent reporter Lester Holt back to the Grand Ole Opry to see how the iconic country establishment rose above the four feet of water that wreaked havoc in May 2010. Holt sat down to chat with country icons Larry Gatlin and Luke Bryan, and was also given a behind-the-scenes look at the Grand Ole Opry with general manager Pete Fisher.
The NBC correspondent spoke with Larry Gatlin first, who reminisced about his first time at the Opry. "When I first came here, Dottie West, who brought me to Nashville, was doing a matinee. It was August, 3 o'clock in the afternoon, it was at least 140 in here [and the] place was full." Holt, who plays bass guitar, also had the opportunity to jam with Gatlin outside of the Opry to his hit 'All the Gold in California.'
Gatlin went on to talk about the devastating flood damage, saying, "The water was over the stage. It just broke my heart, old guitars and mementos that were washed away." General manager Pete Fisher took Holt backstage to show him the 46-inch high water mark on the wall, which serves as a constant reminder of the flash floods that swept through Nashville last spring.
Later on during the 'Today' piece, Holt spoke to guest artist Luke Bryan about what the Opry means to him. "If you move to Nashville to become a country music singer, and you don't have playing the GOP or being a member at the top of your list, I kind of feel like you came here for the wrong reasons," Bryan says with a smile.
During Bryan's Grand Ole Opry performance that evening, Holt had the honor of joining the country singer onstage to perform his song 'Country Girl (Shake It for Me)' on the legendary stage. To close out the piece, Holt sums it up well, saying, "Larry Gatlin was right. There can be no forgetting your first time on this stage."
Click on the link below to watch the full video, including a backstage look at the Grand Ole Opry, from the Opry member post office to a dressing room jam session with Ricky Skaggs.