|Ask any artist who's ever played there and you'll get the same reaction, there is nowhere else like the Ruyman! What a thrill it was for us to stage the 28th annual IFCO show in that historic, beautifully-renovated auditorium! And how rewarding to talk with musicians and artists on the bill that night who were excitedly "working their first gig at the Ryman."
Gary Beaty (one of those first timers) hosted the 3-hour presentation which featured super performances by 4-Runner, Lisa Stewart, Dallas County Line, Davis Daniel, Holly Dunn, Susie Luchsinger, Billy Montana and Ricky Lynn Gregg. A surprised Marty Stuart accepted the 22nd Annual IFCO Tex Ritter Award and touched the audience with an emotional reading of the poem he'd written about the Ryman; his "favorite place in the world" to perform, then closed the show with a high-energy set that brought the audience to its feet and again in true Marty Party style!
Loretta Lynn, originally scheduled to perform, canceled all Fan Fair week appearances to remain at the bedside of her husband, Mooney, gravely ill with diabetes complications and congestive heart failure. He's since undergone surgery to amputate the lower left leg. We know that you join us in our prayers and well wishes for the whole Lynn family.
We managed to surprise Marty with the award by enlisting the help of his manager, Bonnie Garner, who told him he'd be called on stage by Loretts (scheduled to perform just before him) who thought she would be presenting him the award but that he would really be helping to present it to her. What a twisted web we weave...still with us? (Actually, Loretta had received the Tex Ritter Award in 1977, but Marty didn't know that!). On arrival at the Ryman, Marty was told that Loretta was unable to be there and we wanted him to not only help with thep resentation but to accept the award on her behalf. That's the reason he close to read that beautiful poem and how we were able to catch Marty totally off guard. We loved it!