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Little Big Town to be Inducted into Music City Walk of Fame

Little
Big Town to be Inducted into Music City Walk of Fame Along with Ryman
Auditorium’s Historic Luminaries Tom Ryman and Lula C. Naff

Ceremony to Take Place on Sept. 14 at Walk of Fame Park to Celebrate Ryman Auditorium’s 125th Anniversary

NASHVILLE – The Music City Walk of Fame will pay tribute to the Ryman Auditorium in celebration of the historic venue’s 125th anniversary with the induction and presentation of stars to   Little
Big Town
, the GRAMMY-winning country music mega-group in a sold-out
residency at the Mother Church, along with two luminaries in the
Ryman’s past:
Tom Ryman, the riverboat captain who was inspired by a revival preacher to build the Union Gospel Tabernacle, and
Lula C. Naff, the theater manager who helmed the Auditorium for
more than 40 years and famously booked the Grand Ole Opry there, the
Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp announced today.

The induction ceremony
will take place on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017 at 1 p.m. in Music City Walk
of Fame Park. The event is free and open to the public.

“Tom Ryman had a vision.
Lula Naff had a plan. And their tenacity and skill created one of
Nashville’s most beautiful and iconic buildings – and one of the
greatest music venues the world has ever seen,” Mayor
Megan Barry said. “Now Little Big Town is adding a new chapter to the
story of the Mother Church of Country Music with its unprecedented Ryman
residency. The induction of each of these legends into the Music City
Walk of Fame couldn’t be more appropriate as
the Ryman celebrates 125 years of gorgeous music and amazing
history.”  

The inductees will receive the 77th, 78th
and 79th stars on the Music City Walk of Fame.
Inductees are recognized for their significant contributions to
preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and for contributing to the
world through song or other industry collaboration.

Colin Reed, Chairman and
CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties, said, “As the stewards of Ryman
Auditorium, it is a great honor for our Company to accept this
recognition on behalf of Tom Ryman and Lula Naff, two
people who helped lay the foundation for Nashville’s cultural identity
as Music City. In this milestone anniversary year for the Ryman, we are
particularly pleased to see these figures from its past recognized
alongside members of our Opry family who are carrying
forward the rich traditions that made the Mother Church the
world-renown venue it is today.”

In celebrating the Ryman’s 125th
anniversary, Little Big Town will have performed 10 shows by the end of
2017 at the Ryman Auditorium during their sold-out, year-long
residency. Consisting of members
Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook,
Little Big Town is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, had the biggest
country single of 2015 with “Girl Crush,” and earlier this year released
their seventh studio album,
The Breaker, which debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Charts.

Ryman and Naff are being
honored for their central roles in creating and developing the Ryman.
Since its inception, the Ryman Auditorium has hosted an array of
speakers and performers, including Johnny Cash, Charlie
Chaplin, Patsy Cline, Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, Foo Fighters, Peter
Frampton, Harry Houdini, Helen Keller, Gladys Knight, President Teddy
Roosevelt, Mae West, Jack White, Hank Williams Sr., ZZ Top, and the list
goes on.

The Ryman has played a
central role in helping create Music City. The Grand Ole Opry called the
Ryman Auditorium home for 31 formative years from 1943 to 1974. Earl
Scruggs is credited with creating a new genre
of music – bluegrass – from the Ryman stage. Johnny Cash met future
wife June Carter backstage at the Ryman. And Patsy Cline became an Opry
member at the Ryman. While the Grand Ole Opry now takes place at the
Grand Ole Opry House, the show returns to the Ryman
during the winter months for Opry at the Ryman.

The Music City Walk of
Fame was created in 2006 on Nashville’s Music Mile, a roughly one-mile
stretch that connects downtown to Music Row. Permanent sidewalk
medallions with the names of the inductees are displayed
in a star-and-guitar design.

The Music City Walk of
Fame is an official project of Music City, Inc., the charitable
foundation of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp, and is
produced with the support of founding sponsor Gibson Brands
and sponsors the City of Nashville and Metro Parks and Recreation.
Nominations are open to the public and are accepted in the categories of
Artist, Musician, Songwriter, and Producer/Music Industry Executive.
Application forms are reviewed by the Music City
Walk of Fame anonymous selection committee. For more information about
the Music City Walk of Fame, go to
visitmusiccity.com/walkoffame.

Little Big Town

GRAMMY winning group,
Little Big Town — consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet,
Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook — first entered the music scene
more than 18 years ago with hits such as “Boondocks,”
“Bring It On Home,” “Good As Gone” and the GRAMMY-nominated single
“Little White Church.” With albums
Tornado and Pain Killer, they have seen massive success
with #1 singles “Pontoon,” “Tornado,” “Day Drinking,” and most recently
the history-making, best-selling country single of 2015, “Girl Crush,”
and the recent two-week #1 single, “Better Man.”
In October of 2014, the group fulfilled a career milestone and lifelong
dream when Reba McEntire asked them to become the newest members of the
Grand Ole Opry; two weeks later, they were inducted. Little Big Town
has earned almost 40 award show nominations
and in the past five years has taken home nearly 20 awards, including
multiple GRAMMY, CMA and ACM awards, and an Emmy award. They are the
reigning CMA Vocal Group of the Year and recently won the same award for
the fifth consecutive year. At the 2016 GRAMMY
Awards, Little Big Town won “Best Country Group/Duo Performance,” and
“Girl Crush” received the honor for “Best Country Song.” The group
recently received honors from the Academy of Country Music for Vocal
Group of the Year and Vocal Event of the Year with
Miranda Lambert, and the group was also recognized with the Crystal
Milestone Award. At the recent Billboard Awards, Little Big Town and
“Girl Crush” were nominated for Top Country Song as well as Chart
Achievement Award, and the group was also honored as
the 2016 Music Business Association Artist of the Year. Released
February 24, 2017, Little Big Town’s seventh studio album,
The Breaker debuted #1 on the Billboard Country Charts and Top 10
(No.4) on the Billboard 200, marking the group’s fourth Top 10 debut on
the Billboard 200 chart.  Their current single, “When Someone Stops
Loving You” is now on country radio. Little
Big Town recently launched its history-making year-long artist
residency at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville – marking the
venue’s first-ever, year-long residency in its 125-year history. For
tickets and more information on “Little Big Town At The Mother
Church,” visit LittleBigTown.com or follow them @littlebigtown.

Tom Ryman

Riverboat Captain Thomas
Green Ryman was a Nashville businessman and the owner of a major
riverboat company who built a church that forever changed the face of
music. On the night of May 10, 1885, Ryman arrived
at a downtown Nashville religious revival to see what all the fuss was
about; he left town that evening called by God to build a big, beautiful
church by the revival sermons of Reverend Sam Jones on the very spot
where the Auditorium now sits. Construction
took seven years and approximately $100,000, and the Union Gospel
Tabernacle opened in 1892 with Jones at the pulpit. When Ryman died in
1904, he was widely regarded as an exceptional businessman and a pillar
of faith, generosity and kindness in the Nashville
community. At his funeral on Christmas Day, Sam Jones proposed to the
5,000 mourners in attendance that the building be re-named in the
Captain’s honor as the Ryman Auditorium. Today, a copper statue of the
Captain stands on Ryman Plaza near the Auditorium’s
entrance, facing east toward the river that fueled the fortune behind
what would become affectionately known as the Mother Church of Country
Music.

Lula C. Naff

Lula C. Naff was the
Ryman Auditorium’s legendary theater manager who helmed the venue for
more than 40 years, booking the Grand Ole Opry and a diverse who’s who
of talent from Katharine Hepburn to Harry Houdini
and Bob Hope to the Ziegfeld Follies. She was named Manager Emeritus
when she retired in 1955. During her tenure, her vision for the Ryman
was strategic and ever-evolving, branching out to include boxing
matches, livestock auctions, political debates and more.
She had a reputation for standing up for what she believed in, fighting
censorship groups in court and welcoming diversity onstage and off. In
1943, she famously agreed to let the rowdy Grand Ole Opry show put down
roots in the Auditorium, and the show filled
her Saturday nights – and the nation’s airwaves – with music and comedy
for the rest of her career and beyond.

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