Ryman Auditorium unveiled the latest addition to its Icon Walk this morning with a statue honoring American music icon Loretta Lynn. The detailed bronze likeness was added to the permanent outdoor exhibition on the historic venue’s grounds ensuring the profound musical innovator and country music trailblazer will forever remain part of the Soul of Nashville.
Created as a way to honor those who have made significant contributions to the historic venue and Music City, Lynn’s statue joins likenesses of beloved legends Little Jimmy Dickens and Bill Monroe, two of the most profound musical innovators in country and bluegrass music. Both statues were unveiled in 2017 as part of the Ryman’s 125 anniversary celebration.
Lynn who was unable to attend the unveiling shared a statement, “I will never forget the morning Dolittle and I pulled in and parked in front of the Ryman Auditorium for the very first time. It was 1960 and I had a No. 14 Record on the charts called “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl.” My dream, like thousands of other singers, was just to sing on the Grand Ole Opry. Being a member of the Grand Ole Opry has been one of the greatest honors of my life. For many years I’ve stood on the stage of the Ryman and there’s no place like it. Now they’re unveiling this statue in my honor. It’s like I’m going to get to be there for many more years to come. It means so much to have the statue and to be a part of all of these wonderful artists. One day soon I’m gonna get to come up there and see it for myself. But for today I want to say thank you and I love each and every one of you for thinking of me.”
The Ryman team collaborated once again with artist Ben Watts, the talent behind the Dickens and Monroe statues for the tribute to Lynn which took a year to create.
“I don’t think it’s possible to tell the history of the Opry or Ryman without Loretta,” Colin Reed, Chairman & CEO of Ryman Hospitality Properties, shared with the small socially distanced group gathered to mark the unveiling as well as those watching live on the Ryman’s Facebook page. “She is a trailblazer who has remained one of the most beloved entertainers to ever set foot on that stage.”
Visitors can find the “Coal Miner’s Daughter” standing at the northwest corner of the building near the venue’s driveway on Fifth Avenue next to the likeness of Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music. Country music’s Little Jimmy Dickens stands atop the Ryman’s main steps facing Fourth Avenue, greeting each and every ticket holder and tour-taker as they arrive. Monroe’s likeness is flanked by a Tennessee Historical Commission marker describing the night Bluegrass Music took the stage at the Ryman for the first time in 1945.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.