From music writer Peter Cooper:
Always … Patsy Cline finishes its Ryman Auditorium run this weekend, and audiences have been raving about Mandy Barnett's spot-on portrayal of the legendary country singer.
Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson watched the show last Friday night, and he said he "got plum-near teary-eyed when Mandy sang those first couple of songs." Now, Whisperin' Bill is the kind of guy who can get plum-near teary-eyed about lots of things (Vanderbilt baseball, for instance), but in this case, his emotions were quite understandable. Bill and Patsy Cline knew each other well, played the Grand Ole Opry together at the Ryman and toured together as well. After the show, Bill told friend Tom Adkinson about riding with Patsy to a tour date in Hendersonville, N.C.
"It was Patsy, Cowboy Copas, Stringbean and me," he said. "We laughed from the time we left Nashville until we got all the way to North Carolina. And that wasn't a quick drive in those days."
Cowboy Copas died in the same 1963 plane crash that killed Patsy, and Opry star David "Stringbean" Akeman was killed by burglars a decade later.
Always … Patsy Cline performances are Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with an additional Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $36.50 and $29.50, available at the Ryman box office or by calling 871-OPRY.