Knit to This
Knit to This: Black Opry
Oh, thank heavens for the internet and all the treasure troves it continues to reveal!
A little late to the party, but toward the end of 2022, I stumbled across Black Opry and I’ve been listening ever since. It’s a loose consortium of Black musicians who perform and operate under the wide-ranging umbrella that is “Americana music.” (It’s such a large umbrella that I’m sometimes hard-pressed to define what is and isn’t Americana … that can be a fun discussion to have. Try it!).
Black Opry got started by Nashville’s Holly G as a website, but it’s quickly grown in about a million directions, including a full-fledged touring operation called Black Opry Revue—the lineup changes from place to place.
Its mission is clear and succinct: “Black Opry is home for Black artists, fans and industry professionals working in country, Americana, blues, and folk music. Country and roots music have been made and loved by Black people since their conception. For just as long, we have been overlooked and disregarded in the genre. Black Opry is changing that.”
If you’re not new to artists like Robert Finley or Lauren Napier or Nathan Graham or Mickey Guyton, you’ll be happy to see them here—all in one place!—again. If you aren’t familiar with them, you’ll be thrilled by the sheer volume of what awaits you.
And yeah, it’s hard to talk about Black Opry without acknowledging that “Opry” looming in its name. The Grand Ole Opry has elected exactly two Black singers into its ranks in its entire storied history: Charley Pride and Darius Rucker. Black Opry, I think, makes the case that that won’t—can’t—be the case for much longer.
Pick up a heavy-on-the-mindless-garter-stitch project, and then head on over to the Playlists page at BlackOpry.com. You’ll wear a pencil down to a nub taking notes about who to listen to next, I promise.
And look! Two bonuses! A good 30-minute Black Opry primer, from NPR: The Black Opry: a joyful, supportive celebration of Black artists. And up top is an hour+ of a Black Opry Revue concert. (The program starts about six minutes in.)
How to enter?
Step 1: Sign up for MDK emails, right here. If you’re already signed up, you’re all set. We have a new option for texting, so when you sign up for those, you’ll get a coupon code good for 10% off your next MDK order.
Step 2: What do you knit when you really want to lose yourself to listening? Tell us in the comments.
Deadline for entries: Sunday, April 23, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.