One of the most valuable aspects of country music is its versatility and diversity in sound. And so it is with the Black Opry Revue, consisting of a rotating cast of musicians making magic in this space. Founded by Holly G., a Black woman and fan of Black country music, she set out to start an online platform to connect Black musicians, fans, and industry professionals, which has blossomed into a concept of a live music entity of rotating Black songwriters. No performance is the same. 

Black Opry Revue makes its Swallow Hill debut on Saturday, October 21 at 8 pm, with a concert featuring songwriters Ally Free, Jett Holden, Destinie Lynn, and Ben Jordan. This diverse set of musicians will demonstrate the wide range of emotions and experiences of the human voice and a six string guitar. 

TICKETS: Black Opry Revue on October 21

“She (Holly G) created it as a fan, wanting to see more of herself in the genre,” songwriter Jett Holden, a current touring member of the Revue, told NPR’s World Cafe in 2022. “It represents artists from the Americana, country, roots, and folk genres that are African American and it shows that we don’t just exist, but we exist in numbers.”

Black Opry’s mission statement is that of “a 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.”

“So many of these performers have had experiences with the doors in Nashville being shut in their face due to the color of their skin,” Holly G told the Nashville Scene in December 2021, of the artists who perform with the Revue. “It means a lot to be able to hold a door open for them and hopefully demonstrate that continuing to ignore the diversity that exists within country music is a mistake.”

This concept is paving the way of access and experience for musicians, giving them a taste of what the business and industry can be. It nurtures talent when there aren’t school programs, industry opportunities, or doors opened for Black country musicians. Not only is the Black Opry providing opportunity and access to Black country musicians, fans, and industry professionals, but they are creating a new way of business that benefits everyone involved.

About the Artists

Ally Free

Ally Free is a singer/songwriter who honed his impressive talent playing at venues and bars/restaurants around their hometown of Huntsville, AL. With music being the universal language, Ally Free hopes his language of music will speak to all of the future #AllyCats out there. His soulful rock sound and lyrics have more than enough stories to tell. “Don’t be shy, come on in, the water’s fine.”

Jett Holden

Just one listen to the growl and rasp of Jett Holden’s remarkable voice is enough to know that he is a major talent. Based in Tennessee, Holden grew up in a musical family and has been making music and writing for years. His most recent offering, the Necromancer EP shows us the accomplished artist that Holden is — from the power of “Taxidermy,” which shows both his political astuteness and ability to craft an affecting song, to the more subtle storytelling of the title track, which showcases the beauty of his tone. Throughout, Holden demonstrates a unique lyricism both in the writing and in his vocal interpretation of his songs.

Destinie Lynn

Destinie Lynn is a multi-talented singer/songwriter who works within the American roots tradition, or what she affectionately refers to as “porch music” taking influence from the Delta Blues, Indie, Folk, and Americana. Her voice is a rich, mellifluous tapestry evoking the affecting sensibilities of blues, jazz, and folk singers past, while her lyricism has been described as nuanced and literary-minded. Destinie writes soulful, often haunting songs that dive fearlessly into love, loss, and mortality.

Ben Jordan

Ben’s songs range from intimate ballads to high energy foot stompers and everywhere in between. His performances are part comedy, part travelogue, and always a hair’s breadth from careening off the road. His rapport with the audience is a rare and often hilarious thing to see. Never one to shy away from a road story or a joke, he’s just as willing to break your heart or make you want to get up and dance with his music.