‘MusicRow’ Exclusive: Pete Fisher Leads Opry’s 90 Year Tradition

Pete Fisher. Photo: Chris Hollo.

Pete Fisher. Photo: Chris Hollo.

In 1999 Pete Fisher joined the Opry’s leadership team with a focus on maintaining the brand’s cultural significance. Sixteen years later, his efforts have paid off.

MusicRow outlines those achievements in an in-depth print piece, found in the 2015 Artist Roster. The Opry Vice President/General Manager goes into further detail about star inductions and the memories he treasures most from his experiences.

“During my tenure here, we’ve inducted Mel Tillis, Charlie Daniels, the Del McCoury Band, Ralph Stanley, The Oak Ridge Boys,” recalls Fisher to MusicRow during a recent visit to his Opryland offices. “Contemporary-wise it’s been Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Old Crow Medicine Show, whose music ties back to the late ‘20s on the Opry.

“Opry membership has always been determined by the management of the time. I believe I’m the seventh manager in the Opry’s history. With that comes varying philosophies from the way it might have been done previously.

“It’s basically a decision Steve Buchanan and I make. The factors we considers are divided into two pieces. One is career accomplishment: artists who have achieved and sustained a respectable level of success. We almost have to think what a name will mean 20 years down the road in country music. The other piece is more the intangible: the emotional or relationship. When the artist is here as a guest performer, do we really see a genuine emotional connection to what the Opry is and what it stands for? It’s not about who’s the biggest name in country music, or who loves the Opry the most or how many times they have performed as a guest artist. It’s kind of a combination.”

Surviving over a decade and a half of time backstage saw Fisher literally paddling through murky waters, during the 2010 Nashville flood, and helming the reemergence of the now 90 year old institution.

“The memories I’ll treasure the most are probably the one-on-one interactions with people like Jimmy Dickens or Porter Wagoner and Jim Ed Brown,” he sums. “Nothing touches that for me. Those are precious memories.”

Pick up your copy of the MusicRow Artist Roster to read more on the Opry’s 90th Anniversary celebration and what to expect in the future.

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] | @EricTParker

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