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A taste of "Margaritaville" heads to the Grand Ole Opry this month as Jimmy Buffett makes his debut on the historic country music broadcast.
The "Cheeseburger in Paradise" entertainer and easygoing lifestyle champion performs live June 27 alongside Opry member Brad Paisley and longtime collaborator Mac McAnally.
Buffett — known for breezy tunes such as "Son of a Son of a Sailor" and the Alan Jackson duet "It's Five O' Clock Somewhere" — makes his Opry debut after the May release of "Life on the Flipside," his first studio album in seven years.
Parrotheads can tune in to the audience-free show via Circle social channels or Circle All Access, the country music lifestyle network launched earlier this year by Ryman Hospitality.
Bobby Bones hosts the Opry telecast on Circle.
The Opry is billed as the longest-running radio show in the United States, and June 27 marks the 4,930th consecutive Saturday broadcast, dating back to 1925 in downtown Nashville. Talent performs acoustic, in the round, while practicing recommended social distancing.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Opry management decided last month to close shows to audiences, but — in a historic decision — remain broadcasting a Saturday show with minimal crew and talent. A skeleton crew of about 20 produces the show each week.
Lady Antebellum continues the audience-free Opry with a performance this Saturday night.
On the Opry hosting performances during a citywide self-quarantine, a news release said: "Grand Ole Opry management has worked closely with Nashville’s Director of Health to bring the show live to millions around the world while following strict safety protocols under the guidance of local health professionals."
The virtual Opry quickly became standard viewing for country music fans during the health crisis. Since mid-March, audiences from more than 100 countries have tuned in to Saturday night Opry broadcasts on Circle, Scott Bailey, president of Opry Entertainment Group, told The Tennessean in May.
Past audience-free Opry performances included Luke Combs, Vince Gill, Ashley McBryde, Keith Urban, Kelsea Ballerini, Steven Curtis Chapman, Marty Stuart, Chris Janson, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Ricky Skaggs.
The top show as of mid-May, Brooks and Yearwood, engaged with 5 million screens online, Bailey said. That doesn’t include network viewers, Bailey noted, which could push the broadcast to more than 6 million.
“The Opry has had the largest audience in its history, without an audience,” Bailey said. “That’s been the outcome of this.”
Country fans can catch archived Opry shows impacted by COVID-19 via Circle All Access on YouTube.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Jimmy Buffett to make his Grand Ole Opry debut