Nashville it is not. But this gateway city to Bryce Canyon National Park is home to live musical performances that rival those found in Music City.
There’s a reason why Nashville is known as Music City USA. There’s a live music venue pretty much anywhere you go — from honky-tonk dive bars to the Grand Ole Opry. It is a melting pot of music best known for its fierce fiddle tunes and its influence on the country genre. It’s also the unofficial songwriting capital of the United States. A bodacious blonde (OK … faux blonde) by the name of Dolly Parton got her start there as a songwriter in 1964. Plenty of other musicians got their start there as well, including crossover queen Taylor Swift and brotherly rockers Kings of Leon. The list goes on and on and on. Seeing a live performance in Nashville is a popular bucket list item. On any given day you could see an up-and-coming star or an award-winning musician on the stage.
BUT. Nashville is 1,627 miles from Salt Lake City. That trip requires a plane ticket or a lot of gas. Like, a lot a lot. Why not make the 267-mile drive from SLC to Bryce Canyon City instead? Though the area is best known for its daytime hiking scene — with hoodoos in Bryce Canyon National Park stalwartly strutting their colorful striations or the vermilion-dollar views Red Canyon’s trails offer — there is also nightlife to be found here. No, you won’t find yourself in da club dancing the night away. But there is a live-music scene with Nashville-caliber performances at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill. It’s one of the most popular Bryce Canyon restaurants and a legit entertainment venue.
Dinner and a Show
Ebenezer’s menu includes choices for both carnivores and omnivores.Come for the comfort food at 7:30 p.m. Stay for the star-studded show that starts at 8 p.m. Or just get show tickets. Whatever. You do you.
The entertainers at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill call themselves the Bryce Canyon Wranglers. Many members of the band have found success in Nashville and still grace the stage here in Utah. Tim Gates, lead vocalist for the band, has performed at the Grand Ole Opry and written songs for popular artists including Blackhawk and The Bellamy Brothers. Steel guitarist Ward Williams has toured with greats like Willie Nelson and Miranda Lambert. And then there’s Corbyn Syrett. Though he hasn’t made it to Nashville (yet), this 15-year-old fiddler is destined for big things — as are other young members of the band. Get your tickets now so you can say you “saw them when” and annoy all your friends and family with your awesomeness.
Bryce Canyon Wranglers’ performances blend the soundscape and the landscape in perfect harmony. “It’s a Helluva Place to Lose a Cow” is a humorous nod to the phrase Ebenezer Bryce (Yes, the national park is named after him, as is the entertainment venue.) is famous for. You may not have heard that tune, but chances are you’ve heard “A Song Like Me.” The song was released in August 2019 and spent six weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100, peaking at number nine on the list.
“A Song Like Me” is also the title of one of the four shows you can catch at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill during the 2022 season. The history of country music is told from the unique perspective of a song in this show, the lyrics taking listeners on a “one-way ride to Nashville, Tennessee.” The show includes modern hits as well as oldies (but goodies) from some dude named Hank Williams, Sr., among others.
“Timeless” is the newest show from the Bryce Canyon Wranglers and is performed the most frequently. But “Nashville Stars over Bryce Canyon” is a limited concert series that just might pique the interest of country music aficionados. It offers a behind-the-music look at some of the most popular country hits — from the Nashville songwriters who wrote the songs.
Even if you aren’t a diehard country music fan, the shows at Ebenezer’s Barn and Grill are still entertaining and vacations are always more fun when you adopt the “when in Rome” mentality. So when in Bryce Canyon City, do as the Nashvillians do. Ummm, well, you get the idea. Embrace your inner cowboy. Unless you twitch at the sound of twang, in which case this probably isn’t the place for you.
Hang Your Hat Here
After the show, head across the street to Ruby’s Inn for a comfortable night’s rest. Didn’t pack your boots and cowboy hat? No worries. You don’t have to wear a costume or trade what’s behind door number two in hopes of getting a nice room for an affordable rate at this Best Western Plus hotel. Nor do you have to stay during odd times. Ruby’s Inn Bryce Canyon offers Hot Deals throughout the year, with discounts ranging from 20% to 33% depending on when you stay. And it’s always a good time to stay at Ruby’s and play in Bryce. The views are astounding and the hospitality is resounding.
Book a suite with separate rooms to prevent family feuds that often result from too much togetherness or go for a pet-friendly double queen room. Because Fido is a part of the family too!
There are also two popular Bryce Canyon restaurants located in the main lodge of Ruby’s Inn. Grab a pizza from the Canyon Diner on a night when you aren’t at Ebenezer’s and get breakfast the next morning at the Cowboy’s Buffet & Steak Room.
More Things To Do in Bryce Canyon
Add the Bryce Canyon Country Rodeo to your vacation buck-it list. The 2022 season kicks off on May 28 and runs Wednesday through Saturday nights until August 27. Tickets are available for purchase in Best Western Plus Ruby’s Inn lobby, at the rodeo entrance gate or online. Prefer to participate rather than spectate? Serious riders can sign up for select events up to the day of the rodeo.
If you’re looking for something a little less rowdy and you’re feeling lucky, enter the lottery for a full-moon hike in Bryce Canyon National Park. Or simply sit under the stars. Park rangers offer evening programs and constellation tours throughout the summer months and put on an annual Astronomy Festival every June.