Thursday, July 21, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 7/22 & 7/23

Let me start off my offering my thanks to all of the positive comments that I have received regarding my interview on "64 and more." It ended up as five parts and for those who have not seen it, they have been posted on YouTube, among other media sites. Again, my thanks and I hope everyone enjoyed it. 

As to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, the line-ups have been posted. While the shows don't have the strongest line-ups that we have seen in the past, they both are pretty solid shows. Grand Ole Opry members appearing on both nights will be John Conlee, Mike Snider, The Whites and Connie Smith. Joining that group on Friday night will be Jesse McReynolds, while on Saturday Pam Tillis, Ray Pillow and Bobby Osborne will be featured. The adds up to five Opry members on Friday night and seven on Saturday. As to the Opry members, it is nice to see another appearance by Pam Tillis and Ray Pillow returning. 

Guests this weekend include Dylan Scott, The Swon Brothers, Ashley Campbell, Mo Pitney, Sam Bush and Charles Esten on Friday night. Sam Bush is appearing in support of his new album, "Storyman" and he will be signing copies of his new CD in the Opry Shop after the show. Saturday night will have Ray Scott, a return appearance by Post Monroe, Holly Williams and Jenn Bostic. Finally, T. Graham Brown is scheduled for both nights. 

Friday July 22
7:00: John Conlee (host); Dylan Scott; T. Graham Brown
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Swon Brothers; Ashley Campbell
Intermission
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mo Pitney
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Sam Bush; Charles Esten

Saturday July 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider
7:30: Pam Tillis (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Post Monroe
Intermission
8:15: The Whites (host); Ray Pillow; Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Jenn Bostic; T. Graham Brown

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of July 22 & 23, 2011:

Friday July 22
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Matt Kennon
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Diamond Rio
Intermission
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Jeannie Seely; Monte Warden
8:45: John Conlee (host); Ray Pillow; Josh Turner

Saturday July 23
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Holly Williams
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Monte Warden
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Point Of Grace

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Johnny Rivers; Monte Warden; James Burton
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Point Of Grace

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of July 21 & 22, 2006: 

Friday July 21
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sherrie Austin
8:30: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Raul Malo
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Ralph Stanley; Vince Gill
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Lane Turner; The Grascals

Saturday July 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; John Conlee
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jo Dee Messina; Eric Church; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Paulette Carlson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Raul Malo

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Paulette Carlson
10:00: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Jo Dee Messina
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jean Shepard; Ralph Stanley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; Raul Malo
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Eric Church

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday July 20, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars In the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally
Del Reeves: She Thinks I Still Care

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jimmy Dickens (host): Mountain Dew
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her that Way

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
4 Guys: What'll You Do About Me
Jean Shepard: A Stranger In My Place
Mike Snider: Puttin' On the Dog
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything/Statue of A Fool

7:30: Standard Candy
Jerry Clower (host): Comedy
George Hamilton IV: I'm Using My Bible For A Road Map/Cabin in Gloryland
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
T. Graham Brown: You Can't Take It With You When It's Gone/The Rock
Jerry Clower: Comedy

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jim Ed Brown: Just For Old Time Sake/The 3 Bells
Roy Drusky: One Day At A Time/Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: My Old Pal of Yesterday
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

8:30: Pips Rite
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jimmy C Newman: Lafayette
Charlie Walker: A Way to Free Myself
Jan Howard: You Belong to Me
Ray Pillow: If I Didn't Have You In My World
Hank Snow: Prisoner's Song

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Jean Shepard: Love's Gonna Live Here
Jack Greene: Our Time
Del Reeves: The Race is On
T. Graham Brown: You Can't Take It With You When It's Gone/The Rock
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

10:00: Little Debbie
Jimmy C Newman (host): Mottland
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Jimmy C Newman: Cochon De Lait

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): Home in San Antone
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Roy Acuff: Freight Train Blues
Bill Carlisle: Elvira

10:30: Pet Milk
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Every Cross Your Mind
4 Guys: You Are My Reason to Live
Charlie Walker: Waltz Across Texas

10:45: B. C. Powder
Jerry Clower (host): Comedy
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Blackberry Blossom
Jerry Clower: Comedy

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Skeeter Davis: He Will be There
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Hank Snow: Little Buddy

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Don't Bother to Knock
Jan Howard: I Wish I Could Love That Much Again
Ray Pillow: Congratulations; You're Absolutely Right
Johnny Russell: Baptism of Jesse Taylor
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

For the "featured" line-up this weekend, I go back to Saturday July 24, 1971 as it was on this date that future Country Music Hall of Fame member Patsy Montana made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

Ruby Rose Blevins, known to the world as Patsy Montana was as a singer, songwriter and actress and was the first female country singer to have a million selling single with her hit, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart" which was released in 1935. Her career began in the early 1930's and extended into the 1950's. The vast majority of her career was with the WLS National Barn Dance. In the 1960's, after several years of retirement, she attempted a comeback. By the time she made her first appearance on the Opry, she was 63 and at the tail end of her career. She passed away in 1996, the same year as her Hall of Fame induction. 

Here is the running order from 45 years ago, July 24, 1971, the night Patsy Montana made her first Grand Ole Opry appearance, a night that also featured a guest appearance by Johnny Cash, who at the time was at the high point of his great career. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stu Phillips (host): That's the Chance I'll Have to Take
Merle Kilgore: Wolverton Mountain
Connie Eaton: Who's Sorry Now
Stu Phillips: Me & Bobby McGee
Merle Kilgore: Honky Tonk Man

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Murry Kellum: Joy to the World
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down From God
Murry Kellum: Long Tall Texan

7:00: Luzianne
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
4 Guys: Let the Sun Keep Shining
Stan Hitchcock: Free Born Man
Barbara Mandrell: Break My Mind
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is A Soul Man
4 Guys: You Can Tell the World About This
Stan Hitchcock: You Gave Me A Mountain
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Patsy Montana: A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Willis Brothers: High Cost of Living
Patsy Montana: Little Rag Doll

8:00: Martha White
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Stony Edwards: A $2 Toy
Wilma Burgess: Snowbird
Tex Ritter: Fall Away
Stringbean: Y'All Come
Stony Edwards: Po Folks Stick Together
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Johnny Cash: A Boy Named Sue/Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: No Need to Worry/Jackson
Hank Snow: That's When the Hurting Sets In

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Stu Phillips (host): Let the Guitars Play
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Merle Kilgore: All for the Love of A Girl
Patsy Montana: Sixteen Tons
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Murry Kellum: Joy to the World
Merle Kilgore: Tiger Woman

10:00: Fender
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Johnny Cash: Man in Black
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: If I Were A Carpenter/Help Me Make it Through the Night/No Need to Worry
Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues

10:15: Union 76
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Stan Hitchcock: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Orange Blossom Special

10:30: Trailblazer
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Stringbean: Ruby
Billy Grammer: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

10:45: Beech-Nut
4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Maria
Connie Eaton: Who's Sorry Now
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
4 Guys: One Pair of Hands

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Barbara Mandrell: Treat Him Right
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Barbara Mandrell: Rocky Top
Sam McGee: Victory Rag
Hank Snow: So Goes My Heart

11:30: Elm Hill
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Wilma Burgess: Misty Blue
Stoney Edwards: Today I Started Loving You Again
Tex Ritter: Fall Away
Wilma Burgess: Tennessee Waltz

For those keeping track at home, it was a pretty thin night for Opry members as only the following were on: Stu Phillips; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Billy Grammer; 4 Guys; Roy Acuff; Willis Brothers; Tex Ritter; Stringbean and Hank Snow, along with the Crook Brothers; Fruit Jar Drinkers and Sam McGee. That comes out to 12. Today, 12 would be awesome, back then it would have been considered not a great night as most nights in those days featured between 20-25 Opry members. 

On a final note, in the interview that I did the subject of Opry members not making appearances came up and one of the names that I mentioned who was really good at getting in her ten appearances per year was Carrie Underwood. Carrie is probably the biggest female country music star touring and recording right now, yet this Opry member has always found time to do the Opry. To follow that up, she has added four more Opry appearances to her schedule as she will be appearing on Wednesday August 10 for two shows and on Friday August 12 for both shows that night. That just happens to be the weekend I am going to be in Nashville as on Saturday August 13 Vince Gill is celebrating 25 years as a member of the Opry. As I have said before, my hats off to Carrie. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!









Thursday, July 14, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 7/15 & 7/16

I wanted to start out with a personal message. Several weeks ago I was interviewed about the Grand Ole Opry by Christina Abt. Her website is christinaabt.com. The interview that Christina did with me was part of a series called "64 and More" in which she is interviewing interesting people with varied interests across the country. She has started posting parts of the interview that I did and if anyone is interested, please check it out. And I would be curious to know what you think. It was a fun experience that i enjoyed and I hope I expressed myself well. For many of you who have never met or talked to me, it will be a chance for you to see what I really look and sound like!!! Please check it out and thanks. 

As to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, the big news is that this weekend will be Bill Anderson's 55th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bill joined the Opry on Saturday July 15, 1961 and I will have more to say about Bill later in the post. I know a few weeks ago there was discussion as to who the face of the Opry is these days, and Bill is certainly one of the Opry's most important members. While not the Opry's most senior member (that honor goes to Jean Shepard at 60+years), he is certainly right up there. 

Joining Bill both nights will be Opry members Connie Smith, John Conlee and Mike Snider. Opry member appearing with Bill, Connie, John and Mike on Friday night will be Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin, Bobby Osborne and Hall of Fame member Roy Clark. It is nice to see Roy back on the Opry once again, as this will be his 3rd Opry appearance so far this year, which for Roy, is a pretty good number. As far as Saturday night, outside of John, Mike, Connie and Bill, Jesse McReynolds is the only other Opry member scheduled to appear. 

Guest artists on Friday night include Merle's son, Marty Haggard, along with Jimmy Wayne, Kalisa Ewing, Keith Anderson and Craig Campbell. Saturday's guests include Jackie Lee, Jim Lauderdale, Amber Digby, singer, songwriter and comedian Mark Lowry, Smithfield, T. Graham Brown and "Nashville" star Jonathan Jackson. 

Friday July 15
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Jimmy Wayne; Marty Haggard
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider
Intermission
8:15: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Keith Anderson
8:45: John Conlee (host); Roy Clark; Craig Campbell

Saturday July 16
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jackie Lee
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Amber Digby; Jonathan Jackson
Intermission
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Lowry; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Smithfield; T. Graham Brown

That comes out to 12 acts each night, with 7 Opry members on Friday and just 5 on Saturday.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of July 15 & 16, 2011:

Friday July 15
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Cleverlys; Matt Kennon
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Randy Montana
Intermission
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; Michael Grimm
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart

Saturday July 16
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; James Wesley
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Wayne
8:00: Ronnie Milsap (host); Riders In The Sky; Darrell McCall; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jon Randall; Alison Krauss

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; James Wesley
10:00: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy Wayne
10:30: Ronnie Milsap (host); Jan Howard; Darrell McCall; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jon Randell

This was also the night that Bill Anderson celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of July 14 & 15, 2006: 

Friday July 14
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); John Conlee; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Trent Tomlinson
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; The Whites; Pam Tillis
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Blue Country; Ray Price

Saturday July 15
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Chuck Mead
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Crabb Family; Jeff & Sheri Easter; Gaither Vocal Band
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; Pam Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Steve Wariner (host); John Conlee; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Daryle Singletary

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jeff & Sheri Easter
10:00: Stu Phillips (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Pam Tillis
10:30: Steve Wariner (host); Gaither Vocal Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; The Crabb Family
11:30: John Conlee (host); Chuck Mead; Daryle Singletary

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday July 13, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Boxcar Willie
6:45: Jack Greene (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Ray Pillow; 4 Guys; Bill Carlisle
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Connie Smith
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Wilma Lee Cooper; Roy Drusky

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Carlisle
10:30: Boxcar Willie (host); The Whites
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb; Connie Smith; Osborne Brothers
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Hank Locklin; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

On Saturday night, Bill Anderson will celebrate 55 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Bill Anderson started his career as a sportswriter and disc jockey in Georgia, but he moved to Nashville in 1958 when Ray Price recorded his song "City Lights" and put it at the top of Billboard magazine's country charts for 13 weeks. Bill soon signed with Decca Records and made his Grand Ole Opry debut just weeks before his 21st birthday, singing his Decca debut, "That's What It's Like to Be Lonesome." Even as Bill had huge hits of his own with songs including "Still," "Po' Folks," "I Love You Drops" and "Bright Lights and Country Music," he continued to write for other artists, too. He discovered Connie Smith at an Ohio talent contest and wrote her debut smash "Once a Day," along with many of her subsequent hits. Many other Opry stars also cut Bill's songs. 

"Connie Smith, Charlie Louvin, Jean Shepard, Porter Wagoner-these people were so good to me back in those days," says Bill. "Each one of them recorded multiple songs of mine, and we had hits together. It was always great. They would come up and say, 'What have you got new?'" But it wasn't just Opry members recording Bill's tunes. He has written a number of songs now considered country classics, including Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw, Michigan" and Conway Twitty's "I May Never Get to Heaven.

The man the late Opry star Don Gibson called the "sweet singin' songwritin' boy from Georgia joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, but he hasn't been content to rest on his laurels. Since then he has written hits for the likes of Kenny Chesney ("A Lot of Things Different"), and George Strait ("Give It Away"), as well as fellow Opry stars Brad Paisley and Alison Krauss ("Whiskey Lullaby"), with the last two on that list earning the Country Music Association's Song of the Year Award. Bill also continues to record his own popular albums and has recently completed work on his new autobiography. At the age of 78, Bill is one of the most recognized performers on the Grand Ole Opry today. 

Here is the line-up from Saturday July 15, 1961, the night Bill Anderson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

7:30: Ray Price (host); Cowboy Copas; Bill Monroe; Stringbean; Tommy Jackson; Jan Howard
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs (host); Dick Flood; Bill Anderson; Loretta Lynn; Crook Brothers; Cousin Jake
8:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Bobby Lord; Archie Campbell; Jordanaires; Margie Bowes; Bob Luman
9:00: Roy Drusky (host); Glaser Brothers; Stonewall Jackson; Skeeter Davis; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Cousin Jody
9:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bill Monroe; Johnny Forbes; Lonzo & Oscar; Mary Bee
10:00: Flatt & Scruggs (host); Jan Howard; Jordanaires
10:15: Bobby Lord (host); Loretta Lynn; Stringbean
10:30: Roy Drusky (host); Margie Bowes; Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Glaser Brothers (host); Cousin Jody; Crook Brothers
11:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Bob Luman; George Hamilton IV; Lonzo & Oscar; Sam & Kirk McGee; Jordanaires; Fruit Jar Drinkers
11:30: Bill Monroe (host); Bill Anderson; Skeeter Davis; Dick Flood; Johnny Forbes

There is one more line-up that I wanted to share, just to show how far the Opry has come. Here is the running order from Saturday July 15, 1944, 72 years ago. 

8:00: Purina
Bill Monroe: Shady Grove
Curly Williams: Open Up Dem Pearly Gates
Bill Monroe: Party on the Turnpike
Texas Ruby: Freight Train Blues
Daniel Quartette: Keep on the Firing Line
Bill Monroe: Mule Skinner's Blues
Uncle Dave Macon: I'm Gonna Leave Here Before Long
Curly Fox: Southern One Eleven
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Mississippi Sawyer
Golden West Cowboys: Riding To Glory
Bill Monroe: I Don't Love Nobody
Uncle Dave Macon: Alabamy Bound
Chubby Wise: Here and There
Daniel Quartette: He Set Me Free

8:30: Crazy Water
Paul Howard: With Tears in My Eyes
Marie and Clyde Dillaha: Speak To Me Little Darling
Crook Brothers: Buff Creek Gal
Eddy Arnold: I Don't Want to Be Buried in the Bottom of the Sea
Poe Sisters: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Possum Hunters: Billy Wilson
Zeke Clements: Red Wing
Sam, Kirk, and Goldy: Too Late to Ask for Forgiveness
Gully Jumpers: Cincinnati Twostep
Tommy Thompson: Home on the Range
Uncle Rufus: When the Roses Bloom Again
Paul Howard: The Soldier's Last Letter

9:00: Royal Crown
Golden West Cowboys: John Henry
Georgia Peach Pickers: Old Rattler
Ernest Tubb: Tomorrow Never Comes
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Paty on the Turnpike
Becky Barfield: Chime Bells
Curly Fox: Whoa Mule Whoa
Peach Pickers: Dragging the Bow 
Ernest Tubb: With Tears in My Eyes
Golden West Cowboys: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Golden West Cowboys: Soldier's Joy

9:30: Prince Albert
Roy Acuff: Good Old Mountain Dew
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Minnie Pearl: Coming Round the Mountain
Jimmy Riddle: Bye Bye Blues
Old Hickory Singer: When It's Lamp Lighting Time
Eddy Arnold: I'll Be the Same
Whitey Ford, The Duke of Paducah: Jokes
Rachel and Oswald: Fire Ball Mail
Mack McGarr: Twelfth Street Rag
Roy Acuff: Hold to God's Unchanging Hand
Square Dancers: Soldier's Joy

10:00: Wallrite
Clyde Moody: I Was Wrong
Sally Ann: Sweet as the Flowers in May
Blue Grass Quartette: The Old Country Church
String Beans: Banjo Picking Gal

10:15: Weather House
Curly Williams: I Told Them All About You
Uncle Dave Macon: I Intend to Make Heaven My Home
Tommy Thompson: Song of the Bandit
Possum Hunters: Take Your Foot Out of the Mud
Curly Williams: There's a New Blue-Eyed Angel in Heaven
Uncle Dave Macon: Come Dearest
Possum Hunters: Miss Sally

10:30: Cherokee Mills
Roy Acuff: House in San Antone
Roy Acuff: Life's Railway to Heaven
Marie and Clyde Dillaha: Tears on My Pillow
Rachel and Oswald: Curly Headed Baby
Jimmy Riddle: Sitting on Top of the World

10:45: Laxyu
Eddie Arnold: Each Minute Seems a Million Years
Daniel Quartette: I Read it in the Book of Revelation
Crook Brothers: Tennessee Wagoner
Eddy Arnold: you Must Walk the Line
Daniel Quartette: I've Found a Hiding Place
Gully Jumpers: Flop-Eared Mule

11:00: Roy Acuff Song Book
Roy Acuff: Easy Rocking Chair
Roy Acuff: We Planted Roses on Our Darling's Grave
Uncle Rufus: Midnight Special
Rachel and Oswald: Weary Lonesome Blues
Jimmy Riddle: Ragging the Rails

11:15: Ernest Tubb Song Book
Ernest Tubb: I've Lived a Lie
Ernest Tubb: Blue Bonnet Lane
Sam, Kirk, and Goldy: Fireball Mail
Ernest Tubb: That's When It's Coming Home To You

11:30: Saf-Kill
Golden West Cowboys: My Little Rooster
Texas Ruby and Curly Fox: There's Someone More Lonesome Than You
Golden West Cowboys: Mother I Thank You for the Bible You Gave Me
Curly Fox: Orange Blossom Special
Georgie Haven: My Confession

11:45: Wild Root
Paul Howard: Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea
Poe Sisters: Echoes From the Hills
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Rocky Mountain
Zeke Clements: I'll Take Her Back
Paul Howard: Blues on My Mind

There you have it. A lot of the early Opry members and hopefully a few memories. 

Congratulations once again to Bill Anderson for 55 years of Opry membership and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!












Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 7/8 & 7/9

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend and what stands out is the abundance of female hosts this weekend. On Friday night, three of the four segments will be hosted by female members, while on Saturday, all four have female hosts (considering that The Whites are a majority female group.). Pam Tillis, Jeannie Seely and Lorrie Morgan are the females hosting on Friday night, joined by Craig Morgan, while on Saturday it will be Jeannie and Pam, joined by Sharon and Cheryl White and Connie Smith. Other Opry members set to perform this weekend include Mike Snider (both nights) and Jesse McReynolds, The Whites and Josh Turner on Friday, while on Saturday Bobby Osborne is set to appear. 

Guest artists this weekend are all folks who have appeared on the Opry before. Scheduled for Friday night are Smithfield, John Berry, Clare Bowen and Lorrie's son, Jesse Keith Whitley. Saturday will have Ray Scott, Carly Pearce, Mark Wills, Elizabeth Cook, Craig Wayne Boyd and Mandy Barnett gracing the Opry stage. I don't know about anyone else, but Mark and Mandy seem to be on the Opry more than most of the Opry's members. 

Friday July 8
7:00: Pam Tillis  (host); Mike Snider; Smithfield
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; John Berry
Intermission
8:15: Craig Morgan (host); The Whites; Clare Bowen
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jesse Keith Whitley; Josh Turner

Saturday July 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Carly Pearce; Mark Wills
Intermission
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Elizabeth Cook Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Pam Tillis (host); Craig Wayne Boyd; Mandy Barnett

That comes out to 12 acts on Friday and Saturday night, with 8 Opry members on Friday and 6 Opry members on Saturday. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of July 8 & 9, 2011:

Friday July 8 
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; The Grascals
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Edens Edge
8:45: Larry Gatlin (host); John Conlee; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday July 9
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Joey+Rory
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; John Conlee; Kip Moore
8:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Joey+Rory
10:00: John Conlee (host); Jack Greene; The Whites; Kip Moore
10:30: Pam Tillis (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of July 7 & 8, 2006: 

Friday July 7
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; T. Bubba Bechtol
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; The Grascals
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Gary Nichols; Doyle Dykes; Vince Gill
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeff Bates; Gene Watson

Saturday July 8
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Rockie Lynne
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; T. Bubba Bechtol
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; David Ball
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Rhonda Vincent; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; David Ball
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; T. Bubba Bechtol
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rockie Lynn
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Rhonda Vincent

Now looking back 25 years ago, to Saturday July 6, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); Justin Tubb
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Hank Locklin
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Eddy Raven; Louise Mandrell
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Connie Smith; Charlie Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Bill Anderson; Ray Pillow; Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Eddy Raven; Bill Carlisle; Louise Mandrell
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); The Whites
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Mike Snider
10:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Connie Smith; Hank Locklin; Charlie Walker
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Ray Pillow

Looking back into the history of the Grand Ole Opry, it would appear that on Saturday July 8, 1972, Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I mention that "it would appear" because that is the date I have listed on my membership list and this was the Saturday night that she was introduced as an Opry member. However, in the Opry's Picture History Books, the date listed is July 29. What brings that date in question is that Barbara did not appear on the Opry that Saturday night. Regardless of the exact date, this will be Barbara's 44th year as an Opry member. 

Barbara Mandrell's first visit to the Grand Ole Opry was a career-defining moment. She had been in country music for nine years, touring with the Mandrell Family Band but had decided to take time off to enjoy her marriage to the band's drummer, Ken Dudney. "I had never been to Nashville when we went to the Opry," she remembers. "We had front-row seats in the balcony, and Dolly Parton was onstage at the moment I made that decision to return to music. I was watching her and thinking I can do this stuff. I love this stuff. I turned to my dad and said, 'Dad, if you will manage me, I want to get back into the country music business.' And he said, 'Well, okay, I'd bet my last penny on you.'"

Barbara wasted no time in signing with major label Columbia Records in 1969 after she brought her father on as manager. She released "I've Been Loving You Too Long" under the tutelage of producer Billy Sherrill. While working with Sherrill she had several Top 40 hits and a duet with Opry member David Houston. In 1978, the singer moved to ABC/Dot, where producer Tom Collins brought Barbara her first No. 1, "Sleeping Single in a Double Bed." That team produced multiple hit singles and albums, including the pop crossover single "If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don't Want To Be Right." It was a brilliant move for the petite blond; her father managed he throughout a career with numerous hit singles, multiple best-selling albums, a television variety series featuring her sisters, several movie roles, and an autobiography. Barbara received the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year and Female Vocalist honors twice. In 2009, she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

Barbara remembered the night she became an Opry member: "It was in July when Bud Wendell asked me to join the Grand Ole Opry. I was very honored. And I was introduced on the Roy Acuff segment. At the time, while I was acquainted with Mr. Acuff, I can't say we were friends. By coming to the Opry we became dear friends and now he's so special to me."

Here is the running order from Saturday July 8, 1972, the night Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Wabash Cannonball
Oak Ridge Boys: (?)
Billy Grammer: Peace In the Valley

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): I Don't Mind Going Under
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Pete Stamper: (?)
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

7:00: Luzianne
Tex Ritter (host): Green Grow the Lilacs
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore
Johnny Paycheck: Love Is A Good Thing
David Houston: Danny Boy
Tex Ritter: Lorena
Bobby Bare: Me & Bobby McGee

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Crook Brothers: Lost Indian
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Barbara Mandrell: Show Me

8:00: Martha White
Del Reeves (host): Girl On the Billboard
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Doin' My Time
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Ronnie Dove: Right or Wrong
Del Reeves: The Best Is Yet to Come
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: White Dove
Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Marion Worth: For the Good Times
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Blackberry Blossom
Justin Tubb: Lodi
Mel Street: Borrowed Angel
Hank Snow: Geisha Girl

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Grammer (host): Lonesome Road Blues
4 Guys: Shenandoah
David Houston: Soft, Sweet & Warm
Shoji Tabuchi: Rainbow In the Valley
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Pete Stamper: (?)
David Houston: Jambalaya

10:00: Fender
Charlie Walker (host): Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Johnny Paycheck: She's All I Got
Charlie Walker: I Don't Mind Going Under

10:15: Union 76
Tex Ritter (host): High Noon
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Justin Tubb: Traveling Singing Man 
Roy Acuff: Where Could I Go

10:45: Beech-Nut
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Coming Down From God
Ronnie Dove: Okie From Muskogee
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Barbara Mandrell: Tonight My Baby's Coming Home
Stu Phillips: Crystal Chandeliers
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cracklin' Hen
Barbara Mandrell: Satisfied
Stu Phillips: A Castle; A Cabin
Sam McGee: Wheels
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Again

11:30: Elm Hill
Del Reeves (host): Down In the Boondocks
Bob Luman: When You Say Love/Guitar Man
Marion Worth: Faded Love
Mel Street: Borrowed Angel
Del Reeves: Bells of Southern Bell/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield/Who Lotta Shaking Going On

Congratulations to Barbara Mandrell on 44 years of Opry membership. 

The line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry July 12 is as follows: 

7:00: The Whites; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Pam Tillis; Tommy Emmanuel & Richard Smith
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson; Cam
8:45: Ricky Skaggs; Justin Moore

Finally, for those who are interested, Leona Williams will be the host for the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this weekend. That should be a good show. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!













Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Mid-Week Opry Shows 7/5 & 7/6

Here are the line-ups for the mid-week Opry shows: 

Tuesday July 5
7:00: John Conlee; Jackie Lee
7:30: Kalisa Ewing; Flatt Lonesome
Intermission
8:15: John Berry; Point Of Grace
8:45: William Michael Morgan; Steve Wariner

Wednesday July 6
7:00: Jeannie Seely; JT Hodges
7:30: Wade Hayes; The Grascals
Intermission
8:15: Jimmy Wayne; Shelly; Skidmore
8:45: TG Sheppard; Chris Janson

Another guest appearance by Chris Janson, who appears on the Opry more than a majority of the Opry's members. And speaking of Opry members, just one on Wednesday night. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

July Opry Highlights

Welcome to July and the heart of summer. Here are the historical facts and interesting notes regarding the Grand Ole Opry, or Opry members, that have taken place in the month of July: 

July 15, 1913: Cowboy Copas was born in Adams County, Ohio. Although he went by the name "Cowboy" his actual name was Lloyd Estel. Cowboy joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946 and would remain an Opry member until his death in 1963. 

July 27, 1925: Former Opry member Annie Lou Dill was born. Along with her husband Danny, they were known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music." They were a part of the Grand Ole Opry from the late 1940s through the mid 1950s. They remained a popular duo into the 1960s when Annie Lou and Danny divorced and the act was history. Annie passed away in January 1982. 

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers, led by Herman Crook, made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers, in one form or another, would remain a part of the Opry until the death of Herman in June 1988. That covers a period of 62 years. 

July 7, 1927: The late Charles Loudermilk, better known as Charlie Louvin, was born in Section, Alabama. Charlie was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years and in 2001 he, along with his brother Ira, were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends in bluegrass music, Jesse, along with his brother Jim, joined the Opry in 1964. Since the death of Jim, Jesse has remained on the Opry and at the age of 87 he sounds as good as ever. 

July 7, 1930: Doyle Wilburn was born in Hardy, Arkansas. Along with his brother Teddy, the Wilburn Brothers were long time members of the Opry. 

July 14, 1932: The great Del Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina. Del had one of the great personalities in country music and had a string of hit records through the 1960s and 1970s. 

July 4, 1934: Over 8,000 people showed up for an all-day Opry sponsored show in West Tennessee. The show featured Opry stars Uncle Dave Macon, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, the Gully Jumpers and the Crook Brothers. As a result of the success of this show, George D. Hay started the Artists Service Bureau, which would become the official booking agency for the Opry's members. In the future, this would become controversial and would eventually lead to several acts leaving the Opry, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright. 

July 4, 1937: Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966 and recently celebrated 50 years as an Opry member. Ray is considered one of the real nice guys in country music. 

July 19, 1937: The late George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George was an Opry member for 54 years before passing away in September 2014. 

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would only stay at War Memorial for a few years as the Opry crowd was not the type that the operators of the auditorium wanted at their building. The Opry moved to the auditorium from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people but was in horrible condition. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry decided to charge an admission fee of 25 cents, which did nothing to stop the crowds from coming to the Opry. War Memorial still stands in Nashville and is still in use. In fact, in 2010 when the Opry House was flooded, several Opry shows were relocated there. 

July 6, 1940: "Miss Country Soul" Jeannie Seely was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Jeannie will celebrate her 50th year as an Opry member in 2017 and at the age of 76, she remains a crowd favorite. 

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the show after Whitey had a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency. Rod was an Opry member until he passed away in September 1958. Rod was not only a great comedian but a fine actor with one of his most famous roles was with Andy Griffith in "A Face In the Crowd."

July 24, 1948: Roy Acuff announced that he was running for Governor of Tennessee. He decided to run after he felt that the current Governor had made some poor remarks regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy didn't really have much of a chance and he lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that enjoyed the music but would leave once the political speeches started. 

July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would later become a member but was gone pretty quick. Lefty would later say that it just didn't work out and that the Opry wasn't the dream he thought it would be. 

July 5, 1952: Ralph Sloan and The Tennessee Travelers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This group was formed in 1949 and they were originally called the Cedar Hill Square Dancers. In 1980, Ralph passed away and his brother Melvin Sloan took over and the dancers became known as the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin has since retired and the group is simply called the Opry Square Dancers. 

July 9, 1952: Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. The marriage only lasted a couple of years but it did produce a daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known as Carlene Carter. After the marriage ended, June would remarry two more times, with the final marriage being to Johnny Cash, while Carl Smith would find happiness with Goldie Hill. 

July 18, 1954: Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. 

July 2, 1955: According to various accounts, Patsy Cline made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

July 7, 1956: Johnny Cash made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

July 28, 1956: Just three weeks after his first appearance on the Opry, Johnny Cash became an Opry member. Johnny would remain an Opry member only until 1958 when he left Nashville and moved to California. Even though he gave it up, Johnny was always welcomed as a guest artist at the Opry whenever he was in Nashville, and he would appear especially if June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965 that in a drug induced state that Johnny kicked the Opry stage lights out and was told not to come back. He stayed away for a few years, but by the late 1960s, he was back. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff reportedly asked Johnny to become an Opry member again, but Johnny declined. 

July 24, 1957: Opry member Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida. 

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 55th year as an Opry member. Bill made his first Opry appearance in 1958, and would appear as a guest until Opry manager Ott Devine asked Bill to become a member. 

July 18, 1964: Connie Smith made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Connie would join the cast the following year. 

July 31, 1964: Former Grand Ole Opry member Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash just outside of Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he had given up his Opry membership, Jim was still a beloved figure at the Opry. 

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and broken ribs. Also injured in the crash were Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would return to the Opry in August. 

July 26, 1966: Opry member Martina McBride was born in Sharon, Kansas. 

July 24, 1971: Country & Western music legend Patsy Montana made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 44th year as an Opry member. Though retired, Barbara will show up occasionally backstage to visit friends and has even been known to walk out on stage and wave to the fans. 

July 14, 1973: The Glaser Brothers made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. After they left the show, they would make just one more appearance and that was in January 1990, the night Hank Snow celebrated 40 years as an Opry member. 

July 21, 1973: Just over a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the cast, Jeanne Pruett became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired. This will be her 43rd year as an Opry member. Jeanne was the last singing member of the Opry to join the cast before the Opry moved to the Grand Ole Opry House. Of course, Jerry Clower joined after Jeanne, but he was known for his comedy. 

July 7, 1975: Opry member George Morgan passed away in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. George first joined the Opry in 1948, as the replacement for Eddy Arnold. He left the Opry in 1956 to star in a television show, but returned in 1959. 

July 24, 1976: Bobby Lord made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby came to the Opry in 1960 from the Ozark Jubilee. After leaving the Opry, Bobby went into semi-retirement and began working in real estate insurance. He later hosted a Sportsman show on TNN. Although he gave up his Opry membership, Bobby would continue to make occasional Opry appearances. 

July 4, 1980: Future Diamond Rio member Dana Williams made his first appearance on the Opry as a bass player for Jimmy C Newman.

July 5, 1980: John Conlee made his Grand Ole Opry debut. 

July 2, 1982: Former Grand Ole Opry member DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the Opry, but was fired in 1941 by George D. Hay. Various reasons were given but it would appear that race was the major reason. He refused numerous invitations to return to the Opry until February 1974 when he returned for the annual reunion show. He was well received and would make a few more reunion show appearances, with the final one coming in April 1982. 

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry, WSM radio and the entire Opryland complex from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the actual owners. At the time, Gaylord owned "Hee Haw" and other major media outlets. The price was rumored to be around $250 to $350 million. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment, and now is known as Ryman Hospitalities.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain a very popular and loyal member of the Opry until he passed away on July 3, 2001 after a period of declining health. Johnny was very funny, but he was also a talented songwriter and singer who wrote some pretty serious songs. After joining the Opry, Johnny would normally appear on the final segment of the 2nd show, following the pattern set by Marty Robbins. 

July 3, 1996: Alison Krauss became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 20th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined the cast, she was the Opry's youngest member. 

July 5, 2008: Ending a long standing tradition, the start time of Saturday's first Grand Ole Opry show was changed from 6:30 to 7:00, resulting in a two hour show. This followed a change that had already been made regarding the 2nd Saturday night show which had been reduced to 2 hours the previous January. And no, there was no reduction in ticket price for the shorter shows. 

July 15, 2008: Future Opry member Darius Rucker made his Opry debut, singing "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

July 8, 2011: Jimmy Dickens made a surprise appearance on the stage of the Opry to ask the Oak Ridge Boys if they would like to become Grand Ole Opry members. Of course, the Oak Ridge Boys accepted and later this year will celebrate 5 years as Opry members.