Wednesday, September 17, 2014

George Hamilton IV

There is sad news from the Grand Ole Opry tonight as George Hamilton IV has passed away. On Saturday, he suffered a massive heart attack from which he was unable to recover.

Known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music", George performed and brought country music around the world. During his career, he brought country music to England, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Norway, Germany, France, Switzerland and Austria. He was the first American country singer to appear in Russia and Czechoslovakia.

George started out as a pop singer, but switched to country and came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1960, joining on February 6. He left the Opry in 1971 to return to North Carolina with his family, but returned in 1976 and has never left. The hits he had included "Abilene", "Forever Young", "A Rose and a Baby Ruth", "Early Morning Rain" and "Break My Mind." A case can certainly be made that George should be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Over the years, I have had the opportunity and honor to have met George several times. The first time was in the 1990s, when I met him at Opryland. He was kind enough to sign a birthday card for my wife. Years later, I met him again several times backstage at the Opry. He was kind and generous with his time, taking the time to actually have a conversation with you.

While he was not scheduled to perform on the Opry each weekend, for the past several years he would be backstage each weekend that he was not out on the road, greeting those who paid to take the backstage tour. I would watch as he would talk, sign autographs and have pictures taken. I never saw him once treat anyone with disrespect.

His son, George Hamilton V, who usually was there with his father each time he was at the Opry, wrote a song "We Will Meet Again." Anytime an Opry member died, or someone who George felt close to, he would sing that song on the Opry in honor of that person. I would hope that on Saturday night, time is made that would allow the performers to do this song in honor of George.

Over the past several months, we have lost 2 great Opry legends. First, Jimmy C Newman and now George Hamilton IV. Even at their age, both were sudden and something we really didn't expect. Knowing George as I did, and the respect that I had for him, this one is going to hurt a bit.

I am sure all all of us extend our prayers and thoughts to the family of George Hamilton IV.

Grand Ole Opry 9/19 & 9/20

When I saw the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, my first thought was, "Who in the heck is Ry Cooder?" I only ask that question because the name just didn't ring a bell from country music. Well, Ry Cooder, who is scheduled for the Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, is an artist described as, "His solo work has been electric, encompassing folk, blues, Tex-Mex, soul, gospel, rock and much else. He has colloborated with many musicians, notably including Captain Beefheart, Ali Farka Toure, Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Neil Young, Randy Newman, David Lindley, The Chieftains, and The Dobbie Brothers." What is missing from this descripton? Any reference to country music or a country musician? So I ask the question, "Why is he scheduled on the Opry?"

Joining Ry on Saturday night will be bluegrass singer, and Opry member, Ricky Skaggs, along with Steep Canyon Rangers and Mandy Barnett. Oh, yes, there is country music on the Opry Saturday in the form of Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith, Jim Ed Brown and Jan Howard.

The Friday Night Opry is in better shape with Mark Chesnutt making a return appearance, along with frequent Opry guests The Willis Clan and Jim Lauderdale. I am happy to see Ray Pillow back hosting a segment and I am very happy to see Mo Pitney getting another Opry appearance.

Friday September 19
7:00: John Conlee (host); Kelleigh Bannen; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Sleepy Man Banjo Boys; Mark Chesnutt
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Mo Pitney; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Jim Lauderdale; The Willis Clan

Saturday September 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Henningsens; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jim Ed Brown; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Chris Carmack; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mandy Barnett; Ry Cooder

I am glad that management was able to round up 5 Opry members for Friday night. If Jimmy Dickens makes it on Saturday, they got it up to 7.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, September 18 & 19, 2009:

Friday September 18
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; The Flatlanders
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; John Anderson
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Stonewall Jackson; Riders In The Sky; Suzy Bogguss
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne; The Whites

Saturday September 19
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Buddy Jewell
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Jim Ed Brown; The Lovell Sisters
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Raul Malo

And from 10 years ago this weekend, September 17 & 18, 2004:

Friday September 17
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Mel McDaniel; Paul Brandt
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Malibu Storm; John Conlee
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Restless Heart
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Osborne Brothers; Elizabeth Cook
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Janie Fricke; Marty Stuart

Saturday September 18
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); The Whites; Paul Brandt
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Malibu Storm; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Billy Ray Cyrus

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Paul Brandt
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Lauderdale; Billy Ray Cyrus
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); The Whites; Crystal Gayle; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Malibu Storm

Finally, it was on Saturday September 20, 1997 that Opry manager Bob Whittaker surprised Johnny Paycheck during a guest appearance on the Opry, with an invitation to join the cast. This was a real surprise considering Johnny's past. Prior to the invitation, he had made several guest appearances on the show and always drew a solid crowd reaction. Johnny officially joined the cast several months late, on November 8, 1997. Sadly, Johnny's time at the Opry would be short. He made 7 appearances in 1997 and 7 more in 1998 before ill health forced Johnny to retire from performing.

Here is the Opry line-up and running order from September 20, 1997, 17 years ago when Johnny Paycheck was invited to join the cast of the Opry.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Bill Anderson: Orange Blossom Special

6:45: Jogging In a Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents is All I Got
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Ray Pillow: Cinderella
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Porter Wagoner & Kristy Lynn: Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Country Rose Barbie (Jackie Brown): You're Looking At Country
Johnny Paycheck: Love's on Fire Again/The Old Violin/Please Don't Play A-11
Steve Wariner: Big Empty House

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Hal Ketchum: I Know Where Love Lives/Stay Forever
Wilma Lee Cooper: Matthew 24
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durango's Hornpipe
Jack Greene: Follow Me

8:30: Clifty Farms
John Conlee (host): Friday Night Blues
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Jean Shepard: Live and Let Live
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down/Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
John Conlee: I Don't Remember Loving You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Oswald: Mansion on the Hill
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God
Jeanne Pruett: A Poor Man's Woman
Country Rose Barbie (Jackie Brown): You're Looking At Country
Porter Wagoner: & Kristy Lynn: Milwaukee, Here I Come
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Massey Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Hal Ketchum: The Way She Loves Me
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Banquet
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Roy Drusky: Jody and the Kid
Steve Wariner: A Big Old Empty House

10:30: Purnell's
Jean Shepard (host): I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Stu Phillips: Colorado
Jean Shepard & Jeannie Seely: Live and Let Live/Farewell Party

10:45: Your Quality Certified Home Dealers
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
The Whites: Hanging Around/He Took Your Place
Johnny Paycheck: Love's On Fire Again/The Old Violin
Bill Anderson: The Unicorn

11:30: Opry Book
John Conlee (host): Common Man
Jeannie Seely: Burning that Old Memory/Too Far Gone
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer/Jesus Walks In
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses

As far as Johnny Paycheck, I really like what he did early in his career and what he did at the end of his career. I always thought "The Old Violin" was made just for him. I didn't care much for what Johnny did in the middle part of his career and he certainly made some bad choices. I am glad that he got himself turned around at the end.

On a final note, here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, September 23:

7:00: Bill Anderson; Eric Paslay
7:30: Maddie & Tae; Charlie Daniels Band
8:15: Randy Owen; Jonathan Jackson; Sam Palladio
8:45: Brad Paisley

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 9/12 & 9/13

Before I get to the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this weekend, I had a couple of comments to pass along. First, the Opry has added a 2nd show on Friday October 10, which is the weekend of the 89th birthday bash. There were already 2 shows for Saturday. My guess is that they are going to add a few more "stars" to the line-up, which right now is pretty thin. They only add a 2nd show if they feel they can come close to selling it out.

My other comment does not relate to the Opry, but I wanted to mention the new Birthplace of Country Music Museum that has recently opened in Bristol. My wife and I have visited the area many times and we know the heritage of country music. In fact, the "Bristol Sessions" are considered the "big bang" of country music. Many people have spent a lot of time in making this project a reality and it opened last month. This past weekend, we went down for a visit. The Museum, while not huge, is very well done. The displays are impressive and the people working were very friendly and knew their stuff. There were displays on Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, Ralph Peer, Pop Stoneman and Tennessee Ernie Ford. There was live music and I was told there is room for expansion. I would say their were 40-50 visitors when we were there Saturday afternoon. Of course, when in the area, make sure to visit The Carter Fold, up in the hills. Every Saturday night they have a show and A.P. Carter's cabin is open and filled with different items. I highly recommend that if you get the chance, head down for a visit.

As far as the Opry this weekend, I think they have come up with a couple of respectable shows. First, I was very happy to see Roy Clark scheduled for both shows this weekend. This will be his first Opry appearance of the year. I have seen some recent pictures of Roy on the web, and while he has aged, he is looking pretty good. Also scheduled both nights is another Country Music Hall of Fame member, Mel Tillis. Joining Roy and Mel on Friday night will be someone who should be in the Hall of Fame, and that is Ray Stevens. You never know what you will get from Ray. Also scheduled is Lee Greenwood and Elizabeth Cook. Making his first Opry appearance will be Noam Pikelny. He is a fine banjo player and part of the Punch Brothers. While not country, they are right on the fringe and having seen them previously, they are good.

Saturday's line-up includes Crystal Gayle. I have said many times, and I think others agree, Crystal would make a fine Opry member. Also scheduled for another appearance is Fiddlin' Carson Peters Band, Mary Gauthier and frequent Opry guest, Chris Janson.

Friday September 12
7:00: John Conlee (host); Leah Turner; The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jimmy Wayne; Mel Tillis
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Elizabeth Cook; Ray Stevens
8:45: Roy Clark (host); Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan; Lee Greenwood

Saturday September 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Katie Armiger; Jimmy Dickens (?)
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Fiddlin' Carson Peters Band; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Marty Gauthier; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Roy Clark (host); Chris Janson; Mel Tillis

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, September 11 and 12, 2009:

Friday September 11
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stonewall Jackson; Joe Diffie
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Pam Tillis
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith

Saturday September 12
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Infamous Stringdusters
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Jean Shepard
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; The Carter Twins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Pam Tillis

I am sure everyone will take note that the Friday night show featured all Opry members.

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 10 & 11, 2004:

Friday September 10
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Radney Foster
8:00: John Conlee (host); Osborne Brothers; Christy Sutherland
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Anita Cochran
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Kylie Harrie; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Mandy Barnett
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeannie Seely; Mark Wills

Saturday September 11
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Brad Cotter
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Shawn Camp; Dan Seals
7:30: Charlie Walker (host); Mel McDaniel; Jessi Alexander
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jeff Bates; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: The Whites (host); Jack Greene; Osborne Brothers; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Brad Cotter
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Shawn Camp; Dan Seals
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jessi Alexander; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: The Whites (host); Osborne Brothers; Jeff Bates
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

For this week's special look back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was on Saturday September 13, 1958 that Ben Smathers and the Stoney Mountain Cloggers became members on the Grand Ole Opry. The Stoney Mountain Cloggers were actually a family act that consisted of Ben and Margaret, along with Hal, Tim, Candy and Debbie. When they came to the Opry from North Carolina in 1958, they were given a guest spot. It was written that during that appearance, they received "wild ovations and numerous encores" and have been regulars on the Opry since. The Stoney Mountain Cloggers were much more than just an Opry act. They appeared on over 130 network television shows, 6 movies and at 40 state fairs and numerous county fairs. They even spent a considerable amount of time touring with Charlie Daniels.

Here is the running from Saturday September 13, 1958, 56 years ago this weekend, when the Stoney Mountain Cloggers first performed on the Grand Ole Opry.

7:30: Sessions Peanut Butter
Marty Robbins (host): Just Married
Porter Wagoner: Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy
Jordanaires: Little Miss Ruby
Jean Shepard: Secret of Life
Marty Robbins: I Can't Quite
Carlisles: Leave That Liar Alone
Porter Wagoner: Haven't You Heard
Square Dancers: Sally Goodin
Stringbean: Shotgun Boogie
Jean Shepard: Sweet Temptation
Marty Robbins: Story of My Life
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs (host): I Don't Care
Jimmy Newman: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Carl Butler: The Blues Come Around
Benny and Jo Ann: My Fortune
Flatt and Scruggs: Heaven
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Hilo Brown: Stonewall
Possum Hunters: Bill Cheatham
Jimmy Newman: The Way You're Living
Flatt and Scruggs: Dear Old Dixie
Fiddle Tune: Devil's Dream

8:30: Prince Albert
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): I'll Get Even With You
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Don Gibson: Look Who's Blue
Tommy Jackson: Katy Hill
Hawkshaw Hawkins: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray
Chet Atkins: Bells of St. Mary
June Carter: Comedy
Don Gibson: I'm Going to Give Myself A Party
Grandpa Jones: Daylight Saving Time
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I Don't Apologize
Tommy Jackson: Wake Up Susan

9:00: Jefferson Island
Jordanaires: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): Two Glasses Joe
Bill Monroe: Sitting on Top of the World
Porter Wagoner: Turn It Over in Your Mind
Cousin Jody: Television Set
Ernest Tubb: Half A Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Johnson
Bill Monroe: Sally Joe
Stonewall Jackson: Grieving In My Heart
Porter Wagoner: Satisfield Mind
Ernest Tubb: Hey, Mr. Bluebird
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

9:30: Stephens
Coopers: Theme
Hank Snow (host): The Woman Captured Me
Cowboy Copas: Won't You Ride in My Little Red Wagon
Carl Butler: Nothing Can Stop Me
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Loving You
Hank Snow: I'm Hurting All Over
Crook Brothers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Benny Martin: Border Baby
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands With the Devil
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: We Live in Two Different Worlds
Hank Snow: Big Wheel
Fiddle Tune: Forked Deer

10:00: Standard Brands
Marty Robbins (host): Sweet Lies
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Sensation
Don Gibson: Blue Blue Day
Jean Shepard: Sad Singing Slow Riding
Marty Robbins: I'll Step Aside
Del Wood: Echo Waltz
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Jordanaries: In the Great Getting Up Morning
Marty Robbins: Singing the Blues
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

10:30: Delited
Carlisles: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
Stonewall Jackson: Living This Way
Carlisles: Zat You Myrtle
Ernest Tubb: Driftwood on the River
Fiddle Tune: Paty on the Turnpike

10:45: De Con
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper (host): Cheated Too
Jimmy Newman: Why Baby Why
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvery Hill
Fiddle Tune: Buffalo Gal

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Caribbean
Carl Butler: I Know What it Means to Be Lonesome
Benny Martin and Jo Ann: My Fortune
Flatt and Scruggs: Before I Met You
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Stringbean: Nine Pound Hammer
Gully Jumpers: Grey Eagle
Carl Butler: Jealous Heart
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

11:30: Jamison Bedding
Jordanaires: Theme
Porter Wagoner (host): Trade Mark
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me
Bill Monroe: Brand New Shoes
Porter Wagoner: Eat Drink and Be Merry
Fiddle Tune: Flop Eared Mule

Cowboy Copas (host): Feeling Low
Sam and Kirk: I Wish I Had A Nickel
Cousin Jody: Dear John
Fruit Jars: Ida Red
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs

The Stoney Mountain Cloggers remained on the Opry for 35 years, until September 11, 1993 when Margaret Smathers and the group made the decision to retire. Ben Smathers had died in September 1990 at the age of 61, following complications from open heart surgery but Margaret and the group continued to appear at the Opry, usually in an every-other week rotation with the Melvin Sloan Dancers.

On that final Saturday, the Nashville Tennessean had a very fine write-up on the group, that was written by Brian Mansfield. Here is that article, which was headlined, "They're clogging off the stage-Stoney Mountain Cloggers retiring from the Grand Ole Opry.:

"After 35 years on the Grand Ole Opry, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers kick up their heels for a final time tonight. The family-based troupe will retire from the Opry after performing on each of tonight's shows. 'It probably is a half dozen reasons,' says Margaret Smathers, the leader of the group since the death of her husband Ben in 1990. 'One big reason is I'm 66 and not getting any younger, I find. I feel I'm still dancing as good as I did a few years ago. I just think it's kind of time for the older ones to step down and let the younger ones have their turn. I'd like to think that a younger group would come in and start working on their 35 years.'

The Smathers family first began performing on the Opry in 1958, making weekly trips from their home in North Carolina. The group eventually relocated to Nashville and became a popular Opry feature even though people listening to the show on the radio could only imagine the dance steps. 'I've always thought the Opry, because it's a radio show, is kind of an unusual place to have clogging,' says Opry general manager Hal Durham. 'The radio listener hears the square-dance band playing and hears the sound of dancing, but they can't see.'

Smathers says the Stoney Mountain Cloggers went into semi-retirement five or six years ago, and her three children  who dance in the group found additional jobs. Candy Smathers Johnson works for Joyce Daniel & Associates doing make up for TNN; Hal Smathers is with Carter & Associates, and Debbie Smathers Wilson works as bar manager for the Santa Fe Steak Co.

Fellow Opry stars Vince Gill and the Whites asked to perform with the Stoney Mountain Cloggers on their final segments. Mickey Smathers, who used to dance with the troupe, now works as a production manager for Gill. He'll rejoin the family for the final performance, as will a non-dancing daughter, Sally. Margaret says she's concerned that the role of the traditional dances on the Opry may decrease with the Cloggers' departure. 'That has bothered me,' she says. 'I hope they will go on with it. Hal Durham and I talked recently about this, and he asked me if I thought clogging and square dancing should be kept. I feel like it's tradition.' 'We haven't determined yet what we're going to do about that,' says Durham. 'For the time being, Melvin Sloan's group will dance.'"

Here is the line-up from Saturday September 11, 1993, 21 years ago this weekend, when the Stoney Mountain Cloggers made their final Grand Ole Opry appearance, an appearance that was part of the televised Opry on TNN.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
4 Guys (host): Turn Your Radio On
Wilma Lee Cooper: Give Me the Roses While I Live
4 Guys: All Tied Up

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jack Greene (host): Until My Dreams Come True
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Comin'
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin' In Love With You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Del Reeves: Luckenbach, Texas
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff

7:30: Standard Candy
Vince Gill (host): Give Me Just One More Last Chance
Barry and Holly Tashian: I Dreamed of An Old Love Affair/If I Knew Then What I Know Now
The Whites: House of Gold
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
Vince Gill: (?)

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Riders In The Sky: Blue Montana Skies
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me On Sundays
Bill Anderson: The Touch of the Master's Hand

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast with the Blues
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know
Mike Snider: Battle Cry of Freedom/Get Your Hand Off My Knee and Load the Cannon
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Ray Pillow: Someone Had to Teach You
Charlie Louvin: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): I Don't Believe I'll Fall In Love Today
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Jack Greene: Ever Since My Baby Went Away

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
4 Guys: Shut the Door
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:30: Piccadilly
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Mike Snider: Bells of St. Mary's
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke

10:45: Opry Book
Vince Gill (host): Take Your Memory With You When You Go
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Vince Gill: I've Been Hearing things About You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Giesha Girl
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Riders In The Sky: Cowboy Jubilee/Riding Down the Canyon
Hank Snow: The Third Man

11:30: General Jackson
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
Justin Tubb: Walkin', Talkin', Cryin' Barely Beatin' Broken Heart
Connie Smith: Sing, Sing, Sing
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have to Go
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

As we all know now, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers were not replaced and clogging disappeared from the Opry stage. Melvin Sloan and his dancers carried on each week until Melvin retired and now the group is just known as the Opry Square Dancers.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 9/5 & 9/6

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. As has been mentioned before, the line-ups feature many more guest artists then Opry members. In fact, on Friday night, there are just 6 Opry members scheduled, while Saturday's show features just 5. It is what it is.

Among the guest artists on The Friday Night Opry are Jamie O'Neal, The Grascals, Sarah Darling and Restless Heart. All are familiar to Opry audiences. Also scheduled is Carolina Story and JT Hodges, both of whom will also come back for the Saturday night show. Joining them on Saturday will be Wade Hayes, Striking Matches, Janelle Arthur and Casey James. The one Opry member that I am very pleased to see on the schedule for Saturday night is Ray Pillow. Nice to have this smooth singer back at the Opry.

Friday September 5
7:00: John Conlee (host); JT Hodges; Jamie O'Neal
7:30: The Whites (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Grascals
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Carolina Story
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Sarah Darling; Restless Heart

Saturday September 6
7:00: The Whites (host); JT Hodges
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Wade Hayes; Carolina Story
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds; Striking Matches; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Janelle Arthur; Casey James

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, September 4 & 5, 2009:

Friday September 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Luke Bryan
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne; Andy Griggs
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mark Wills
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; The Whites

Saturday September 5
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Emily West
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Blaine Larsen
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds; Johnny Counterfit; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Blaine Larsen
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Stonewall Jackson; Legacy Five
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Charlie Louvin; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Emily West; Connie Smith

And from 10 years ago this weekend, September 3 & 4, 2004:

Friday September 3
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; George Hamilton IV; George Canyon
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Adam Harvey; Stonewall Jackson; Trace Adkins
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:00: Roy Clark (host); Jean Shepard; Craig Morgan
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Restless Heart

Saturday September 4
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; T. Graham Brown
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; George Hamilton IV; George Canyon
7:30: Roy Clark (host); Billy Walker; Alecia Nugent
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin: Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Josh Turner

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; George Canyon
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Alecia Nugent
10:30: Roy Clark (host); Stu Phillips; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Billy Walker; Jack Greene; T. Graham Brown
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Josh Turner

For this week's feature line-up, I have one from 50 years ago this weekend, Saturday September 5, 1964:

7:30: Luzianne
Faron Young (host): Live Fast; Love Hard; Die Young
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
The Deputies: Preacher
Faron Young: My Friends on the Right
Osborne Brothers: Charlie Cotton
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Jean Shepard: Two Little Boys
Faron Young: Hello Walls

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): My Saro Jane
George Hamilton IV: Ft. Worth, Dallas or Houston
Carter Family: Worried Man Blues
Billy Walker: Down to My Last Cigarette
Crook Brothers: Cacklin Hen
Flatt & Scruggs: Working It Out
Ernest Ashworth: Just One Time
Uncle Josh: Fireball

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Hank Locklin: (?)
Loretta Lynn: Wine, Women and Song
Bill Carlisle: Shanghei Rooster
Roy Acuff: Wreck on the Highway
Marion Worth: The French Song
Hank Locklin: I Was Coming Home to You
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Give Me A Little Old Fashioned Love
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One on Tonight
Bill Anderson: Po Folks
Ernest Tubb: Half A Mind
Margie Bowes: Overnight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldiers Joy
Bill Anderson: Me
Wilburn Brothers: Never Alone

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rockeet
Bill Monroe: On and On
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Love You Anymore
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Hank Snow: I Stepped Over the Line
Skeeter Davis: Let Me Get Closer to You
Glaser Brothers: A Girl Like You
Stringbean: Banjo Pickin' Girl
Hank Snow: Rockin' Rollin' Ocean

10:00: Schick
Hank Locklin (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Ernest Ashworth: A Week in the Country
Cousin Jody: Wabash Cannonball

10:15: SSS Tonic
Roy Acuff (host): (?)
June Stearn: Faded Love
Curly Fox: Orange Blossom Special
Roy Acuff: How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

10:30: Harvey's
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Jimmy Brown the Newsboy
Billy Walker: (?)
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Flatt & Scruggs: I'm On My Way to Canaan's Land

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Loretta Lynn: Before I'm Over You
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Crook Brothers: Bill Cheatham
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: Mr and Mrs Used to Be

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast with the Blues
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Charlie Louvin: Just Between the Two of Us
Glaser Brothers: Satisfied
Hank Snow: (?)
Marion Worth: I'll Hold You In My Heart
Bill Anderson: Five Little Fingers
Sam & Kirk McGee: Blue Night

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Wilburn Brothers: Legend of the Big River Train
Bill Monroe: Mary at the Home Place
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Marty Robbins: El Paso
Margie Bowes: Sweet Dreams
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Bill Monroe: John Hardy
Marty Robbins: Bouquet of Roses/I'll Step Aside/Take These Chains from My Heart/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Begging to You/Ruby Ann/Singing the Blues

Finally, here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, September 9

7:00: Charlie Worsham; John Conlee
7:30: Sara Haze; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Connie Smith; The Willis Clan
8:45: Moe Bandy; Scotty McCreery

Not a bad line-up for the mid-week show. I have always enjoyed Moe Bandy. Nice to see him back at the Opry.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

September Opry Highlights

Here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or involving Opry members, during the month of September.

September 15, 1903: Country Music Hall of Fame member and the "King of Country Music" Roy Acuff was born in Maynardsville, Tennessee. Roy came to the Grand Ole Opry in 1938 and he would remain an Opry member until his death in 1992. I think it is safe to say that Roy was the most influential member in the history of the Opry and the Opry hasn't been the same since he passed away.

September 13, 1911: The "Father of Bluegrass Music" Bill Monroe was born in Rosine, Kentucky. He came to the Opry in October 1939 and he would remain a part of the Opry until his death in 1996.

September 17, 1913: Hank Williams was born. Really nothing else needs to be added. While his time at the Opry would be short, it was very eventful.

September 26, 1925: One of the most popular members in the history of the Opry, Marty Robbins was born near Glendale, Arizona. Marty first came to the Opry in 1953 and shortly after that became an Opry member. His 11:30 Opry shows were legendary. Marty would remain an Opry member until he passed away in December 1982.

September 26, 1926: Jerry Clower was born near Liberty, Mississippi. Jerry joined the Opry in 1973 and was the last member to join the Opry prior to its move to the new Grand Ole Opry House. This great comedian remained an Opry member until his death in 1998. In the history of the Opry, there have been some great comedians and this is something that is missing at the Opry today.

September 1, 1931: Lecil Travis Martin, better known as "Boxcar Willie" was born in Sterratt, Texas. He made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1980 at the age of 49 and a year later he became a member. He was one of the first country entertainers to have a theater in Branson, Missouri and in his later years he spent most of his time performing there. He passed away in 1999.

September 12, 1931: George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas. George first came to the Opry and became a member in 1956. He would leave the show and return several different times and while his Opry appearances were few and far between, he was always proud of his Opry membership. George passed away in 2013.

September 5, 1945: Wally Fowler joined the cast of the Opry. Wally was the founder of the Oak Ridge Quartet, which eventually became the Oak Ridge Boys. After he joined the Opry, Wally was frequently featured on the Prince Albert Opry shows and would sing a gospel song. Later, Wally would have some financial issues and in 1957 he sold the rights to the name Oak Ridge Quartet. Wally passed away in 1994.

September 18, 1947: On this night, and the night following, Ernest Tubb, Minnie Pearl and a host of Opry members played two shows at Carnegie Hall in New York. Here is how Ernest remembered that night, "The radio and newspaper people ignored us the first night we were there, but we turned away six thousand people and the next night, every reporter was there." Billboard Magazine reported that, "such screaming and wild applause after each number hasn't been heard in town since Frank Sinatra brought out the bobbysoxers at the Paramount."

September 4, 1948: Eddy Arnold leaves as a cast member of the Grand Ole Opry. At the time he was the Opry's biggest star and he left to headline his own CBS network radio show. Eddy did an interview with Ralph Emery in 1991 and talked about leaving the Opry, "I thought I had done as much as I could do there. I had two network radio programs outside the Opry." It was said that Eddy had outgrown the Opry. On his final night as an Opry member, Eddy finished his set and stood on the stage looking out over the Ryman Auditorium. He thanked Harry Stone, WSM, and the Opry fans and then turned to walk away from the microphone. Harold Bradley, who backed Eddie on guitar that night, would say, "We went around the curtain and he and Minnie Pearl hugged and both of them cried like babies because he was leaving." Eddy created some controversy because he was the first "star" to leave the Opry. But Irving Waugh of WSM had this to say: "We hated to see Eddy leave. But, as I recall, it didn't make that much difference to the Opry. At that stage, people were lined up all the way around the block to get in. New people, including Hank (Williams), were coming all the time." By the way, after Eddy left the Opry, he never came back.

September 24, 1948: WSM began the Friday Night Frolics, later to become known as the Friday Night Opry. The show took place from Studio C at WSM and continued to be broadcast from that studio until 1964 when it was moved to the Ryman Auditorium. The show was originally started as part of the effort to keep Eddy Arnold on WSM radio.

September 25, 1948: George Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was brought to the show as a replacement for the recently departed Eddy Arnold. George would leave the Opry for a short amount of time, but then would return and remain an Opry member until his death.

September 13, 1952: Webb Pierce makes his first appearance on the Opry. He joined the show a year later to help fill the absence after Hank Williams left. Webb would remain an Opry member until February 19, 1957, when he left after a dispute with management over the paying of booking fees and commissions.

September 26, 1953: Skeeter Davis makes her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Skeeter would join the Opry's cast in 1959 and would be a part of the Opry until her death in 2004.

September 10, 1955: Justin Tubb joined the cast of the Opry. At the time, he was the Opry's youngest member. Justin, the son of Opry legend Ernest Tubb, was an Opry member until his sudden death in 1998 at the age of 62.

September 24, 1956: WSM radio fired Opry manager Jim Denny. He had started at the Opry back in the early days of the show and was involved behind the scenes in various including behind in charge for a time of the Opry's concession business where he saw how much money the Opry had the potential to make for WSM. He was not only the Opry's manager but was a powerful force at both WSM and the Opry. He was fired from the Opry because he would not give up his ownership of Cedarwood Publishing Company. In addition to Denny, Jack Stapp, another WSM executive was also dismissed.

September 25, 1956: Dee Kilpatrick was named the Grand Ole Opry's "general director." He was also named manager of WSM's Artists' Service Bureau, which was the Opry's own in-house booking agency. Dee was a former record company executive and he said at the time, "They asked me what I thought was wrong. We'll, back when I was working with Mercury Records I was at the opry almost every Saturday night I was in town, and I could look at the audience and see what was wrong. The Opry didn't appeal to the younger audiences that you have to have if you're going to keep growing. All I could see there were older people and little tweeny kids. There wasn't any teenagers." Kilpatrick would begin to add younger acts to the Opry's cast including the Everly Brothers and Porter Wagoner. What is interesting is that when you read that quote from 1956 about the Opry's aging audience, it sounds almost what Pete Fisher has been saying since 1999.

September 29, 1956: Rose Maddox joined the Grand Ole Opry. Rose did not stay at the Opry for very long as many of the Opry's members, including Roy Acuff in particular, didn't care for her.

September 13, 1958: Ben Smathers and the Stoney Mountain Cloggers joined the Grand Ole Opry. Most of their years at the Opry, they would be on an every-other week rotation as the featured square dancers. Ben Smathers passed away in 1990, while the Stoney Mountain Cloggers would remain a part of the Opry until 1993.

September 30, 1958: Opry member Marty Stuart was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Before beginning his solo career, Marty was a part of Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and toured as part of Johnny Cash's band. His RFD-TV show is reportedly the highest rated show on that network.

September 25, 1962: Loretta Lynn joined the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 52nd year as an Opry member.

September 27, 1963: The National Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the Ryman Auditorium from the City of Nashville for an estimated $200,000. WSM, which operated the building, changed the name to the Grand Ole Opry House, even though everyone would still call it the Ryman. By becoming the building's owners, WSM was able to make long needed repairs on the structure.

September 15, 1965: In some of the Opry's historical records, and in some publications, this is the date listed as Connie Smith's Opry induction. Other dates have it listed in June or July of that year. Either way, this year will be Connie's 49th as an Opry member.

September 16, 1967: Jeannie Seely became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 47th year as an Opry member. When Jeannie first joined the Opry, there were no female hosts and he was one of those that pushed for a change. Over time, Jeannie has become one of the Opry's more regular and popular segment hosts.

September 19, 1968: Former Opry member Red Foley passed away in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Red came to the Opry in 1946 and would remain with the Opry for about a decade, always as the host of the Prince Albert Opry show. After he left Nashville, he went to Springfield, Missouri and the Ozark Jubilee for ABC.

September 13, 1969: Earl Scruggs makes his first appearance on the Opry since splitting with Lester Flatt. He performed "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with his sons Gary and Randy.

September 17, 1977: Reba McEntire made her first appearance on the Opry. Later she would join. Sorry to say and as popular as Reba is, she really doesn't come to the Opry any more.

September 6, 1984: Ernest Tubb passed away in a Nashville hosptial. Ernest had been in declining health for a number of years and had made his last Opry appearance in 1982. He joined the Opry in 1943 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1965. He is considered one of the Opry's greatest legends.

September 9, 1989: Del Wood made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. She first came to the Opry in 1952 and continued as a member until her passed away from a stroke in October.

September 4, 1991: Grand Ole Opry member Dottie West passed away in a Nashville hospital as a result of injuries suffered in an earlier car accident, which took place at Opryland prior to a scheduled appearance on the Friday Night Opry. Dottie had been an Opry member since 1964.

September 4, 1992: Former Opry member Carl Butler died in Franklin, Tennessee. Carl had first appeared on the Opry in 1948 and along with his wife Pearl, joined the cast in 1962. Not only a great singer, but Carl was also a fine writer. Dolly Parton would say that Carl and Pearl were instrumental in helping her out when she first came to Nashville and later in life, Dolly returned the favor. After they left the Opry, they continued to tour until Pearl passed away. After her death, Carl would occasionally perform at the Opry.

September 11, 1993: The Stoney Mountain Cloggers made their final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. After Ben Smather's death in 1990, his wife Margaret continued as the group's leader.

September 9, 1996: Bill Monroe passed away after a period of declining health. Bill brought the bluegrass sound to the Opry when he joined in 1939. Personally, I find it hard to believe that it has been almost 20 years since he passed away.

September 6, 1996: Hank Snow made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Hank was in a period of declining health and made the decision to retire from the Opry. He passed away in 1999.

September 20, 1997: During an appearance on the Opry, Johnny Paycheck is asked by Opry general manager Bob Whittaker if he would like to become an Opry member. Of course, he said yes and would be inducted as a member later in the year.

September 28, 2002: For the first time in ten years, Tanya Tucker makes an appearance on the Opry. She performed along with The Jordanaires.

September 13, 2003: The U.S. Postal Service unveiled a stamp featuring Roy Acuff during a ceremony at the Grand Ole Opry House.

September 20, 2004: Opry member Skeeter Davis passed away in Nashville at the age of 72. Skeeter had battled cancer and other health related issues for a number of years. She was always known for her bright outfits and her big smile while at the Opry. Nothing seemed to get her down and she brought a lot of joy to the show.

September 23, 2004: It was not a good week at the Opry as days following the death of Skeeter Davis, another Opry legend, Roy Drusky passed away. Roy had joined the Opry in the 1950s and had one of the smoothest voices you could ever find.

September 28, 2010: While performing with Trace Adkins at the reopening of the Grand Ole Opry House, Blake Shelton is asked to become the Opry's newest member.

September 13, 2011: Grand Ole Opry member Wilma Lee Cooper passed away. Wilma, along with her husband Stoney Cooper, joined the Opry in 1957, coming to Nashville from the Wheeling Jamboree. After Stoney's death, Wilma Lee continued as a solo artist, keeping the mountain music going. He last Opry singing performance was in February 2001, when she suffered a stroke while performing on the Opry. She did return to the Opry stage in 2007 for her 50th anniversary as an Opry member. Her last appearance at the Opry was in September 2010 as part of the reopening of the Opry House.

September 13, 2011: George Jones makes his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He appears at a show to celebrate his 80th birthday, which featured Alan jackson, among many others.

September 27, 2011: Rascal Flatts were invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry. They would be officially inducted several weeks later as part of the Opry's birthday celebration.

September 27, 2011: Johnny Wright passed away in Nashville. He was the husband of Kitty Wells and a former member of the Opry.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 8/29 & 8/30

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-up for the shows this Labor Day weekend. Usually these are a couple of the shows that are pretty hard to fill as far as having a quality line-up as many of the artists are out on the state and county fair circuit, but for this weekend the Opry has done pretty well.

The highlight, and the name that stood out as a pleasant surprise, is Alison Krauss, who is scheduled for both nights. For Alison, this will be her first Opry appearances in 2014 and if she follows her usual pattern, these might be her only appearances this year. It has hard for me to believe that Alison has been an Opry member now for 21 years. I really enjoy her and wish that she would be around the Opry more often.

Joining Alison on Friday night will be guest artist, and someone who I wish would be an Opry member, and that is Kathy Mattea. She is at the Opry every couple of months and is always well received. Also making another appearance will be Mary Gauthier, along with semi-regular Jimmy Wayne.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, in addition to Alison, will have Larry Gatlin and this time, The Gatlin Brothers will be joining him. While Larry is around the Opry a lot, very rarely do we get Steve and Rudy, although many times Steve will be there playing guitar for Larry on his solo appearances. Also appearing will be Opry member Lorrie Morgan, along with "Nashville" stars Chaley Rose and Charles Esten. And don't forget The Steeldrivers.

Friday August 29
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy Wayne; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Connie Smith (host); The Henningsens; Mary Gauthier
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Kathy Mattea
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Mark Wills; Alison Krauss

Saturday August 30
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Mark Wills
7:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Chaley Rose; Jean Shepard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); John Conlee; The Steeldrivers; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Charles Esten; Alison Krauss

Like I said, 2 pretty good line-ups this weekend and it looks like they might be saving a spot for Jimmy Dickens.

Now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, August 28 & 29, 2009:

Friday August 28
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky; Cherryholmes
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jamie O'Neal
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; The Whites
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Ralph Stanley

Saturday August 29
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Daryle Singletary
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Clay Walker; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); John Conlee; Connie Smith

And from 10 years ago this weekend, August 27 & 28, 2004:

Friday August 27
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; George Hamilton IV; Melonie Cannon
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Blue Country
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; The Jenkins
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Billy Grammer; Jean Shepard; Billy Ray Cyrus
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Walker; Kevin Haynie; Gene Watson

Saturday August 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Osborne Brothers
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Martina McBride; The Notorious Cherry Bombs; Billy Ray Cyrus; Loretta Lynn
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Riders In The Sky; Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Osborne Brothers
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Martina McBride
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Grammer; The Notorious Cherry Bombs; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Billy Ray Cyrus
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Billy Walker; Mandy Barnett

For this week's feature lin-up, I go to Saturday August 31, 1996. This was the final Saturday night show for Hank Snow. Hank joined the Opry in January 1950 and was one of the Orpy's top members. But, by 1996 his health was beginning to fail as he was having respiratory issues along with other ailments. In fact, after making 125 Opry appearances in 1995, he made just 5 in 1996. He came back the following week and did the Friday Night Opry and cancelled out for Saturday. He also failed to appear the weekend after and that was the last time Hank was on the schedule for the Opry. He passed away in December 1999, just weeks from 50 years of Opry membership.

Here is the line-up from Saturday August 31, 1996, the final Saturday night for Hank Snow.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Mike Snider (host); Tennessee Rhapsody/Cotton Eyed Joe
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Mike Snider: Shuckin' the Corn/Foggy Mountain Chimes

6:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Ol' Blue
Jan Howard: My Heart Skips A Beat
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

7:00: Shoney's
Johnny Russell (host): Good Hearted Woman
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells/Looking Back to See
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally

7:30: Standard Candy
Jeannie Seely (host): Burning that Old Memory
The Cumberland Boys: Nothing But Love
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It to Me Again
Margaret Whiting: I Can't Help It
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durane's Hornpipe
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Del Reeves: Got A Little Bit of Heaven on Earth
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Porter Wagoner: The Cowboy's Hat
Porter Wagoner & Kristi Lynn: Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Stu Phillips: Colorado
The Whites: Pins and Needles
Connie Smith: Then and Only Then
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy
Oswald: The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me no Mind
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou/Texacajun
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name/Freight Train Boogie

10:00: Massey Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents Is All I Got
Stonewall Jackson: Me and You and A Dog Named Boo
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Opryland
Jean Shepard (host): I Thought of You/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels/You Win Again/A Dear John Letter
Roy Drusky: Waltz of the Angels/One Day at A Time
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away

10:30: Purnell's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Cumberland Boys: Today I Might Be Going Home
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin' In Love With You

10:45: Fairfield
Mike Snider (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Ragtime Annie
Mike Snider (host): Battle Cry of Freedom/Get Your Hand Off My Knee and Load the Cannon

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again
Connie Smith: Amazing Grace
Charlie Walker: Who'll Buy the Wine
The Whites: He Took Your Place
Hank Snow: I Almost Lost My Mind

11:30: Loreal
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Jeannie Seely: Bubbles in My Beer
Ray Pillow: Someone Had to Teach You
Colleen Walters: Walkin' After Midnight

I know I post this line-up each year, but as I have mentioned before, Hank Snow was and is, my favorite Grand Ole Opry member of all-time, so I hope you don't mind.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 8/22 & 8/23

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There is the usual one show on Friday and one show on Saturday, along with the Tuesday Night Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will feature another appearance by Vince Gill. This makes 2 weeks in a row for this Opry star and I am glad to see him back on the Opry stage. Joining Vince on Friday night will be Opry members the Oak Ridge Boys. As far as guest artists, we have Carolina Story, Sundy Best and the ever popular Willis Clan. This week's new artist, making his Opry debut, will be Chase Bryant and also scheduled is a name from the past that I haven't heard from in a while and that is Billy Gilman. I remember when he was a teenage star.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature a number of guest artists including Caitlin Rose, James House, Mandy Barnett, Holly Williams, and staying over from Friday night, The Willis Clan.

Friday August 22, 2014
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Carolina Story; Billy Gilman
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Sundy Best; The Willis Clan
8:15: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chase Bryant
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jan Howard; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday August 23, 2014
7:00: John Conlee (host); Caitlin Rose
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); James House; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Willis Clan

There is a slot available for Jimmy Dickens. I still find it interesting that the Opry does not list Jimmy on the schedule yet expects him to appear unless told otherwise. I really don't remember that happening previously. Back in the early 1990s when Roy Acuff was basically "show-to-show" for many weeks, he was always listed on the schedule and even Hank Snow was listed for many weeks when he wasn't appearing. In the case of Hank in 1996, the Opry in many cases wouldn't know until right before show time that he wasn't coming.

A thought crossed my mind, and others have offered opinions, that it has been almost a year since the Opry has had a new member. Old Crow Medicine Show last fall has been the last. You would expect a new member soon and rumors are starting to heat up on who might potentially be asked. For what it is worth, there has not been a new female Opry member in years, but that doesn't mean much. Something to watch which way the tea leaves are waving.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, August 21 & 22, 2009:

Friday August 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jesse McReynolds; The Whites
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday August 22
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Joey+Rory
8:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Exile

Now, from 10 years ago this weekend, August 20 & 21, 2004:

Friday August 20
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jack Greene; Christy Sutherland
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Cory & Jarrod Walker; The Whites
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; BR549
9:00: Jeannie Seely (host); J.D. Crowe & The New South; Daryle Singletary
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Brad Cotter; Connie Smith

Saturday August 21
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Lane Turner
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); J.D. Crowe & The New South; Jessi Alexander
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Lynn Anderson; Pinmonkey
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Walker; Cory & Jarrod Walker; T Graham Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Lane Turner
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Lynn Anderson; J.D. Crowe & The New South; Pinmonkey
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Stu Phillips; Jessi Alexander; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jean Shepard (host); Billy Walker; Cory & Jarrod Walker; Sherrie Austin
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Mel McDaniel; T Graham Brown

For this week's feature line-up, I go to Saturday August 22, 1981. This was the last show for Don Williams as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Don joined the Opry on April 23, 1976 and let's just be nice and say that he figured out that Opry membership just wasn't for him. Not that he was at the Opry that many times anyways. In 1977, the year after he joined, he appeared just 2 times. He followed that up with 3 appearances in 1978, no appearances in 1979 and 1980, before wrapping it up in 1981 with just 2 appearances. A record like that would be acceptable today, but back when he joined, you were still expected to appear. Don had a great career in country music and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. And, he is still touring today.

Here is the line-up and running order of the Opry from Saturday August 22, 1981, 33 years ago this weekend:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Full Moon; Empty Pockets
Ernie Ashworth: Irene
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): T For Texas
Jan Howard: Six Weeks in the Summer; Christmas Every Other Year
Charlie Walker: Little Old Wine Drinker Me/Waltz Across Texas

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Louvin (host): What Are Those Things
Billy Grammer: When Your Hair Has Turned to Silver
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
John Conlee: Could You Love Me One More Time/Miss Emily's Picture
Joe Edwards: Black Mountain Rag
Charlie Louvin: Ten Years; Three Kids; Two Loves Too Late

7:30: Standard Candy
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels/I'll Fly Away
Roy Drusky: If The Whole World Stopped Loving
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Lost Indian
Archie & Phil Campbell: Hey Waiter

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Vic Willis Trio: Colorado
David Houston: Bandera Waltz
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird/Shake My Mother's Hand For Me

8:30: Acme
4 Guys (host): Loving Up A Storm
Jeannie: When Your House Is Not A Home
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Don Williams: Living On Tulsa Time/I Believe In You//Amanda
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
4 Guys (host): Mama Rocked Us to Sleep With Country Music
Ray Pillow: She Never Likes Nothing For Long
Jan Howard: Good Hearted Woman
Don Williams: Living On Tulsa Time/I Believe In You/Amanda
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Louvin (host): The Way I Am
John Conlee: Could You Love Me One More Time/Miss Emily's Picture
Charlie Louvin: Is This How It Is When It's Over

10:15: Sunbeam
David Houston (host): Texas Ida Red
Ernie Ashworth: Irene
David Houston: Bandera Waltz

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): I Couldn't Believe It Was True
Charlie Walker: The One Rose That's Left In My Heart
Howdy Forrester: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Roy Acuff: Jesus Will Outshine Them All

10:45: Beech-nut
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Skeeter Davis: The Old Rugged Cross/The King is Coming/I'll Fly Away
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Old Joe Clark
Stonewall Jackson: Me and You and A Dog Named Boo

11:00: Coca-Cola
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
The Pilgrims: When They Call My Name
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Jeannie Seely: I'm Almost Ready
Archie & Phil Campbell: The Interview

11:30: Bama
Roy Drusky (host): Billy Bayou
Billy Grammer: Somebody Loves You
Vic Willis Trio: Shenendoah
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Roy Drusky: There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You For Me/Just A Closer Walk With Thee

And finally, it was 27 years ago this weekend, Saturday August 22, 1987, that Roy Clark became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Here is the line-up from that night:

1st show
6:30: 4 Guys (host); Lorrie Morgan
6:45: Charlie Louvin (host); Del Wood
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Skeeter Davis; Ray Pillow; Jeannie Seely; Ernie Ashworth
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jan Howard; Roy Clark
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Tom T Hall; Wilma Lee Cooper; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jeannie Seely; 4 Guys; Tom T Hall
10:00: Charlie Louvin (host); Skeeter Davis
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Roy Clark
10:30: Ray Pillow (host); Lorrie Morgan
10:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Ernie Ashworth; Wilma Lee Cooper; Bill Carlisle
11:30: Stonewall Jackson (host); Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

On a final note, here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, August 26:

7:00: Frankie Ballard; Bill Anderson
7:30: Darryl Worley; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: The Whites; Shovels & Rope
8:45: Josh Thompson; Ricky Skaggs.

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!