Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 7/18 & 7/19

One!!!! (1). Brad Paisley. That is it. He is the only Grand Ole Opry member scheduled for this week's Friday Night Opry. No one else. And on top of that, only 7 acts scheduled in a show that looks more like a Tuesday Night Opry rather then a traditional Friday or Saturday show. And to me that is just terrible and there is just no excuse.

This booking lies at the feet of two people: Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher. You can't tell me that this is the best these two can do. Or maybe this is all they want to do. And then you look at the rest of the line-up for Friday night. Asleep At The Wheel is a quality act. No complaints. But Mark Wills is a semi-regular who has seen his better days. Sarah Darling continues to struggle to establish a career. Striking Matches? Kristian Bush? And how about Native Run? By the way, they are making their Opry debut. $60 for a prime ticket. I don't think so. It is apparent that they are expecting Brad to carry the load and he will. I am also sure this show will be a sell-out. But, it certainly won't be a Friday Night Opry that I will be listening to.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry is better, especially if you like the legends. The Whites, George Hamilton IV, Ray Pillow and Connie Smith are all hosting segments, and Jean Shepard and Jesse McReynolds are also scheduled. Charles Esten from "Nashville" will be making an appearance as will The Grascals. And what is an Opry show without either Chris Janson or The Willis Clan? Saturday, it's the Willis Clan's turn. And there is a spot saved for Jimmy Dickens.

Friday July 18
7:00: Striking Matches; Mark Wills
7:30: Native Run; Asleep At The Wheel
Intermission
8:15: Kristian Bush; Sarah Darling
8:45: Brad Paisley

Saturday July 19
7:00: The Whites (host); Austin Webb; Jean Shepard
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); The Grascals
Intermission
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Charles Esten; The Willis Clan

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of July 17 & 18, 2009.

Friday July 17
7:00: John Conlee (host); Riders In The Sky; Jack Greene; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Daryle Singletary
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Hal Ketchum
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; Roy Clark

Saturday July 18
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Lovell Sisters
7:30: Roy Clark (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Hal Ketchum; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; The Lovell Sisters
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Hal Ketchum
10:30: Roy Clark (host); Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Connie Smith

And from 10 years ago this weekend, July 16 & 17, 2004.

Friday July 16
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Connie Smith; Shannon Lawson
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Helen Cornelius; Bellamy Brothers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Scotty Emerick
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Stevens Sisters
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Walker; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Chely Wright

Saturday July 17
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Gail Davies
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; John Conlee; The Whites; Scotty Emerick
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Eddy Raven
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds; & The Virginia Boys; Jean Shepard; Craig Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Stevens Sisters; Andy Griggs

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Scotty Emerick
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; The Whites; Eddy Raven
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Billy Walker; Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Craig Morgan
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Stevens Sisters; Gail Davies

I noticed that Chely Wright was on the Friday Night Opry. This was during the period when there was a lot of talk about Chely becoming an Opry member, something that she really wanted. After her huge hit, "Single White Female" in 1999, her career really has tailed off. Probably a good move on the part of the Opry in not making her a member.

A quick count has 13 Opry members on Friday night, and the 1st show on Saturday, while there were 12 for the 2nd show.

And finally, we go back 23 years, to Saturday July 20, 1991. Nothing special took place on this particular evening, but I think it represents the shows that were being put on at the Opry during that time period.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Juke Box/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: 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 Roadmap/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 Times Sake/The 3 Bells
Roy Drusky: One Day at A Time/Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Opry Square Dance Band: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: My Old Pal of yesterday
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

8:30: Pops 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 Movin'
Roy Acuff: Freight Train Blues
Bill Carlisle: Elvira

10:30: Pet Milk
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever 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: 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

With the exception of T. Graham Brown, this show featured all Opry members.

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 7/11 & 7/12

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend and all I can say, after the discussion posts over the past week regarding Chris Janson, is that he is not scheduled this weekend!!! Just so everyone is clear, and not to open up another "can of worms", but there are performers I like, musical wise, and some I don't. Chris just happens to be one of the ones I don't care for. Yes, I have seen him several times at the Opry, and he does bring excitement to the show. And the crowd always gives him a good reception. It's just my personal taste and nothing more.

I know Chris has been scheduled a lot on the Opry, as have The Willis Clan, and I do appreciate them supporting the Opry. And it is obvious that the Opry management, with some incentives, are trying to help in pushing their careers. There is nothing new with that as in the past you have seen the same Opry support for Sarah Darling, Mandy Barnett and Jimmy Wayne, among others. Years back, Lorrie Morgan, Brad Paisley and Josh Turner were also pushed by the Opry and it help to establish their fine careers.

But then again, the Opry wouldn't be in this position of pushing these young singers if more than 5 Opry members would be scheduled for a show. And that is all we have on Saturday night. Just 5 out of 60+. You can almost predict at some point of seeing a Friday or Saturday night show with just 1 or 2 members and the rest guests. And it continues to appear that Opry membership for the vast majority of the members, is just another award to have printed in their biography rather than an acutal commitment to appear and support the show.

As far as this weekend, the Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Lorrie Morgan making a return Opry appearance. This will be her first appearance since last month's 30th anniversary recognition and I am glad whatever anger Lorrie felt toward the Opry seems not to be permanent. Joining Lorrie will be guest artists Gene Watson, Andy Griggs, Jimmy Wayne and Jeanne Robertson.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature a guest appearance by The Willis Clan along with Jamie Lynn Spears. I admit that I have watched Jamie, who is the younger sister of Britney Spears, on Zoey 101. Jamie has moved to Nashville and is trying to make it as a country singer. All I can say, is good luck to her.

Friday July 11
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sunny Sweeney; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy Wayne; Gene Watson
Intermission
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Jeanne Robertson
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Andy Griggs; Connie Smith

Saturday July 12
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Sara Haze
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jeanne Robertson; Exile
Intermission
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jamie Lynn Spears; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Emily West; The Willis Clan

And now, keeping with our new tradition, here is the Grand Ole Opry posted line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, July 10 & 11, 2009:

Friday July 10
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chris Young
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Ashton Shepherd
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Diamond Rio

Saturday July 11
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Caitlin & Will
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Jennifer Hanson
8:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Billy Dean; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Alison Krauss w/The Cox Family

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Caitlin & Will
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Alison Krauss w/The Cox Family
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; Jennifer Hanson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Dean

And now, from 10 years ago this weekend, July 9 & 10, 2004:

Friday July 9
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Mark Wills
8:00: John Conlee (host); Old Crow Medicine Show; Jan Howard; The Whites
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard; Rodney Atkins
9:00: Bill Anderson (host: Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Ray Scott; Gene Watson
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Jack Greene; T Graham Brown

Saturday July 10
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Trent Willmon
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Anita Cochran
7:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Connie Smith
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jim Ed Brown; Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); David Lee Murphy; Lee Roy Parnell

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; John Conlee; Hal Ketchum
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; David Lee Murphy; Lee Roy Parnell
10:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jeannie Seely; Trent Willmon; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Anita Cochran
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Billy Walker; Andy Griggs

As always, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 7/4 & 7/5

Before getting into the Opry line-ups for this weekend, I just wanted to say a few things about last Saturday night's show. First, I thought Pete Fisher did a very nice job with the dedication to Jimmy C Newman. It seemed a little longer then some of the ones he has had to do, and I really felt it was from the heart. I know many of us will criticize Pete and some of the decisions he has made at the Opry, but on this one, my compliments. I also thought it was nice that Cajun Country was allowed to open the show. They did "Alligator Man" and as was commented in the posts from last week, it did seem that the song was a beat or two slower then normal. A nice tribute to an Opry legend.

Secondly, again hats off to Pete Fisher, an excellent job with the "retirement" of Paul Eckhart. As has been noted, Paul has been attending Opry shows for the past 42 years and has not missed from attending at least one show each weekend. During the last segment, Pete came out to the front, along with Connie Smith, and did a special presentation that was greeted by a standing ovation from the sold-out Opry House. Well deserved!!

As far as the Opry this weekend, it's July 4th weekend and it will be business as usual at the Grand Ole Opry as the Opry will be presenting the usual Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

As far as the Friday Night Opry, a couple of the Opry's more popular members will be making appearances, Mel Tillis and The Oak Ridge Boys. In addition, The Isaacs and Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers will be making guest appearances.

In addition to his Friday night performance, Mel Tillis also be appearing on Saturday night, where he will be joined by Opry members Vince Gill and, hopefully making it, Stu Phillips. This Opry legend was scheduled early in the year and cancelled out. I really hope he can make it this weekend.

Guest artists on Saturday include Jonathan Jackson, from "Nashville" and the ever popular Chris Janson. Yes, Chris again!! And for this keeping track, this will be appearance #15.

Friday July 4
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mandy Barnett; Jean Shepard
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; The Isaacs
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers; Mel Tillis
8:45: Connie Smith (host); The Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday July 5
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Janelle Arthur; T.G. Sheppard
7:30: Connie Smith (host); George Hamilton IV; Jim Ed Brown; Danny Gokey
Intermission
8:15: Mel Tillis (host); Stu Phillips; Chris Janson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jonathan Jackson

A couple of pretty solid shows!!

And now, the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of July 3 & 4, 2009:

Friday July 3:
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds; Holly Williams
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; The Grascals
8:00: Mike Snider (host); The Vanderbilt Kennedy Music Camp; Jan Howard; Jack Greene
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Stonewall Jackson; John Conlee; Connie Smith

Saturday July 4:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Christy Sutherland
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; The Grascals
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Stonewall Jackson; Chris Young; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett; Jim Ed Brown w/The Browns

And from 10 years ago, the weekend of July 2 & 3, 2004:

Friday July 2:
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mandy Barnett
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jimmy Wayne
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ricky Van Shelton
9:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Dan Seals
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Kellie Coffey; T Graham Brown

Saturday July 3:
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); BeauSoleil; Lane Turner
7:30: John Conlee (host); Charlie Walker; Billy Walker; Emerson Drive
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Emerson Drive
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Lane Turner
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stu Phillips; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); BeauSoleil
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

Looking back at anniversary dates for Opry members, it was on Saturday July 3, 1993 (21 years ago), that Alison Krauss became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. When Alison joined the Opry, she was just 21 years old and was the first bluegrass artist to be added to the cast in 29 years. She had first appeared on the Opry in 1989 at the age of 17.

Alison is the most awarded female artist in the history of the Grammy Award and is a true legend in not only bluegrass music with Union Station, but has branched out into other areas of music and has recorded music with a host of folks. This summer she is on tour with Willie Nelson.

On the night she was inducted, Garth Brooks did the honors, although he did not perform during her segment. Here is the running order of the Opry from Saturday July 3, 1993, the night Alison Krauss became an Opry member.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Del Reeves (host); Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Del Reeves: Bad News

6:45: Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Going Down the Country
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Grandpa Jones: Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): I'll Be There
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band
Jeanne Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chunk of Coal
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/Statue of A Fool

7:30: Standard Candy
4 Guys (host): If It's Coming From the Country, It's Coming From the Heart
George Hamilton IV: Has Anyone Here Seen Hank
Mike Snider: Battle Cry of Freedom/Get Your Hand Off My Knee and Load the Cannon
Alison Krauss: Atlanta, I Hear You Calling/Big Mon
4 Guys: The Star Spangled Banner

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Comin'
Jean Shepard: Bouquet of Roses
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Margaret Smathers
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Goard
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
Skeeter Davis: Lovesick Blues
Ray Pillow: Someone Had to Teach You
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Roy Drusky: Son, Go Bring My Children Home
Hank Snow: I've Done at Least One Thing that Was Good In My Life

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues
Alison Krauss: (?)/Molly and Tenbrooks
Porter Wagoner: Wabash Cannonball/The Precious Jewel/Fireball Mail/Night Train to Memphis/The Great Speckled Bird/On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Ball-Headed End of the Broom
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Gloryland March
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
4 Guys (host): We're Only Here For A Little While
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

10:30: Piccadilly
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
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
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

10:45: Opry Book
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Charlie Walker: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sail Away Ladies
Jimmy C Newman; Cajun's Dream

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Justin Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Jack Greene: Walking on New Grass/Statue of A Fool
Hank Snow: The Prisoner's Song/Are You Lonesome Tonight

11:30: General Jackson
George Hamilton IV (host): This Land is Your Land
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore
Jan Howard: Wayfaring Stranger
Mike Snider: Bells of St. Marys
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

Congratulations to Alison and I really wish we would see her more at the Opry.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend and be safe over the holiday weekend!!!

Monday, June 30, 2014

July Opry Highlights

As we enter the month of July, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of July.

July 15, 1913: Cowboy Copas was born in Adams County, Ohio. Although he went by the name of Cowboy, and many thought he was from the West, his actual name was Lloyd Estel. Cowboy Copas joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 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 Opry from 1946 until the mid 1950s. They remained popular into the 1960s, when they divorced and the duo ended. Annie passed away in January 1982.

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers 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 Crook in June 1988. That covers a period of 62 years.

July 7, 1927: Charles Loudermilk, better known as Charlie Louvin, was born near Section, Alabama.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends in bluegrass music, Jesse recently celebrated 50 years as an Opry member and you will still find him at the Opry most weekends.

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

July 14, 1933: One of the great personalities in the history of the Opry, and in country music, Del Reeves, was born in Sparta, North Carolina.

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 Opry members. In the future, this would become controversial and would eventually lead to several acts quiting the Opry, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.

July 4, 1937: Grand Ole Opry member Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966, and although his appearances are down, he remains an Opry member today.

July 19, 1937: George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George has been an Opry member for 54 years and is known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music" for his world-wide travels to promote country. George continues to travel and still makes regular appearances at the Opry. In fact, even on the nights he does not perform, he is usually backstage giving tours to the fans. I might add that George is about the nicest man anyone could ever meet.

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would only stay for a few years as Opry people were not the type of crowd that they wanted at War Memorial. The Opry moved here 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 for the first time began to charge admission, which was 25 cents. War Memorial still is in use today and in fact, the Opry used it for a time after the flood in 2010.

July 6, 1940: "Miss Country Soul" Jeannie Seely was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Jeannie has been an Opry member since 1967 and even at the age of 74 can still belt out a good ballad. And she does a nice job hosting Opry segments.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield officially joined the cast of the 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. Whitey would remain on the Opry, just in another time slot. Rod remained an Opry member until he passed away in September 1958. Years later, Minnie Pearl would lead the effort to get him elected to the Hall of Fame. Rod was not only a gifted comedian but a fine actor who had a difficult personal life. One of his great movie 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 after he felt that the current Governor had made some poor comments regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy didn't really stand a chance of being elected and he lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that would listen to him sing and play but would leave once the political speeches started. Despite losing the election, Roy would remain a life long Republican and a friend to several Presidents.

July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would become a member in 1952 but was gone pretty quick. Lefty just said that it didn't work out and that the Opry just wasn't the dream he thought it would be.

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

July 9, 1952: Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. Their marriage only lasted several years but it did produce on daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smiht, better known to her fans as Carlene Carter. Carl would go on to marry country star Goldie Hill and June would eventually settle down with Johnny Cash. Both Carl and June would eventually leave the Opry.

July 18, 1954: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. It is hard to believe, but Ricky will be 60 years old. It seems like just a few short years ago, he along with Lorrie Morgan, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and Marty Stuart, were considered the future stars of the Opry.

July 28, 1956: Johnny Cash becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry, after making a guest appearance several weeks earlier. He would remain a member only until 1958 when he moved to California. Even though he gave up his Opry membership, Johnny would continue to perform on the Opry whenever he was in Nashville, and especially when June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965 that he kicked out the Opry stage lights and was told not to come back. He stayed away for a few years, but by the late 1960s, he was back, making occasional appearances. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff asked Johnny to become an Opry member again, but Johnny declined due to his heavy touring schedule.

July 24, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida. She is, of course, the daughter of Opry member Mel Tillis.

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 53rd year as an Opry member. Bill made his first guest appearance in 1958 and the Opry continued to invite him back. Ott Devine was the Opry manager that asked Bill to join the cast and this came after Ott saw Bill perform a concert in Panama City, Florida. Ott was impressed and told Bill to expect a call after he returned to Nashville.

July 18, 1964: Future Grand Ole Opry member Connie Smith makes her Opry debut. She would become an Opry member the following year.

July 31, 1964: Former Opry member Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash just outside Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he had given up his Opry membership, he was still a beloved figure around the Opry. Thanks to some forward thinking by Jim, there were many new recordings of Jim to enjoy for many years after his death.

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 accident were band members Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would return to the Opry stage in August. June decided to no longer tour with Roy.

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

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Although retired, this will be her 42nd year as an Opry member. Once in a while, you will still see Barbara visiting friends at the Opry.

July 21, 1973: Almost a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the cast of the Opry, Jeanne Pruett became an Opry member. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired. Last year, for her 40th anniversary as an Opry member, Jeanne did appear on stage and was recognized on her anniversary. Her last "official" Opry appearance was in 2001. Before becoming successful herself, she was a songwriter for Marty Robbins Enterprises and after joining the Opry, she would often appear on Marty's segments. She was the last singing artist to join the Opry prior to its move to the new Opry House.

July 7, 1975: Opry member George Morgan died in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. He had been an Opry member since 1948, and was brought to the show as a replacement for the departing Eddy Arnold. George did leave the Opry in 1956 to star in a television show, but returned in 1959. He had originally suffered a heart attack in May but had returned to the Opry in June, prior to leaving for open heart surgery. There were complications that led to his death. He would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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

July 5, 1980: John Conlee makes his Opry debut.

July 2, 1982: Former Opry member, and Hall of Famer, DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the Opry, but was fired by George D. Hay in 1941. There were various reasons and excuses given for the dismissal, but race would become a major issue in the discussion. He resisted many invitations to return to the Opry for guest appearances, but finally on February 23, 1974, he returned as part of the Opry's annual "Old-Timer's Night." Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl looked over DeFord and mad sure he was treated with the respect he deserved. Many said he was the highlight of the night and he performed "Pan American" and "Fox Chase." He would make several more appearances over the years, with the final one coming on April 3, 1982.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry and WSM radio 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, the Gaylords owned the television show "Hee Haw." Not only did they purchase the Opry and WSM, but they bought the entire Opry complex. The price was rumored to be between $250 and $300 million. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and would go from a privately held company to a public company. The focus of the company would also change from broadcasting and entertainment to resort and hotel management. The company is now known as Ryman Hospitalities.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell joined the cast of the Opry. Johnny would remain an Opry member until his death on July 3, 2001 after a long illness. Johnny was always funny, but he was a talented singer and songwriter. After joining the Opry, he would normally appear during the final segment of the 2nd show, trying to follow the pattern set by Marty Robbins. Having had the opportunity to meet Johnny and share lunch with him, I can tell you he was a great person to meet.

July 3, 1996: Alison Krauss becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 18th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined the Opry, she was the youngest member. Garth Brooks officially inducted her that night.

July 15, 2008: Future Grand Ole Opry member Darius Rucker makes his debut on the Opry, singing "Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

July 8, 2011: Little Jimmy Dickens makes a surprise appearance on the Opry stage while the Oak Ridge Boys are performing, to ask them if they would like to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course they accept.





Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/27 & 6/28

The Grand Ole Opry finishes up the month of June with 2 shows, both of which I am sure will be dedicated to Jimmy C Newman. I would expect Pete Fisher to do a nice tribute to Jimmy before Saturday's show. As an extra added attraction, Cajun Country, which was the name of Jimmy's back-up group is scheduled. So it would appear that the Opry is going to do a little tribute to Jimmy. It will be interesting to see who all appears as part of Cajun Country, as the membership has been greatly reduced over the years as Jimmy's touring days ended. At the very least, you would expect Bassyl Duhon to be there.

As far as the shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry will feature the annual performance by the ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers. This is always a special night for those young people. Also appearing on Friday will be guest artists Lee Greenwood, Mark Wills and Kim Richey, along with Opry members Joe Diffie and Larry Gatlin.

Larry will also be appearing on Saturday night, and he will be joined by guest artists Kree Harrison, Carolina Story, Exile and again, Mark Wills. Also scheduled on Saturday night is The Dave Rawlings Machine. It took me just a minute to realize that this is the same Dave Rawlings who toured and recorded for many years with Gillian Welch. In checking his website, I notice that Gillian is still part of his show. So while it will be the first Opry appearance for this group under that name, Dave is no stranger to the Opry stage.

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, Chris Janson is scheduled for Friday night. My count has this as his 15th Opry appearance for this year. Only 11 Opry members have appeared more often.

Friday June 27
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Joe Diffie; The Whites
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
Intermission
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Kim Richey; Lee Greenwood
8:45: John Conlee (host); Chris Janson; ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers

Saturday June 28
7:00: John Conlee (host); Cajun Country; Kree Harrison
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carolina Story; Exile
Intermission
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; The Dave Rawlings Machine

Looking back, here is the posted Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, June 26 and 27, 2009:

Friday June 26
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Mark Wills
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ray Pillow; John Anderson
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Tracy Byrd
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites

Saturday June 27
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; David Nail
8:00: Steve Wariner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Steve Wariner
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; David Nail; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

And, here is the Opry line-up from 10 years ago this weekend, June 25 & 26, 2004:

Friday June 25
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Robbie Fulks
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Dale Ann Bradley & Coon Creek; Rachel Proctor
8:30: Charlie Walker (host); Connie Smith; Steve Azar
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Monte Warden; Bubba Bechtol
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Billy Dean

Saturday June 26
1st show
6:30: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alecia Nugent; Steve Azar
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bubba Bechtol; David Ball
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jedd Hughes; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jedd Hughes
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); David Ball; Steve Azar
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alecia Nugent; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Bubba Bechtol
11:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Elizabeth Cook

Finally, it was Saturday June 28, 1975, 39 years ago this weekend that George Morgan made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Shortly after this appearance, he suffered a heart attack, that led to open heart surgery. There were complications and on July 7, he passed away.

This is what was written about George in the 1957 edition of WSM's Official Grand Ole Opry History-Picture Book:

"Ask anyone who possesses the 'sweetest' voice on the Grand Ole Opry.....and they'll say George Morgan! This 'sweetness' is an end result of the full, rich, resonance of his voice, the sincerity and feeling which George pours into every note, and his musical know-how gleamed from some formal training and much experience.

George was born in Waverly, Tennessee....but within a few years his family moved to Barberton, Ohio. It was here that he first sang over a local radio station. An offer from the Grand Ole Opry sent him to Nashville in 1948 where he wrote 'Candy Kisses'....recorded it and sold over two million copies. This early success established him as a Country Music star and Columbia Records signed him to a long term contract. More hits followed... such as 'Mansion Over the Hilltop.' 'Almost.' You Love Me Just Enough to Hurt Me' which he recorded with Rosemary Clooney, 'I think I'm Going to Cry.' 'I'm In Love Again'.....and of course his latest....'Little Dutch Girl' and 'You're The Only Good Thing.'

George's warm personality both on stage and off has won him millions of fans and he becomes a friend with everyone he meets. He is highly regarded by his fellow entertainers....and is often referred to as the 'Perry Como' of the Country and Western Field. He is married to the former Anna Peridon and they have five children, Candy Kay, Bethany Belle, Liana, Marty (named for one of George's closest friends, Marty Robbins) and Loretta."

Here is the running order from Saturday June 28, 1975:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Hallelujah, We Shall Rise/There's A Big Wheel

6:45: Rudy's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll, Muddy River
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby On My Mind
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Wilburn Brothers: Someone Before Me

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me On Sundays
Skeeter Davis: Wishful Thinking
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Stu Stevens: Five and Dimers
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Skeeter Davis: Midnight Blue
Narvel Felts: Drift Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jan Howard: Evil On Your Mind
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Johnny Carver: Country Lullaby

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields/Night Train to Memphis
Jeanne Pruett: Hold To My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move A Mountain/Satin Sheets
Kenny Price: Walking On New Grass
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Jeanne Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Kenny Price: Birds And Children Fly Away
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Before You
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Joe Douglas: Before The Next Teardrop Falls
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
George Morgan: From The Moment On
Lorrie Morgan: Smile For Me
Joe Douglas: Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Connie Smith: Dallas
Stu Stevens: Five and Dimers
Connie Smith: Down in the Vally
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Skeeter Davis: If You Love Me, Let Me Know/Midnight Blue
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

10:15: Union 76
Charlie Louvin (host): When You Have To Fly Alone
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jan Howard: You'll Never Know
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Family Man
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola
George Morgan (host): You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Marcelle Dotty: Saturday Night Shuffle
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Jeanne Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Sam McGee: Weary, Weary Blues
George Morgan: The Last Letter

11:30: Elm Hill
4 Guys (host): Down By The Lazy River
Kenny Price: She's Got That Easy Look/Sheriff of Boone County
Duke of Paducah: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
Joe Douglas: Linda On My Mind
4 Guys: Catfish John

There are a few interesting names that were scheduled that night including George's daughter Lorrie. You also had a guest appearance by the Duke of Paducah, in the final segment, along with Kenny Price, Leona Willians, Narvel Felts and Johnny Carver. And interesting that many of the Opry's "bigger" names were missing including Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Grandpa Jones, Lester Flatt, Bill Monroe, Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson and Marty Robbins, just to name a few.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jimmy C Newman

I know by now that the passing of Opry star Jimmy C Newman has been reported by many media outlets and on his Facebook page. Jimmy had a unique sound at the Opry that will be missed and probably never replaced. I had the honor, and yes I call it an honor, to meet Jimmy twice. The first time was about 20 years ago at Opryland during the Opry's birthday bash. He was kind enough to sign a birthday card for my wife and even asked a few questions about her. The second time was last year at the Opry. Again, very polite and a true gentleman.

Lots has been written about Jimmy and his career. Peter Cooper, of the Tennessean, wrote an excellent piece and I hope he doesn't mind if I use parts of it:

Jimmy Yves Newman, known to Grand Ole Opry fans as Jimmy C Newman, died June 21. He was 86 and suffered from cancer. For more than 50 years, Mr. Newman was a mainstay on the Opry, where he performed rollickling, Cajun-inflected songs such as "Alligator Man" and "Bayou Talk." He added the "C" to his name in the early 1960s, saying that it stood for "Cajun," and he took pride in his designation as the first Cajun artist to join the Opry. His first Top 10 country hit, "Cry, Cry, Darling," came 60 years ago, in the summer of 1954.

He was born in High Point, Louisiana, near Big Mamou, raised in a bilingual family with parents who delighted in the cowboy sounds of Gene Autrey and the country music of Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family. His father died when he was a teenager, and he left school after six years of education to wrok on a farm. During World War II, he worked in a defense plant as a welder's helper, and there he met an electrician and music aficionado named J.D. Miller. After Mr. Newman's recorded debut in 1946 for Modern Records, Miller determined to record Jimmy on his own Feature label. He did so, but without commercial success.

"I said to myself, I gotta write a hit song, he told author and music historian Colin Escott for the liner notes of a Bear Family album called 'Bop A Hula,' so I wrote 'Cry, Cry Darling.'" "Cry, Cry Darling was later recorded by Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Milsap and others. Jimmy's recording was his first national success.

In 1954 he joined the Louisiana Hayride, but after having five straight Top 10 records, he came to the Opry in 1956. In 1957, he notched his highest-charting record with "A Fallen Star," which reached #2 on the Billboard country charts and #23 on the pop chart.

He moved around various record labels and in 1961 he ended up on Decca records. In the 1960s he recorded 16 Top 40 country hits including 1963's "D.J. For A Day," which was the first country hit written by Tom Hall, who would later add a "T" to his name. Jimmy was also a partner in a publishing house, Newkeys Music, and in 1963 Tom T began writing for the company.

Jimmy also offered a boost to teenager Dolly Parton, allowing her to take part of his allotted "Friday Night Opry" stage time in 1959 so that she could make her debut on the show. He also helped Eddy Raven to a publishing deal in the 1970s and he gave a gleaming yellow stage suit to a scuffling young Marty Stuart so that Stuart could look like a bandleader. That suit was one of the first pieces in Marty's collection of country memorabilia, a collection that is now museum-quality.

In 1963, he recorded "Folk Songs of the Bayou Country," with fiddler Rufus Thibodeaux and accordionist Shorty LeBlanc, and he sung some of that album's lyrics in French. From that point on he took care to include Cajun music in his concerts and to hold high his Louisiana heritage. In 2009, he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame, an honor that followed by five years his induction into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Jimmy's last Top 10 country hits came in 1965 and 1966 with several Tom T songs, but he remained a formidable and popular presence on the Opry and on television. In 1991, his "Alligator Man" album received a Grammy nomination.

By all accounts, he knew how to hold success. Never a chart dynamo, he was a steadily entertaining personality for a majority of country music's commercial life and a spice of life for more than a half-century on the Opry. He was a devoted husband to Mae Newman: their marriage lasted for more than 60 years. He was a cultural ambassador for southeastern Louisiana, and a kind and gracious presence offstage. And he was a smiling engaging performer to the end. His final Opry performance came on Friday June 6.

A public service will be held Wednesday June 25 at the Ryman Auditorium at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a private visitation and memorial service for close friends and family. Contributions may be made to the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.

I can really add much to what Peter wrote except for say that it is always sad when another Opry legend has passed away and even more so with Jimmy C Newman. He was a devoted Opry member for almost 58 years and he always brought excitement and spunk to the show.

He will be missed and my thoughts and prayers go to his family.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 6/20 & 6/21

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend and I am almost to the point of asking the question, "are The Willis Clan the newest members of the Opry?" No, they are not, but it sure seems like they are on the schedule a lot. I am sure all have noticed that over the years, the Opry seems to settle on a group of non-members that they will put on the schedule pretty much on a regular basis. Over the past few years, Mandy Barnett and Jimmy Wayne were a couple of the favorites, and now it seems that Chris Janson and The Willis Clan are the ones that they go to.

As you can guess from the above comments, The Willis Clan are scheduled for both shows this weekend. Joining them on the Friday Night Opry will be The Steeldrives, who I personally enjoy, The Isaacs, Collin Raye, and a name from the recent past, Bryan White. Also scheduled, and making his Opry debut, is Mo Pitney.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, in addition to The Willis Clan, has a return appearance by Mary Gauthier booked. Also featured is Opry member Steve Wariner. And, while not on the schedule, there is the usual slot saved for Jimmy Dickens.

Friday June 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Steeldrivers; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bryan White; The Isaacs
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mo Pitney
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Collin Raye; The Willis Clan

Saturday June 21
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Greg Bates
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mary Gauthier
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Lucy Hale; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); The Whites; The Willis Clan

And no, I do not dislike The Willis Clan. I have seen them on the Opry previously and they are a talented family. And they are promoting a television show.

As is the custom, here is the posted Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, June 19 & 20, 2009:

Friday June 19
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Emily West
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Tracy Byrd
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith
8:30: Vince Gill (host); John Conlee; Alison Krauss

Saturday June 20
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Hal Ketchum; Point Of Grace
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jim Ed Brown; Sammy Johns; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Alison Krauss; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Mike Snider; Point Of Grace
10:30: John Conlee (host); Hal Ketchum; Sammy Johns; Orpy Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Alison Krauss; The Whites

And now from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 18 & 19, 2004:

Friday June 18
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; BR549
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Christy Sutherland; Stonewall Jackson; Alecia Nugent
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); TG Sheppard; Billy Currington
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Mandy Barnett
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Gail Davies; Joe Nichols

Saturday June 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Eddy Raven
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Chely Wright
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Alecia Nugent
8:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Riders In The Sky; Jon Randall; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Radney Foster

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Chely Wright
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Radney Foster
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Stu Phillips; Eddy Raven; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Alecia Nugent
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Nagatani; Jon Randall

There are a couple of shows that I did want to mention. One took place on Friday June 20, 1980. That was the night Boxcar Willie made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. The story about Boxcar has been told many times but how he got to Nashville and the Opry is thanks to Wesley Rose, who alerted Roy Acuff. Wesley saw Boxcar at the Wembley Festival in England and he asked Boxcar, "Would you like to be on the Opry?" Boxcar told Wesley that he had been trying to get on the Opry for forty years, of which Wesley told him that when he got back to Nashville, to see him and he would introduce Boxcar to Roy Acuff. The introduction took place, along with an interview and as a result, Boxcar Willie got his guest slot on the Opry. Thanks to that appearance, and the influence of Roy Acuff, Boxcar Willie joined the Opry on February 21, 1981. Here is the line-up from Friday June 20, 1980, the night that Boxcar Willie made his Opry debut.

1st show
6:30: Roy Drusky (host); Justin Tubb; Ernie Ashworth; Connie Smith; Lonzo & Oscar; Little General Cloggers
7:00: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Wood
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Stu Phillips; Charlie Daniels
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host) David Houston; Ray Pillow; Wilburn Brothers; Little General Cloggers
8:30: Charlie Walker (host); Four Guys; Bill Carlisle; Stonewall Jackson; Vic Willis Trio

2nd show
9:30: Billy Walker (host); Four Guys; Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Wood
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Lonzo & Oscar; Boxcar Willie; Little General Cloggers
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Ernie Ashworth
11:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); Stu Phillips; Justin Tubb
11:30: David Houston (host); Bill Carlisle; Vic Willis Trio; Ray Pillow

Another solid night at the Opry.

The last line-up to post is from Saturday June 19, 1982, as it was 32 years ago this Saturday night that Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The Riders were a trio that consisted of Doug Green, Woody Paul and Too Slim (Fred LaBour), and that brought the songs of the west back to the Opry. They also added a touch of humor to the show.

Doug Green, who wrote the book, "Country Roots: The Origins of Country Music", offered these thoughts on joining the Opry. "It beats me. It just comes so loaded with tradition and emotion and feeling for anybody who cares the least little bit about country music. The first time we were on it was just a magical experience. We guested on the Opry twenty-five times and then they made us members in June of '82, and it's still a magical experience. It's still really wonderful. I'm not as scared as I used to be, but you just feel like you're part of this continuous line of tradition."

Woody Paul had his own thoughts: "I remember when we joined we had been playing a lot on the road. We played in Texas at noon and they chartered a plane and flew us to Fort Worth to get a plane to come be here our first night as members of the Opry. When we walked in at seven o'clock, Hal Durham said, 'Welcome home.' He was sincere about it and suddenly we were just part of this great family."

Not only have the Riders been members of the Opry for 32 years, but they have been great members. Even with the touring and movie soundtracks, they have been very loyal members of the cast and have always made time for the Opry. They are great hosts and add a lot of humor to the show, besides being fine musicians.

Here is the running order from Saturday June 19, 1982, the night Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me and You and A Dog Named Boo
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel Was Born/Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Jack Leonard: Back On My Mind Again
Ernest Tubb: Rainbow at Midnight

7:30: Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jean Shepard: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You/Slipping Away
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls and A Ceiling/What'll I Do With the Baby'O

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Lonzo & Oscar: All the Gold in California
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Connie Smith: I Just Had You On My Mind/Once A Day
Roy Acuff: Stream Line Cannonball

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
4 Guys: I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it to Me Again
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Hank Snow: I Have You and That's Enough For Me

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): Have You Ever Been Lonely
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Del Wood: Just Because/Bill Bailey/Beer Barrel Polka
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'/Ol' Chunck of Coal
Jack Leonard: Lone Star Beer and Bob Wills Music
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): The Banjo Is the Instrument for Me
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late/Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: There's A Grave in the Waves of the Ocean

10:15 Sunbeam
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Jack Greene: Your's For the Taking

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Down in Union County
Riders In The Sky: (?)/Turkey in the Straw/Chicken Reel/Devil's Dream
Roy Acuff: In The Center of the Grand Ole Stage/I Saw the Light

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Connie Smith: Lovin' You Baby
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Right or Wrong
Jean Shepard: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Wilburn Brothers: Release Me
Eldridge Brothers/Lonzo & Oscar: Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

11:30: Bama
4 Guys (host): I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink of Me
Sheila & Bill Carlisle, Jr: In the Pines
Ray Pillow: All You Have to Do Is Come Back Home/Remember Me
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

Congratulations again to the Riders In The Sky, and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!