Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 5/14 & 5/15

It will be a big week at the Grand Ole Opry as the Opry has announced that beginning with the Friday Night Opry on May 14, the Opry will once again operate at 100% capacity for the first time since March 2020. It is a big step forward as Nashville has fully opened up and has removed all capacity limits on concert venues and the Opry didn't waste anytime. Hopefully it is the right move and everyone continues to be safe. 

Looking at the schedule for this weekend, there are a couple of names on the schedule that stand out. First, Grand Ole Opry member Lorrie Morgan will be making her first Opry appearances in 2021 as she is scheduled for both shows this weekend. Nice to see Lorrie back at the Opry and she is also scheduled for the televised segment on Saturday night. Joining Lorrie on the Circle broadcast will be one of the newest Opry members, Lady A. 

What is interesting is both Lady A and Rhonda Vincent became Opry members earlier this year. For Lady A, this will be their first appearance since becoming members during the 95th anniversary special. On the other hand, Rhonda Vincent, who is also on the schedule for Saturday night, will be making her 8th appearance since joining the cast. Why is it that I am not surprised at Rhonda fully supporting the Opry while Lady A seems not fully committed? I think many of us expected that. 

Besides Lorrie and Lady A, Grand Ole Opry members Riders In The Sky are scheduled for both nights, and they will be joined on Friday night by the Oak Ridge Boys, and as noted above, Rhonda Vincent on Saturday night. 

There are a couple of artists making their Opry debut this weekend as Brittney Spencer is on the schedule for Friday and Ryan Hurd is set for Saturday. Comedian Aaron Weber is listed for both nights, while Michael Ray and Charles Esten round out the line-up on Friday and frequent Opry guest Mandy Barnett is set for Saturday night. 

Friday May 14
7:00: Lorrie Morgan; Michael Ray
7:30: Riders In The Sky; Brittany Spencer
8:00: Aaron Weber; Charles Esten
8:30: Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday May 15
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Riders In The Sky; Mandy Barnett; Rhonda Vincent; Aaron Weber
8:00: Lorrie Morgan; Ryan Hurd; Lady A

One name missing is missing this weekend. Opry regular Jeannie Seely, who has been appearing most every week in 2021 is on the road this weekend. 

Let's take a look at the two artists making their Opry debuts this weekend: 

Brittney Spencer is a singer-songwriter with a free spirit and a love for molding life, truth and wild imagination into songs. Her love for storytelling drove the Baltimore native to Nashville in 2013 with dreams of singing and writing country music. She’s since toured and performed as a background singer for such artists as Carrie Underwood & Christopher Cross all while establishing herself as a songwriter in Music City.

In late 2020 Spencer began her ascent to stardom with the release of her debut EP which garnered rave reviews from the likes of Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, Billboard and American Songwriter. Morris even went so far as to name check Spencer as an artist to watch during her 2020 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year acceptance speech. Brittney is now part of CMT’s Next Women of Country class of 2021 and was named an Artist to Watch in 2021 by Spotify and Pandora.

Meanwhile, Ryan Hurd has been balancing Arista Nashville recording career with a songwriting portfolio that includes hits by Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton, Lady A, Diplo and more.

With nearly 400 million career streams, Ryan Hurd has the attention of entertainment tastemakers including Esquire, GQ, Maxim, American Songwriter, Billboard, People, NBC’s “TODAY,” “CBS This Morning” and more. Following the success of his Platinum-certified Top 20 “To A T,” Hurd continues his hit-producing path with “Chasing After You,” his first official duet with wife Maren Morris, which became country radio’s most-added song its impact week in March. Hurd and Morris performed for the first time on national television on the “56th ACM Awards” on CBS.

With the collections Ryan Hurd (April 2017), Panorama (re-issued July 2019), Platonic (September 2019) and EOM (June 2020), Hurd has created a body of work that is vivid, reflective, and laden with lyrics that are cinematic, scene-setting images that transport and deliver a genuine vulnerability capped by irresistible melodies.

In a songwriting room in 2013, Hurd met Maren Morris, his musical muse, now wife and, as of March 2020, mother of their son Hayes Andrew Hurd. They wrote a Tim McGraw song, “Last Turn Home,” that marked her first writing credit for a major artist, and their professional friendship soon blossomed into a romance. Hurd then recorded Panorama handing out 500 copies to ticket holders who came out to see a concert he did with Morris and fellow Nashvillian Ryan Beavers. The show, and the disc, made an impact. He got a manager, a booking agent, and soon picked up his recording deal with Sony Music Nashville. Hurd turned to Eshuis – who’s produced Scotty McCreery and written songs for Cole Swindell and Kid Rock – as his producer.

Performing live has been a natural extension of that progression. Hurd first hit the road in 2017 with Thomas Rhett and Florida Georgia Line, helping to build his fan base and his comfort as a solo artist – rather than a member of the band. He took most of 2018 off the road, but the two shows he did play put him in a more stripped-down setting. He realized that his best form of expression relied less on big-personality entertainment and more on simple relationship with the audience.

In early 2020, Hurd headlined his Platonic Tour, wowing crowds with a sold-out stop in Nashville (Cannery Ballroom), two sold-out nights in Chicago (Joe’s on Weed Street), and a two-night capacity stand in New York City (Gramercy Theatre).

From 50 years ago, Saturday May 15, 1971:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Bill Carlisle; Del Wood
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton; Hank Locklin; Stringbean
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Skeeter Davis; Willis Brothers; Crook Brothers; Tom T. Hall
8:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Charlie Walker; Kenny Price; Jim and Jesse; Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Glaser Brothers; Marion Worth; Justin Tubb; The 4 Guys; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); Willis Brothers; Jan Howard; Bill Carlisle
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton; Del Wood
10:15: Billy Walker (host); Skeeter Davis; Stringbean
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Hank Locklin; Charlie Walker
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Tom T. Hall; Kenny Price; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jim and Jesse; Jimmy C Newman; Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Glaser Brothers (host); Marion Worth; The 4 Guys; Justin Tubb

Taking a look back, it was 39 years ago, Saturday May 15, 1982 that Ricky Skaggs became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I think all of us know how much Ricky has contributed to the Opry over the years and he has brought much to the show. Before Covid, Ricky performed on the Opry on a regular basis and I am sure he will be back for many more appearances as the Opry continues to open up to more performers and more fans. 

Here is the running order from May 15, 1982, the night Ricky Skaggs joined the cast of the Opry: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jack Greene (host): I Need Somebody Bad Night
Boxcar Willie: Train Melody
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure

6:45: Rudy's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Jeannie Seely: I', Almost Ready
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo

7:00: Shoney's
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Jim and Jesse: Then I'll Stop Going for You
Charlie Louvin: The House on the Hill
Connie Smith: I Just Had You on My Mind
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
Archie Campbell: Comedy

7:30: Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host): Driving Nails in My Coffin
Jean Shepard: America, Tighten Up Your Belts
Billy Walker: Welcome Back to My Heart
Ricky Skaggs: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You/Blue Moon of Kentucky
Crook Brothers and The Tennessee Travelers: Lafayette
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host); Wabash Cannonball
Jimmy C Newman: (?)
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Tennessee Ernie Ford: Get a Little Dirt on Your Hands/Sixteen Tons
Roy Acuff and Tennessee Ernie Ford: I'll Fly Away

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Paper Roses
The 4 Guys: It's High Time to Get Back on My Feet
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart
Wilburn Brothers: What You Think if Fair
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sugar Tree Stomp
Hank Snow: I Keep Dreaming of You All the Time

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): The Women Make a Fool Out of Me
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Ricky Skaggs: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Boxcar Willie: Train Melody
Ernest Tubb: Journey's End

10:00: Little Debbie
Billy Walker (host): Welcome Back to My Heart
Ray Pillow: My Love Belongs to You
Vic Willis Trio: Faded Love
Billy Walker: Behind Closed Doors

10:15: Sunbeam
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Jeannie Seely: You Don't Need Me, But You Will
Archie Campbell: Comedy

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Billy Grammer: The Prisoner's Song
Connie Smith: Once A Day/Sing, Sing, Sing

10:45: Beechnut
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jean Shepard: America, Tighten Up Your Belt
Crook Brothers and The Tennessee Travelers: Arkansas Traveler
Cajun Country: Cajun Stripper

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): From A Jack to A King
Charlie Walker: T For Texas
Justin Tubb: Travelin' Singing Man
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin Hen
Jan Howard: Beneath Still Waters
Kirk McGee: Victory Rag/Freight Train
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

11:30: Bama
Marty Robbins (host): Ribbon of Darkness
The 4 Guys: Maria, The Dawn is Breaking
Roy Drusky: There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You for Me
Wilburn Brothers: What You Think is Fair
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Cool Water/That's All Right/18 Yellow Roses/I Don't Know Why/Devil Woman/Begging to You/Jumper Cable Man/Return to Me/Beyond the Reef/Good Hearted Woman/El Paso

It is safe to say that Marty was in a singing mood that night as he didn't finish until 12:45. Of other note, B.J. Thomas was scheduled for both shows but cancelled, and Tennessee Ernie Ford performed on the first show, on the Martha White segment. As I have written before, Ernie was friends with the owners of Martha White flour and had an open invitation to appear on the Martha White segment of the Opry whenever he was in Nashville. Over the coarse of his career, he would make a few of those appearances. 

One final thought: I was hoping with the Opry going back to full capacity, we would see more artists on the schedule and maybe a return to the traditional Opry format of a segment host introducing the acts. Not so this week as there are just seven listed for each show, with just three on the televised segment. And speaking of the televised portion of the Opry, from what I have learned, it will continue at least through the spring and summer. I know when Circle originally was showing the Opry, it was taped and edited for a future broadcast. When Covid hit and the Opry went to no audience, Circle started to show the Opry live. Looks like that will continue for now which means Saturday night's show will probably be in these two segments for the foreseeable future.  

There you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Tuesday Night Opry 5/11

 Here is a look at the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 11: 

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Chuck Mead; Andrew Ripp; Steve Wariner
8:00: Brooke Eden; Keb' Mo'; Old Crow Medicine Show

Old Crow Medicine Show and Keb' Mo' have been working on a joint project which I am sure will be featured on the Tuesday night show. 

For Andrew Ripp, this will be his Opry debut.

Andrew Ripp returns to his fans with Evergreen (featuring Billboard #1 single “Jericho” & latest radio single “Rejoice”) – the anticipated full length album set to follow up to The Heart & The Soul (featuring “God Knows”). 

Based in Nashville, TN, Ripp creates music that pushes the boundaries of genre stereotypes, blending the energetic beats of pop music with a tinge of soul – all underlined by his personal journey of faith. In addition to his breakout single “Jericho” reaching #1 on Billboard Christian Airplay Chart he also co-wrote the Grammy-nominated song, “Rescue Story” for artist Zach Williams. 

As a touring artist, Ripp has opened for Sara Bareilles, Andy Grammer, Jon Foreman, and Plain White T’s, among others. He has performed on TV shows including ABC’s Bachelor in Paradise and Entertainment Tonight and his songs have been featured on American Idol, House of Lies, One Tree Hill, Live to Dance and Vampire Diaries and more. 

Ripp celebrated his 12-year sober anniversary this past January and the arrival of his adopted daughter in November 2018. His newest single, “Rejoice”, inspires relentless pursuit of Joy & Hope no matter what the circumstances say. “I’m gonna sing either way it goes.. there’s a better day coming I know!”. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 5/7 & 5/8

Looking at the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this week, I notice Steve Wariner is scheduled for Saturday night. Why is that important? Well, it was 25 years ago, Saturday May 11, 1996 that this outstanding guitar picker and singer became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. I am hopeful that during the televised segment, which Steve is scheduled to close out, that special mention will be made of Steve's Opry anniversary. 

Another item of note this week is in regards to the number of artists scheduled. While the Friday Night Opry will offer a full show of 8 acts during the two hour show, Saturday's show has 10 artists scheduled, which will be the most acts on the Opry stage since March 2020, well over a year ago. With Bill Anderson writing in his newsletter that artists are allowed to have their band members back at the Opry, I expect we will be seeing more of the missing Opry members, along with more artists scheduled for each show. I think we are all hoping that the Opry will get back to its traditional format of defined segments and hosts relatively soon. 

So looking at this week, Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely is scheduled for both nights. Joining her on Friday night will be Opry member Del McCoury, who will be making his first Opry appearance of 2021, while, as mentioned above, Steve Wariner will be joining Jeannie on Saturday night. 

Hall of Fame songwriter Don Schlitz is back again on Friday night. Don has been outstanding in his recent Opry appearances and it is nice to hear the audience singing along to his classic hit songs. Also guesting on Friday night will be John Berry, Shawn Camp and Lauren Mascitti, Jon Crist, The McCrary Sisters and Dallas Wayne. 

In addition to Steve Wariner, the Circle televised segment will feature Russell Dickerson, Chris Lane, Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser. Guesting on the non-televised portion of the show will be Wendy Moten and Tommy Emmanuel, who will be appearing with Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. 

Do you know what is missing this week? There is no comedian on the schedule!!

Friday May 7

7:00: Jeannie Seely; John Berry
7:30: Don Schlitz; Shawn Camp and Lauren Mascitti
8:00: Dallas Wayne; John Crist
8:30: The McCrary Sisters; Del McCoury Band

Saturday May 8

7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; Wendy Moten; Tommy Emmanual w/Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
8:00: Russell Dickerson; Chris Lane; Jamey Johnson and Randy Houser; Steve Wariner

(Mark Wills was on the original schedule for Friday and Saturday night but has cancelled out)

Lauren Mascitti is on the schedule for Friday night and I wanted to highlight her as she is from Louisville, Ohio, which is about 10 minutes from my house, and who has been featured in the local media and around Canton. (and no, I have never met Lauren). 

Lauren Mascitti is a country music singer/songwriter, guitarist, pianist, and mandolin player from Louisville, OH. Raised by her grandparents, she has been singing since the age of 7 and writing since she was old enough to make up jingles on her toy tape recorder.

After graduating with her Registered Nurse degree, Lauren moved to Nashville after spending most of her summers there doing songwriter showcases at different venues throughout Nashville. She has had the privilege of writing and/or performing with some of Nashville’s greatest talents, such as ‪Larry Gatlin‬, ‪Pam Tillis‬, Shawn Camp, ‪Matraca Berg‬, Wil Nance, ‪Mo Pitney‬, Pat McLaughlin, Big ‪Al Anderson‬, ‪Delbert McClinton‬, ‪Gary Nicholson‬, Bobby Tomberlin, Bill Whyte, and many more. Since she started singing and recording at the age of 7, Lauren has recorded 9 records, most of which are available on iTunes, CD Baby, and other music download sites. ‬‬‬

Lauren just finished a brand new record in Nashville, produced by her fiancĂ© and Grammy award-winning singer/songwriter and producer, Shawn Camp. Look for Lauren’s newest single and music video to be released later this year.

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday May 8, 1971: 

1st show
6:30: Osborne Brothers (host); Stringbean
6:45: Stu Phillips (host); Leroy Van Dyke
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); George Morgan; Charlie Walker
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Willis Brothers; Crook Brothers; Connie Smith
8:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Dottie West; Archie Campbell; The 4 Guys; 
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Bobby Bare; Bill Carlisle; Marion Worth; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Osborne Brothers (host); Willis Brothers; Stringbean; Bill Carlisle
10:00: Archie Campbell (host); Lorene Mann; Bobby Bare; Stu Phillips
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); George Morgan
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith
10:45: Charlie Walker (host); Dottie West; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Ernie Ashworth; Leroy Van Dyke; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Mario Worth; The 4 Guys

A bit of a rough night at the Opry as Justin Tubb, Jean Shepard and Jimmy C Newman cancelled, while Ernest Tubb only did the first show and Ernie Ashworth the second.

Finally, looking back 45 years to Saturday May 8, 1976 as this was the night in which George Hamilton IV rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Here is the running order from that night: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Jim and Jesse: Paradise
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Justin Tubb: Cold Brown Bottle
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Billy Grammer: That's Life
Lonzo and Oscar: I'm Moving On #2
Jimmy Gately: The Angel of the Bar Room
Bill Anderson and Mary Lou Turner: That's What Made Me Love You
Bill Anderson: Mama Sang a Song

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): On a Highway Headed South
Don Gibson: I Can't Stop Loving You
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain/Abilene
Brother Oswald: Nobody's Business
Crook Brothers and The Tennessee Travelers: Chicken Reel
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/The Carroll County Accident/The Last One to Touch Me/Green, Green Grass of Home

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Grandpa Jones: Little Pink
Jeannie Seely: Who Needs You
Osborne Brothers: Smokey Mountain Smoke
Hank Locklin: These Arms You Push Away
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Grandpa Jones: Dark As a Dungeon
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Hello Love
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
Jimmy C Newman: Shrimp Boats
The 4 Guys: Turn Around; Look at Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow: My Mother

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jack Greene (host): I Need Somebody Bad Tonight
Willis Brothers: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Jeannie Seely: Mama Never Told Me About Cowboys
Lonzo and Oscar: Divorce #2
Webb Pierce and Carol Channing: Back Street Affair
Webb Pierce, Carol Channing, Jimmy C Newman and Hank Locklin: You Are My Sunshine
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee
Jack Greene and Jeannie Seely: Somebody Touched Me

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Thanks/But You Know I Love You/Wild Weekend
Jim and Jesse: Freight Train
Jimmy Dickens: Mountain Dew
Bill Anderson and Mary Lou Turner: Sometimes

10:15: Union 76
Porter Wagoner (host): On a Highway Headed South
Billy Grammer: That's Life
Wilma Lee Cooper: Give Me the Roses While I Love
Porter Wagoner: Way Down Deep in Love

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Baptism of Jesse Taylor
Don Gibson: Doin' My Time
The 4 Guys: Don't it Make You Want to Go Home
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae

10:45: Beechnut
Osborne Brothers (host): Rocky Top
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Crook Brothers and The Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Osborne Brothers: Smokey Mountain Smoke

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Wreck of the Old 97/One More Ride
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Jimmy C Newman: Shrimp Boat
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
George Hamilton IV: Country Music in My Soul
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye

11:30: Elm Hill
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets/Count Me Out
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Brother Oswald: The End of the World
Wilburn Brothers: Metals for Mothers

Well, that was certainly an interesting night at the Opry as Webb Pierce and Carol Channing stopped in for the 2nd show that night. Webb and Carol had been working on a country album together. Also appearing that night was Opry member Don Gibson. And Hank Snow and the Wilburn Brothers both ended their segments with a song dedicated to mothers as the following day was Mother's Day. 

Now back to George Hamilton, who originally joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry on February 6, 1960. In 1971 he left Nashville and the Opry, moving back to his native North Carolina. By the time he had returned to the Opry, he had cemented his reputation as country music's "International Ambassador," as he traveled the globe becoming the first country music artist to perform in Russia and other Eastern European countries. 

George loved the Grand Ole Opry and as he said, "It's been a real honor to have been associated with the Opry for this period of time," he said in an official biography. "It's been my musical homeplace which I first started visiting as a teenager. Back then, I would regularly catch a Greyhound bus from North Carolina and dream of performing on the Opry."

Once he returned, George remained an Opry member until passing away on September 17, 2014 at the age of 77. Not only was George a great country/folk singer, but he was about the nicest man I ever met. George did so much for country music that I have been somewhat surprised that his name has not come up over the years in regards to the Hall of Fame. He really was an ambassador. 

That covers it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 

Monday, May 3, 2021

Tuesday Night Opry 5/4

 Here is the line-up for the May 4th Tuesday Night Opry: 

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Filmore; Dom Flemons; Lainey Wilson
8:00: Frontmen of Country; Henry Cho; The Isaacs

The Frontmen of Country consists of Larry Stewart of Restless Heart, Tim Rushlow, formally of Little Texas, and Richie McDonald of Lonestar. I would say that is a pretty solid group. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

May Opry Highlights

Welcome to the month of May, the month where many of us see spring at the beginning of the month and summer by the end. As usual, May is a busy month at the Grand Ole Opry and here are the important and historical events that have taken place during the month involving the Opry or its members:

May 1, 1894: One of the Opry's original members, Sam McGee was born. Sam first appeared on the WSM Barn Dance in 1926. Over the years, Sam would appear with his brother Kirk, and as part of the Dixieliners and Fruit Jar Drinkers. Sam passed away in August 1975, following a tractor accident on his farm near Nashville.

May 12, 1901: The Duke of Paducah, Benjamin Francis Ford, was born in DeSoto, Missouri. This fine comedian joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1942, and remained a member of the Opry until 1959. Even though he gave up his Opry membership to move on to other opportunities, the Duke would continue to return for guest appearances, especially during the Opry's annual reunion shows. Benjamin Ford passed away in 1986, the same year that he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 30, 1909: Lewis Crook, a member of the Crook Brothers, was born, While not an original member of the group, he performed with Herman Crook and the others, primarily backing up the square dancers. After Herman passed away, Lewis continued on at the Opry as part of the newly named Opry Square Dance Band. Lewis, who was a part of the Opry for over 60 years, passed away in 1997.

May 17, 1912: Grand Ole Opry and WSM announcer Grant Turner was born. Grant joined the staff of WSM on D-Day, June 6, 1944. While the Opry has had many legendary announcers over the years, Grant is considered the Opry's best, so much so that he was called "The Dean of the Opry's Announcers." Grant remained an Opry announcer until his death on October 19, 1991, just hours after finishing his work on the Friday Night Opry. Grant, who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was with WSM for 47 years.

May 30, 1912: Alcyone Bate Beasley was born. Alcyone was there when it all started in November 1925, performing with her father's group, Dr. Humphrey Bate and His Possum Hunters. After his death in 1936, Alcyone worked to keep the Possum Hunters together, but it was a struggle as the Opry moved to a more professional and modern sound. By the 1960s, the Possum Hunters had been merged with the Crook Brothers. In the 1970s, after over 45 years on the Opry, Alcyone went into semi-retirement, after which she became a fixture at the Opry's annual reunion shows. She passed away in October 1982.

May 9, 1914: The legendary Singing Ranger, Hank Snow was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Hank joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1950 and would remain one of the Opry's biggest stars until his death in December 1999, just weeks short of his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In 1979, Hank was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 1, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon joined the cast of the WSM Barn Dance. Uncle Dave was considered the first professional musician to join the cast of the Barn Dance, and he would remain with the show until his death in March 1952. Uncle Dave was a popular Opry member, who always considered himself just a plain old country boy. In 1966, he was one of the early members to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 8, 1926: Obed Pickard, the first singing star of the Grand Ole Opry, made his debut on the WSM radio show. Certainly one of the forgotten names in the history of the Opry. 

May 7, 1927: Fiddler Paul Warmack made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, months before he introduces his group The Gully Jumpers to the show. The Gully Jumpers would spend the next several decades as the Opry as part of the rotation of the string bands. 

May 1, 1928: Former Grand Ole Opry member, James Hugh Loden was born. Better known as Sonny James, the Southern Gentleman, he was an Opry member for a few years in the 1960s. A true country legend, Sonny is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 26, 1934: Fiddler Theron Hale made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, where he had performed regularly for eight years. As with so many of the Opry's early members, he didn't stay too long. 

May 25, 1936: Grand Ole Opry member Tom T Hall was born. Much like Abe Lincoln. Tom T was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tom T originally joined the Opry on January 1, 1971. He left the Opry in 1974, after the show moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. In 1980, he returned as an Opry member. At the age of 85, Tom T is now retired and from a recent picture, is looking good. 

May 31, 1938: Donald Lytle was born in Greenfield, Ohio. Early in his career, he decided upon the name Johnny Paycheck and spent the early part of his career as a band member for Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and Faron Young. Once he became a star in his own right, Johnny became one of the first to be considered a country "outlaw." He experienced some pretty serious issues in his life and spent some time in prison. However in 1997, thanks to some help from his friend Johnny Russell, he was asked to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Sadly, just a few years after becoming an Opry member, his health declined and his performing career ended. Johnny passed away in February 2003.

May 6, 1939: Obed Pickard and The Pickard Family performed on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time at Nashville's Dixie Tabernacle.

May 2, 1948: Grand Ole Opry member Larry Gatlin was born. Along with his brothers Steve and Rudy, Larry joined the cast of the Opry on Christmas Day 1976. In recent years, Larry has been performing pretty regularly at the Opry and has become the primary host of Opry Country Classics, which takes place at the Ryman Auditorium during the Spring and Fall months.

May 29, 1950: Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters, which consisted of Anita, Helen and June, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. When the Carters joined the cast, they also brought along Chet Atkins as their guitar player. For Chet, it was a return to the show as he had originally appeared on the show in the 1940s with Red Foley. While the Carter Sisters would come and go, Mother Maybelle remained with the Opry until the late 1960s. Later in her career, and similar to the experience of other veteran Opry members such as Sam and Kirk McGee, she would complain to the Opry's management about her poorly timed spots and a general lack of respect. When she finally did decide to leave the Opry, it was to become a permanent member of Johnny Cash's road show.

May 16, 1953: Jimmy Dean made his Grand Ole Opry debut, introduced that night by Opry member Carl Smith. While never becoming an Opry member, Jimmy would make occasional Opry appearances throughout his career, including on the night that Jimmy Dickens was honored on his 50th anniversary as an Opry member.

May 23, 1953: Singing "Mexican Joe" future Grand Ole Opry member Jim Reeves made his Opry debut.

May 1, 1954: Comedian Andy Griffith made his Grand Ole Opry debut. While he was not a regular on th Opry, he would made a few appearances over the years and was always well received. 

May 21, 1955: While several dates are listed, it would appear that this was the date that Opry member Webb Pierce quit the Opry. He was an Opry member for just three years, but over that time he realized  pretty fast how much money he was losing by not being out on the road on Saturday nights. In addition to his Hall of Fame career, Webb was also involved in the music publishing business. Even though Webb gave up his Opry membership, he would continue to make guest appearances on the show up until he passed away.

May 11, 1957: Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. They, along with a few others, were brought in as part of a youth movement in an attempt to capture the younger crowd who were not coming to the Opry. They were with the Opry for only a year before moving on. In 2001, they were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 18, 1957: Just weeks after the Everly Brothers, Rusty and Doug Kershaw made their Opry debut. While the Everly Brothers left fairly soon after joining, the Kershaw boys would stay around for a few years.

May 28, 1957: The Louvin Brothers formally resign from the Grand Ole Opry to join The Wheeling Jamboree in West Virginia. When they discover they won't receive as much pay as they expected at The Jamboree, they decide several weeks later to return to the Opry. 

May 20, 1958: Don Gibson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. A fantastic songwriter, Don was an Opry member until December 1964, when he was fired from the cast for not making the required number of Opry appearances. Several years later, Don rejoined the Opry after the attendance requirements were lowered. Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, Don remained an Opry member until his death in 2003 after a period of declining health.

May 4, 1959: Grand Ole Opry member Randy Travis was born in Marshville, North Carolina. Randy joined the cast of the Opry in December 1986. Due to some serious health issues, including a stroke, Randy is no longer able to perform, however he does come around and visits the Opry on occasion.

May 1, 1960: The WLS National Barn Dance, one of the Opry's early competitors, came to an end as WLS in Chicago changed formats. The Barn Dance originally started on April 19, 1924, a year prior to the start of the Opry.

May 5, 1962: Future Grand Ole Opry member Marion Worth made her first guest appearance on the Opry. Marion would join the Opry cast a year later. Marion, who passed away in 1999, was really underrated as a singer and after leaving the Opry, she spent some time performing in Las Vegas.

May 13, 1966: Colonel Sanders made a guest appearance on the Friday Night Opry, where he promised a free chicken dinner to the first 1,000 people who would write to him in care of WSM Radio. There was no further report as to how many took him up on his offer. 

May 13, 1967: Merle Haggard made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Merle came to the Opry a few times, the last being in October 2015, when he made a surprise appearance on the show.

May 8, 1968: Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay passed away at his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started the WSM Barn Dance in November 1925, several months after joining WSM as the Radio Director. After he started the show, he would frequently clash with WSM management, particularly Harry and David Stone, over the direction of the show. He wanted to keep the Opry "close to the ground" while the Stone's saw the value of the Opry to National Life and WSM and wanted the show to take a more professional approach. Over the years, Hay would suffer periods of ill health and by the time he retired from WSM, he was primarily an announcer with little creative control regarding the show. On Saturday May 11, the  first Opry show following his death, Grant Turner paid tribute to him, saying, "He called himself the Solemn Old Judge. If he was solemn, it was only in the face of those who thought to change or corrupt the purity of the barn dance ballads he sought to preserve. We, the performers and friends of the Grand Ole Opry, salute the memory of one whose influence is felt on the stage of the Opry tonight-the Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay."

May 10, 1969: Stonewall Jackson rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Stonewall was another of the ones who were fired in December 1964 for failing to fulfill the Opry's attendance requirements. Stonewall originally joined the cast in November 1956. His last Opry appearance was in November 2016 when he was recognized upon his 60th anniversary as an Opry member. Stonewall continues to battle heath issues but I think all of us would like to see him back on the Opry at least one more time.

May 17, 1969: Tammy Wynette became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Sadly, her time as an Opry member would be short and within a few years, she would leave the Opry's cast.

May 16, 1970: In one of those special Opry moments, baseball Hall of Fame member Dizzy Dean made a guest appearance on the Opry. Dizzy was a great fan of country music and was known to belt out his version of the Wabash Cannonball while broadcasting a game. Dizzy and Roy Acuff were friends. 

May 1, 1971: Tex Summey, known professionally as Cousin Jody, made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He originally came to the Opry in 1937 with Roy Acuff and later performed with Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. Later in his career, he appeared with Lonzo & Oscar, in addition to his solo performances. While not always remember, Cousin Jody was Roy Acuff's original dobro player, replaced by Brother Oswald when he left Roy's group.

May 13, 1972: Eight years after an impromptu debut as a guest of The Wilburn Brothers, Gene Watson performs "Danny Boy" and "I Can't Help It (If I'm Still In Love With You)" during his first scheduled appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

May 8, 1976: After an absence of several years, George Hamilton IV rejoined the Opry's cast. George originally joined the Opry in February 1960. He left the show, however, as he moved from Nashville back to North Carolina and was doing a lot of touring. After coming back, George stayed with the Opry until his death in September 2014.

May 22, 1977: In honor of Victoria Day, a national holiday in Canada, the Opry held a special matinee show dedicated to the fans of the Opry from the country up North. By the way, there have been three Grand Ole Opry members that have called Canada home: Hank Snow, Stu Phillips and Terri Clark.

May 11, 1979: Lester Flatt passed away in Nashville at the age of 64. Lester had been in declining health for a number of years. Lester first came to the Opry as a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, later joining with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt & Scruggs. After splitting with Earl, Lester continued as an Opry member, sticking to traditional bluegrass and traditionally hosting the segment hosted by Martha White.

May 15, 1982: Ricky Skaggs became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 39th year as an Opry member. Ricky always dreamed of becoming an Opry member and he has always taken his Opry membership seriously. As Ricky said, "I don't ever, ever want to get to the point where I don't come and play the Opry, while I feel like I'm too good to play the Opry. Mr. Acuff said that I would do that. He said you'll get so big you'll do like all the rest of them. And I said, you don't know me. You just watch and see, I'm not made that way. I didn't join the Opry for that." After that, whenever Ricky played the Opry, he would always make it a point to find Roy and tell him that he was indeed there. And yes, there have been a few bumps in the road, but overall, Ricky has been good for the Opry.

May 26, 1984: Onie Wheeler, a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, died of a heart attack while performing on the Grand Ole Gospel radio program that followed the Friday Night Opry.

May 8, 1985: Amid reports the Grand Ole Opry is planning to trim its roster, Porter Wagoner rallies members in a meeting to assure them the Opry is behind them. Attendees include Roy Acuff, Jack Greene, Jan Howard, Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely and Billy Walker. While those were not among the names being mentioned, Porter was trying to lead the cast in fighting back on the proposed cuts. 

May 18, 1985: U.S. vice president George Bush made an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. spending some time visiting with Roy Acuff. 

May 3, 1986: Barbara Mandrell returned to the Opry for the first time following her near fatal car accident. While her appearances were fewer as her career progressed, Barbara has always expressed a great love of the Opry and its members.

May 4, 1991: Travis Tritt made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Less than a year later, in February 1992, Travis would become an Opry member.

May 23, 1992: Martina McBride made her Grand Ole Opry debut. 

May 1, 1993: Charley Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  Charley first appeared as a guest on the Opry in the late 1960s. Over the following years, Charley was asked numerous times if he was interested in becoming a member of the Opry, but he always declined due to his heavy touring schedule and the fact that he seldom came to Nashville. In 1993, he finally felt that the time was right and he joined the cast. Sadly, Charley passed away in 2020 from complications due to Covid. 

May 11, 1996: Steve Wariner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Steve first came to the Opry as a member of Dottie West's band, before branching out with his own career. This will be Steve's 25th year as a member of the Opry's cast. I have had to the opportunity to meet Steve while at the Opry and found him friendly and delightful to talk to.

May 3, 1997: The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree celebrated it's 50th anniversary with a show that took place on Broadway Avenue in Nashville. It was a wonderful night and star studded as many came out that night to show their support for the Midnight Jamboree.

May 17, 1997: Former Grand Ole Opry member Tammy Wynette made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Tammy had been a member of the Opry in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when she was married to George Jones.

May 31, 1997: Lee Ann Womack made her first guest appearance on the Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, Lee Ann would make guest appearances on the show.

May 9, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Teddy Wilburn made his final appearance on the Opry. Teddy and his brother Doyle, along with other family members, had first appeared on the Opry in 1940 before being forced to leave the show due to child labor laws. In the 1950s, they returned to the Opry as members, with Teddy and Doyle performing as a duo until Doyle's death from cancer in 1982. Teddy continued as a solo member of the Opry, although over time he would reduce his appearances. Health issues forced Teddy to retire from performing and he passed away in November 2003.

May 15, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Johnny Paycheck made his final appearance on the Opry. Health issues forced Johnny to retire from performing.

May 21, 1999: Little Big Town made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. It was also the first public appearance for Little Big Town who would eventually become members of the Opry. 

May 29, 1999: Future Grand Ole Opry member Brad Paisley made his Opry debut. Brad came to Nashville and the Opry via the Wheeling Jamboree. After numerous guest appearances, Brad would eventually become an Opry member.

May 5, 2001: Blake Shelton made his debut as a guest artist on the Grand Ole Opry. Over the next decade, Blake would continue to appear once in a while on the Opry, eventually joining the cast in the fall of 2010. Since then, Blake has continued to appear on the Opry once in a while.

May 21, 2006: Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker, along with his wife Bettie and two members of his band, were killed in a traffic accident on their way back to Nashville after an appearance in Alabama. Billy had joined the Opry in 1960. Such a tragic end to a great career. 

May 19, 2007: Porter Wagoner celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was joined that night by Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart and Buck Trent. Marty hosted the televised segment and it marked the final time that Porter and Dolly shared the stage together. Dolly sang a very emotional "I Will Always Love You," which she wrote dedicated to Porter and on that night, it brought tears to Porter's eyes. Porter, who was already in declining health, would pass away in October.

May 10, 2008: Carrie Underwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 13th year as an Opry member. On the night of her induction, Garth Brooks surprised Carrie and the Opry crowd by making a special appearance to induct Carrie. I know I have said it before, but Carrie takes her Opry membership seriously and even with her busy schedule, she has always managed to get in the 10 appearances each year asked of her.

May 26, 2009: Montgomery Gentry is invited by Charlie Daniels to join the Grand Ole Opry. After accepting the offer, the duo sang their hit "One In Every Crowd."

May 30, 2009: Comedian, actor and banjo player Steve Martin made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry, leading an all-star band performing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." If you have never seen or heard Steve play the banjo, he is fantastic and takes it very seriously.

May 1, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House sustained major damage when the Cumberland River flooded during heavy rains that hit the Nashville area. The Opry House, Acuff Theater, Opry Museum and Opry Mills Mall all were closed due to the damage. The Acuff Theater was torn down, the Museum has never reopened and it took the Mall years to get repaired. In the case of the Opry House, it took until September for the auditorium to be reopened. When it did, it was a star-studded Tuesday Night Opry with Bill Anderson hosting the opening segment. This was fitting as it was Bill that had hosted the final Saturday night segment the night prior to the flood. And even though the Opry House was closed due to the flood, the Opry did not miss one performance as the show relocated to various buildings around Nashville.

May 4, 2010: With the stage at the Grand Ole Opry House underwater, the Opry moved to War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville for the Tuesday Night Opry. The lineup included Chris Young, Marty Stuart, Suzy Bogguss and Jeannie Seely, whose home was also flooded.

2010: In the wake of flooding at the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashville's Two Rivers Baptist Church hosted the Opry for the first time in history. The lineup that night included Charlie Daniels, Lorrie Morgan, Jeannie Seely and Steve Wariner. While the Opry would eventually settle in at the Ryman Auditorium before returning to the Opry House later that year, the show would move around to various venues in Nashville during that summer. 

May 3, 2011: Alabama made a guest appearance on the Opry, 29 years after they first appeared on the Opry. They were joined on stage that night by Opry member Brad Paisley, and together they sang, "Old Alabama" and "Tennessee River." While never becoming an Opry member, Alabama would return several times to perform on the show.

May 10, 2012: Loretta Lynn brought out actress Zooey Deschanel to duet on "Coal Miner's Daughter" during the Grand Ole Opry. Zooey. For those who are not familiar with Zooey, she is a fine singer and a part of the duo She & Him. 

May 15, 2012: Ricky Skaggs celebrated 30 years as a Grand Ole Opry member. He sings "Me And God" with Josh Turner and "Amen" with Edens Edge. Skaggs also performs with Alison Krauss and The Whites.

May 18, 2013: Retired Grand Ole Opry member Barbara Mandrell made a surprise appearance at the Opry. She did not sing, but came out on stage and waved to the audience.

May 20, 2014: The MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band made its Grand Ole Opry debut, performing "Wagon Wheel" with Ricky Skaggs during a four-song set. The military-themed Opry installment also features Lee Greenwood, John Conlee, Bill Anderson, Josh Turner and Darryl Worley.

May 30, 2015: Carly Pearce made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Since that time, she has appeared on the Opry over 80 times, becoming one of the Opry's more frequent guests. 

May 4, 2018: Grand Ole Opry member Charley Pride was honored at the Opry upon his 25th anniversary as a member of the Opry.

May 11, 2018: Carrie Underwood celebrated her 10th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member, performing "Cry Pretty," "Jesus, Take The Wheel" and "Temporary Home" on the show, where she's greeted by Randy Travis.

May 4, 2019: Randy Travis appeared at the Grand Ole Opry to celebrate his 60th birthday. Ricky Skaggs, Don Schlitz, Charles Esten and Josh Turner joined Randy that night. Randy joined songwriter Don Schlitz in singing "Forever And Ever, Amen" which was written by Don.

There you have it for May. Another busy month around the Opry.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 4/30 & 5/1

This weekend, the calendar turns from April to May and as it does the Grand Ole Opry will welcome one of its legendary members on Saturday night as Grand Ole Opry member Ronnie Milsap is set to appear on the Opry stage for the first time since 2018. Hard to believe but 2021 marks Ronnie's 45th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. And while Ronnie isn't around often at the Opry, each time he is, it is a special night. 

Joining Ronnie on Saturday night will be Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely, along with guest artists Home Free, legendary guitarist Doyle Dykes, Dylan Scott, and making her Grand Ole Opry debut, Priscilla Block. The designated comedian on Saturday is Chonda Pierce and also on the schedule is another of those artists who I think would make for a great Grand Ole Opry member, T. Graham Brown. 

Looking at the Friday Night Opry, Grand Ole Opry members Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers will be heading up the broadcast. As with Saturday night, Opry member Jeannie Seely is on the schedule as is Doyle Dykes. Other guest artists on Friday include Levi Hummon, Caroline Jones, Rhett Akins,  comedian Dusty Slay and Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Schlitz. 

Friday April 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Levi Hummon; Doyle Dykes; Caroline Jones; Don Schlitz
8:00: Rhett Akins; Dusty Slay; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Saturday May 1
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; Doyle Dykes; T. Graham Brown; Chonda Pierce
8:00: Dylan Scott; Priscilla Block; Home Free; Ronnie Milsap

Originally from Raleigh, North Carolina, Priscilla Block moved to Nashville after high school to pursue a career in music. 

“I love writing about real life experiences and the ups and downs that I’ve gone through,” says Priscilla. “I don’t sugarcoat anything, and I think that’s the beauty of songwriting and being an artist.”

With an honest and upfront approach, Priscilla promotes self-love, empowerment, and acceptance through her own blend of country pop and southern rock, dubbed the Block Party sound. “It’s a little sass, a little trash, and a little sad,” describes Priscilla with a knowing wink as her catalog rolls so easily from heartbreak to laughter.

Over quarantine, Priscilla began experimenting with some new songs on social media app TikTok. There she developed a rabid fanbase with songs like “Thick Thighs,” an unapologetic anthem about women embracing their bodies, no matter their shape or size. Once her audience heard “Just About Over You,” they rallied together to independently fund the song’s recording. Priscilla in turn shared every moment of the recording and release process including all the emotions as she watched “Just About Over You” race to the top of both the iTunes Country and All Genre Song charts in only 12 short hours. Now, “Just About Over You” is climbing country radio’s Top 40.

From 50 years ago, Saturday May 1, 1971. This was also the final night that Cousin Jody appeared on the Opry, as declining health forced James Clell Summey into retirement. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stu Phillips (host): Let the Guitars Play
Peggy Little: I've Got to Have You
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Stu Phillips: El Tigrae

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Bob
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Willis Brothers: For the Good Times
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven/Boll Weevil
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Nine Pound Hammer
Howdy Forrester: Billy in the Low Ground
Connie Eaton: Take My Hand, Precious Lord
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Roy Acuff: Cabin in Gloryland

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks
The Stonemans: Looking Out My Back Door
Joe and Rose Lee Maphis: If I'm Gonna Have Your Lovin'
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Bill Monroe: Wicked Path of Sin
The Stonemans: Orange Blossom Special
Joe and Rose Lee Maphis: Gotta Lotta Lovin'

8:00 Martha White
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Bill Carlisle: Shanghai Rooster
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Archie Campbell: Hey Waiter
Del Wood: Kentucky Turnpike
The 4 Guys: Ruby, Don't Take Your Guns to Town

8:30: Stephen's
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Marion Worth: How Great Thou Art
Charlie Walker: My Baby Used to Be That Way
Louie Roberts: Sandy/Cattle Call
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Marion Worth: Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed
Hank Snow: I've Cried a Mile

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Justin Tubb (host): Be Glad
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Peggy Little: Son of a Preacher Man
Stringbean: Ruby
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Peggy Little: I've Got to Have You
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203

10:00: Fender
Stu Phillips (host): Me & Bobby McGee
Connie Eaton: Take My Hand, Precious Lord
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): I Haven't Seen Mary in Years
Tex Ritter: Wayward Wind
Joe and Rose Lee Maphis: Run That By Me One More Time
Bill Monroe: I'll Never Love No One Else But My Darling

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beechnut
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Nobody's Darling But Mine
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Archie and Phil Campbell: Release Me

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Charlie Walker: My Baby Used to Be That Way
The Stonemans: White Lightening #2
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Hank Snow: Bluebird Island
Charlie Walker: Tell Her Lies & Feed Her Candy
Sam McGee: Where the Roses Never Fade
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

11:30: Elm Hill
The 4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Maria
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee/How Great Thou Art
Louie Roberts: Sandy
Bobby Lewis: From Heaven to Heartache/He Gives Us All His Love
The 4 Guys: Sweet Caroline/One Pair of Hands

James Clell Summey was born on December 14, 1914 at Possum Hollow, near Sevierville, Tennessee. His family relocated to Knoxville where he grew up in a musical environment, since both parents (Matty and Jim) were musicians. Other musicians regularly stayed in the home and young Jody soon learned to play several instruments. He initially favored the guitar but by 1931, was an accomplished dobro player (a relatively new instrument in those days, having only been developed in the late 20s).

 By 1933, he was playing local venues with a group known as the Tennessee Crackerjacks, when they were joined by Roy Acuff. He became an important member of Acuff’s band and in February 1938, when Acuff and his band played the Grand Ole Opry, he became the first player to feature the dobro there. He also provided the dobro backing on most of Acuff’s early recordings including ‘The Great Speckled Bird’ and ‘Wabash Cannonball’. 

After differences of opinion over material, Summey and two other band members left Acuff in January 1939. He returned to Knoxville but was soon back in Nashville, where he worked with Pee Wee King, Lonzo And Oscar and briefly as a comedy duo with Oral Rhodes, as Odie And Jody. He had played the comedian during his days with Acuff and finally became a solo Opry act in his alter ego role of the baggy-panted and toothless grinning hayseed, Cousin Jody. In this guise, he mixed rube comedy with his instrumental talents and for many years remained a very popular Opry regular. He died of cancer in 1976.

Finally, remembering Charley Pride on what would have been his 28th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Here is the running order from Saturday May 1, 1993, the night Charley joined the Opry's cast:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
The 4 Guys (host): If It's From the Country, It's Coming From the Heart
Wilma Lee Cooper: Sweeter Than the Flowers
The 4 Guys: (?)

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Don't 'Cha Cry, Melinda
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin' In Love With You/The 3 Bells
Grandpa Jones: Four Stoned Walls & A Ceiling

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Osborne Brothers: Rock of Ages
Eddy Raven: Who Do You Know in California/Bayou Boy's Sleep All Day; Run All Night
Del Reeves: The Race is On

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Jan Howard: Crazy Arms
Riders In The Sky: Lovely Yukon Stars
Charley Pride: Kiss An Angel Good Morning/Wings of a Dove/Kaw-Liga
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Charlie Walker: Who Will Buy the Wine
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Dear Tony
 Mike Snider and Charlie Cushman: Sally Goodin
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast With the Blues
Billy Walker: A Million & One
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Ray Pillow: Invitation to the Blues
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
Hank Snow: I'm Not That All Sorry for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues
Charley Pride: Every Heart Should Have One/Mountain of Love/Kiss An Angel Good Morning/Kaw-Liga
Porter Wagoner: On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Old Camp Meeting Time

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Jim Ed Brown: Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I Saw the Light/I'll Fly Away/Gone at Last

10:30: Piccadilly
Billy Walker (host): Charlie's Shoes
Lost and Found: Left Over Biscuits
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain

10:45: Opry Book
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Liberty
Osborne Brothers: High On a Hilltop
David Crowe: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Ramblin' Rose
Riders In The Sky: Son of the Western 
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Eddy Raven: Sometimes A Lady/I've Got Mexico
Hank Snow: Old Shep

11:30: General Jackson
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin; Mama
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then
Roy Drusky: All For the Love of a Girl
Mike Snider: Squirrel Hide
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda

Charley always enjoyed performing on the Grand Ole Opry and it was a pleasure seeing him on the show. Sadly, Charley passed away late last year from Covid complications. 

There you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 4/23 & 4/24

It's going to be an exciting weekend at the Grand Ole Opry House as the legendary guitarist George Thorogood will be making his Opry debut on Saturday night. 

No, he is not a country artist in the traditional sense, but his music has received airplay on the SiriusXM Outlaw channel, including his rendition of the Hank Williams classic "Move It On Over."

“I’m incredibly humbled by the honor and excited to connect with this audience,” says Thorogood. “I’ll be stepping onto the Grand Ole Opry stage with my guitar to share some great American music.”

“Of course the Opry showcases the best in country music to fans around the world each week, but we also appreciate opportunities to welcome guests from other genres and walks of life, including Rock & Roll Hall of Famers, Academy Award-winning actors and directors, and even a U.S. President,” said Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers. “George Thorogood is an Opry fan himself, and we’re all in for a great show.”

In a special collaboration, a unique “SiriusXM Road to George Thorogood’s Opry Debut” will be rolled out including involvement across a wide array of SiriusXM channels discussing this historic moment. Thorogood will be a guest on SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country (ch. 60) and Volume (ch. 106) sharing his one-of-a-kind perspective on music and what this Opry debut means to him.

George will be featured on the Circle televised segment on Saturday night, where he will be joined by one of the newest Grand Ole Opry members, Luke Combs, along with another guest artist, Niko Moon. 

Joining this trio on Saturday night will be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, Rhonda Vincent, along with fellow Opry members Riders In The Sky and Mark Wills. Also scheduled, and the designated comedian, is Jeanne Robertson. Not only is she funny but Jeanne is also a great storyteller. 

After a one week pause due to the ACM Awards, the Friday Night Opry returns this weekend with a very strong show featuring Grand Ole Opry members the Oak Ridge Boys, Dailey & Vincent, Riders In The Sky and Jeannie Seely. Jeanne Robertson is also scheduled on Friday night, along with Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Fortune, Anita Cochran, and making his Opry debut, Elvie Shane. 

Friday April 23
7:00: Riders In The Sky; Anita Cochran; Elvie Shane; Jeanne Robertson; Dailey & Vincent
8:00: Jeannie Seely; Jimmy Fortune; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday April 24
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Mark Wills; Riders In The Sky; Jeanne Robertson; Rhonda Vincent
8:00: Luke Combs; Niko Moon; George Thorogood

Two very strong line-ups for this weekend. Nice to see eight on the schedule for Friday. 

Ok, I admit it. I have never heard of Elvie Shane before and I am going to guest that not many of you have either. 

Elvie Shane was born in Caneyville, Kentucky, and according to his bio he "aspires to bring his blue-collar upbringing and vibrant American lifestyle to the masses with his distinctive brand of Country music." The BBR Music Group recording artist has carved his own path within the genre by combining honest storytelling with gritty electric guitar licks and unmistakable Southern swagger. Elvie’s larger-than-life personality and hard-to-believe exploits have the makings of an action-packed film and rather than display them on the big screen, the singer-songwriter culls those colorful experiences into his music.

“There’s always been this balance of a little Rock-n-Roll and Jesus in my life. I appreciate both ends of the spectrum,” Elvie, who briefly served as an evangelist preacher until he realized it wasn’t his calling, admits. This duality can be heard within the swampy revival anthem “Sundays In the South,” a vivid story-song that gives a nod to his mother and pays tribute to his religious upbringing that is equal parts tent revival and nostalgia of Elvie’s often trouble-filled youth.

An English Literature and Creative Writing major during his time at Western Kentucky University, Elvie was famously turned away from his school news paper for his Hunter S. Thompson-inspired approach to writing. That didn’t stop his creativity though, as Elvie credits a professor for urging him to enter some of his work into a writing contest where he won several awards. 

Years later at a party, Elvie picked up the guitar and performed a Chris Stapleton song—after discovering he could sing, his friends in a band convinced him to join them on the road as an opener. 

Elvie found his voice as an artist after penning “County Roads,”a rollicking ode to his upbringing. The song serves as not only the title track to his debut EP, set to be released in April, but the ultimate blend of his love for Country storytelling, his soulful vocals and Classic Rock influences with domineering guitar tones and a stomping beat. 

He signed with BBR Music Group in early 2019 and released “My Boy” as his first song on the label amidst the pandemic in 2020. Now Top 40 and climbing on Country radio, the song went viral once again as videos of stepchildren playing the song for their stepparents flooded social media. The heartwarming track connected with blended families in such a beautiful way, leading Elvie to release the sister version, “My Girl.” With only one song released, he was named to Pandora’s 2021 Artist to Watch list as well as Music Row’s “Next Big Thing” 2021 list.

And now from 50 years ago, Saturday April 24, 1971:

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Ernie Ashworth; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Earl Scruggs Revue; Tom T. Hall
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Glaser Brothers; Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper; Crook Brothers; Willis Brothers
8:00: Lester Flatt (host); Tex Ritter; Stonewall Jackson; Lonzo and Oscar; Stu Phillips
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Stringbean; Charlie Walker; Fruit Jar Drinkers; The Four Guys

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Willis Brothers; Dolly Parton; Bill Carlisle
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Tom T. Hall; Earl Scruggs Revue
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Ernie Ashworth; Bill Monroe
10:30: Lester Flatt (host); Tex Ritter; Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper
10:45: Glaser Brothers (host); Stringbean; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Stu Phillips; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Lonzo and Oscar; The Four Guys

Looking back to a couple of shows, the first one is from Saturday April 23, 1994. On that particular night, one of the Grand Ole Opry's more popular members, Randy Travis made an appearance. Here is the running order from that night 27 years ago: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
The Four Guys (host): Operator, Information; Get Me Jesus on the Line
Charlie Louvin: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot
The Four Guys: How Married Are You, Mary Ann

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Going Down the Country
Jean Shepard: Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me
Ricky Skaggs: I'm Lost and I'll Never Find the Way
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
Randy Travis: Look Heart, No Hands/Before You Kill Us All
Jimmy Dickens: Out Behind the Barn

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): On & On
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band
Brother Oswald: Eunita
John Conlee: Domestic Life
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Bill Monroe: Footprints in the Snow/Evening Prayer Blues

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
The Whites: Makin' Believe
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel
Porter Wagoner and Colene Walters: Holding on to Nothing

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Fraulein
Jan Howard: Oh, Lonesome Me
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Riders In The Sky: Me Oh, My Miss Molly
Hank Snow: My Happiness

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Ray Pillow: One Memory to Another
The Four Guys: It's All Right (to Have a Good Time)
Jan Howard: Together When We Tried
Tim Atwood: They Call Me a Playboy
Porter Wagoner and Colene Walters: Once More
Porter Wagoner: Trouble in Amen Corner

10:00: Doctor's Cream
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me & My Big Loud Mouth
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Jimmy Dickens: Shopping for Dresses

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Grandpa Jones (host): Old Blue
Charlie Louvin and Bob Bates: My Baby's Gone
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls & A Ceiling

10:30: Gruhn Guitar
Bill Monroe (host): I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart
Bill Monroe: He Will Set Your Fields on Fire

10:45: Opry Book
Riders In The Sky (host): The Trail to San Antone
Kukuruza Band: (?)
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Riders In The Sky: (?)/Happy Trails to You

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Blue Sea Blues
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper
Hank Locklin: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin In Love With You
Jean Shepard: I Don't See How I Can Make It
Hank Snow: Among My Souvenirs

11:30: General Jackson
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Johnny Russell: Making Plans
Jack Greene: Oh, Lonesome Me

The second show is from Saturday April 24, 1998. On this particular night, former Grand Ole Opry member Ray Price made a guest appearance. Here is the running order from that night 23 years ago: 

1st show
6:30: Opry Book
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

6:45: National Corvette Museum
Billy Walker (host): Come a Little Bit Closer
Wilma Lee Cooper: Matthew 24
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor Howdy
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ray Pillow: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Charlie Louvin: Be a Life; Not a Judge
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Old Camp Meeting Time

7:30: Standard Candy
Holly Dunn (host): That's What Your Love Does to Me
Stonewall Jackson: BJ the DJ
Ray Price: San Antonio Rose
Lee Ann Womack: I'll Think of A Reason/A Way to Survive/I Saw Miles and Miles of Texas
Holly Dunn: You Really Had Me Going/Daddy's Hands

8:00: Martha White
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away
Riders In The Sky: Give Me a Pinto Pal
Jeannie Seely: Hey, Good Lookin'
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Jim Ed Brown and Jeannie Seely: Love is No Excuse

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take an Old Cold Tater
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool
Jessica Andrews: I Will Be There for You
Osborne Brothers: Old Roy & Brother Os
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

2nd show
9:30: Blue Green Vacation Resort Development
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Border
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Charlie Louvin: Jesus is Whispering Now
Ray Price: City Lights/The Other Woman/For the Good Times
Porter Wagoner: A House of Gold/Carolina Moonshine

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Jimmy C Newman (host): Jambalaya
Wilma Lee Cooper: Sweeter Than the Flowers
Jimmy C Newman: American Cajun
Cajun Country: Cajun Stripper

10:15: Opry Visa Card
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Jessica Andrews: I Will Be There For You
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

10:30: Epiphone
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Del McCoury Band: Don't You Think It's Time to Go
Billy Walker: Jesus Walks In

10:45: Jogging In A Jug
Jean Shepard (host): Wabash Cannonball
Roy Drusky: Waltz of the Angels
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Jean Shepard: I'm Not That Good At Goodbyes

11:00: Coca Cola
Holly Dunn (host): Love Someone Like Me
Riders In The Sky: Always Drink Upstream from the Herd
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
Lynn Morris Band: New Patches
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands

11:30: Fan Fair
Jim Ed Brown (host): Mexican Joe
The Whites: Makin' Believe
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Osborne Brothers: High on a Hilltop
Charlie Walker: Right or Wrong
Jim Ed Brown: Bar Room Pals and Good Time Gals/The 3 Bells

Ray Price came to the Grand Ole Opry in the early 1950s, joining such other Opry stars as Roy Acuff, Red Foley, Minnie Pearl, Rod Brasfield, Ernest Tubb, Hank Snow, Jimmy Dickens, Bill Monroe, Kitty Wells, Webb Pierce, Faron Young, George Morgan, Carl Smith and June Carter, in what many consider one of the Opry's strongest group of members. However, as Ray's career grew, his Opry appearances dropped below the minimum required at the time and he was fired in December 1964 as part of the "Purge of 64." Unlike a few of the others who were fired, Ray never returned to the Opry as a member, but he was always welcomed back for guest appearances and he made quite a few during the remainder of his career, up until his death in 2013. 

Finally, after an absence of several weeks, the Tuesday Night Opry returns. 

Tuesday April 27
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Mitchell Tenpenny; Riders In The Sky; Caitlyn Smith
8:00: Sierra Hull and Justin Moses; Lindsay Ell; Dusty Slay; Charlie McCoy

There you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.