Monday, July 22, 2019

Sally Williams Leaving the Opry

Breaking news out of Nashville this afternoon as Sally Williams, who in addition to her other duties is the General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry, is leaving and has accepted a new position in Nashville.

Here is the press release:

Ryman Hospitality Properties & Opry Entertainment Group SVP/Programming & Artist Relations Sally Williams has been named President/Nashville Music & Business Strategy for Live Nation. Beginning in September, she'll oversee the company's business and entertainment strategy in Nashville, including venues Ascend Amphitheater, The Quarry and The Brooklyn Bowl. She reports to President/US Concerts Bob Roux.

"Sally is a Nashville music industry icon and the perfect executive to oversee Live Nation’s growing footprint in Nashville," Roux says. "She's spent decades contributing to the success of Nashville artists, venues, and events, and certainly the community itself, and we’re extremely fortunate to have someone with her industry knowledge and dedication to live music join our company."
Adds Williams, "For decades, Nashville has not only been my home, but also my passion. It's been a privilege to be in the middle of such incredible growth and I'm excited about what’s on the horizon." Williams has spent almost 20 years with the Ryman and Opry, rising to her most recent position in 2017.

While her time at the Opry was short, it was pretty eventful with a number of new members and what appeared to be a much better atmosphere at the Opry.

No news as to any possible replacements.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Grand Ole Opry 7/19 & 7/20

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the four shows this weekend. Yes, there are two shows each night thanks to an appearance by Grand Ole Opry member Carrie Underwood. I know a few of us have mentioned it before, but Carrie continues to be the leader of her generation in supporting the Opry. While Brad Paisley (whom I like a lot), and a few of the others talk about supporting the show, Carrie actually does, and for that we should all appreciate her.

Additionally, Connie Smith is listed on the schedule, opening both shows on Friday night. This will be Connie's first Opry appearances since early June. There has been nothing official stated as to why Connie has not been on the Opry, or making other appearances, but hopefully whatever the issue was, it is now well behind her.

Besides Carrie and Connie on the Friday Night Opry, Bill Anderson is the only other Opry member scheduled for both shows. The veteran bluegrass members, Jesse McReynolds and Bobby Osborne will be trading off that night, with Jesse set for the first show and Bobby the second.

Saturday night, in addition to Carrie, Bill is back for both shows, joined by Opry members The Whites and Mark Wills.

Guesting on Friday night will be the legendary Gene Watson. Joining Gene will be Adam Doleac, The Grascals and Dom Flemons. Saturday night has The Sisterhood, A Thousand Horses, comedian Henry Cho and veteran artist Tracy Lawrence on the schedule

Friday July 19
1st show
7:00: Connie Smith; Adam Doleac
7:30: Jesse McReynolds; Bill Anderson
8:00: The Grascals; Gene Watson
8:30: Dom Flemons; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith; Adam Doleac
10:00: Bill Anderson; Carrie Underwood
10:30: Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Gene Watson
11:00: Dom Flemons; The Grascals

Saturday July 20
1st show
7:00: Bill Anderson; The Sisterhood
7:30: Tracy Lawrence; Henry Cho
8:00: A Thousand Horses; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mark Wills; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson; The Sisterhood
10:00: Tracy Lawrence; Carrie Underwood
10:30: A Thousand Horses; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Henry Cho; Mark Wills

Like last weekend, the shows have the mid-week format with just eight artists scheduled. However, unlike last week, the quality of those appearing is much better.

It does make you wonder if this is going to be a new booking approach by the Opry for the weekend shows. Just thinking out loud, Bill Anderson, The Whites and Mark Wills on Saturday night are all capable of hosting segments, and they have gone with just three segments before (actually they have also gone with only two). Friday night, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson could have hosted, and while I am not 100% sure, The Whites or Mark Wills could have been available.

That is the hole the Opry gets into when those capable of hosting, such as Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, and John Conlee, among the veterans, have booked themselves out for the night, or have other reasons for not being on the Opry this particular weekend.
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And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the 3rd weekend in July 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

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday July 16, 1994:

1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin and Bob Bates
6:45: Mike Snider (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: The Whites (host); Brother Oswald; Ray Pillow; Jeanne Pruett
7:30: Johnny Russell (host); Jan Howard; Carolee Singers; Johnny Lee
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; Billy Walker

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Steve Hall
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Roy Drusky
10:15: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Louvin and Bob Bates
10:30: Billy Walker (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:45: Jean Shepard (host); Whitstein Brothers; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Hank Locklin; The Whites
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Walker; Johnny Lee; Stonewall Jackson

And from 50 years ago, Saturday July 19, 1969:

1st show
6:30/6:45: Glaser Brothers; Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Del Wood; The Four Guys; Ray Pillow
7:00: Hank Lockin; Jim Ed Brown; Loretta Lynn; Mel Tillis; Willis Brothers; Bill Carlisle
7:30: Roy Acuff; Margie Bowes; Grandpa Jones; Billy Grammer
8:00: Lester Flatt; Tex Ritter; Bob Luman; Marion Worth
8:30: George Jones; Tammy Wynette; Del Reeves; Charlie Walker; Stu Phillips; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Glaser Brothers; George Hamilton IV; Willis Brothers; Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard
10:00: Roy Acuff; Del Wood; The Four Guys
10:15: Billy Grammer; Loretta Lynn
10:30: Tex Ritter; Grandpa Jones; Mel Tillis
10:45: Lester Flatt; Bill Carlisle; Crook Brothers; Margie Bowes
11:00: Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Del Reeves; Bob Luman; Charlie Walker; Marion Worth
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As previously mentioned, the Opry Encore show on RFD-TV this Saturday night will feature a show from Saturday October 19, 1985. The televised portion was hosted by Roy Acuff,  and featured Loretta Lynn, and the final night that Lonzo and Oscar performed on the Opry (in addition to the televised segment, Lonzo and Oscar also appeared on the 2nd show that night). As to Roy, he had been off of the Opry for a number of months due to heart issues. The previous week, he walked on with the birthday cake but did not perform.

Here is the running order of the entire show from 34 years ago:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through a Windshield
Vic Willis Trio: You Looked So Good in Love
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

6:45: Rudy's
The Four Guys (host): Give Me One More Chance
Wilma Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
The Four Guys: My Special Angel

7:00: Shoney's
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Loretta Lynn: Wouldn't That Be Great/Heart, Don't Do This to Me/Coal Miner's Daughter
Lonzo and Oscar: I'm My Own Grandpa/A Beautiful Life
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): I'm Little But I'm Loud
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Crook Brothers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar In the Goard
Jimmy Dickens: Raggedy Ann

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Pie
Jeanne Pruett: A Rented Room
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Roy Drusky: Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Tommy Hunter: Paradise
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): I Have You and That's Enough For Me
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band
Charlie Walker: Time Changes Everything
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Bill Carlisle: Some Ol' Tale That the Crow Told Me
Hank Snow: I've Done at Least One Thing That was Good in My Life

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Del Reeves (host): Louisiana Legs
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
The Four Guys: Whiskey & Water
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough/Fist City/Don't Come Home A' Drinkin'/You're Looking at Country/Wouldn't That Be Great
Del Reeves: Anywhere U.S.A.

10:00: Little Debbie
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Jan Howard: Why, Lady Why
Ray Pillow; The 24th Hour
Jimmy Dickens: My Eyes are Jealous

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/Sing, Sing, Sing

10:30: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Nelly Bly
Jeannie Seely: Tell Me Again
Lonzo and Oscar: Wedding Bells/I Can't Help It/You Win Again/Your Cheatin' Heart/Cold, Cold Heart
Grandpa Jones: The Sweet Sunny South

10:45: Beech-Nut
Jack Greene (host): Midnight Tennessee Woman
Jean Shepard: I Just Had You on My Mind
Crook Brothers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Old Joe Clark
Jack Greene: I'm Going Through Hell for an Angel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Wreck of the Old 97
Justin Tubb: Be Better to Your Baby
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Billy Walker: Coffee Brown Eyes
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Hank Snow: My Rose

11:30: Quincy's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Jambalaya
Charlie Walker: Whose Heart Are You Breaking
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Johnny Russell: Kaw-Liga/No One Will Every Know
Jimmy C Newman: Twana Woo-Woo

Rollin Sullivan was a singer, songwriter and mandolin player when he joined Opry member Paul Howard and his group, the Arkansas Pickers in 1942. After his brother Johnny left the Navy in 1944, the brothers became members of Eddy Arnold's Tennessee Plowboys.

In 1946, Eddy paired Rollin and fellow band member Lloyd George as a music and comedy team which opened Eddy's shows. The duo adopted the name "Lonzo & Oscar" with Rollin as the comedian and Lloyd, who played guitar and sang, as the straight man. They were instant hits.

They were so good that Eddy urged them to go out on their own. He helped them to get a recording contract with RCA Records, and recommended the duo to Opry management. In 1947-48, Lonzo and Oscar had a million selling smash hit, "I'm My Own Grandpa." While Lonzo and Oscar had the original version of the song, it was recorded by many others.

In 1950, Lloyd George, the original Lonzo, decided to try a solo career and quit the duo. He was replaced by Rollin's brother, Johnny. That version of the duo scored a 1961 radio hit "Country Music Time" on Starday Records. This duo also recorded songs for Decca, Dot, GRC, Capital and Columbia among other labels.

The duo also was known for a string of comedy songs such as "There's a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea," "Take Them Cold Feet Outta My Back," and "You Blacked My Blue Eyes Once Too Often." However, it was their live act that brought them the most stardom as not only were they comedians, but they were also excellent and serious musicians.

Following Johnny's death in 1967 at the age of 49, Rollin teamed up with a third Lonzo, David Hooten. This version of the duo made a non-comedy album for GRC, and from it came the 1974 hit "Traces of Life."

In 1985, both Rollin and David had some health issues and made the decision to retire. After that, both continued to perform on occasion individually and with others. David Hooten is still alive while Rollin passed away in 2012.

One interesting fact regarding Lonzo & Oscar is that reportedly they were the first Grand Ole Opry act to have their own custom tour bus, beginning a Nashville tradition that continues to this day.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Tuesday Night Opry 7/16 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/17

To significant events will be taking place on this week's Tuesday Night Opry. First, Luke Combs is being inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Secondly, including Luke, the entire line-up that night will consist of only members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Don’t call country music newcomer Luke Combs an outlaw. The word doesn’t really fit, though he does have an undeniable independent streak. And outsider doesn’t really work anymore either, since he’s come to Nashville and quickly won himself a record deal and quite a bit of attention.

Outlier is the better fit for Combs. The 26-year-old has built an already enviable following and has succeeded far beyond expectations. His social engagement numbers are in the hundreds of thousands and streaming spins are in the millions. He is only now releasing his first single, “Hurricane,” to Country Radio.

“Stand in front of me while I’m on a stage and you will be a fan,” Combs said earnestly. “I'll make a fan out of you. I'm going to give everything I've got on stage and play songs that I've written that are genuinely important to me. That, I think, is what really translates.”

Combs will soon be taking his unique sound to a wider audience, having signed with River House Artists/Columbia. The Asheville, North Carolina, native will release his debut album, This One’s For You, later this year.

This One’s For You showcases everything that’s exciting about the former college rugby player and singer-songwriter – the booming voice, the ability to capture and convey a wide variety of emotions, the honesty that resonates in his songs, and the ability to win over men, as well as women, in his audience - a rare quality in today’s music scene.

Combs has covered a lot of ground in the first five years of his career, building an audience in Charlotte and Boone where he majored in Criminal Justice at Appalachian State, then circling out until his fan base grew into the thousands and then moving to Nashville to pursue the next level.
Though he enjoyed singing most of his life, he’d never considered music to be anything more than a hobby. He was working at a go-cart race track the summer between his junior and senior year when his mother mentioned an interesting fact. “Kenny Chesney didn’t learn how to play guitar until he was 21,” she said. Combs was 21 and had an old guitar laying around, too.

Also, around this time, he discovered the music of fellow former Appalachian State University attendee, Eric Church, whose presence could still be felt on campus as his career began to take off in distant Nashville. Combs appreciated Church’s raw honesty and emotional timbre. He also liked that Church crafted his own songs, adding authenticity to his rowdy live-show persona. He dove anew into the music of Chesney and childhood favorite Tim McGraw, relearning the love for country music he had as a child.

Over the next three years, he formed a band, played live every chance he got, and built a multi-state following in the thousands. So like Church and all those others, he figured he’d go see what Nashville had to offer. Not long after he was booked to play a club in Rome, Georgia. Out of nowhere, he drew a crowd of 400 fans who were singing along with every word. It didn't go unnoticed and that date led to a showcase in Nashville and soon thereafter, a booking agent and a manager joined Team Combs.
They started him out in markets like Birmingham, Alabama, and Greenville, South Carolina. They put him on a tour of the small towns that make up the Southeastern Conference – places like Starkville, Mississippi, and Athens, Georgia. The trend was always the same with audiences doubling in size each time he came back. He was an act breaking out of towns that didn’t break acts. All of those roads have led to here, as he preps to embark on a tour in support of his debut album launch that stretches as far as the West Coast.

“There's nobody that's a champion for the little guy or the underdog,” Combs said. “I feel like that's why when I get on stage people can relate to me. They say, ‘ Man, that could be me up there. That's just a regular guy. I can walk up to that guy and say hello to him and he's going to be nice to me. He's going to drink a beer with me.’ That's who I want to be.”

Soon, a much wider array of fans will get their chance to meet Combs –the singer/songwriter will embark on an aggressive touring schedule leading up to his album launch including stops in Nashville, Ft. Worth, Seattle, Los Angeles and many, many more in between.
Combs is probably best known for the single, “Hurricane,” a song about a small town break up that has already helped him amass over 140,000 followers and climb across social media platforms, and now 20 million streams of his music.

“People just love it. You can't plan that,” Combs said. “You can't plan what people are going to like or what people are into. It just doesn't work. I put it out, and people loved it. I might have been even a little surprised by it myself. I do owe a lot to that song, and that's why it's important to me. It's gotten people to come to my shows. It's gotten people to hear my other songs. All my deals have come from that song.” Other standouts on the project include the catchy party singalong "Beer Can" and the rockin’ self-help mantra "Don't Tempt Me With A Good Time."

While the raucous blue-collar anthems ring true, Combs rounds out the album with feel good nostalgia on “That’s What Memories Are Made Of” and tugs the toughest of heartstrings with the clever word play in “I Got A Way With You." Combs co-wrote every track on the full-length debut.
Fans have quickly latched onto the album’s title track, “This One’s For You,” a tribute to all the people who've helped Combs make it to this pivotal point in his life and career.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have met people along the way that have both directly and indirectly influenced me musically. Then, there’s the support of my family and friends. I've gone through so many things that my parents have helped me with, my friends have helped me with...I felt like I owed a lot of people a lot of things for me getting to this point. That song is my way of saying ‘ thank you."
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It will indeed be a special night, as it always is when a new member is inducted. As I said before, I like this invite and I am hopefully, as with every new Grand Ole Opry member, that they understand the importance of supporting the Opry and I am sure Luke will.

Tuesday July 16
7:00: The Gatlin Brothers; Craig Morgan
7:30: Chris Janson; Luke Combs
Introduction
8:15: Mark Wills; Joe Diffie
8:45: Kelsea Ballerini; Vince Gill

While not as special as the Tuesday Night show, the Wednesday Night Opry will feature Grand Ole Opry member Little Big Town, along with members Pam Tillis and Jeannie Seely

Wednesday July 17
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Tyler Childers
7:30: Pam Tillis; Ray Wylie Hubbard
Intermission
8:15: Aaron Lewis; Henry Cho
8:45: Little Big Town

Again, congratulations to Luke Combs

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Grand Ole Opry 7/12 & 7/13

When I saw the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this weekend, I thought there must have been a misprint. I mean, how can you have a Friday Night Opry with only two Opry members, both of whom are on the first 30 minutes of the show? And of course, there are only three Opry members on Saturday night.

Personally, I feel bad for those who paid over $100 for tickets, especially to the Friday night show. Nothing against those on the schedule, but there is not one act listed who is worth that price, let alone collectively. Saturday night is a little better, thanks to Vince Gill being scheduled, but as to the rest of the acts, nothing special.

But regardless, while it might be a "thin" line-up this weekend, it is still the Grand Ole Opry and I am sure everyone attending will have a great time. Checking the Opry site, it looks like a good number of tickets are still available for both nights.

So who are the Opry members scheduled this weekend? The Whites are on both Friday and Saturday night, with Jesse McReynolds joining them on Friday, while Vince and Bobby Osborne are scheduled to appear on Saturday.

Guesting on Friday night will be the great guitarist Tommy Emmanuel, joined by Balsam Range, former "Nashville" star Clare Bowen, songwriter and Hall of Fame member Don Schlitz, Wade Hayes and making her solo Opry debut, Candi Carpenter.

Saturday night the list include Charlie Worsham, who most recently has been performing with Old Crow Medicine Show, Keith Anderson, Lauren Jenkins, Craig Campbell and Austin Jenckes, who made his Opry debut several weeks back.

Friday July 12
7:00: The Whites; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Candi Carpenter; Tommy Emmanuel
Intermission
8:15: Wade Hayes; Don Schlitz
8:45: Clare Bowen; Balsam Range

Saturday July 13
7:00: The Whites; Keith Anderson
7:30: Lauren Jenkins; Craig Campbell
Intermission
8:15: Austin Jenckes; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Charlie Worsham; Vince Gill

I know it is summer and tour season for a lot of country music acts. One I do want to mention is Jeannie Seely, who will be appearing in Townville, Pennsylvania as part of the 50th annual Townville Old Home Days and Parade. My assumption is that Jeannie will be the guest of honor and it should be a fun day for her to be back in the area in which she grew up.
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Candi Carpenter, who on the Friday Night Opry will be making her solo Opry debut, is a name that might be familiar to a number of Opry fans. For a few years, Candi was a part of Jack Greene's shows and appeared on the Opry several times with Jack.

Candi was born in Toledo, Ohio and grew up in Lansing, Michigan. She comes from a musical family and began taking music lessons at the age of six, learning to play saxophone and piano. Candi played in bands and sang in choirs both at church and in school, performed in her family's band, and developed a keen talent at a young age. When she was in sixth grade, she bluffed her way on-stage at a Vince Gill concert to yodel for him. By the time she was 11, she was discovered by a record producer, who signed her to a contract. And when Candi was 15, she left school and relocated to Nashville, where she was playing honky tonks despite being underage. After hearing Candi, Grand Ole Opry member Jack Greene hired her as part of his band, where she also became his duet partner, touring with Jack.

Overtime, she grew frustrated with the terms of her production and management deals, which gave her little control over her creative future. Determined to assert her creative independence, Candi dismissed her managers, got out of a bad marriage, and began working multiple day jobs to finance work on recordings that would allow her to follow her heart as a musician and songwriter. In 2014, she landed a deal with CTK Management and a recording contract with Sony Music soon followed. In November 2016, Candi released he first single for Sony, "Burn the Bed" which was produced by Shane McAnally. The song charted and in 2017, Candi was named by Rolling Stone as one of ten new country artists to watch.

Candi, who in the past toured and worked shows with Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dickens, Jim Glaser, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill, among others, continues to tour and can be seen regularly at well known songwriting venues like the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville and Kulak's Woodshed in Hollywood, California.
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And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the second weekend in July 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

Now, from 25 years ago, Saturday July 9, 1994:

1st show
6:30: Billy Walker (host); Brother Oswald
6:45: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Louvin
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Anna White; Charley Pride
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Osborne Brothers; Charlie Walker; Shawn Camp
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Grandpa Jones; Roy Drusky; The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Bill Carlisle; The Four Guys

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Anna White; Shawn Camp
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin
10:15: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Osborne Brothers
10:45: Charley Pride (host); Jeanne Pruett; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Charlie Walker; Whitstein Brothers
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Hank Locklin; The Whites

Finally, from Saturday July 12, 1969, 50 years ago:

1st show
6:30/6:45: Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; The Four Guys; Del Wood
7:00: Bill Monroe; Jim Ed Brown; Willis Brothers; Bill Carlisle
7:30: Roy Acuff; Stu Phillips; Marion Worth; Grandpa Jones; Crook Brothers
8:00: Lester Flatt; Billy Grammer; Norma Jean; Charlie Walker
8:30: George Morgan; Hank Locklin; Loretta Lynn; Ernie Ashworth; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Del Reeves; Willis Brothers; Jean Shepard
10:00: Jim Ed Brown; The Four Guys; Del Wood
10:15: Bill Monroe; Ernie Ashworth
10:30: Roy Acuff; Stu Phillips; Grandpa Jones
10:45: Lester Flatt; Marion Worth; Bill Carlisle; Crook Brothers
11:00: Billy Grammer; George Morgan; Loretta Lynn; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Hank Locklin; Charlie Walker; Norma Jean
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Looking back at dates in Grand Ole Opry history, it was on Saturday July 10, 1999 that former Grand Ole Opry member June Carter Cash, made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

With her husband Johnny Cash and an extended line of children and stepchildren in the business, June Carter belonged to American country music's first family. But she herself was born into a rich musical inheritance. Her mother was Maybelle Carter, a seminal country music guitarist and a member, with AP and Sara Carter, of the original Carter Family, one of the most successful radio and recording groups of the first age of country music.

In the late 1930s, sponsored by Kolorbak hair dye, the Carter Family's broadcasts, originating from radio station XERA in Del Rio, Texas, but transmitted to avoid federal regulations from just over the border in Mexico, radiated across the US and Canada. Almost all the second-generation Carters joined the family group, including June. All were singing and playing on the radio before they were in their teens; when June sang "Engine 143" for the first time, she was only 10.

After the Carter Family broke up in 1943, Maybelle and her daughters, June, Anita and Helen, working as Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters, moved to Richmond, where they became a leading act on the Old Dominion Barn Dance and performed on WRVA radio. After similar stints in Knoxville and Springfield, and with the addition of guitarist Chet Atkins, they moved to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry in 1950.

June played autoharp and portrayed her self as "Aunt Polly," singing comedy numbers with an exaggerated hillbilly accent and a wide toothy grin, hitching up her gingham skirt to reveal button boots. She would do comedy skits with a number of country artists including Rod Brasfield and Jimmy Dickens.

In 1961, the Carter Family went on the road with Johnny Cash, becoming both his companion on the road and duet partner in the studio. Together they charted a number of records including "It Ain't Me Babe," "Guitar Pickin' Man," "If I Were A Carpenter" and perhaps their biggest hit, "Jackson."

In addition to her musical talents, June also co-wrote "Ring of Fire" and she also studied acting, moving to New York in the 1950s. She acted in several television shows and movies, including "Little House on the Prairie," and "The Apostle." June was also a writer of several books, and in 1999 she won a Grammy Award for her album "Press On," which many consider her autobiographical story.

June, who was born on June 23, 1929, was a very talented individual who was loved my many. There are those who think she deserves a place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I will leave that discussion up to others.

Here is the running order from 20 years ago, Saturday July 10,1999, the night that June Carter Cash appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time.

1st show
6:30: Circle Club
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Skeeter Davis: It's Different Now
Jimmy C Newman: Cochon De Lait
Kenny Sears: Orange Blossom Special

6:45: Ryman Auditorium
Jeannie Seely (host): Hey, Good Lookin'
Charlie Louvin: Jesus Is Whispering Now/When I Stop Dreaming
Jeannie Seely: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Matt King: I Wrote the Book on Heartaches
Matt King and Jessie Alexander: From Your Knees
Matt King: Memories, Fiddles & Songs

7:30: Standard Candy
Emmylou Harris (host): Hello Stranger
June Carter Cash: Little Moses/Ring of Fire
Rodney Crowell: There's A Fool Such As I

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jan Howard: Together When We Tried
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
T Bubba Bechtol: Comedy
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Old Joe Clark
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Mike Snider (host): If My Nose Was Runnin' Money
The Four Guys: When You've Got a Good Woman, It Shows
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again
Jack Greene: Love Takes Good Care of Me/Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Mike Snider: Look What They've Done to the Dominica Hen

2nd show
9:30
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
June Carter Cash: Wildwood Flower/I Used to be Somebody/Tiffany, Anastasia Lowe

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Emmylou Harris (host): If I Could Only Win Your Love/Everytime You Leave

10:30: Opry Book
Jeannie Seely (host): Burning That Old Memory
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper
Jeannie Seely: Those Memories

10:45: Joggin' In a Jug
Charlie Walker (host): Who'll Buy the Wine
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sail Away Ladies
Charlie Walker: Smoke; Smoke; Smoke

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jack Greene (host): Highway to the Sky
The Four Guys: It's All Right to Have a Good Time
T Bubba Bechtol: Comedy
Matt King: In Dreams/From Your Knees
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool

11:30: Ray Stevens Show
Del Reeves (host): Anywhere USA
Stu Phillips: El Tigre
Ray Pillow: Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Coon Creek Girls:  This Heart of Mine/Caught in the Middle
Del Reeves: Hound Dog

The Carter Family, which included June Carter, joined the Grand Ole Opry on May 29, 1950. They left the Opry after their final performance on July 8, 1967. While they were no longer Opry members, June would appear on the Opry as a guest when her husband Johnny Cash appeared on the show, with the majority of these appearances taking place while Johnny was filming his television show in Nashville. Her 1999 appearance had been her first on the Opry in many years. For those watching that night, June looked and sounded a little ragged. While on stage, she performed with her son John Carter Cash and the Cash Family Band, along with Emmylou and Rodney.

June Carter Cash passed away on May 15, 2003. Several days earlier she had open-heart surgery. The following day she went into cardiac arrest and was on life support for several days. When she died, June was survived by her husband, seven children and 13 grandchildren.

There you have it for this week. Thanks as always for reading and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend.









Monday, July 8, 2019

Tuesday Night Opry 7/9 & Wednesday Night Opry 7/10

The Tuesday Night Opry will be special this week as Jesse McReynolds will be celebrating his 90th birthday. Jessie, who has been a Grand Ole Opry member for 55 years, is the Opry's oldest male member, and is second in age to fellow Opry member Jan Howard, who is also 90.

Joining Jesse in the celebration, and what should be a wonderful night, will be fellow Opry members Bill Anderson, Mark Wills and Larry, Steve and Rudy, the Gatlin Brothers.

Tuesday July 9
7:00: Bill Anderson; Craig Campbell
7:30: Carly Pearce; Jesse McReynolds
Intermission
8:15: Carlene Carter; Michael Ray
8:45: Mark Wills; The Gatlin Brothers

Wednesday July 10
7:00: The Gatlin Brothers; Tyler Rich
7:30: Jeannie Seely; Home Free
Intermission
8:15: Tegan Marie; Del McCoury Band
8:45: The Swon Brothers; Sawyer Brown

Not only is the Tuesday show looking good but so is the Wednesday. Sawyer Brown seems to be back in the rotation of guests, which is nice to see. Home Free is back after a great performance last week. And three good Opry members.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

July Opry Highlights

Welcome to July and the heart of summer. 4th of July, picnics and family vacations are all on the menu, with some of those vacations taking place in Nashville and at the Grand Ole Opry. Here are the historical and interesting notes regarding the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, that have taken place during the month of July:

July 15, 1913: Lloyd Estel was born in Adams County, Ohio. Better known as Cowboy Copas, he joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946. He would remain an Opry member until his death in 1963.

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

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers, led by Herman Crook, made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. Considered one of the Opry's original members, the Crook Brothers would remain a part of the Opry until the death of Herman in July 1988. That adds up to 62 years at the Opry, usually accompanying the square dancers.

July 7, 1927: The late Charlie Louvin was born in Section, Alabama. Charles Loudermilk was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years. Along with his brother Ira, Charlie was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Charlie passed away on January 26, 2011.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends in bluegrass music, Jim and Jesse joined the Opry in 1964. Following the death of Jim McReynolds on December 31, 2002, Jesse has continued on at the Opry and at the age of 90, he is the oldest male member of the cast. After having some recent health issues, Jesse is now back at the Opry most every week and sounds as good as ever.

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

July 14, 1932: The great Del Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina. Del joined the Grand Ole Opry in October 1966 and was an Opry member until his death in 2007. Del had one of the great personalities in country music and did a variety of impressions, including those of Roy Acuff, Johnny Cash and Hank Snow.

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, Opry founder George D. Hay started the Artists Service Bureau, which would become the official booking agency for Opry members. In the future, this organization would cause some issues at the Opry, and eventually would lead to several Opry members, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, leaving the Opry.

July 4, 1937: Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966 and has been a member of the Opry since. Now retired, Ray is considered one of the real nice guys in country music.

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

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would stay at the War Memorial for just a few years as the type of crowd that came to Opry shows was not the ones that the operators of the building wanted to see. The Opry moved to War Memorial from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people but was in deplorable condition. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry decided to charge an admission fee of 25 cents, which did not stop the crowds from coming to the show. War Memorial Auditorium still stands in Nashville and is used. In 2010, when the Grand Ole Opry House was flooded, several Opry shows were relocated there.

July 6, 1940: Jeannie Seely, known as "Miss Country Soul" was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. In September, Jeannie will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. as she joined the cast in September 1967. As far as female Opry members, Jeannie is one of the best and most weekends you can find her at the Opry and hosting a segment.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the show, which was broadcast on the NBC radio network. Rod was hired after Whitey got into a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency, which sponsored the segment. Rod was very successful, often teaming with fellow comedian Minnie Pearl. Rod was not only a great comedian, but was also an excellent actor. He was featured in the movie, "A Face In the Crowd" which starred Andy Griffith. Rod remained a member of the Opry until passing away in September 1958.

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

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

July 5, 1952: Ralph Sloan and The Tennessee Travelers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The group was formed in 1949 and they were originally called the Cedar Hill Square Dancers. Ralph passed away in 1980 after which his brother Melvin Sloan took over the group, changing the name to the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin has since retired himself and the group is now simply called the Opry Square Dancers.

July 9, 1952: Grand Ole Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. The marriage only lasted a few years as Carl expected June to give up her career to become a full time wife and mother. While the marriage was short, it did produce a daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known as Carlene Carter. After the marriage ended, June would go on to remarry two more times, with her final marriage being to Johnny Cash, while Carl would have a very successful marriage with Goldie Hill, who did retire from performing after being married to Carl.

July 18, 1954: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. Ricky joined the Opry cast in May 1982. For many of us, it is hard to believe that Ricky will be 65.

July 2, 1955: According to various reports, Patsy Cline made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Continuing to guest on the Opry, Patsy would eventually become an Opry member in 1960, after asking if she could join.

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

July 28, 1956: Just three weeks after making his Grand Ole Opry debut, Johnny Cash became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain an Opry member until 1958, when he left Nashville and moved to California. Even though he gave it up, Johnny was always welcomed as a guest artist whenever he was in Nashville, and he would especially appear if June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965, while under the influence of drugs, that Johnny 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. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff reportedly asked Johnny to once again become an Opry member, but Johnny declined.

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

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 58th year as an Opry member. Bill made his first Opry appearance in 1958 and would guest several times before being asked by Opry manager Ott Devine to become a member. Currently the longest active member of the Opry's cast, and over the age of 80, Bill is still actively touring and making Opry appearances. He is always well received and sounds as good as ever. An argument can be made that this Hall of Fame member is one of the greatest all-around talents in the history of country music, as he has been successful as a solo artist, duet artist, songwriter, author, game show host and television personality. Bill has done it all.

July 18, 1964: Connie Smith made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Connie joined the cast the following year and this will be her 54th year as an Opry member. And she sounds as good as ever.

July 31, 1964: Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manual, died in a plane crash just outside of Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he was not an Opry member at the time of his death, giving it up a few years earlier, Jim was very successful while an Opry member. However, as the focus of his career changed, he felt that the Opry was no longer for him.

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and several broken ribs. Also injured in the crash were Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would be out of action for about a month, returning to the Opry in August.

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

July 1, 1967: Dave Hooten replaced Johnny "Lonzo" Sullivan as part of Lonzo and Oscar. Johnny had recently passed away and it was agreed before his death that Roland "Oscar" Sullivan would continue with the act. David was generally considered a good replacement for Johnny.

July 8, 1967: Mother Maybelle and The Carter Sisters (June, Anita and Helen), made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. The group originally joined the Opry in May 1950 and left in order to tour full time with Johnny Cash. As with many other veteran Opry members, Maybelle Carter complained many times to management in regards to the slots they were scheduled on the show.

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

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. While some accounts, including the Grand Ole Opry, list her induction date as July 29, this was actually the night that Barbara was announced as a member. Celebrating her 47th year as an Opry member, Barbara is now retired from performing. When she made the decision to retire, he asked Opry management if she would remain a member of the Opry, of which they agreed. Without knowing it at the time, Barbara started a trend where retired members would retain their Opry membership, reversing a policy where members had to give up their Opry membership if they were no longer active.

July 14, 1973: Tompall, Chuck, and Jim, the Glaser Brothers, made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. The brothers, who often had creative differences, decided to go their separate ways, They would reunite several years later, but then broke up for good. But, at the personal invitation of  Hank Snow, the brothers appeared on the Opry one final time, in January 1990 at a show honoring Hank for 40 years of Opry membership. The brothers were awesome that night and you can see the video of the performance on YouTube. That night was the final night that they would appear together.

July 21, 1973: Just over a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the Opry cast, Jeanne Pruett became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired. This will be her 46th year as an Opry member. Jeanne was the last singing member of the cast to join the show before it left the Ryman Auditorium (of course, Jerry Clower joined after Jeanne but he was known as a comedian). On the night of her induction, Dolly Parton handled the honors. Now retired, Jeanne has recently written an autobiography and has been known to visit the Opry now and then.

July 7, 1975: Grand Ole Opry member George Morgan passed away in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. He was just 51. George joined the Opry in 1948 as the replacement for Eddy Arnold. He left the Opry in 1956 to star on a television show, but returned in 1959. George's daughter Lorrie followed in his footsteps as an Opry member.

July 24, 1976: Bobby Lord made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby came to the Opry in 1960 from the Ozark Jubilee. After leaving the Opry, Bobby went into semi-retirement, living in Florida and working in real estate. He later hosted a sportsman show on TNN. Although he gave up his Opry membership, Bobby would continue to make occasional Opry appearances when he was up in the Nashville area. Bobby, who also had his own television show, passed away in 2008/

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

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

July 2, 1982: Former Grand Ole Opry member DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the WSM Barn Dance, but was fired in 1941 by Opry founder George D. Hay. Various reasons were given for the firing, but it would appear that race was the major reason. While he did come back to make guest appearances in the 1940s, DeFord was very bitter about being fired by the Opry and went to great lengths to avoid the opportunity to make guest appearances. However in February 1974 he returned for the annual reunion show. He was well received and would make a few more reunion shows before passing away. DeFord is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry, WSM radio and the entire Opryland complex from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the actual owners. At the time, Gaylord owned "Hee Haw" and other major media outlets. The price was rumored to have been between $250 and $350 million. The Opry was for sale at the time because of the purchase of National Life and Accident Company and the new owners, American General, had no interest in owning the Opry or Opryland. It was Roy Acuff who convinced Edward Gaylord that the Opryland properties were perfect for him to buy and add to his company. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and is now known as Ryman Hospitality.

July 30, 1983: Former Grand Ole Opry members The Glaser Brothers returned for a guest appearance on the Opry. The brothers were having some chart success at the time with "Lovin' Her Was Easier" and had briefly reunited.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain a very popular and loyal member of the Opry until passing away on July 3, 2001 after a period of declining health. One of the most talented performers in country music, Johnny was a singer, songwriter and comedian. After joining the Opry, Johnny would normally appear on the 11:30 segment, telling funny stories and singing serious songs. I was privileged one day to have met Johnny at Opryland and to spend a little bit of time with him.

July 3, 1993: Alison Krauss became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 26th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined, she was the Opry's youngest member. Alison has won more Grammy Awards then any other female country music, or bluegrass singer.

July 10, 1999: June Carter Cash made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, in what would be her final appearance on the Opry stage. June was an Opry member in the 1950s and was known for singing with her family and for her comic skills.

July 6, 2002: Melvin Sloan, leader of the Melvin Sloan Dancers, retired. Melvin began dancing on the Opry following the death of his brother Ralph Sloan in 1980. After Melvin's retirement, the Opry took over management of the square dancers and they are now called the Opry Square Dancers.

July 2, 2004: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Van Shelton made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. Now retired, Ricky joined the Opry in June 1988. Sadly, he was another one from that era that did not appear on the Opry very often.

July 5, 2008: Ending a long standing tradition, the start time of Saturday's early Grand Ole Opry show was changed from 6:30 to 7:00, resulting in a two hour show. This followed the change of the late Saturday show being cut to two hours the previous January. There was no reason given for the change, and no, there was no price reduction on account of the shorter show.

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

July 8, 2011: Jimmy Dickens made a surprise appearance on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry to ask the Oak Ridge Boys if they would like to become the Opry's newest members. Of course, the Oak Ridge Boys said yes, and later this year they will celebrate their 7th year as Opry members. The Oak Ridge Boys had been asked previously if they were interested in becoming Opry members, however they had declined due to their heavy touring schedule. While they are still actively touring, the group has found the time to appear on the Opry and fulfill their membership obligations.

July 16, 2011: Grand Ole Opry member Bill Anderson is honored upon his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Alison Krauss joined the celebration that evening.

July 3, 2013: Alison Krauss celebrated 20 years of Opry membership. As part of the show that night, she does a duet with Jamey Johnson on "Make the World Go Away."

July 1, 2017: Montgomery Gentry performs "Where I Come From" on the Grand Ole Opry. It would be the final Opry appearance for Troy Gentry, who would pass away in September as the result of a helicopter crash. Since his passing, Eddie Montgomery has continued on as an Opry member, along with the remaining members of the group.

There you have it for this month.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Grand Ole Opry 7/5 & 7/6

Getting it in early before the July 4 holiday, the Grand Ole Opry has posted the schedules for the upcoming weekend shows.

In looking at the line-ups, Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include Jeannie Seely, The Whites and Ricky Skaggs, all of whom are hosting segments both nights. Riders In the Sky join the trio hosting on Friday night, along with Bobby Osborne, while Jesse McReynolds is feeling better and back on the schedule for Saturday night.

Williams & Ree are guesting both nights. On Friday night Eddy Raven, Ray Scott, songwriter Erin Enderlin, King Calaway, Dillon Carmichael and former "Nashville" star Charles Esten are on the list, while on Saturday Lucas Hoge, Jillian Jacqueline, T.G. Sheppard, Tyler Farr, Darin & Brooke Aldridge and Sam Bush will be joining Williams & Ree. T.G., by the way, has a new radio show on the XM/Sirius Elvis channel.

Friday July 5
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Eddy Raven; Ray Scott
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Erin Enderlin; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
Intermission
8:15: The Whites (host); Williams & Ree; King Calaway
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Dillon Carmichael; Charles Esten

Saturday July 6
7:00: The Whites (host); Lucas Hoge; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jillian Jacqueline; T.G. Sheppard
Intermission
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Tyler Farr; Opry Square Dancers; Darin & Brooke Aldridge; Williams & Ree; Sam Bush

One of those rare weekends when nobody is making their Opry debut. With five Opry members scheduled on Friday night, that is actually better than last weekend, while four are on the schedule for Saturday night.
________________________________________________________________________

As the July 4th weekend continues, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten 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

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday July 2, 1994:

1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Jean Shepard (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stonewall Jackson; Charlie Louvin; The Whites
7:30: The Four Guys (host); Darryl and Don Ellis; Mel McDaniel
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider and Bob Clark; Brother Oswald and Buck White; Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); George Hamilton IV; Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Roy Drusky
10:15: Jean Shepard (host); Charlie Louvin
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Charlie Walker
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Jimmy C Newman
11:30: The Four Guys (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jeannie Seely; Mel McDaniel

And from 50 years ago, Saturday July 5, 1969:

1st show
6:30/6:45: Glaser Brothers; Del Wood; The Four Guys; Charlie Louvin
7:00: Roy Acuff; Billy Grammer; Loretta Lynn; Stu Phillips
7:30: Porter Wagoner; Dolly Parton; Mel Tillis; Crook Brothers
8:00:  Lester Flatt; Webb Pierce; Dottie West; Jimmy Johnson
8:30: Hank Snow; Del Reeves; Margie Bowes; Ray Pillow; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Billy Grammer; Glaser Brothers; Del Wood; The Four Guys
10:00: Charlie Louvin; Stu Phillips; Kenny Price; Diane McCall
10:15: Roy Acuff; Loretta Lynn
10:30: Porter Wagoner; Dolly Parton
10:45: Lester Flatt; Mel Tillis; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow; Webb Pierce; Dottie West; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Del Reeves; Ray Pillow; Bob Luman; Margie Bowes
_________________________________________________________________________

Looking back, it was on Saturday July 6, 1985 that Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

From time to time, a song gives country music's core audience a picture of itself that is attractive or amusing enough to become a kind of anthem. Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee" is perhaps the best known, but the singer and songwriter Johnny Russell will be remembered by enthusiasts for his affectionate cultural cameo, "Rednecks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer." He reached a much larger audience, though, with his composition, "Act Naturally," first a hit for Buck Owens, then for Ringo Starr on the Beatles' album, Help!

Born in Roundaway, Mississippi, Johnny spent his teenage years in Fresno, California. Inspired by country stars of the 1940s and 50s, such as Lefty Frizzell and Ernest Tubb, he began entering talent contests, performing in clubs and writing songs. "In A Mansion Stands My Love," which he wrote and recorded at the age of 18, earned him a long-running income as the flipside of Jim Reeve's 1960 multi-million seller, "He'll Have To Go."

Excited by this brush with success, he moved to Nashville, but made little headway and was soon back in California, where Buck Owens had a No. 1 hit with "Act Naturally" in 1963. The Beatles' recording followed a couple of years later and, in 1989, the song was revived when Buck and Ringo recorded it as a duet.

Over the next few years, Johnny worked in California and Nashville, writing songs for the Wilburn Brothers' publishing company, Sure-Fire. In 1971, Chet Atkins, who had produced the Reeves recording of "In A Mansion Stands My Love," signed him to an RCA contract. Apart from "Rednecks," a hit in 1973, and a similar southern study, "Catfish John," he never sold a great many records, but critics approved of his albums Catfish John/Chained and Mr. and Mrs. Untrue.

He continued to write songs for other artists, among them "Let's Fall to Pieces Together," a chart topper for George Strait in 1984, and "Making Plans," originally recorded as a duet by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and later chosen by Dolly, Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt for their album, Trio. He also placed songs with Loretta Lynn, Gene Watson, Dottie West and Vince Gill. Though he enjoyed writing and plugging songs, it annoyed Johnny that his skill prevented him from performing as much as he would have liked. He worked in Las Vegas and on television variety shows, and had a few characters parts in TV dramas, but finally found his niche in 1985 as a cast member of the Grand Ole Opry. "Probably my greatest satisfaction," he said, "is to see my audiences give off a good belly laugh." He also appeared on Hee Haw.

Many of his Opry colleagues gathered for a benefit concert that took place in March 2001, shortly before his diabetes led him having both legs amputated below the knee. Twice married, Johnny had a son and a daughter.

Born on January 23, 1940, Johnny Russell died on July 3, 2001.

Here is the running order from 34 years ago, July 6, 1985, the night that Johnny Russell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. (By the way, the segment in which Johnny became an Opry member was televised on RFD-TV a couple of weeks ago).

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
The Four Guys (host); Cottonfields/Mariah
Jean Shepard: The Wonders You Perform
The Four Guys: How Married are You Mary Ann

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host); Looking Back is Easier
Brother Oswald: Mountain Dew
Jack Greene: The Great Speckled Bird

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks, & Blue Ribbon Beer/Act Naturally
Dottie West: Country Sunshine/American Trilogy
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name

7:30: Standard Candy
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights; Thick Smoke
Crook Brothers and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man/A Far Cry From You
George Hamilton IV: (?)

8:00: Martha White
Ricky Skaggs (host): Highway 40 Blues
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope this Day is Good
Charlie Louvin: He Can be Found
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away to Long
Ricky Skaggs: I've Got a New Heartache/Honey, Open that Door/Hallelujah, I'm Ready

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Hank Snow (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Jeannie Seely: Once You're Gone
Billy Grammer: Birth of the Blues/Drifting Back to Dreamland
Hank Snow: Among My Souvenirs

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
The Four Guys: Operator; Information; Give Me Jesus on the Line
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Dottie West: We Know Better Now/Rocky Top
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

10:00: Little Debbie
Ray Pillow (host): You're One Memory That I'd Like to Make Again
Jean Shepard: Then He Touched Me
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore

10:15: Sunbeam
Ricky Skaggs (host): Country Boy
Connie Smith: A Far Cry from You
Ricky Skaggs: Something in My Heart

10:30: Martha White
Billy Walker (host): Ashes of Love
Justin Tubb: The Wino's Prayer
Billy Walker: He Sang the Songs About El Paso/Charlie's Shoes

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Mississippi
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Crook Brothers and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such as I
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Going Home
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Billy Grammer: When It's Darkness on the Delta/Homestead on the Farm
Hank Snow: Old Shep

11:30: Quincy's
Jack Greene (host): The Devil's Den
Charlie Louvin: Today All Over Again
Jan Howard: Slow Burning Memory
Johnny Russell: Kaw-liga/No One Will Ever Know

When looking at the line-up from that night, you will notice that Roy Acuff was missing and Brother Oswald had a spot on each of the two shows. On Sunday June 16, 1985, Roy experienced pain in his right chest and coughed up blood. He was taken to the hospital where he was admitted for several days. The doctors found a blood clot on his right lung and prescribed blood thinners. On Saturday September 14, Roy went on Bill Anderson's show and talked about his 82nd birthday, which was the following day. He did not perform and as a birthday gift to Roy, WSM sent Roy and some friends to Atlanta for the game between the Braves and the Cincinnati Reds. It wasn't until October 12 that Roy was back on the Opry to help celebrate the Opry's 60th birthday. He did not sing that night, but the following week, October 19, he was back performing.

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