Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 9/26 & Wednesday Night Opry 9/27

Before getting into the mid-week shows, an update on Jesse McReynolds. As of Sunday evening, Jesse has been making slow, steady progress. He has been eating a little and sitting up, along with resting at night. The doctors have said it will be a long and slow recovery process. Considering Jesse's age, I can fully understand that. He is not completely out of the woods as of yet, so the family is still asking that everyone keep Jesse in their thoughts and prayers.

As to the Tuesday Night Opry, there will be two shows this week with Grand Ole Opry members Rascal Flatts the featured attraction. Other Opry members set for Tuesday night include Lorrie Morgan, Bill Anderson and Dailey & Vincent:

1st show
7:00: Bill Anderson; Carlene Carter
7:30: Marshall Tucker Band; Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Dailey & Vincent; William Michael Morgan
8:30: Rascal Flatts

2nd show
9:30: Rascal Flatts; Bill Anderson; Lorrie Morgan
10:30: Marshall Tucker Band; William Michael Morgan; Dailey & Vincent

Definitely a very strong and solid line-up.

Now for the Wednesday Night, again a solid show but certainly not with the star power of Wednesday night. Chris Janson, fresh off his Nashville concert on Saturday night, gets the entire last half hour to himself:

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Exile
7:30: Bobby Bones; T Graham Brown
8:15: Ashley Campbell; LOCASH
8:45: Chris Janson.

Finally, Opry Country Classics takes place Thursday night at the Ryman Auditorium

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Bobby Bare
Also Appearing: Mandy Barnett; Craig Campbell; Gatlin Brothers; Jeannie Seely

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/22 & 9/23

First, a word regarding Jesse McReynolds. For those who do not know, earlier today Jesse was admitted to the hospital with stomach pain. He was rushed into surgery as it was determined that he had a ruptured aneurysm. Doctors at Sumner Hospital in Gallatin reported that his condition was serious. Last word I have, as I type this Wednesday afternoon is that Jesse is out of surgery and the family is cautiously optimistic. Our thoughts are with Jesse and his family.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, Friday will be the big night as Reba McEntire will be performing on both shows and honored as it was 40 years ago, September 17, 1977 that Reba made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

When Reba McEntire made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 1977, she almost didn't make it in the door after a guard at the Opry gate missed her name on that night's list of performers. Reba found a nearby phone and called her booking agent, who arranged for her to get past security. Her parents and older sister, Alice, drove 1,400 miles round trip from their Oklahoma home to see what turned out to be Reba's three-minute performance that night. Her act was cut from two songs to just one, "Invitation to the Blues," because of a surprise appearance from Dolly Parton. Despite those issues, that evening still turned out better than the first time Reba came to the Opry as a fan. She was seven years old and visiting the Opry as an audience member. She got sick during the show, ran outside and promptly threw up on the front steps.

Western singer Red Steagall discovered Reba at the National Finals Rodeo in 1974 singing the national anthem. She signed her first record deal the following year and charted her first single in 1976. Four years passed before Reba landed her first Top 10 hit with "(You Life Me) Up to Heaven." It took two years for Reba to get her first No. 1, "Can't Even Get the Blues." Since then, the hits have consistently kept coming for four decades. She is the only female artist to have scored No. 1 singles in each decade from the 1980s through the current one.

Reba, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998, has sold more than 55 million albums and earned two Grammy Awards. She is the most nominated female artist in the history of the Country Music Association Awards, which named her its Entertainer of the Year in 1986. She also has found success in film, television, books, fashion, and even on the Broadway stage. She is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Now, I think most of you know how I feel about Reba. She is a great singer, and a Hall of Fame member. She has had an outstanding career in country music and continues to be an inspiration to many female artists. But as an Opry member, her support of the show has been somewhat lacking.

The Opry lists her "official" induction date as November 21, 1985 and even at that point, the Opry appearances were few and far. Just going back to 2001, Reba has made only 3 Opry appearances in the past 16 years and one of those was the surprise appearance that she made to ask Little Big Town to become the Opry's newest members.

As to the rest of Friday night's line-up, there are only 7 acts scheduled on the 1st show and just 6 on the 2nd (The Whites only appearing on the early show). What is nice is that each one is an Opry member, or in the case of Bobby Bare, a former Opry member. As to Reba McEntire & "Friends," I am not sure who the friends are. I am thinking she might have a couple of special folks with her.

Friday September 22
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mike Snider; Connie Smith; Bobby Bare
8:00: Vince Gill (host); Reba McEntire & Friends

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Bare; Mike Snider
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Reba McEntire

Interesting that they have only 2 segments. This is certainly not a case of not having anyone who could host, as The Whites, Mike Snider and Connie Smith are all on the schedule. They certainly could have filled it out if they so desired. But the line-up is solid. And yes, not matter the reason or what it took, it is good to have Reba McEntire back on the Opry. The show is better with her.

Now, as far as Saturday night is concerned, it is a more traditional show with 11 acts listed, 5 of which are Opry members. Opry members scheduled include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, The Whites, Connie Smith and Bobby Osborne. (Jesse was on the original schedule last night). Guest artists include Adam Craig, Tegan Marie, The Steel Woods, Chonda Pierce, Charlie Worsham, and Alex Williams, who I believe is making his Grand Ole Opry debut.

Saturday September 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Adam Craig; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Tegan Marie; The Steel Woods
8:15: The Whites (host); Alex Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Chonda Pierce; Charlie Worsham

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 21 & 22, 2007:

Friday September 21
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; Blaine Larsen
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sarah Johns
9:00: Charley Pride (host); Jimmy C Newman; Doyle Dykes
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jimmy Wayne

Saturday September 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Blaine Larsen
7:00: Mike Snider (host); David Ball; Sherrie Austin
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mountain Heart
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Charley Pride (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sawyer Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Blaine Larsen
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; David Ball; Sawyer Brown
10:30: Charley Pride (host); Jeannie Seely; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mountain Heart; Doyle Dykes

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of September 25 & 26, 1992:

Friday September 25
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; The Whites; Mel McDaniel
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jimmy Dickens; Jan Howard; Billy Walker
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Alan Jackson; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; The Whites; Carlisles; Alan Jackson
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Wilma Lee Cooper; Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Mel McDaniel; Skeeter Davis; Mike Snider
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; Justin Tubb; Jim Ed Brown
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 26
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard
7:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); Skeeter Davis; The Whites; The 4 Guys; Billy  Walker
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Hank Locklin; Jim & Jesse; Jann Browne
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Carlisles; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Laurie Lewis

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; The Whites; Jean Shepard
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Billy Walker
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jim & Jesse
10:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Laurie Lewis; Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely; Hank Locklin; Johnny Russell

Note: Justin Tubb cancelled.

Finally, here is the running order from 28 years ago, Saturday September 23, 1989:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
George Hamilton IV: Life's Railway to Heaven

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): Roly Poly
Jim & Jesse: Thanks for the Trip to Paradise
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up, Jacob
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Jean Shepard: Slowly
Billy Grammer: I Dreamed of an Old Love Affair/Gotta Travel On
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Saturday Night

7:30: Standard Candy
Del Reeves (host): Girl on the Billboard
Jeanne Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away too Long
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel/Everytime You Leave
Del Reeves: Bad News

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You/Once A Day
The 4 Guys: When You Got A Good Woman, It Shows/How Married Are You Mary Ann
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lyin' In Love With You
Vic Willis Trio: Beer Barrel Polka
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland/The Night Runner
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand/You've Gotta Have A License

10:00: Little Debbie
Osborne Brothers (host): My Cabin in Caroline
Jean Shepard: I Just Had You On My Mind
Osborne Brothers: Beneath Still Waters

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Roy Acuff & Billy Grammer: Happy Birthday Donna
Billy Grammer: I Was Born in Renfro Valley/The Waltz You Saved for Me
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Charlie Louvin: My Baby's Gone
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

10:45: B.C. Powder
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around When It's Over
Opry Square Dance Band/ The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Connie Smith: Walkin' After Midnight
Bill Carlisle: Oh, What A Party
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

11:30: Creamette
The 4 Guys (host): I'm All Tied Up
Roy Drusky: More & More
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Numbers
Vic Willis Trio: Sioux City Sue
The 4 Guys: Wings of a Dove/My Special Angel/I've Had the Time of My Life

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend as we welcome back Reba McEntire.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 9/19 & Wednesday Night Opry 9/20

The line-up for the two mid-week shows have been posted, with Darius Rucker being recognized on Wednesday night upon his 5th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

But before we get to that, there is the Tuesday Night Opry. 5 of the 7 acts are members of the Opry, and it is nice to see both Josh Turner and Craig Morgan among the members slated to appear.

Tuesday September 19
7:00: Connie Smith; Craig Morgan
7:30: Josh Turner
8:15: Bill Anderson; Brooke Eden
8:45: Kristian Bush; Del McCoury Band

Wednesday September 20
7:00: John Conlee; Jacob Davis
7:30: Henry Cho; Brothers Osborne
8:15: Carly Pearce; Vince Gill
8:45: Darius Rucker

As mentioned, Darius Rucker will be recognized upon his 5th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, joining the cast on October 16, 2012 (guess he couldn't make it closer to the actual date).

"Welcome him home, everybody! This is his new home right here," said Darius Rucker's good friend Brad Paisley to a Grand Ole Opry audience on October 2, 2012, just after Brad invited Darius to become an official member of the Opry. The invitation cemented a place in both country music and the genre's undisputed home for the soulful, rich baritone singer whose diverse career first landed him in pop music as the lead singer/co-writer for the wildly successful Hootie & the Blowfish.

Success as a solo country artist came quickly for Darius, whose first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" and the album on which it was included, "Learn To Live," became No. 1 smashes. As "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" was on its way up the charts in 2008, Darius played the Opry for the first time. "When I was asked if I wanted to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, I yelled, 'Are you kidding me?'" recalls Darius. "I've been waiting for that my whole life. To be invited where so many of the greatest country artists have performed is an honor, and I still can't believe it has been bestowed on me. Just to stand in the circle where so many greats have stood, Hank Williams, Kitty Wells. I just couldn't believe it."

In addition to his smash debut single, Darius has enjoyed other radio favorites, including "Alright," "It Won't Be Like This For Long," "This," and the Grammy-winning "Wagon Wheel." among others.

Presenting him with the Opry members Award during his October 16, 2012 induction, Vince Gill said to Darius, "I don't think there's a more beloved guy in our music than you. Before you even open your mouth and sing a song you've written, everybody is really crazy about you. You will find this place right here to be one of the greatest homes you'll ever have. Thanks for wanting to be a country music singer."

I hope everyone enjoys the mid-week Opry shows and are ready for Friday night when Reba McEntire returns to the Opry stage to celebrate her 40th anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry debut.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/15 & 9/16

It will be a special weekend at the Grand Ole Opry as on Saturday night Jeannie Seely will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Opry. Jeannie will be just the 6th female member to achieve this milestone, following in the footsteps of Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Wilma Lee Cooper, Loretta Lynn and Connie Smith.

Jeannie Seely's mother said that Jeannie was just four years old when she learned to stretch up, tune the knob on her family's big console radio to 650 WSM and keep it there. Jeannie is still on the dial at 650 WSM, performing regularly on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

By age 11, she was performing on a weekly radio show in nearby Meadville, Pennsylvania, and a few years later was on TV in Erie. Years of playing auditoriums, small clubs, and country music parks followed. She moved to California and worked as a secretary with Liberty and Imperial Records in Hollywood before coming to Nashville in 1965 at the urging of Opry member Dottie West. "I don't know enough to go there yet," Jeannie remembers telling Dottie. The more experienced singer responded, "Jeannie, that's where you go to learn."

A recording contract with Monument Records gave Jeannie her first hit in 1966 with "Don't Touch Me," which went to the top of the charts and earned her a Grammy Award. One year later, the singer who became famous as "Miss Country Soul" fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a member of the Opry cast. More hits followed, including "I'll Love You More (Than You Need)," "Can I Sleep in Your Arms," and "Lucky Ladies." Jeannie briefly worked as a duet partner of Porter Wagoner and had a successful touring and recording partnership with follow Opry member Jack Greene resulting in multiple award nominations and such hits as the Top 10 single "Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You." Jeannie also is a successful songwriter, having written Faron Young's No. 1 hit, "Leavin' and Sayin' Goodbye," a BMI award-winner. She has also had songs cut by Dottie West, Connie Smith, Willie Nelson and Ray Price. Known for her plainspoken ways and sharp sense of humor, Jeannie published a book of witticisms, "Pieces of a Puzzled Mind," in 1989.

Jeannie continues to record and make new music, along with traveling and doing tour dates, many times with Tim Atwood. Yet even with her busy schedule, most weekends will find Jeannie at the Opry and hosting segments. In fact, Jeannie was one of the first female members to host a segment.

"It never made any sense to me that a woman couldn't host a segment of the show. The first Opry manager to want to change that was Bob Whittaker. He said, 'We're wasting fifty percent of our artist pool.' I used to go up to Bob's predecessor, Hal Durham, and I'd say, 'I know you've told me before why women can't host, but won't you tell me one more time.' He'd rock from side to side and jingle his change and say, 'It's tradition, Jeannie.' I'd say, 'Oh, it's tradition. It just feels like discrimination.'

It took some time, but eventually Jeannie and the other female artists got their way.

Joining Jeannie this weekend on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will be Opry members Bill Anderson (who will be hosting the 1st segment honoring Jeannie), The Whites, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, Crystal Gayle and Patty Loveless. Also appearing will be Elizabeth Cook, Brandy Clark and Wynonna. I think it is safe to say that the night will be dominated by the females.

Jeannie, Mike, The Whites and The Riders are also scheduled for Friday night, where they will be joined by Opry members Joe Diffie, Jesse McReynolds, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show, who will be in the Opry Shop after the show. Guesting will be Mark Wills, Gwen Sebastian and The Last Bandoleros.

Friday September 15
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Joe Diffie
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Gwen Sebastian; The Last Bandoleros
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday September 16
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Elizabeth Cook; The Whites; Brandy Clark
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Wynonna; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Crystal Gayle; Patty Loveless

That comes out to 11 acts on Friday night, of which 8 are Opry members, and 10 acts on Saturday night, of whom 7 are members of the Opry.

In addition to be honored at the Opry on Saturday night, Jeannie Seely will also be the host and featured attraction at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 14 & 15, 2007:

Friday September 14
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Danielle Peck
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Chris Young
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Doug Stone

Saturday September 15
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Radney Foster
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Rockie Lynne; Mandy Barnett
7:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rissi Palmer
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Marty Stuart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Chris Young

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Radney Foster
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Rockie Lynne; Connie Smith; Marty Stuart
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Rissi Palmer; Chris Young

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of September 18 & 19, 1992:

Friday September 18
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Roy Drusky; Jim Ed Brown; Jan Howard; Johnny Russell
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Billy Grammer;
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Carlisles
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jack Greene; Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Stonewall Jackson; Ray Pillow; Oak Ridge Boys
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Billy Grammer; Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Jim Ed Brown; Lorrie Morgan
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Justin Tubb; Carlisles
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 19
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; The Whites
7:30: Jack Greene (host); Jeannie Seely; Ray Pillow; Billy Grammer; Jann Brown
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The 4 Guys; Jimmy Dickens; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Jan Howard; Roy Drusky; Carlisles

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker; Lorrie Morgan
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Jack Greene (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Justin Tubb; Roy Drusky; Jim Ed Brown
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow; Carlisles; Jan Howard; Charlie Louvin

(Justin Tubb cancelled)

The Saturday night show in 1992 also recognized Jeannie Seely for being an Opry member 25 years, joining the cast on September 16, 1967. The Nashville Tennessean, when printing the Opry line-up in the Friday paper, would also highlight an Opry member, and the September 18, 1992 edition highlighted Jeannie Seely. Here is what was written:

This year, Jeannie Seely and the Grand Ole Opry are celebrating their silver anniversary. Wednesday marked the 25th year of Opry membership for "Miss Country Soul," who joined in 1967. This weekend, she celebrates the anniversary by singing in shows at 9:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday. "I'm so excited, almost like I was the first time," Seely said. "I went through my wardrobe, and nothing was good enough. I went out and splurged today and bought a new dress." Seely has always been known for her fashion sense; credited with breaking the "calico curtain," she changed the image of sweet down-home female country music singers by wearing mini-skirts and low-cut dresses.

In 1966, Seely won a Grammy for "Don't Touch Me," a hit song that led to Opry membership. "I can't forget that," she said. "Usually the first criteria to join is a hit record. When 'Don't Touch Me' hit, I was so excited about having a No. 1 record, but I kept saying, 'Does this mean they'll ask me to join the Opry?'" They did. "I was so excited and so nervous the first appearance, "Seely said. "I remember thinking of the responsibility, what it meant to be a part of the Grand Ole Opry." To Seely, it means being part of a family. "There's just a kinship there," she said. "When I'm away, I'm homesick for the Grand Ole Opry." And every weekend she's in town, Seely can be found on the Opry stage. "It's kind of frightening how fast 25 years have gone by. I just can't believe it," she said. "I'm proud of being able to stick with it that long, as well as just happy that they've stuck we me."

That was from 25 years ago, and now this weekend Jeannie will join the select company of Opry members who have been with the Opry for 50 years.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday September 16, 1967, the night Jeannie Seely became an Opry member:

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Ernie Ashworth (host): A Week in the Country
Paul Moore: Cold, Cold Heart
Spider Wilson: Wildwood Flower
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You

6:45: Rudy's
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Jerri Lynn: Ain't Had No Lovin'
Jerry Whitehurst: Hey, Good Lookin'
George Hamilton IV: The Urge for Going

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Anderson (host): Get While the Getting's Good
The 4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot
Jimmy Gatley: Sh Wants to Be Like You
Tammy Wynette: Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Bill Anderson: No One's Gonna Hurt You Anymore
Duke of Paducah: Four-Leaf Clover
The 4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Bill Anderson: Love You Drops

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Mabel, You Have Been A Friend to Me
Willis Brothers: A 6 ft 2 by 4
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Margie Bowes: Man Around the House
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Billy Grammer: Pennsylvania Polka
Willis Brothers: Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): It's Another World
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Dottie West: Like A Fool
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Wilburn Brothers: You're Standing in the Way
Pete Sayers: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Justin Tubb & Dottie West: Love Is No Excuse
Dottie West: Paper Mansions

8:30: Stephens
Roy Drusky (host): Rainbows & Roses
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Hugh X Lewis: You're So Cold I'm Turning Blue
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Roy Drusky: White Lightening Express
Opry Staff Band: Speeding West
Grandpa Jones: Everything I Had Going for Me Is Gone
Jeannie Seely: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Roy Drusky: Anymore

9:30: Kellogg's
Tex Ritter (host): Boll Weevil
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabamy Bound
Dottie West: Funny, Familiar, Forgotten Feelings
Hank Williams, Jr: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight/Wedding Bells/Mansion on the Hill/Half as Much/Lovesick Blues
Tex Ritter: Working Man's Prayer
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham

10:00: Schick
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Billy Grammer: Mabel, You Have Been a Friend to Me

10:15: Pure
Roy Drusky (host): Peel Me A Nanner
Grandpa Jones: Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Roy Drusky: New Lips

10:30: Buckley's
Ernie Ashworth (host): My Love for You
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Willis Brothers: Bob/God Walks These Hills With Me

10:45: Newport
Wilburn Brothers (host): Good, Goody Gumdrop
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl

11:00: Coca-Cola
Tex Ritter (host): Green Grow the Lilacs
The 4 Guys: Shendandoah
Jeannie Seely: I Fall to Pieces
Hank Williams, Jr: Long Gone Lonesome Blues/(?)/Can't Take it No Longer/I'm In No Condition to Love Again/I'm Nobody's Child
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Jeannie Seely: Darling, Are You Ever Coming Home
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

11:30: Lava
Bob Luman (host): Let's Think About Living
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Jerry Greene: Turn the World Around the Other Way
Tammy Wynette: I Don't Wanna Play House
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy From the Country
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Bob Luman: Memphis

Congratulations to Jeannie Seely on her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/12 & 9/13

The Grand Ole Opry is having two mid-week shows this week as the Opry is back to having a Wednesday night show for a few weeks.

Tuesday September 12
8:00: Blake Shelton
8:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Jon Pardi
9:15: Margo Price; Henry Cho
9:45: Lukas Nelson; Trace Adkins

Wednesday September 13
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Clare Bowen
7:30: Riders In The Sky; Charles Esten
8:15: Randy Owen
8:45: Luke Bryan

The Tuesday night segment with Blake Shelton will be part of a nation-wide hurricane relief show that is being nationally televised.

The Wednesday night show will celebrate Country Cares for St. Jude Kids. During this special show, photos and inspirational moments will be shared, and a St. Jude patient will be on stage as a special guest announcer for the night. Those attending the show will be encouraged to support St. Jude.

This is something that the Opry has done in the past and has gotten more involved with recently. When the opportunity comes that those in Nashville and at the Opry can help others, they should always take advantage of it. Our thanks to Ryman Hospitalities and the Grand Ole Opry for stepping forward.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Opry Member Troy Gentry Killed In Helicopter Crash

News came late this afternoon that Grand Ole Opry member Troy Gentry, half of the duo Montgomery Gentry was killed in a helicopter crash in New Jersey.

The following was posted on Montgomery Gentry's website this afternoon:

It is with great sadness that we confirm that Troy Gentry, half of the popular country duo, Montgomery Gentry, was tragically killed in a helicopter crash which took place at approximately 1:00 pm today in Medford, New Jersey.  The duo was scheduled to perform tonight at the Flying W Airport & Resort in Medford. Troy Gentry was 50 years old. 
Details of the crash are unknown. 
Troy Gentry's family wishes to acknowledge all of the kind thoughts and prayers, and asks for privacy at this time.

In addition to the tragic death of Troy, former Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Williams passed away after a short illness. He was 78. 

Our prayers and thoughts are with both families. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/8 & 9/9

With the Grand Ole Opry's 92nd birthday weekend just a month away, I have been getting emails asking for any news. Unfortunately, I have nothing to report. I called the Opry's office this past week and was told that there was nothing to announce at this time. I even asked who was going to be the entertainer at the Saturday afternoon birthday concert and they said it would be announced soon. So far there is Hunter Hays for Friday night and Steven Curtis Chapman on Saturday evening and that is it. Looking back in my records, it was the 2nd week of September last year when they started posting additional artists, so I assume it will be the same this year. There are plenty of artists listed for the weeks before and after the birthday weekend. Let's just hope it is the case that they want to make one big announcement and not a case of not being able to find any artists available.

As to the Grand Ole Opry shows for this weekend, there are two pretty solid shows with a good collection of veteran Opry members. Both nights will feature Riders In The Sky, Bill Anderson, Mike Snider and Connie Smith. That group will be joined on Friday night by Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne, while on Saturday night it will be Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Jesse McReynolds and Steve Wariner performing. That adds up to 6 Opry members on Friday and 8 on Saturday.

As to guest artists this weekend, the big name on Friday night is Tanya Tucker. Nice to see her back on the Opry stage. While she doesn't make many visits to the Opry, she is always a popular artist on the show. Additionally, "Nashville" star Charles Esten is scheduled to perform along with Jim Lauderdale, The Steeldrivers and Jackie Lee. Meanwhile on Saturday night, guest artists scheduled include Maggie Rose, Chuck Mean & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Shelly Fairchild and Joe Mullins & His Radio Ramblers.

Friday September 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Lauderdale; The Steeldrivers
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jackie Lee; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Charles Esten
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Tanya Tucker

Saturday September 9
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Maggie Rose
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shelly Fairchild; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Joe Mullins & His Radio Ramblers; Steve Wariner

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 7 & 8, 2007:

Friday September 7
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; Jack Greene; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Mark Wills
9:00: Steve Wariner (host); Jan Howard; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday September 8
1st show
6:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Wade Hayes
7:00: The Whites (host); Catherine Britt; Blue Country
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Dale Ann Bradley; Jennifer Hanson
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Jeff Bates; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Mel McDaniel; Buddy Jewell

2nd show
9:30: Steve Wariner (host); The Whites; Jennifer Hanson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Wade Hayes; Jeff Bates
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Catherine Britt; Blue Country; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Dale Ann Bradley; Buddy Jewell

Now, going back 25 years, here are the posted line-ups from September 11 & 12, 1992:

Friday September 11
1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis; Vince Gill
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The Whites
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Janie Fricke; Ray Pillow
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; The 4 Guys; Vince Gill
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Del Reeves; Connie Smith; The Whites
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Janie Fricke
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Carlisles; Justin Tubb; Jeannie Seely; David Houston
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 12
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ernie Ashworth
6:45: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: The 4 Guys (host); Skeeter Davis; David Houston; Stu Phillips; Vic Willis Trio
7:30: Del Reeves (host); Patty Loveless; Vince Gill; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Carlisles

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Ernie Ashworth; Vince Gill
10:00: Charlie Walker (host); Patty Loveless
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Stu Phillips
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); David Houston; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Vic Willis Trio; Jeannie Seely
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow; Carlisles; Stonewall Jackson

Finally, looking back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was 28 years ago, Saturday September 9, 1989 that Grand Ole Opry member Del Wood made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood was born on February 22, 1920 in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifetime resident of Nashville, she was surrounded by the influences of early country music and the remaining vestiges of ragtime, particularly though the guitar pickers. She took up piano at age five, and played ragtime, gospel and country music. Despite her parent's best efforts to encourage a direction towards classical music, the environment in Nashville, plus the early local programming on radio, convinced her that she wanted to play piano in the honky-tonk style. Her dream goal was the Grand Ole Opry, something she would realize in her early 30s.

Shortening her married name of Adelaide Hazelwood to something easier to remember, and intentionally non-gender specific, Del Wood began playing in bands and honky-tonk joints in her 20s. After a decade of building repertoire and reputation, she spent some time as a staff pianist at WLBJ in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was there that she was heard playing "Down Yonder" among other pieces, which led to a gig with a recording group called Hugh "Baby" Jarrett and his Dixieliners. This led to the first of many recording sessions for the Tennessee Records label starting in 1951. "Down Yonder" soon became a national hit in both the country and pop categories on the Billboard record charts, sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold record. She was probably the first female country solo instrumentalist to sell a million copies of a record. This success led to guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, where in 1953 she became a member. Two years later her fame culminated with a recording contract from RCA Victor Records, where she would make some of the first country/honky-tonk stereo recordings in the late 1950s. While nothing else that she recorded matched the success of "Down Yonder" her recordings over the next decade were frequent and consistent. She was given the nickname "Queen of the Ragtime Pianists" among others. In 1984, she appeared in the movie Rhinestone, staring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone as the pianist in the Wild Possums Band. During the Vietnam War, she was part of one of the Grand Ole Opry package tours that entertained troops overseas in 1968. Her recordings after the late 1960s were very infrequent, but she remained a very loyal member of the Grand Ole Opry, performing on the show most weekends. Del passed away on October 3, 1989, at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke.

Here is the running order from Saturday September 9, 1989, Del Wood's final night on the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around (When It's Over)
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host): Before I Met You
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Del Reeves: Bad News
Ray Pillow: I Guess He Knows Something I Don't Know
Dottie West: Are You Happy Baby/Together Again
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

7:30: Standard Candy
The 4 Guys (host): Baby, You Look Good to Me Tonight
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/There Goes My Everything
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby On My Mind/Once A Day
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Cajun Stripper
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Patti on the Turnpike
Roy Acuff: One More

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Hank Snow (host): Mama Tried
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Hank Snow: I'm Not at All Sorry for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): (?)
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Picking Up the Pieces
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Porter Wagoner: What Ain't to Be Just Might Happen/Y'All Come

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Bill Anderson: Still

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/Mountain of Love/Kiss An Angel Good Morning

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Del Reeves: There She Goes

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin' Mama
Connie Smith: Your Cheatin' Heart
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durham's Bull
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way That We're Doing It Now
Hank Snow: Among My Souvinors

11:30: Cremette
The 4 Guys (host): (?)
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Bill Carlisle: Happy Birthday Sheila/Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Charlie Louvin: New Dreams & Sunshine
The 4 Guys: I'm All Tied Up

There you have it for this week. Next Saturday night will be a big one at the Opry as Jeannie Seely will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It looks like it will be a ladies night as in addition to Jeannie, Opry members Patty Loveless and Crystal Gayle are scheduled to appear, along with Wynonna, Brandy Clark and Elizabeth Cook. It is looking pretty good.

As always,  I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend and gets a chance to listen.