Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 10/24 & 10/25

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the upcoming weekend shows. The Opry continues at the Grand Ole Opry House with the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will feature a pair of Opry members singing selections from their new CD and signing copies in the Opry Gift Shop. That would be the husband and wife team of Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. They have recorded previously, but this will be the first time they have done an entire album together. Joining the pair on Friday night will be guest artists Mallary Hope, John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Will Hoge, JT Hodges and Striking Matches. All have done the Opry previously. And it is nice to see Ray Pillow returning to host a segment.

Striking Matches will also stay over for the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, where they will be joined by popular and frequent Opry guest The Willis Clan. Also appearing will be guest artists TG Sheppard, Elizabeth Cook and a person who a lot of folks are excited about, Sturgill Simpson.

Friday October 24
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mallary Hope; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band; Will Hoge
8:15: Mike Snider (host); JT Hodges; Striking Matches
8:45: John Conlee (host); Ricky Skaggs & Sharon White

Saturday October 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Mike Snider (host); TG Sheppard; Striking Matches
8:15: The Whites (host); Jean Shepard; Sturgill Simpson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Willis Clan

Interesting to see Mike Snider down again for both shows this weekend. That makes 3 in a row after being gone for 10 months. Interesting!! And did everyone notice that last weekend Jimmy Dickens made it for both the Friday and Saturday night shows? Nice to see.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of October 23 & 24, 2009:

Friday October 23
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; Ashton Shepherd
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Emily West
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Keith Anderson
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; The Whites

Saturday October 24
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mallary Hope
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Montgomery Gentry
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Oak Ridge Boys

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mallary Hope
10:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Montgomery Gentry
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jack Greene; Oak Ridge Boys

From 10 years ago this weekend, October 22 & 23, 2004:

Friday October 22
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; IIIrd Tyme Out
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Osborne Brothers; Catherine Britt
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Charley Pride
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Hebb; Jeff Bates
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band

Saturday October 23
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Joe Diffie; Mark Chesnutt; Chely Wright; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Riders In The Sky; SHeDAISY; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Charley Pride

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Chely Wright
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Del McCoury Band; Joe Diffie
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Osborne Brothers; Charley Pride; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Mark Chesnutt
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; SHeDAISY

Finally, on Tuesday October 28, the Opry will have it's annual "Opry Goes Pink" show to promote breast cancer awareness. The show will begin with the switch being pulled to change the Opry backdrop to pink for the evening. The line-up is as follows:

7:00: Terry Clark; Danielle Bradbery; Rascal Flatts
8:15: The Isaacs; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Will Chase; Sara Evans

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 10/17 & 10/18

The line-ups are out for the Grand Ole Opry shows this weekend and of course the big news is that on Friday night, Little Big Town will become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Vince Gill will handle the honors. As with each new member, I offer my congratulations and my hope that they will support the show and continue to remember where the Opry House is located. They have been guest artists on the Opry for over 10 years, so my guess is that they will.

It is interesting when you look at the Opry's recent additions. Counting back from Little Big Town, you had Old Crow Medicine Show (2013), Darius Rucker (2012), Keith Urban (2012), Rascal Flatts (2011), Oak Ridge Boys (2011), Blake Shelton (2010) and Montgomery Gentry (2009). That is 5 groups and 3 male artists, with the recent emphasis on groups. What is missing? The addition of any female artists. The last to join was Carrie Underwood in 2008. In fact, a quick count shows only 18 female Opry members. And 2 of those, Jeanne Pruett and Barbara Mandell, no longer perform. Just an observation on the direction the Opry needs to take regarding it's next member.

As far as the Opry this weekend, joining Little Big Town and Vince Gill on the Friday Night Opry, will be frequent Opry guests Darryl Worley and Exile. Exile will be in the Opry gift shop signing after the show on Friday. Also back on the schedule for the 2nd week in a row, and actually scheduled for both nights, is Mike Snider. I was glad to see Mike on the Opry last weekend and glad he is coming back.

Joining Mike on Saturday night will be Opry members Bill Anderson, Lorrie Morgan and Connie Smith, along with "Nashville" star Charles Esten. Guest artists include One More Girl, Kristian Bush and Angaleena Presley, who has been associated with the group, Pistol Annies. And it's nice to Jean Shepard back on the schedule after missing a couple of weeks.

Friday October 17
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Chuck Wicks; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darryl Worley
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Canaan Smith; Exile
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Little Big Town

Saturday October 18
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jon Pardi; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jean Shepard; Mac Powell
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); One More Girl; Kristian Bush; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Angaleena Presley; Charles Esten

Overall, Saturday's show is better than the Saturday show we got last week at the birthday bash.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, October 16 & 17, 2009:

Friday October 16
7:00: John Conlee (host); Riders In The Sky; Whitney Duncan
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T. Graham Brown
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Keith Anderson
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday October 17
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Holly Williams
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Sam Bush
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Stonewall Jackson; Steel Magnolia; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Holly Williams
10:00: Jean Shepard (host); Charlie Louvin; Sam Bush
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Steel Magnolia; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Vince Gill

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of October 15 & 16, 2004. This was also the weekend of the Opry's 79th birthday celebration

Friday October 15
1st show
6:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Andy Griggs
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); J.D. Crowe & The New South; Diamond Rio
8:30: John Conlee (host); Charlie Walker; Joe Nichols

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Diamond Rio
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
10:30: Steve Wariner (host); John Conlee; The Whites
11:00: Jean Shepard (host); Ernie Ashworth; Joe Nichols
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); J.D. Crowe & The New South; Andy Griggs

Saturday October 16
1st show
6:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jack Greene; J.D. Crowe & The New South
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Andy Griggs; Alison Krauss; The Whites; Jimmy Dickens
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Carolyn Dawn Johnson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; Joe Nichols

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Alison Krauss
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; J.D. Crowe & The New South; Andy Griggs
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Hank Locklin; Steve Wariner; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
11:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stonewall Jackson; Joe Nichols

And now for this week's feature lin-ups, and I have several.

The first one is from 50 years ago this weekend, Saturday October 17, 1964. As usual, there was one show and it took place at the Ryman Auditorium.

7:30: Luzianne
Wilburn Brothers (host): I'm Gonna Tie One on Tonight
Loretta Lynn: Before I'm Over You
The Browns: Everybody's Darling Plus Mine
George Hamilton IV: Fort Worth, Dallas, or Houston
Wilburn Brothers: Move Up A Little Closer
Cousin Jody: Jody's Chimes
Loretta Lynn: Wine, Women and Song
The Browns: Mariah
George Hamilton IV; If You Don't Know, I Ain't Gonna Tell You
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): My Saro Jane
Hank Locklin: I Was Coming Home to You
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Justin Tubb: Prematurely Blue
Flatt & Scruggs: Cabin on the Hill
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler
Hank Locklin: Going Fishing
Jean Shepard: Two Little Boys
Flatt & Scruggs: Shuckin' the Corn

8:30: Stephen's
Faron Young (host): (?)
Carter Family: Gold Watch and Chain
Willie Nelson: Touch Me
Del Wood: Night Train to Memphis
Faron Young: (?)
Ernest Ashworth: Pushed in A Corner
Carter Family: Ring of Fire
Willie Nelson: Mr. Record Man
Faron Young: (?)

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): White Silver Sands
Glaser Brothers: A Girl Like You
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Hank Williams, Jr: (?)
Ernest Tubb: Daddy, When Is Mommy Coming Home
Lonzo & Oscar: Old Leather Saddle
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Glaser Brothers: Words Come Easy
Ernest Tubb: Thoughts of A Fool

9:30: Kellogg's
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Bill Monroe: Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Curly Fox: Alabama Jubilee
Bill Monroe: Mary At the Home Place
Skeeter Davis: Gonna Get Along Without You Now
Roy Drusky: Anymore

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Shady Grove
Loretta Lynn: Success
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Flatt & Scruggs: You Are My Flower

10:15: SSS Tonic
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll Muddy River
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Cousin Jody: No Help Wanted
Wilburn Brothers: Somebody's Back in Town

10:30: Harvey's
Faron Young (host): (?)
Jean Shepard: Two Little Boys
Willie Nelson: I Never Cared For You
Faron Young: (?)

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Ernest Ashworth: I Love to Dance With Annie
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Ernest Tubb: Warm Red Wine

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Locklin (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Glaser Brothers: South of the Border
Dottie West: I Guess I'm Crazy
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Hank Locklin: Followed Closely by My Teardrops
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking In My Sleep
Sam & Kirk McGee: Railroad Blues
Glaser Brothers: Alibi
Hank Locklin: I Can't Stop Loving You

11:30: Lava
Roy Drusky (host): Peel Me A Nanner
Bill Monroe: There's An Old, Old House
Hank Williams, Jr: (?)
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Roy Drusky: Pick of the Week
Curly Fox: Fox Chase
Skeeter Davis: Foggy Mountain Top
Bill Monroe: I'm One of God's Sheep
Roy Drusky: Second Hank Rose

For the final classic Opry line-up, it was 39 years ago this weekend, October 17 & 18, 1975 that the Opry celebrated it's 50th anniversary with a huge birthday celebration. Along with the opening of the new Opry House and the Opry's 75th birthday celebration, these shows rank among the greatest in the history of the Opry. Most of the Opry's members were present for at least one of the shows that weekend. Here is the running order from the 50th birthday celebration of the Opry:

Friday October 17
7:00: Cracker Barrel
Charlie Louvin (host): She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye
Skeeter Davis: I Can't Believe That It's All Over
Jim & Jesse: Please Be My Love
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Skeeter Davis: When Will I Be Loved
The Promenaders: (?)
Jim & Jesse: I Wish You Knew
Charlie Louvin: I Just Want Out

7:30: Varallo
Lester Flatt (host): Great Big Woman and A Little Biddy Bottle of Wine
Dottie West: Lay Back Lover
Ray Pillow: Countryfried
4 Guys: Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Dottie West: A House of Love
Ray Pillow: Roll On, Truckers; Let Her Roll
Lester Flatt: Let the Church Roll On
Charlie Nixon: Maggie Blues

8:00: Tennessee Pride Sausage/Borax
Del Reeves (host): Down in the Boondocks
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Willis Brothers: For the Good Times
Del Reeves: (?)/You Comb Her Hair
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard

8:30: Kroger/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee ( Stoney Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
The Promenaders/Joe Edwards: Ragtime Annie
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Curly-Headed Baby
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

9:00: Baltz Bros./Schlitz
David Houston (host): Almost Persuaded
Tammy Wynette: I Still Believe in Fairy Tales
Roy Drusky: Sunrise
David Houston: Living in A House Full of Love
Tammy Wynette: The World Needs A Melody
Roy Drusky: The Bitter They Are
David Houston & Calvin Crawford: Sweet Molly

9:30: Acme/Beech-Nut
Charlie Walker (host): Lucille
Barbara Mandrell: Tonight My Baby's Coming Home
Billy Grammer: Amazing Grace
Jimmy C Newman: Thibodeaux's Cajun Band
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Barbara Mandrell: Baptism of Jesse Taylor
Billy Grammer: Maiden's Prayer
Jimmy C Newman: Before the Next Teardrop Falls

10:00: Cee Bee/Schlitz
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Marion Worth: Today I Started Loving You Again
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Phil Campbell: The One on the Right
Hank Locklin: The Sweetest Mistake I've Ever Made
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee
Tommy Jones: Orange Blossom Special/Black Mountain Rag

10:30: Rudy's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Jeanne Pruett: Sweet Baby Jane
Wilburn Brothers: Country Honey
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee
Jeanne Pruett: Hold To My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move A Mountain/Satin Sheets/A Poor Man's Woman
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walking/Waterloo

Saturday October 18, 1975
1st show
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Jimmy Gately: The Angel of the Bar Room
Bill Anderson: Thanks

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jack Greene (host): He Little Thing'd Her Out of My Arms
Jeannie Seely: Take Me Hand
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Barbara Mandrell: I Know My Lord Will Lead Me Home
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Jimmy C Newman: When the Saints Go Marching In

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jim & Jesse: The Magic Little Garden
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Wilburn Brothers: Country Honey
Wayne Hammond: Release Me
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads and Golden Needles

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: I'm A Believer
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie/Down Yonder/There's A Big Wheel
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Dolly Parton: The Seeker
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilma Lee Cooper: Rollin In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Say Forever You'll Be Mine
Porter Wagoner: Indian Creek

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Roy Drusky: Sunrise
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Marion Worth: For the Good Times
Ray Pillow: Roll On, Truckers
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): If You Don't Quit Checking Up on Me
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Connie Smith: How Can You Refuse Him Now
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Barbara Mandrell: Johnny B Goode
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That the Crow Told Me
Jim & Jesse: Paradise

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Country DJ
Jean Shepard: I'm A Believer
George Lindsay: Joke
Del Reeves: Half A Mind/I'm Moving On/Chug-A-Lug/Hillbilly Heaven
Skeeter Davis: On the Way Home
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields
Roy Clark: Sweet Bunch of Daisies/A Pain in My Heart; Blues on My Mind/John Hardy
Minnie Pearl: I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
Tammy Wynette: Clap Your Hands
Charlie Louvin: American Trilogy
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Jimmy C Newman: Alligator Man

10:30: Trailblazer
Porter Wagoner (host): Indian Creek
Dolly Parton: We Used To
4 Guys: Down By the Lazy River
Jack Greene; Statue of A Fool
Jeannie Seely & Dottie West: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Say Forever You'll Be Mine
Dolly Parton: The Seeker

10:45: Beech-Nut
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Dottie West & Jeannie Seely: Here Comes My Baby
Wilburn Brothers: Country Honey
Susan Raye: He Gives Me Something to Forgive Him For
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Jeanne Pruett (with Dottie West & Jeannie Seely): Satin Sheets
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line
Kirk McGee: Freight Train
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I

11:30: Elm Hill
Roy Drusky: Surise
David Houston & Calvin Crawford: Sweet Molly
Marion Worth: For the Good Times
Ray Pillow: Roll On, Truckers
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know/I'm Throwing Rice/Four Walls

The first show actually ran pretty close on time that night, coming in just 5 minutes over. However, the 2nd show did not end until 1:15am, and that was with the Hank Snow segment lasting only 25 minutes and the final segment lasting just 20 minutes. The 15 minute Roy Acuff segment actually lasted 55 minutes!! The opening Ernest Tubb segment on the 2nd show featured 8 acts, which was 1 less than the entire Opry show this past Saturday night!! And that segment actually came in on time, only running 2 minutes over. Amazing how they just rushed the acts on and off.

Anyways, enjoy the Opry this weekend and congratulations to Little Big Town on their induction as the Grand Ole Opry's newest members.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Grand Ole Opry Birthday Celebration Recap

The Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 89th anniversary this past weekend and I was in Nashville for all 4 shows, 2 each for the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. It was a fun weekend and it was fun seeing several of those who follow and comment on the blog. Always a joy to put a face to a name.

After seeing the shows this past weekend, I guess the best I can say is, don't give up on the Opry yet. They promise that the 90th will be better. Let's hope that is the case as this past weekend continued the trend of seeing the quality and quantity of the birthday weekends continue to deteriorate. I can remember when the birthday weekends featured many of the Opry's members, but this year, only 4 members were there on Friday night, while 5 made it to the Opry House on Saturday.

Commenting on those Opry members who were there, it was nice to see Jimmy Dickens on both shows Saturday night. Jimmy looked and sounded pretty good. He told a few jokes and sang, "Mountain Dew" on both shows. The fact that he stayed for both shows impressed me. He received a standing ovation on each show.

Many have already commented on Stu Phillips. Yes, during the first show, he sounded as bad in the Opry House as he apparently did on the radio. But to his credit, he came right out to the front of the stage and carried on. I was actually surprised that he made it out for the 2nd show, but I am glad that he did as he sounded much better. And for those who were not there, Stu looked in good health.

Jan Howard, Jeannie Seely and Ray Pillow did their usual good jobs, and Ray handled the hosting duties just fine. On a personal note, I do wish that the hosts would not say that they haven't seen or met the act before that they are introducing. Ray, along with Mike Snider, made that comment on both shows and to me it just shows that they are a little out of touch with some of today's younger talent. Even if they do not know who the acts are, I just don't think they should admit it to a full Opry House and a national radio audience.

Mike Snider made it back to the Opry for the first time this year and hosted the opening segment on all 4 shows. On Friday, he stayed pretty much on the script, in fact reading off a sheet of paper the introduction of each of his guests, as he did with 2 of his new band members. On Saturday, he opened up a little more and during the 2nd show he made a few comments about Jimmy Dickens after Jimmy was done with his song.

Bill Anderson hosted on both shows Friday Night and handled the birthday cake. As always, Bill was on top of his game. I also thought that the Opry made the right move by having Bill stay around for the final segment and handle the introduction of Lady Antebellum, who was the featured act that night. While not Opry members, Lady Antebellum did a fantastic job and even participated in with the birthday cake, as did Jan Howard and The Willis Clan.

The final Opry member who appeared on Saturday night was Trace Adkins. Trace did a number of his hits and had good interplay with the audience. He had his full show band with him. Trace handled the birthday cake on Saturday, and let's just say I have heard better versions of "Happy Birthday." Nobody on Saturday night came out to join him. Trace did treat the final segment like a mini-concert which the younger fans in the audience seemed to enjoy but the 2nd Opry show on Saturday actually ended about 10 minutes early. I know we used to hear Opry shows running over, but one actually running short, I can't really say. That was a first for me.

Also scheduled was Opry member John Conlee. John cancelled out Saturday morning to play a date in Texas, filling in for a show that Merle Haggard was unable to make. Either the Opry could not find anyone to replace John, or no effort was made. Whatever the process was, with so few scheduled on the Opry that night, it left a pretty big hole in the schedule and forced Bill Cody to handle the introductions during the final hour of the show.

I already mentioned Lady Antebellum, and in addition to that super group, the guest artists on Friday included Chris Janson, Josh Abbott Band, John & Jacob, Sara Haze and The Willis Clan. I was not impressed with Josh Abbott or Sara Haze. They did their songs and received polite applause from the audience. Chris Janson, who I have made my own feelings about known, did an awesome job. He is full of energy and makes no secret of his feelings regarding his family, and his belief in God. The audience loves him and I am sure he will be a success in the industry. I was impressed with John & Jacob, and yes, that was a trumpet you heard. Finally, there was The Willis Clan. I saw them the first time they did the Opry and I was impressed then and still am. They were on "America's Got Talent" and did a nice job. The family is fun to watch and they are all talented.

On Saturday, the guests included JT Hodges, Greg Bates, Claire Bowen and Keb Mo. JT and Greg are what they are, younger male singers looking for the big career break, although Greg has had a top 5 hit. Claire is from "Nashville" and she was full of energy. She had her brother out doing a song with her. I don't know if anyone else got that feeling, but she reminded me of Skeeter Davis in the way she dressed and in her movements on the stage, with the long dress on. Finally, there was Keb Mo. He did 3 songs on each show and did a nice job, but you could tell most of the Opry audience wondered who he was and were asking themselves, why was he there. Good song selections and certainly nothing to offend the Opry audience, and he did receive good applause.

The other thing of interest is that on Saturday night, about half of the Opry Staff Band was missing. I know where Jimmy Capps was, but not sure where everyone else was off to.

As far as the attendance, both of the early shows were sold-out. There were very few empty seats for the 2nd show on Friday, while there were seats in the upper balcony available for the 2nd show Saturday. As always, they survey the audience before the show, and I would say at least half were at the Opry for the first time.

I did hear several comments that the Opry was working very hard already to make the 90th birthday celebration next year a big one. They have already confirmed that there will be 2 shows on Friday and Saturday and I do hope that they come through. When you think of milestone years, 90 is big. And when you think in terms of the Opry's 100th and who might or might not be around, you can understand the effort for next year.

Finally, a couple of interesting comments that Bill Cody made on Saturday night. Bill was doing the announcing for both shows, with Mike Terry absent. First, he kept referring to October 5, 1925 as the date the Opry first started, growing from the Uncle Jimmy Thompson appearance, to the WSM Barn Dance, to the Grand Ole Opry. As we all know, Uncle Jimmy's appearance took place on November 28, 1925. I am not sure if Bill was confused as the October date was when WSM went on the air. The 2nd error came when he introduced the square dancers on the 2nd show, which tied into the Uncle Jimmy Thompson reference. From all reports, the first song played by Uncle Jimmy on the Opry was "Tennessee Wagoner." When introducing the square dancers, Bill said they were going to dance to the first fiddle tune played on the Opry, "Billy in the Lowground." Just a small error.

As far as the Opry House itself, nothing new to report. It is still in good shape and nothing new has been added. They do make sure that if someone comes down for a photo that they take their picture and immediately head back to their seat. Nobody is allowed to hang around in front of the stage.

While not up to par to previous birthday shows, as always, I did enjoy my time in Nashville and at the Opry. It was loud and fast paced, but still a good show. And yes, I will be back at the 90th, and certainly a few more shows before then.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 10/10 & 10/11-89th Birthday Celebration

Gee, what can I say. We expected it but to actually see it in print just causes me to shake my head. You know what I am talking about and that is the line-up for this weekend's Opry, the 89th birthday bash. 2 shows on Friday and 2 shows on Saturday. 9 acts for each show, and only 4 Opry members on Friday night and 5 Opry members on Saturday night. I know I am showing my age a bit, but the birthday shows used to be some of the strongest and biggest line-ups of the year. I still remember when the annual DJ convention was part of the Opry's birthday and it was just about mandatory that every Opry member be there. But, those days are gone. In a way, the birthday celebration has kind of been lost in the news about Little Big Town, and their induction next week, and the Reba appearance from last weekend.

As far as what we have for this weekend, the big news (at least at my end), is the return of Mike Snider to the Opry stage. He is scheduled for all 4 shows this weekend and this will be his first Opry appearance in 2014. Joining Mike on Friday night will be guest artist Lady Antebellum,who is scheduled to close out both shows that night, along with The Willis Clan. Besides Mike, the other Opry members scheduled are Bill Anderson, Jan Howard and Jeannie Seely.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry has a couple of the veterans on the schedule, with Ray Pillow and Stu Phillips set for both shows. Trace Adkins is also scheduled, along with Clare Bowen from "Nashville" and Opry member John Conlee. And of course, both shows will feature the rolling out of the birthday cake.

Friday October 10
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Chris Janson; Josh Abbott Band
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); John+Jacob
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; The Willis Clan
8:30: Lady Antebellum

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Chris Janson; Josh Abbott Band
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); John+Jacob
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; The Willis Clan
11:00: Lady Antebellum

Saturday October 11
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); JT Hodges
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Greg Bates; Clare Bowen
8:00: John Conlee (host); Stu Phillips; Keb' Mo'; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Trace Adkins

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); JT Hodges
10:00: Ray Pillow (host); Greg Bates; Clare Bowen
10:30: John Conlee (host); Stu Phillips; Keb' Mo'; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Trace Adkins

There you have it. I think on Friday night there is a chance that another artist will be added to fill out the line-up and on Saturday night, maybe a Jimmy Dickens appearance? And who knows, we may be surprised by a guest appearance by someone.

For those interested, I did some checking and a number of the Opry's members are on the road doing shows this weekend. That list includes Riders In The Sky, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Ricky Skaggs, Mel Tillis, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, and even Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely have shows scheduled on Saturday night.

I still think it will be an exciting weekend in Nashville with sold-out shows and lots going on in the Opry plaza. They have free concerts scheduled along with various contests and Opry House Tours. I will be there all weekend and feel free to look for me down toward the front of the Opry House. I love meeting those who comment, send me emails and read the blog.

Now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, October 9 & 10, 2009. This was also the weekend of the Opry's 84th birthday celebration:

Friday Ocrober 9
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Riders In The Sky; Ricky Skaggs
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Patty Loveless
8:00: Mike Snider (host); BJ Thomas; Josh Turner
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Montgomery Gentry

Saturday October 10
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Kathy Mattea
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Joe Diffie; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Diamond Rio

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Lorrie Morgan; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Kathy Mattea
10:30: Diamond Rio (host); Stu Phillips; Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Joe Diffie

And from 10 years ago, the weekend of October 8 & 9, 2004:

Friday October 8
1st show
6:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Eddy Raven
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Mountain Heart
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Walker; George Hamilton IV; Paul Brandt
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Jimmy C Newman; Eddy Raven
10:00: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Mountain Heart
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Paul Brandt
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host)

Saturday October 9
1st show
6:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Mountain Heart
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Ralph Stanley; Catherine Britt
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Paul Brandt; Rhonda Vincent

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Mountain Heart
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Ralph Stanley; Mandy Barnett
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Catherine Britt; Paul Brandt
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Rhonda Vincent

For this week's featured line-up, I go to Saturday October 12, 1985 which was the Opry's 60th birthday celebration. It was a pretty big weekend with a couple of very nice shows on Saturday night. Here is that show from 29 years ago this weekend.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
4 Guys: Whiskey and Water
Del Reeves: Louisiana Legs

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
John Conlee: The Old School
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Larry Gatlin: Houston/Run Away; Go Home
Charley Pride: Lovesick Blues
Raymond & Leo Duffie: Somebody Touched Me
Roy Acuff and Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): It's Mighty Dark For Me to Travel
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
The Whites: I Don't Wanna Get Over You
Jimmy C Newman: My Toot Toot
Crook Brothers/ Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Bill Monroe: Just A Little Talk With Jesus

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Baptism of Jesse Taylor
Jeannie Seely: How Will I Stand the Rain Once Your Gone
Billy Walker: Coffee-Brown Eyes
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Carlisles: In the Pines
Grandpa Jones: The Sweet Sunny South

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Hank Snow (host): Snowbird
Roy Drusky: If the Whole World Stopped Loving
Wilma Lee Cooper: Honey in the Rock
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Hank Snow: I Stepped Over the Line

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Lorrie Morgan: Crazy
Ray Pillow: Dim Lights; Thick Smoke
Larry Gatlin: Run Away; Go Home
Bill Monroe: Wayfaring Stranger

10:00: Little Debbie
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me and You and A Dog Named Boo
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come this Far to Say Goodbye
Charlie Louvin: Near the Cross
Stonewall Jacksoon: Why I'm Walkin/Waterloo

10:15: Sunbeam
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Roy Acuff and Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

10:30: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Jean Shepard & Roy Drusky: Will There Be Sweethearts in Heaven
Grandpa Jones: I'll Meet You In the Morning

10:45: Beech-Nut
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
The Whites: House of Gold
Crook Brothers/ Melvin Sloan Dancers: (?)
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Why Do You Punish Me
Osborne Brothers: Old Flames
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Justin Tubb: Thanks Troubadour Thanks
Charley Pride: Now and Then/Kiss An Angel Good Morning
Raymond & Leo Duffie: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You
Hank Snow: Bluebird Island

11:30: Quincy's
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me, I'm Falling
Jeannie Seely: When Your Heart's Been Stepped On
Carlisles: Is Zat You Myrtle
George Hamilton IV: The Way Old Friends Do

Friday, October 3, 2014

Breaking News-Little Big Town Newest Opry Members

On the Friday Night Opry tonight, Reba McEntire surprised the audience and came out to ask Little Big Town if they would like to become the newest members of the Opry. Of course, they said yes and the induction will be in 2 weeks. For some of us, this isn't really a surprise as it was speculated several weeks ago when the Opry promoted the group for a number of appearances.

As far as Reba, glad that she found her way to the Opry house for the first time since 2009. Now if they could only get her back to sing!!!

Anyways, congratulations to Little Big Town. I hope that they will be loyal to the Opry and reliable members.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 10/3 & 10/4

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, I just wanted pass along my thoughts on a couple of things. So far this year, the Opry has lost 2 of it's veteran, and more reliable members, Jimmy C Newman and George Hamilton IV. Now comes news from another of the Opry's veterans, as Jim Ed Brown announced this week that he has lung cancer. He will be not be performing for at least the next 4 months and who really knows after that. My thoughts and prayers go to Jim Ed and his family.

Add to that list Jimmy Dickens, who is basically week-to-week; Stu Phillips, who has battled some health issues; Jean Shepard who has missed a few shows this year; and Jesse McReynolds, who recently had some minor heart surgery, and you start to come to the realization that there are not many veteran Opry members left. If you were to be honest, the only ones who seem to be at the Opry on a regular basis are Bill Anderson, Bobby Osborne, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith. I know Jan Howard and Stonewall Jackson would do more shows if asked, but that is not going to happen.

Where does that leave the Opry? Exactly where it is today, and that is shows with only a limited number of members scheduled. I know this is an old story, but of the Opry's 60+ members, you can really count on only 25 or so to actually fulfill the commitment of 10+ shows per year. That is less than half of the Opry's membership. Outside of Carrie Underwood, there is not a younger member that has joined in the past 10 years that has consistently met the goal.

In fact, of the members who have joined in the past 10 years or so, most of those who have fulfilled the membership commitments are those who are on the "backside" of their careers. Those would include Charlie Daniels, Del McCoury, Oak Ridge Boys and Mel Tillis. When you look at the younger names, it is obvious that Pete Fisher missed on Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton, just to name a few. 

There seems to be this magical thought that Opry membership needs to stay around 60 or 65 members. Perhaps that is what needs to change. My idea would be to increase the number of Opry members by 10 or 15 and bring on those who would really support the show. I would break this number into 2 categories. The first would be performers who are on the "backside" of their careers, who don't travel so much, but still are big names that love to perform and have been regular guests on the Opry. I would suggest people such as Crystal Gayle, Gene Watson, Kathy Mattea, Restless Heart, Exile, Mark Wills, Lee Greenwood, T.G. Sheppard, Darryl Worley just to name a few. My other half would be young artists that while not having a hit, have been regular guests on the Opry. Names such as Elizabeth Cook, Mandy Barnett, Sarah Darling, Striking Matches, Chris Janson, and you get the idea. Then there are bluegrass acts such as Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent and The Grascals. If my math is right, that is 17 names right there. And I know there are others.

Now of course, this is assuming that the current management even wants to have Opry members. In the last 18 months, only Old Crow Medicine Show has joined the cast and that was a year ago. Perhaps they are happy with things the way they are. Is what we see on a Tuesday night and occasionally on Friday night, they way the show is headed? If it is, it would make me sad.

Yes, the Opry is no longer what it once was. When the last of the veterans is gone, who knows what will happen. With members not coming around all that often, it is no wonder there is no one to host segments. And to me, the segment hosts are one of the great traditions of the Opry.

As the Opry moves into it's 90th year, all we can do is hope.

As far as the Opry this weekend, on the surface it looks better than what we might see for the 89th birthday celebration next weekend. The Friday Night line-up is back to the traditional format, and it is a very solid line-up. Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Joe Diffie are scheduled, as is Mel Tillis and Riders In The Sky, who will perform both nights. Also scheduled on Friday are guest artists Little Big Town and Aaron Tippin. And it is nice to see Jesse McReynolds scheduled to return after his recent heart surgery.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, in addition to Riders In The Sky and Mel Tillis, will feature guest artists Kellie Pickler, Gary Mule Deer, Gretchen Peters and a return visit by Wade Hayes. And it is nice to see Ray Pillow scheduled again to host.

Friday October 3
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Aaron Tippin; Jeannie Seely; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mel Tillis
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Sara Haze; Joe Diffie
8:45: John Conlee (host); Little Big Town

Saturday October 4
7:00: Connie Smith (host); The Henningsens; (Jimmy Dickens?)
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Wade Hayes; Kellie Pickler
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Gary Mule Deer; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Gretchen Peters; Mel Tillis

Just my opinion, but Friday looks like the better night of the 2, with 9 Opry members actually scheduled.
And now the Grand Ole Opry posted line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, October 2 & 3, 2009:

Friday October 2
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jo Dee Messina
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; Caitlin Lynn; Mike Snider
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Terri Clark
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mindy Smith; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jo Dee Messina
10:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Caitlin Lynn; Mike Snider
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Terri Clark
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mindy Smith; Carrie Underwood

Saturday October 3
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Cherryholmes
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Grand Master Fiddle Champion; Gene Watson
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Cherryholmes
10:00: MIke Snider (host); Jack Greene; Grand Master Fiddle Champion; Gene Watson
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stonewall Jackson; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Whites

From 10 years ago, the weekend of October 1 & 2, 2004:

Friday October 1
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; George Canyon
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; T.G. Sheppard
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Alecia Nugent
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Osborne Brothers; T. Bubba Bechtol
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stonewall Jackson; Stevens Sisters; Chely Wright

Saturday October 2
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jim Ed Brown
7:00: LeAnn Rimes; George Canyon; Katrina Elam; The Mavericks; Riders In The Sky
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Katrina Elam
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; The Mavericks
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; LeAnn Rimes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; George Canyon
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; T. Bubba Bechtol

Finally, for this week's feature line-up, let's go to Saturday October 5, 1991. October is the month when the Opry celebrates with the birthday bash and this particular Saturday night was the Opry's 66th. The birthday celebration took place during the 7:30 segment hosted by Roy Acuff, and featured Connie Smith, Jim Ed Brown and Vince Gill. At the time, Vince was the Opry's newest member, joining in August of that year. The 7:30 segment was televised by TNN and I still have a tape of that segment. Many of you will remember it as when Vince Gill performed, "When I Call Your Name," Roy was sitting on a stool behind Vince and was quietly singing along to the song. A very memorable moment.

Here is the running order of the Opry from that night, Saturday October 5, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Monroe (host); I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Monroe: Dark As the Night; Blue As the Day

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host); Right or Wrong
George Hamilton IV; "Til I Can Gain Control Again
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host); Funky Grass Band
Wilma Lee Cooper: Ghost Train
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host); Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Jim Ed Brown: Just For Old Time Sake
Vince Gill: Little Liza Jane/When I Call Your Name
Roy Acuff & Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host); Applejack
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Bill Anderson: Still/Southern Fried
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sugar on the Goard
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host); Address Unknown
4 Guys: Way Down Deep
Del Reeves: A Dozen Pair of Boots
Mike Snider: Old Joe Clark/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Hank Snow: I'm So Glad I Got To See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host); You Gotta Have A License
Osborne Brothers: Tennessee Hound Dog
Ray Pillow: The Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Vince Gill: Look At Us/Crying Holy Unto the Lord/When I Call Your Name
Porter Wagoner: Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host); Kitty Clyde
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Grandpa Jones: Tritzem Yodel

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host); Low and Lonely
Connie Smith: The Key's In the Mailbox/Satisfied
Roy Acuff & Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host); Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' On Me

10:45: B. C. Powder
Bill Monroe (host); Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Monroe: Wicked Path of Sin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); White Silver Sands
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
4 Guys: We're Only Here For A Little While
Jim & Jesse: The Flower in the Desert
Hank Snow: That Lucky Old Sun

11:30: Creamette
Bill Anderson (host); Don't She Look Good
The Whites: Love Is A Rose
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around When It's Over
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown/Putting on the Dog
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

October Opry Highlights

October has traditionally been one of the more active months in the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Lots of important and historical events have taken place during the month involving the Opry or it's members. So here are those events that have taken place during the month of October.

October 25, 1912: Sarah Ophelia Colley, known to the world as Minnie Pearl, was born. Minnie first appeared on the Opry in November 1940 and she was an Opry member for over 50 years, until her death in March 1996. She was an active Opry member until June 1991, when she suffered a stroke that left her unable to perform.

October 20, 1913: Louis Marshall Jones was born in Henderson County, Kentucky. This 50+ year Opry member would become better known by his stage name, Grandpa Jones. Grandpa was a great banjo player and comedian who became nationally known thanks to his work on Hee Haw.

October 5, 1925: WSM radio went on the air. Edwin Craig was given the honor of starting off the broadcast, and he did it with a few simple words, "This is WSM. We Shield Millions. The National Life and Accident Company." National Life President C.A.Craig dedicated the station to public service. George D. Hay, who would later be hired as the program director at WSM, was on of those who attended that night.

October 27, 1934: The Grand Ole Opry moved from Studio C at WSM to the Hillsboro Theater. The move was made because of the larger crowds that wanted to see the Opry in person. The Hillsboro sat 2,400 and it also offered the performers dressing rooms. Because they were now performing before a live audience, the artists were told to "dress" for their performances. That meant to wear rural clothes that reflected the image of a down home country show. This night also marked the beginning of Vito Pellettiere as the Opry's stage manager, a position he would hold until his death in 1977. Vito is the one who helped move the Opry into a more organized show with segments and sponsors, along with setting up specific times for the performers to perform. Many have felt that Vito was the most important person in the history of the Opry and some of the veteran artists will still tell you that the Opry has not been the same since Vito passed away. An interesting fact about Vito is that for all the years he was at WSM and the Opry, he never owned or drove a car, always taking the bus to and from work.

October 14, 1939: The NBC radio network begins carrying a half-hour Opry segment which was sponsored by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to promote it's Prince Albert brand. Roy Acuff was the host. The story behind this is that the William Esty Agency of New York had been employed by WSM to sell time on the Opry. The station had worked with NBC in the past by providing live network feeds from Nashville to New York. In the fall of 1938, Esty added R.J. Reynolds as an Opry sponsor, and since Prince Albert smoking tobacco was a big brand in the South, it was decided by R.J. Reynolds to promote that brand. It was Dick Marvin, an account executive, that got the idea of trying to sell R.J. Reynolds on sponsoring part of the show on the NBC network. Marvin had to work through the agency, which thought it was not that good of an idea. After a lot of convincing, he was able to notify George D. Hay and Harry Stone that 26 network stations would broadcast the Opry. On that first show, David Stone announced the open and introduced Roy Acuff and his group, wo played the them song, "Have A Big Time Tonight." Along with George D. Hay, that first show included Uncle Dave Macon, George Wilkerson and his Fruit Jar Drinkers, DeFord Bailey, Brother Oswald and the rest of Roy's group. Over time, the Prince Albert portion would become the most famous Opry segment and extend to the entire NBC radio network.

October 28, 1939: Bill Monroe becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. On his first night, he performed "Muleskinner Blues." Opry founder George D. Hay was so impressed with this new sound that he told Bill that if he ever wanted to leave the Opry, he would have to fire himself. Bill would never do that and would remain an Opry member until his death in September 1996.

October 17, 1953: Carl Butler made his debut at the Opry. Later with his wife Pearl, he would join the Opry cast.

October 2, 1954: Elvis Presley makes his first and only appearance as a guest on the Opry. He sang Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Reports have said that Elvis received only modest applause after his performance, which was not that unusual at the Opry. Legend has it that after he finished, Jim Denny told Elvis that he should go back to driving a truck. While Elvis never did go back to truck driving, over years there has been some doubt if Jim Denny actually made those comments or if they have just become another story from the Opry's history. What did happen after that night was that Jim Denny never invited Elvis back to the Opry and while he might not have been impressed with Elvis, Bill Monroe was, especially after he started to see the sizeable royalty checks that started coming in after Elvis recorded Bill's song.

October 22, 1955: Jim Reeves joins the Grand Ole Opry. Over time, he would become one of the Opry's biggest stars, but like so many others, came to realize the limitatioins of being an Opry member and would move on. His last Opry appearance was on June 29, 1963.

October 29, 1955: For what will be a very short run, Slim Whitman became a member of the Opry.

October 15, 1960: Loretta Lynn made her first Opry appearance. The Wilburn Brothers were instrumental in getting her a guest slot and she appeared on a segment hosted by Ernest Tubb. At the time, Loretta did not have a band so Leslie Wilburn played bass and Lester Wilburn played rhythm guitar. Just like in the movie, she did, "I'm A Honky-Tonk Girl." The Opry was impressed and would later ask her to become a member.

October 20, 1962: Leroy Van Dyke became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Like many others, Leroy would remain a member for a few years and then moved on. Even after he left, he would continue to make appearances at the Opry, with his most recent appearance coming in September of last year.

October 27, 1962: Sonny James becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. As with a few others, Sonny's time at the Opry would be fairly short.

October 23, 1965: Roy Acuff Jr. made his first appearance on the Opry. With his famous father watching off to the side, Roy Jr. sang, "Baby Just Said Goodbye." His recording and performing career were short as he preferred to work behind the scenes.

October 14, 1966: Dle Reeves is introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was a guest on a segment hosted by Porter Wagoner. It was a very emotional evening for Del as his parents were in the audience and Del was unable to get through his song. Del would remain an Opry member until his death in January 2007.

October 21, 1967: The Browns gave their final performance as members of the Opry. While Bonnie and Maxine would "retire" in order to raise families, Jim Ed would continue as an Opry member, which he still is today. The sisters would come back many times to perform with Jim Ed, both at the Opry and at other venues. The Browns made a huge impact on country music with some great hits and many feel, including myself, that they should have already been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

October 8, 1968: Harry Stone, former WSM executive, passed away at the age of 70. The influence that Harry Stone had at the Opry was great, perhaps even greater than George D. Hay himself. While George D. wanted to keep the Opry simple and down to earth featuring local and regional musicians, Harry wanted to move the show forward by hiring established and professional stars. While Hay was away from the Opry due to personal issues, Harry Stone moved ahead with his plan and as a result, there was great conflict between the two. In 1932, Harry became the general manager of WSM and was George D. Hay's boss. Among the first acts that he brought to the Opry were Pee Wee King and Roy Acuff, followed by Eddy Arnold. He saw what the show could do for WSM and National Life on a national level and thanks to his leadership, the Opry survived while other country barn dance shows failed.

October 19, 1968: In an interview with the Nashville Tennessean, WSM President Irving Waugh said that the Opry's days at the Ryman Auditorium were numbered. The article stated, "The initiation of plans for the relocation of the Opry, possibly as the center of a multi-million dollar hotel and amusement complex, was announced at a breakfast at Municipal Auditorium sponsored by WSM." Irving Waugh said, "Our feeling is that the Grand Ole Opry needs a new, modern facility. It is estimated the center, which would be called Opryland USA, would require between one hundred fifty and two hundred acres of land. The location would not be in the Music Row area." Over time, detailed plans would be announced and the Opry would leave downtown Nashville for a rural location at Opryland USA.

October 27, 1973: Comedian Jerry Clower becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was the last member to join the Opry cast before it left the Ryman Auditorium for the new Opry House. When he joined the Opry, Jerry followed in the steps of such great Opry comedians as Minnie Pearl, Rod Brasfield, Archie Campbell, Stringbean, Duke of Paducah, Lew Childre, Cousin Jody and Lonzo and Oscar. Jerry was a popular Opry member until he passed away in August 1998.

October 18, 1975: The Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 50th anniversary. The 50th show is considered one of the biggest in the Opry's history with most of the Opry's members appearing.

October 16, 1982: Opry member Doyle Wilburn passed away in Nashville at the age of 52. The Wilburn Brothers, Doyle and his brother Teddy included, first came to the Opry as children but were forced to leave because of the child labor laws that were in effect at the time. They later came back, becoming members in 1953. They are considered one of the great duet acts in country music history. After Doyle passed away, Teddy continued as a solo Opry member.

October 29, 1982: Alabama made their first appearance on the Opry.

October 24, 1983: Opry member and one of the originals, Kirk McGee, passed away. Along with his brother Sam, Kirk made his first Opry appearance in 1926, back in the WSM Barn Dance days. Over the years, he would be part of the Fruit Jar Drinkers and the Dixieliners.

October 19, 1985: Lonzo and Oscar make their final appearance as members of the Opry. Rollin Sullivan, who was Oscar, came to the Opry in 1942, while Johnny Sullivan, who was actually the second Lonzo after Ken Marvin, came 2 years later. Dave Hooten took over the role of Lonzo in 1967 after Johnny Sullivan died in a car accident.

October 3, 1989: Opry member Del Wood passed away in Nashville. Del, whose real name was Adelaide Hazelwood, had joined the Opry in 1953. She was famous for her ragtime piano and her great #1 record, "Down Yonder." In looking at my past Opry line-ups, I find it hard to locate a show that she did not perform on. In an interesting note, the Opry Picture History Book wrote that, "She was famous for her canning and jams."

October 4, 1989: Holly Dunn becomes a member of the Opry. She would remain an Opry member until retiring and leaving the music business to move to New Mexico as an artist. If it were up to Holly, she would still be an Opry member today, but after her retirement, she was dismissed from the cast.

October 6, 1990: Garth Brooks becomes a member of the Opry. This will be his 24th year as an Opry member and with 2015 being his 25th anniversary and back touring, there are lots of rumors that Garth will be back at the Opry. His last singing appearance was at the Opry's 80th birthday celebration 9 years ago. Garth was first introduced at the Opry by Johnny Russell and the night he was inducted as a member, it was on a segment hosted by Johnny. On that night, he did "Friends In Low Places," "If Tomorrow Never Comes," and "The Dance." Also on the same night that Garth joined the Opry, Alan Jackson made his first Opry appearance.

October 4, 1991: Diamond Rio made their first guest appearance on the Opry. They would become members 7 years later, in 1998.

October 19, 1991: Grand Ole Opry announcer, and Country Music Hall of Fame member, Grant Turner passed away hours after announcing the Friday Night Opry. He was the "dean" of Opry announcers and had been at WSM since 1944. He also hosted the Opry's warm-up show and was an announcer for the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

October 24, 1991: Gaylord Entertainment Company, owners of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry, listed its stock for the first time on the New York Stock Exchange. Many say this was the event that started the downfall of the Opry as the company became more focused on their bottom line performance.

October 23, 1992: Roy Acuff makes his final Opry appearance. It was a Friday night show and he did his segment sitting in a directors chair. He had appeared on his final Saturday night show the weekend before, which was the Opry's birthday celebration. After that Friday night, he was scheduled for the Saturday night show, but he took an afternoon nap and his family did not wake him to go to the Opry. He was hospitalized shortly after and died a month later.

October 15, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 75th anniversary with 4 shows that weekend, including 2 on Saturday night that featured the majority of the Opry's cast, including Garth Brooks, Vince Gill and Dolly Parton. On a personal note, I would say that the shows that weekend had the strongest line-ups of any Opry show that I have attended.

October 25, 2003: Del McCoury becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry as he was inducted into the cast by Patty Loveless. For this bluegrass legend, it will be his 11th year as an Opry member.

October 1, 2005: Dierks Bentley joins the Opry. This will be his 9th year as an Opry member. He made his Opry debut in April 2003. As a former employee of the Nashville network, he was known for hanging around backstage a lot. Marty Stuart handled the induction.

October 15, 2005: The Opry celebrated its 80th birthday. Garth Brooks marked the occasion by coming out of retirement and performing on the Opry stage for the first time in 5 years. He was joined on stage by Hall of Fame members Porter Wagoner, Jimmy Dickens and Bill Anderson, along with his good friend Steve Wariner.

October 27, 2007: Josh Turner becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 7th year as an Opry member. Josh made many guest appearances before being asked to join the cast by fellow Opry member Roy Clark.

October 28, 2007: Grand Ole Opry member Porter Wagoner passed away in Nashville after a short illness. He was 80. One of the most popular members in the history of the Opry, he had celebrated his 50th year as an Opry member months earlier. Not only was he a great solo artist, but he was known for his duets with Norma Jean and Dolly Parton.

October 25, 2008: Craig Morgan joins the cast of the Opry. This will be his 6th year as an Opry member. Craig was inducted by John Conlee.

October 22, 2010: Blake Shelton joined the Grand Ole Opry. He had been invited to join the previous month by Trace Adkins in what may have been the worst kept secret in the history of the Opry. Sorry to say, that although Blake did perform at the Opry in March, his appearances have been very few. It would appear that Pete Fisher missed on this one.

October 8, 2011: During the Opry's 86th birthday celebration, Rascal Flatts became members of the Opry. Vince Gill was there that night to help induct this group.

October 16, 2012: Darius Rucker joins the Opry cast. He had been invited to join the show earlier by Brad Paisley, who made a surprise appearance in the audience.

October 23, 2012: The Grand Ole Opry honors the 100th anniversary of the birth of Minnie Pearl. Among those included in the tribute that night were Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Mel Tillis and Pam Tillis.

Enjoy the month of October!!!