Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/12 & 2/13

Heading to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry this weekend for both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. The shows don't look too bad and it should be a good weekend, although a cold one. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Ronnie Milsap, who will be honored for 40 years of Opry membership. Joining Ronnie will be Opry members Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne, Mike Snider, The Whites, Bill Anderson and Connie Smith. 

As far as Saturday night, the star attraction will be Vince Gill, who is releasing his new album this weekend. I should mention that in addition to the Opry on Saturday night, Vince will also be performing a free show at the Broadway location of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Friday evening. The record shop is heavily promoting the new album, much the same as they did the George Strait CD in the fall. 

As far as Opry members joining Vince on Saturday night, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson will stay around for both shows this weekend, and will be joined by Terri Clark, who once again will be hosting a segment, and Jesse McReynolds. 

Guest artists on Friday night include William Michael Morgan, A Thousand Horses, Jonathan Jackson, from "Nashville" and Jerry Douglas with The Earls of Leicester. Jerry and The Earls will also be on Saturday night, joined by Maggie Rose, TG Sheppard, Clare Bowen, of "Nashville" and The Railers. I thought that this might be The Railers Opry debut, but in checking they have been on the Opry before, appearing with Hunter Hayes.

Friday February 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); William Michael Morgan; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); A Thousand Horses; The Whites
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jonathan Jackson; Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Ronnie Milsap

Saturday February 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Maggie Rose; Mike Snider
7:30: Terri Clark (host); TG Sheppard; Connie Smith
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Railers; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Clare Bowen; Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester

That comes to 11 acts of Friday night, 12 on Saturday, with 7 Opry members each night. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, February 11 & 12, 2011:

Friday February 11
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Riders In The Sky; Mel Tillis
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Terri Clark
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

Saturday February 12
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Terri Clark
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Danny Gokey
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Secret Sisters; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Aaron Tippin

From 10 years ago, the weekend of February 10 & 11, 2006:

Friday February 10
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Lorrie Morgan
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Brice Long; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday February 11
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Billy Walker; George Hamilton IV; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Restless Heart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Jimmy Wayne
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Restless Heart

Finally, from 15 years ago, February 9 & 10, 2001: 

Friday February 9
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Chely Wright
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Osborne Brothers; Gail Davies
8:30: John Conlee (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stonewall Jackson; Chad Brock
9:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Sara Evans; Ricky Skaggs
9:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jim & Jesse; Del Reeves; Hank Williams III

Saturday February 10
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Bill Carlisle; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Steve Wariner; The Whites; Patty Loveless; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Travis Tritt
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Jeanne Pruett; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Gail Davies; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Osborne Brothers; Elizabeth Cook; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Steve Wariner; The Whites; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Stu Phillips; Del Reeves; Mike Snider
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Ray Pillow; Gail Davies

Now going back, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 62 years ago this weekend, Saturday February 13, 1954:

7:30: Warren Paint
Roy Acuff (host): Sweep Around Your Own Back Door
Lew Childre: Southern Hospitality
Dot and Smoky: Waltz of the Wind
Howdy Forrester: Black Mountain Rag

7:45: American Ace
Roy Acuff (host): No One Will Every Know
Johnny and Jack: Love Trap
Kitty Wells: Cheating is a Sin
Jimmy Riddle: Steamboat Bill
Roy Acuff: Radio Station S-A-V-E-D
Oswald: Roll Along Jordan

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Loving Heart
Bill Monroe: Memories of Mother and Dad
Hank Snow: You Broke The Chains That Held Our Heart
June Carter: Little Too Fer
Ernest Tubb: I'm With A Crowd But So Alone
Possum Hunters: Bill Cheatham
Carlisles: I Need A Little Help
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs
Bill Monroe: Goodbye Old Pal
Fiddle Tune: Bully of the Town
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May

8:30: Prince Albert
Jimmy Dickens (host): You'd Better Not Do That
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Onie Wheeler: When We All Get Together
Square Dancers: Sally Goodin
Jimmy Dickens: Take Up Thy Cross
Moon Mullican: The Cherokee Boogie
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Onie Wheeler: Run Em Off
String Bean: Lonesome Road Blues
Jimmy Dickens: I Just Gotta See You Once More
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train To Memphis
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cotton-eyed Joe
George Morgan: Love, Love, Love
Jug Band: Jesse Polka
Webb Pierce: Slowly
Lonzo and Oscar: Lets Live A Little No 2
Ray Price: Turn Your Radio On
Roy Acuff: To Be Selected
Oswald: The Nashville Blues
Howdy Forrester: Grey Eagle

9:30: Martha White
Carl Smith (host): What Am I Going To Do
Jimmy Dickens: Side Meat and Cabbage
Anita Carter: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Marty Robbins: Isle of Golden Dreams
Martha Carson: Bye and Bye
Carl Smith: Who'll Buy My Heartaches
Jimmy Dickens: Thick and Thin
Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman
Marty Robbins: Its A Long Long Ride
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

10:00: Wallrite
George Morgan (host): Look What Followed My Home
The Carlisles: Tain't Nice
Bill Monroe: Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow
Blue Grass Boys: Monroe's Hornpipe
George Morgan: The First Time I Told You A Lie

10:15: Dr Le Gear
Hank Snow (host): No Golden Tomorrow Ahead
Ray Price: You Always Get By
Tommy Vaden: Leather Britches
Cowboy Copas: A Heartbreak Ago
Hank Snow: Within This Broken Heart of Mine

10:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): I'm Not Looking For An Angel
Jimmy Dickens: You All Come
Marty Robbins: Don't Make Me Ashamed
Mother Maybelle: You Are My Flower
Moon Mullican: You Don't Have To Be a Baby To Cry
Ernest Tubb: Remember Me, I'm The One Who Loves You
Jordanaires: Tattler's Wagon
Chet Atkins: Little Old Lady
Jimmy Dickens: What About You
Fiddle Tune: Ricketts Hornpipe

11:00: O-Cell-O
Roy Acuff (host): Freight Train Blues
Martha Carson: I'm Gonna Walk and Talk With My Lord
Bobby Hebbs: Mr. Spoons
Gang: Where The Soul of Man Never Dies
Howdy Forrester: Bill Cheatham

11:15: Hester Battery
Carl Smith (host): Doggone It Baby I'm In Love
Johnny and Jack: Cheated Out of Love
String Bean: Free A Little Bird
Gully Jumpers: Tennessee Wagoner
Carl Smith: This Orchid Means Goodbye

11:30: W.E. Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Wasted Love
Lew Childre: Snow White Horse
Lonzo and Oscar: I't Can't Be Done
Crook Brothers: Alabama Gal
Hank Snow: Act I; Act II; Act III

11:45: Mathewson Chemical
Webb Pierce (host): You Just Can't Be True
Sam and Kirk McGee: Waiting For A Letter
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire In The Mountain
Ken Marvin: When I Stop Loving You
Webb Pierce: It's Been So Long

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!













Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/5 & 2/6

The Grand Ole Opry returns to the Grand Ole Opry House this weekend after spending the last 3 months at the Ryman Auditorium. There are a couple of pretty good shows on the schedule, featuring a nice mix of Opry members and guests. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature members Mike Snider, Joe Diffie, Jesse McReynolds, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Connie Smith and the Opry's newest members, Little Big Town. It still seems to say that about Little Big Town as they have been Opry members for over a year. And it is nice to see Joe Diffie getting another hosting slot. I have always thought that the Opry needs to push some of the younger artists as hosts. Connie Smith, Mike Snider and Ricky Skaggs will also be performing on Saturday night, where they will be joined my members Bobby Osborne, Bill Anderson and I have very happy to say, Roy Clark. Roy doesn't make it to the Opry very much anymore and it is always a great occasion when he does make it to Nashville. 

Guest artists on Friday include Darryl Worley, Restless Heart, Michael W. Smith and making he Opry debut, Margo Price. Margo is considered one of the upcoming stars in country music and her debut album comes out next month. I have been hearing a lot of her on satellite radio and have been enjoying what I hear. 

Saturday's guest will include Marty Brown, Ryan Kinder, Green River Ordinance, Tracy Lawrence and Charles Esten. If the name Marty Brown is familiar, that is because he had a string of hits in the early 1990s and then basically disappeared from country radio. More recently, he was featured on "America's Got Talent." Thanks to that appearance, his career has received a little bit of a kick. As far as Ryan Kinder, much like Margo Price on Friday night, this will be his Grand Ole Opry debut. Ryan is another one of the young talents trying to make it in the music business. 

Friday February 5
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Darryl Worley; Margo Price
7:30: Joe Diffie (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart
Intermission
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Michael W. Smith
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Little Big Town

Saturday February 6
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Marty Brown; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Ryan Kinder; Roy Clark
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Green River Ordinance; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Tracy Lawrence; Charles Esten

That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night and 6 for Saturday. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 4 & 5, 2011: 

Friday February 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Collin Raye
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Joe Diffie; Mark Wills
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Willis Clan; Del McCoury Band

Saturday February 5
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; James Wesley
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
Intermission
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jack Greene; Mark Willis

From 10 years ago, the weekend of February 3 & 4, 2006:

Friday February 3
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Rodney Atkins; Connie Smith; The Whites
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Charley Pride
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Gene Watson

Saturday February 4
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Patty Loveless; Mary Gauthier; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Scott
8:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band; Charley Pride

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Marty Stuart
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; The Whites; Charley Pride
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mary Gauthier; Del McCoury Band
11:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; Ray Scott

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of 2 & 3, 2001:

Friday February 2
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Jim & Jesse
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Osborne Brothers; Billy Yates
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Del Reeves; Wilkinsons
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
9:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Holly Dunn; Jack Greene; Emmylou Harris

Saturday February 3
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Jim & Jesse; Jack Greene
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Wilkinsons; Billy Walker; Hal Ketchum; Peasall Sisters; Alison Krauss & Union Station; Emmylou Harris
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Skeeter Davis; Mike Snider; Holly Dunn; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Skeeter Davis; Peasall Sisters; Vince Gill
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Alison Krauss & Union Station
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Wilkinsons; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Mike Snider; Emmylou Harris
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Charlie Walker; Hal Ketchum

I went back and posted every 5 years, starting 15 years ago, just to demonstrate that it wasn't that long ago when the Opry really put together a very strong line-up and to show the progression of the show over the years.

Looking back at into the history of the Grand Ole Opry, from the best I can tell, it was 45 years ago this weekend, Saturday February 6, 1971 that the Opry permanently went to 2 shows each Saturday night. Up until that date, Saturday's Grand Ole Opry was typically one show that started at either 7:30 or 8:00. Occasionally, such as during the annual birthday celebration or during the high demand summer and fall months, the Opry would schedule 2 Saturday shows, with the 1st show starting at either 6:00 or 6:30, and the 2nd show at 9:30. However, with the Opry beginning to look ahead at a new Opry House and with the increased demand year round for tickets, the decision was made to go to 2 shows year round. The Opry would maintain the 2 show schedule until just a few years ago when the decision was made to go back to 1 Saturday show, except on special occasions. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Hank Locklin (host): Flying South
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get to Loving You/Country Hall of Fame

6:45: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder
Jean Shepard: With His Hand in Mine
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Grandpa Jones: Ol' Blue
Wilma Lee Cooper: Teardrops Falling in the Snow
Bill Monroe: Life's Railway to Heaven
Skeeter Davis: Rocky Top 
Grandpa Jones: Fallen Leaves
Bill Monroe: Rawhide

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host) & Dolly Parton: You Better Move It On Home
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me
Earl Scruggs Revue: Lonesome Reuben
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Stringbean: Ruby
Earl Scruggs Revue: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Wonder If You're Lonesome Too
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Tom T Hall: Shoeshine Man
David Houston: A Woman Always Knows
Lester Flatt: Lonesome Road Blues
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Tom T Hall: Chattanooga Dog
David Houston & Barbara Mandrell: After Closing Time

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Billy Walker: She Goes Walking Through My Mind
Billy Grammer: Power in the Blood
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Willis Brothers: There Goes the Farm
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry Darling
Hank Snow: A Faded Petal From a Beautiful Bouquet

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Louvin (host): Hey Daddy
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Diane McCall: My Imagination
Willis Brothers: A 6 Ft 2 by 4
Jean Shepard: With His Hand in Mine
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Something to Brag About

10:00: Fender
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Earl Scruggs Revue & The Dillard's: I'll Fly Away
Grandpa Jones: Piney Jane
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): Walk Softly on My Heart
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky

10:30: 
Lester Flatt (host): (?)
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get to Loving You
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Lester Flatt: I Can't Tell the Boys from the Girls

10:45: Beech-Nut
Porter Wagoner (host) & Dolly Parton: You Better Move It On Home
Dolly Parton: Joshua
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hula Love
Wilma Lee Cooper: Amazing Grace
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore
Tom T Hall: 100 Children
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Wilma Lee Cooper: Nobody But a Fool
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: Black Diamond

11:30: Lava
Billy Walker (host): I'm Gonna Keep on Loving You
Jimmy C Newman: Back Pocket Money
Billy Grammer: Under the Double Eagle
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is a Soul Man
Billy Grammer: When A Man Loves A Woman

There you have it. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!






Monday, February 1, 2016

February Opry Highlights

Welcome to the month of February. As always, here are the important or historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or in regards to Opry members, during the month of February: 

February 9, 1914: Grand Ole Opry legend Ernest Tubb was born in Crisp, Texas. Ernest came to the Grand Ole Opry in the early 1940s and immediately became one of the Opry's most popular and influential members. He was known for helping new artists and that list includes Hank Snow, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Jack Greene and Cal Smith. When you look at that list, you can say that Ernest had an eye for talent. In 1947, he opened the first Ernest Tubb Record Shop, with the Midnight Jamboree beginning shortly after that. Ernest was one of the first members to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and was a proud supporter of country music. Ernest remained an Opry member until his death in 1984, after a period of declining health. 

February 1, 1917: Mary Jane Dezurik was born in Royalton, Minnesota. Along with her sister Carolyn, these former Grand Ole Opry members were known as the "Cackle Sisters." They came to the Opry in the 1940s and only stayed for a short time, eventually moving to Cincinnati, Ohio. Mary Jane passed away in 1981.

February 25, 1927: Ralph Stanley was born. Ralph has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 2000. At the age of 89, he is the Opry's oldest current member. 

February 1, 1928: Harry Stone joined WSM radio as a staff announcer. Harry would eventually become WSM's general manager and in that position was responsible for the Opry. He would often clash with Opry founder George D. Hay over the direction of the show. While Judge Hay wanted to keep the rural flavor of the show, featuring non-professional acts and fiddlers, Harry saw the value of the Opry as a promotional tool for the National Life & Insurance Company, and wanted to bring in professional and paid entertainers. Over time, the philosophy of Harry Stone would rule the day and once the Opry went down that road, it never looked back. Harry remained with WSM until 1950. 

February 25, 1932: Faron Young was born in Shreveport, Louisiana. In 1951, Faron joined the Louisiana Hayride, staying until 1954 when he then went to Nashville and became a member of the Opry. Faron remained an Opry member until he was fired in December 1964 for failing to fulfill attendance obligations. While he never did rejoin the show as a member, Faron would make occasional guest appearances on the show. 

February 2, 1935: The Missouri Mountaineers made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Alcyone Bate described the Mountaineers, who were founded by Jack Shook, as a "sort of Sons of Pioneers group." They stayed as Opry members until 1939.

February 5, 1938: Roy Acuff and his Crazy Tennesseans made their second Grand Ole Opry appearance. His first appearance had taken place several months earlier and was not considered very good. This time he performed "The Great Speckled Bird" and WSM was overwhelmed with an avalanche of mail. Because of the response, on February 19, 1938, he became an official member of the Opry. Along with the addition of Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys, Ernest Tubb and Bill Monroe, Roy would help lead the shift of the Opry's focus to professional singers rather then the instrumental groups that had been the main part of the Opry. The week after he joined the Opry, Harry Stone strongly suggested to Roy that the name of his group be changed and since Roy was from the Knoxville area, he went with the Smoky Mountain Boys.

February 18, 1939: The Andrew Brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They were brought to the Opry specifically to replace the Delmore Brothers. The brothers were known for their harmony work. 

February 13, 1943: Ernest Tubb became an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

February 21, 1948: Jimmy Dickens made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He performed "John Henry" and "I Dreamed Of An Old Love Affair." Several months later, Jimmy would officially join the cast. 

February 2, 1949: Grand Ole Opry member and future Opry member Hank Snow met for the first time. The meeting led to efforts by Ernest to get Hank on the Opry, which finally took place in January 1950.

February 26, 1949: Rose Maddox and her brothers made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Rose would later become an Opry member, but her stay would be very short. 

February 18, 1950: One of the Opry's competitors, the WSB Barn Dance based out of Atlanta, Georgia, took place for the final time. The show, which started on November 16, 1940, was a very popular regional show. 

February 23, 1952: Del Wood made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. The previous year, "Down Yonder" had sold a million copies, which was very rare for an instrumental number. When Del accepted the invitation to play the Opry, she turned down a two week engagement to play with Bob Crosby and his orchestra. Del joined the Opry the following year and would remain an Opry member until her death in October 1989.

February 7, 1953: Marty Robbins made his Grand Ole Opry debut. He performed "Ain't You Ashamed" and "Good Night Cincinnati, Good Mornin' Tennessee." His performance was considered a great success and he would soon become an Opry member. 

February 26, 1955: The Louvin Brothers, Charlie and Ira, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Some consider the Louvin Brothers to be the greatest brother duo in the history of country music. Ira passed away on June 20, 1965, from injuries suffered in an automobile accident that also killed his wife and another couple. Charlie would remain an Opry member until his death in January 2011. (As a note, some publications list February 10 as the date the Louvin Brothers joined the Opry).

February 19, 1957: Webb Pierce resigned as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Webb was not a member for very long. After he joined the Opry, he figured out how much money he was losing from personal appearances by being at the Opry every Saturday night, so he decided to leave. 

February 23, 1957: Porter Wagoner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It is safe to say that Porter was one of the Opry's most popular and colorful members and in his later years, was considered one of the faces of the Opry. Porter had made his first guest appearance in 1956 and would later say, "The first night I appeared on the Opry, I came off the stage and went back to the little dressing room area, and I met Roy Acuff in the hallway there. And he came up to me and he said, 'Porter, I was awful glad that you're becoming a part of the Grand Ole Opry. We need more of your kind of people here.'" The night of his first appearance, he was introduced by Carl Smith, who would later become one of Porter's good friends. Porter died in October 2007, months after he celebrated 50 years as a member of the Opry. 

February 27, 1959: Billy Grammer joined the Grand Ole Opry. Famous for "Gotta Travel On," along with his hand crafted Grammer Guitars, Billy would be an Opry member for 52 years, passing away in August 2011. 

February 6, 1960: George Hamilton IV became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. George, who passed away in September 2014, was an Opry member for 54 years. On a personal note, I met George several times backstage at the Opry, and he was always willing to talk and share stories. He was one of the nicest folks I have ever met. 

February 23, 1963: Patsy Cline made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Less then two weeks later, she would die in a plane crash that also took the lives of Opry members Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins, along with Randy Hughes. 

February 11, 1967: The Four Guys made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. As they have told the story many times before, they were brought back for several encores and even though they never had a hit record, they would be asked to join the Opry. 

February 22, 1969: Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs made their final appearance as a duo on the Grand Ole Opry. Flatt & Scruggs, who joined the Opry in 1955, would break up several months later. Both would remain members of the Opry. 

February 6, 1971: The Grand Ole Opry began performing two Saturday night shows. Previously, the Opry did one show on Saturday night, from 7:30-Midnight, however on special occasions, such as the birthday celebration, the Opry would perform two shows.

February 11, 1972: Grand Ole Gospel Time, hosted by Jimmie Snow, debuts after the Friday Night Opry. Jimmy, son of Opry member Hank Snow, would host Grand Ole Gospel for the next 23 years. Among the guests on the first night were Johnny and June Carter Cash. 

February 23, 1974: Former Grand Ole Opry member DeFord Bailey returns to the Opry for the first time since he was fired from the show in 1941 by George D. Hay. DeFord appeared at the personal invitation of Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl, who had been trying for several years to get DeFord back on the Opry. Before he passed away in 1982, DeFord would make several more appearances. 

February 8, 1975: After an absence of 18 years, Jimmy Dickens rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. He was introduced that night by Hank Snow, who noted how much Jimmy had been missed at the Opry and how good it was to have him back. As you would expect, Jimmy performed "Family Reunion." Unlike the first time he joined, this time Jimmy stayed. 

February 6, 1976: Ronnie Milsap became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 40th year as an Opry member and Ronnie is scheduled on the Opry for February 12 to be recognized for his Opry membership. 

February 7, 1981: John Conlee became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be John's 35th year as an Opry member. John has one of the most distinctive voices in country music and he remains very popular at the Opry. After first appearing on the Opry, John was quoted as saying, "I made sure to stand on the circle from the stage of the old Ryman. That circle has been so important to me because so many big stars had stood on that wooden flooring." When John first joined the Opry, and like many others of his generation, his Opry appearances were few and far between. However, as his touring has slowed down, he has become one of the Opry's more dependable members. 

February 21, 1981: Two weeks after John Conlee joined the cast, Boxcar Willie became a member of the Opry. Boxcar became a star late in life, thanks to his hobo character and his late night television commercials promoting his album of train songs. Boxcar first appeared on the Opry in June 1980 after being discovered in England by Wesley Rose. Lecil Travis Martin passed away in April 1999. 

February 20, 1988: The Grand Ole Opry honored Roy Acuff for 50 years of Opry membership. TNN devoted an entire hour long segment to Roy that featured Minnie Pearl and Loretta Lynn. On an additional note, on that same night, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton reunited on the Opry stage for the first time in 14 years. 

February 24, 1991: Webb Pierce passed away in Nashville. Webb came to Nashville in 1952 from the Louisiana Hayride and made his first Opry guest appearance on the Prince Albert portion of the show. When he joined the cast in 1953, he was considered the replacement for Hank Williams. Webb was one of the biggest acts in country music in the 1950s and because of his heavy touring, he did not stay as an Opry member for very long. Webb was also a very successful businessman who started one of the first publishing companies in Nashville. In 2001, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, an honor that should have been given him years before. 

February 29, 1992: Travis Tritt became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 24th year as an Opry member. Travis last appeared on the Opry in 2007. 

February 21, 1998: The Grand Ole Opry honored long-time member Grandpa Jones, who passed away earlier in the week from complications after suffering a stroke at the Opry in January. At the show that night, Bill Carlisle, Vince Gill, Ramona Jones and Grandpa's children led the cast in singing "Fallen Leaves," one of the great songs that Grandpa wrote. 

February 17, 2001: Brad Paisley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Brad's 15th year as an Opry member. On the night that Brad joined the cast, he wore the bright yellow jacket that Buck Owens wore on the cover of the 1966 "Live at Carneige Hall" album. 

February 24, 2001: While performing on the first show, Grand Ole Opry member Wilma Lee Cooper suffered a stroke which ended her performing career. Wilma Lee would return to the Opry twice more, once to be honored for 50 years of Opry membership, and on the reopening of the Grand Ole Opry House in 2010. 

February 16, 2002: Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt and Hank Williams, Jr., performed on the Opry in a tribute to Waylon Jennings. Porter Wagoner was the host of the segment, and the performers spent an hour on stage, singing various Waylon songs in dedication to Waylon, who had passed away earlier in the week. 

February 18, 2003: Grand Ole Opry member Johnny Paycheck passed away following a long illness. Johnny had joined the Opry in November 1997, however within a few years, declining health forced him into retirement. At the time of his death, Johnny was in such poor financial shape that George Jones paid for the cemetery plot. 

February 4, 2005: The Grascals made their first appearance as guests on the Grand Ole Opry. While never becoming Opry members, the Grascals continue to make appearances on the Opry. 

February 26, 2005: Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin was honored for 50 years of Opry membership. He appeared on both Opry shows that night, as well as hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.  

February 16, 2008: Former Grand Ole Opry member Bobby Lord passed away in Florida at the age of 74. Bobby was a popular Opry member who joined the cast in the 1960s. He left and moved away from Nashville in the mid-1970s. 


February 27, 2009: Grand Ole Opry member Billy Grammer is honored for 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. On that same night, Jimmy Dickens returned to the Opry after an absence of six weeks following brain surgery. 

February 26, 2015: The Grand Ole Opry House was added to the National Register of Historic Places. 

There you have it for this month. 






Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lorrie Morgan Interview Regarding Opry Membership

A website, tasteofcountry.com recently posted an interview that was done by Sam Alex with Lorrie Morgan. The article is titled, "Lorrie Morgan Opens Up About Opry Membership, Spanking Blake Shelton." The interview was posted earlier today and you can read the entire interview by going to the link posted above and scrolling down to locate it. 

Lorrie said a few interesting things about Opry membership that caught my eye. In the interview she claims that the Opry has brought back the old rule that all members need to play 24 times a year, and for those who don't follow the rule, they get a stern letter from the Opry. 

According to Lorrie. "They send out a letter that says you know, 'We are kind of demanding that you must be here so many times a year to continue your membership.' Because it's just not fair. People want to say, 'Hey, I'm a member of the Opry,' and not want to come back. The Opry takes dedication and it takes love. It takes love." She also says in the article that she tries to play the Opry at least twice a month. 

Interesting that she is saying the same thing about performers joining the Opry and not coming to play on the Opry that Roy Acuff was saying 40 years ago. 

Now as far as her comments, I have not heard of any such letter being sent or of the Opry insisting on 24 appearances per year. The standard that they have been going with since Pete Fisher took over as the Opry's general manager in 1999 has been 10 appearances. If the Opry is going to demand 24 appearances per year from their members, they are going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Of the 63 current Grand Ole Opry members, only 13 of them would have made the requirement: Bill Anderson, John Conlee, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Mike Snider and The Whites. Notice who is not on the list? Lorrie herself. 

Considering that the vast majority of Opry members could not even make the 10 appearances previously asked for, how in the world do they believe 24 is a realistic number? And what are the consequences for those who do not make 24 appearances. Is it realistic to think that the Opry is going to fire 52 of its members? 

Now, I do like Lorrie Morgan and appreciate her every time she performs on the Opry and I am looking forward to her new album and to her upcoming Opry appearance. And to her credit, she has increased the number of her Opry appearances over the past several years and I would be perfectly happy if she was on the Opry twice a month. To me, that is a very realistic number. 

Maybe she is a little mistaken in her facts. If it is true that a letter has been sent out, maybe it was more in line of asking a few of the members where they have been lately, rather then asking for 24 annual appearances. On the positive side, imagine what the Opry would be like each week if Garth Brooks, Reba, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carrie, Little Big Town, and all of the Opry's other big stars appeared 24 times. It would be an awesome show each week. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/29 & 1/30

The Grand Ole Opry finishes up the annual run of winter shows at the Ryman Auditorium this weekend with the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Overall, and even considering the line-up from last Friday when the snow totally destroyed the line-up, the overall quality of the shows has been very good. There have been some strong line-ups and we have seen a good group of Opry members. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature members Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin, Mike Snider, John Conlee, Hal Ketchum, Bill Anderson, Bobby Osborne, Craig Morgan and Jeannie Seely. It is nice to see Hal Ketchum back on the Opry for the first time since last January, and also nice that Craig Morgan is once again hosting a segment. They will be joined by guest artists Greg Bates, Lindsay Ell, Easton Corbin and The Steeldrivers, who will be closing out the show. 

Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson and Mike Snider will also be appearing on Saturday night, joined by member Jesse McReynolds. The guests include JT Hodges, Roger's son Dean Miller, Jackie Lee, Holly Williams, Kathy Mattea, who I would like to see as an Opry member, Lee Brice, Striking Matches and Charles Esten. 

Friday January 29
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Greg Bates; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Lindsay Ell; Hal Ketchum
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Easton Corbin
8:45: Craig Morgan (host); Jeannie Seely; The Steeldrivers

Saturday January 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); JT Hodges; Dean Miller
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jackie Lee; Holly Williams
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kathy Mattea; Opry Square 
Dancers; Lee Brice; Striking Matches; Charles Esten 

While it is nice to see 8 Opry members scheduled for Saturday, it is a little discerning to see just 4 for Saturday night, and only 3 segments.  

Before getting into the past Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I did want to mention the death of Sonny Louvin, Charlie's son, who passed away yesterday at the age of 62. Sonny and I had a few exchanges over the years, and while his approach was sometimes lacking, once you knew him he was a pretty nice person. If I remember right, back in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Sonny played backup with Charlie on the Opry. I have no other details, but I did want to say that I am sorry he has passed away and prayers and thoughts go to the Louvin family. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, January 28 & 29, 2011:

Friday January 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Brett Eldredge
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Darryl Worley
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); T.G. Sheppard; The Whites

Saturday January 29
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Frankie Ballard
7:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Laura Bell Bundy
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Trace Adkins (host); Carter's Chord; Toby Keith

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Frankie Ballard
10:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Laura Bell Bundy
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Trace Adkins (host); Carter's Chord; Toby Keith

Now from ten years ago, January 27 & 28, 2006:

Friday January 27
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:30: The Whites (host); Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Ralph Stanley; Chely Wright
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Mountain Heart

Saturday January 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Ralph Stanley
7:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Mel McDaniel; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Charlie Walker (host); Billy Walker; Raul Malo; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Raul Malo
10:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Mel McDaniel; Ralph Stanley
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Charlie Louvin; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell

For this week's featured line-up, let's go back to the days at the Ryman Auditorium and to Saturday January 28, 1967. 

7:30: Luzianne
Bill Anderson (host): Ride, Ride, Ride
Skeeter Davis: You Add Fuel to the Flame
George Hamilton IV: The Urge for Going
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Bill Anderson: Still
Jim Ed Brown: Regular on My Mind
Skeeter Davis: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Bill Anderson: Get While the Getting's Good

8:00: Martha White
Billy Walker (host): A Million & One
Charlie Louvin: Off & On
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Walker: Bear With Me A Little Longer
Stringbean: Train 45
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): Room in the Corner of the House
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale That the Crow Told Me
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Jean Shepard: Heart, We Did All That We Could
Bobby Lord: The Streets of Baltimore
Grandpa Jones: Stop That Ticklin' Me

9:00: Pet Milk
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Bill Monroe: The Pretty Fair Maiden
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Lonzo & Oscar: Funny Way of Living In This Crazy Mixed Up World
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Instrumental
Roy Acuff: Glory's Coming; It Won't Be Long

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Hula Love
Willis Brothers: Bob
Marion Worth: There Goes My Everything
Curly Fox: K.C. Railroad Blues
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Hank Snow: The Count Down

10:00: Schick
Bill Anderson (host): I Get the Fever
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Stringbean: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

10:15: Pure
Jim Ed Brown (host): A Taste of Heaven
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her

10:30: Buckley's
Jean Shepard (host): Many Happy Hangovers to You
Charlie Louvin: He Can Be Found
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Grandpa Jones: Old Rattler Left Us Years Ago
Jean Shepard: It's A Man

10:45: Kent
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Bill Monroe: Panhandle Country
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Sam McGee: Blackberry Blossom
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

11:30: Lava
Gotta Travel On
Lonzo & Oscar: We're Getting the Hang Of It Now
Bob Luman: Memphis
Marion Worth: Touch My Heart
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Connie Smith: Walk Through this World
Curly Fox: Lost John
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Billy Grammer: Under the Double Eagle

I don't think there were any complaints about this Opry line-up. Very solid with all Opry members. 

As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!




Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/22 & 1/23

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, and they are a couple of good ones, a couple of thoughts: While not country music related, or associated with the Grand Ole Opry, the musical world lost a few legends over the past week that I wanted to remember. David Bowie was one of the superstars of my generation. A spectacular performer who influenced so many. He was a trend setter and a hit maker for decades and his death is a real lost for the musical world. Then came the news yesterday of the death of Glenn Frey, a co-founder of The Eagles. The Eagles started out as Linda Ronstadt's back-up band, but their talent and songwriting skills led them to bigger and better things. Their "Eagles Greatest Hits, 1971-1975" is the 2nd highest selling album of all time, behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller." While not country, Glenn influenced so many country artists including Vince Gill and Brad Paisley and while some will not admit it, the music of The Eagles sounds more country then what is played on the radio today. 

Dallas Taylor also passed away. Dallas was one of the founding members of what became Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Dallas was the drummer and was featured on the cover of "Teach Your Children." His CSNY days did not last long, but he was a respected studio drummer who worked with a variety of artists. Finally, there was Dale Griffin, the drummer and a founding member of Mott the Hopple. They were big in the late 1960s and early 1970s before breaking up in the early 1980s. As with other groups of that era, they also had a great influence on many others. 

As I mentioned, none of these 4 were country artists, but their music was far reaching and their deaths will leave a void in the music community. 

In better news, Mel Tillis seems on his way to recovery after emergency colon surgery earlier in the week, that was followed by reports that Mel was in critical condition. The following day, Mel's manager said the reports were overblown and that Mel was on his way to recovery. Surgery can be dangerous, especially when you are 83. Here is continuing best wishes to Mel Tillis and his continued recovery. 

Now, getting to the Opry for this weekend. They have really hit a home run for the Friday Night Opry. When you have Opry members Bill Anderson, Montgomery Gentry and Ricky Skaggs in the first segment of the show, you know it is going to be a good one. Other Opry members set to appear include Marty Stuart, Jesse McReynolds, Connie Smith, John Conlee, Mike Snider, Vince Gill and Josh Turner. Yep, 10 of the 12 artists scheduled to appear are Opry members, with only Lauren Alaina and Henry Cho as guests. 

While not as strong a line-up on Saturday night, it is still a good one. Opry members John Conlee, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill, all scheduled for Friday, are also set for Saturday, where they will be joined by members The Whites, Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne and Steve Wariner. That comes out to 8 Opry members, with 13 artists scheduled. The guests set to appear are Ray Scott, Carly Pearce, Josh Abbott Band, Jaida Dreyer and Kristian Bush. 

Here you go for this weekend:

Friday January 22
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Montgomery Gentry; Ricky Skaggs
7:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jesse McReynolds; Connie Smith
Intermission
8:15: John Conlee (host); Lauren Alaina; Mike Snider
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Henry Cho; Josh Turner

Saturday January 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider; The Whites
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carly Pearce; Josh Abbott Band
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jaida Dreyer; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Steve Wariner; Kristian Bush

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of January 20 & 21, 2011:

Friday January 21
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
Intermission
8:15: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday January 22
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Thompson Square; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
Intermission
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; The Whites

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of January 20 & 21, 2006:

Friday January 20
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; Connie Smith; George Hamilton IV; Buddy Jewell
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jack Greene
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Mike Snider; Darryl Worley
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; The Grascals

Saturday January 21
1st show
6:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:00: Vince Gill (host); Montgomery Gentry; The Crabb Family; Susan Haynes
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Aaron Tippin; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; John Conlee; Darryl Worley

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Aaron Tippin
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; The Whites; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Conlee; Montgomery Gentry
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Crabb Family; Darryl Worley

It was 22 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 22, that Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Hal Ketchum was born in Greenwich, New York. As he was growing up, his father, Hal, was a fan of several country music legends, including Marty Robbins and Patsy Cline. Hal was even a member of the Buck Owen's fan club. He started playing drums at the age of 15, later switching to the guitar. Hal was not an overnight success in the music business, as he spent nearly 20 years as a carpenter and furniture builder before getting his break in the music business. 

In 1981, he moved from New York for Austin, Texas. He worked on his songwriting skills in the various clubs and in 1986 he released "Threadbare Alibis," an album that featured 10 songs all written by Hal. It was also during this time period that Hal began making trips to Nashville. He eventually signed a publishing contract with Curb Records and in 1991 the single, "Small Town Saturday Night" launched his career. The song also helped his album, "Past the Point of Rescue" to reach gold status. The hits continued after that, including "Past the Point of Rescue," "Sure Love," "Mama Knows the Highway," "Hearts Are Gonna Role," and "Five O'Clock World."

Hal is not only an accomplished songwriter, singer and musician, but he also is an established painter, master carpenter and author, who writes short stories. 

Hal has admitted that he didn't know much about the Opry prior to his Opry debut in 1991. After that appearance he said, "There is an indescribable place on that stage where it feels like you are a part of history, a very fine history, and I really like that a lot. I felt the magic of the Opry the first time, and, so, I came to it in amazement." 

In 1998, Hal was diagnosed with a neurological disease that greatly affected his health. At one point, the disease affected him so much that he had to learn to walk and play the guitar all over again. And after being a steady presence at the Opry for a number of years, the disease got to the point where he was no longer able to perform. Thankfully, the past several years has seen Hal return to performing and while he has made very limited appearances, he has made it back to the Opry. 

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday January 22, 1994, the night Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Skeeter Davis: Lovesick Blues
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky: A Dear John Letter
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here this Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Alison Krauss: I'm Blue; I'm Lonesome
Oswald: Euneta
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
Marty Stuart (host): Burn Me Down
Hal Ketchum & Ferlin Husky: Wings of A Dove
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock
Vince Gill: When I Call Your Name
Hal Ketchum: Small Town Saturday Night
Marty Stuart: Kiss Me; I'm Gone

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
The Whites: Move it On Over
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye
Jimmy C Newman: Allons A' Lafayette
Mike Snider: Lonesome Road Blues/The Fir Coat
Hank Snow: A Message From the Tradewinds

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Hal Ketchum: We Just Might Fall In Love/Small Town Saturday Night
Jean Shepard: Farewell Party
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): What'll I Do With the Baby-O
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Vince Gill: Trying to Get Over You/A Pocket Full of Gold
Jimmy Dickens & Vince Gill: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose

10:30: Opry Tours
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
John Conlee: Common Man
Alison Krauss: Dark Skies
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:45: Opry Book
Marty Stuart (host): That's Country
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel
Marty Stuart: Kiss Me; I'm Gone

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Geisha Girl
Mark Collie & Marty Stuart: When the Sun Goes Down, I Go Crazy
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Mike Snider: Little Maggie/Dueling Banjos
Hank Snow: The Third Man

11:30: General Jackson
4 Guys (host): If It's From the Country; It's Coming From the Heart
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Johnny Russell: Ain't No Reason Now for Going Home
4 Guys: I Know; I Know

Congratulations to Hal Ketchum and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!