Thursday, March 15, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 3/16 & 3/17

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, both with very solid line-ups. And of course, with Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, it will be the Nashville Irish Step Dancers kicking off the show.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, Mike Snider and Dailey & Vincent. Joining that group on Friday night will be Opry members Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Josh Turner and Jesse McReynolds, while Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne will be appearing on Saturday night. That adds up to 8 members on Friday and 6 on Saturday.

Guesting on Friday night will be Shenandoah, Ashley Monroe and Lee Brice. All very solid performers. Saturday night will feature Wade Hayes, Craig Campbell, Steve Moakler, and a couple of Hall of Fame members: Don Schlitz and Jimmy Fortune.

Friday March 16
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Josh Turner
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shenandoah
8:15: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Ashley Monroe
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Lee Brice

Saturday March 17
7:00: Nashville Irish Step Dancers; John Conlee (host); Wade Hayes; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Campbell
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Don Schlitz; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Steve Moakler; Jimmy Fortune

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of March 14 & 15, 2008:

Friday March 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chris Young
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Andy Griggs
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds; Rhett Atkins
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent

Saturday March 15
1st show
6:30: Nashville Irish Stepdancers; Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:00: Carrie Underwood; Little Big Town; Lady Antebellum; Randy Travis
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Rhett Atkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Hal Ketchum; Jack Greene

2nd show
9:30: Nashville Irish Step Dancers; Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Little Big Town
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; Lady Antebellum; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Rhett Atkins

It was during the first show on that Saturday night that Randy Travis surprised Carrie Underwood with an invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Carrie, who was the first country music singer to win American Idol, would formally join the cast two months later on May 10.

From Saturday March 20, 1993, the 3rd weekend in March 25 years ago:

1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Bill Carlisle; The Whites
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Joe Diffie; Holly Dunn; Ricky Van Shelton
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Brother Oswald; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Del Reeves; Ray Pillow

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Holly Dunn; Ricky Van Shelton
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeannie Seely
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin & Charles Whitstein; Justin Tubb; Joe Diffie
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The 4 Guys; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

Looking back at the 3rd weekend in March over the years, it was on Saturday March 16, 1996 that Grand Ole Opry member Don Gibson performed on the Opry for the final time.

Music Row first wanted him as a songwriter. He wanted to perform. So, Don Gibson wrote enough hits for himself and everybody else. For starters, "I Can't Stop Loving You," "I'd Be A Legend in My Time," and "Sweet Dreams," Don's songs have been recorded by more than 150 artists, from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello and Ferlin Husky to Ella Fitzgerald.

Born in Shelby, North Carolina, Don was the son of a railroad man. With three brothers and two sisters, Don knew early on that he would be responsible for financing his music career. So, he went to work in the textile mills and "hopping curbs and even delivering baby diapers," he recalled, just to earn enough money. Don was only a kid when he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, to be a regular on the WNOX "Tennessee Barndance." He also played area club dates and one-nighters. Wesley Rose, president of Acuff-Rose Publishing in Nashville saw Don perform. Wesley's father Fred Rose had discovered Hank Williams. Wesley Rose offered Don a songwriting contract. But, since Don wanted to sing, he told Wesley that it was a deal only if he got to perform. So, his writing contract was with Wesley, his recording contract with RCA.

His first single, "Too Soon to Know" became a known song, but it was the second one that garnered the attention, "Oh, Lonesome Me." He wrote it in the same afternoon that he wrote "I Can't Stop Loving You." But Don didn't think much of "Oh, Lonesome Me." "I Thought it was nothing at all, so I sent it to Nashville and said, "'Give it to George Jones. It might make him a good number.'" he remembered, "I had no idea I'd ever cut it. But Chet Atkins and Wesley Rose said that was the one they wanted me to record. I said, 'I don't want to do that junk. I thought you'd give it to George,' Well, they insisted, so I said, 'I'll do it if you let me put "I Can't Stop Loving You" on the back. I think it's the best song.' Chet and Wesley reluctantly agreed to use the song, and "I Can't Stop Loving You" became a country standard in spite of them."

Don further justified his talents with such hits as "Blue Blue Day," "Legend In My Time," "Sweet Dreams," "Too Soon To Know," "Give Away The Blues," "Country Green," "Who Cares" and scores of others. So many that you can't separate Don Gibson the singer from the songwriter.

Don originally joined the Opry on May 20, 1958. However, he was later fired from the Opry's cast in December 1964 for failing to meet  the Opry's appearance requirements. He rejoined the Opry several years later, and would remain an Opry member until his death in 2003. In 2000, Don was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In his later years, Don appeared at the Opry very seldom as he entered a period of declining health. As mentioned, his last appearance was on Saturday March 16, 1996. Here is the running order from the Opry that night:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings/Joggin' In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents is All I Got
Bluegrass Boys: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here this Morning
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Jan Howard: Evil on Your Mind

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Freight Train Boogie
Brother Oswald: John Hardy
Jean Shepard: Head Over Heals in Love With You
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
The Whites: It Should've Been Easy
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles to Poplar Bluff
The Wagonmasters: Over the Line

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy  Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
The Hemphills: Let's Have a Revival/Partners In Emotion
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me/I Can't Stop Loving You
Jimmy Dickens: When Your House is Not A Home/Mountain Dew

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Before I Met You
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer
Jeannie Seely: Another Bridge to Burn
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Bill Anderson: The Touch of the Master's Hand/Still

8:30: Kraft
The 4 Guys (host): It's All Right
Charlie Walker: Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
The 4 Guys: Forever Young

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jean Shepard: Gone, Gone, Gone
The Hemphills: Let's All Go to Church/Partners in Emotion
Christi Lynn: Don't Stop for Nothing

10:00: Massey-Ferguson
Del Reeves (host): Good Time Charlie's
Wilma Lee Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield/Girl on the Billboard

10:15: Zim's Crack Cream
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
The Whites: Move it on Over
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls & A Ceiling

10:30: Gruhn Guitars
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleepin' At the Foot of the Bed
The Jordanaires: The Uncloudy Day
Jimmy Dickens: We Could

10:45: Fairfield
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Jeannie Seely: Another Bridge to Burn
Opry Square Dance Band: Sugar in the Goard
Bill Anderson: The Big Railroad Man

11:00: Coca-Cola
The 4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Jan Howard: My Heart Skips a Beat
The 4 Guys: Tennessee

11:30: Loreal
Billy Walker (host): Ashes of Love/Blue Moon of Kentucky/That's All Right
Connie Smith: Walk Me to the Door/Walkin' After Midnight
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore/The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Roy Drusky: Waltz of the Angels
Billy Walker: Adam's Side/Charlie's Shoes

It should also be noted that Bill Monroe was scheduled on the Opry that night, however after appearing on the Friday Night Opry the night before, Bill suffered a stroke that ended his performing days. Bill entered a period of declining health and would pass away later that year.

Other Opry events from the 3rd weekend in March include the annual Opry reunion show (Old Timer's Night) on Saturday March 20, 1976 and Saturday March 19, 1977. On March 20, 1980, Opry member Marion Worth made her final appearance on the Opry, as she made the decision to retire.

Finally, let's not forget the big event, which was the grand opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House, which took place on Saturday March 16, 1974. I know I have printed the running order from that night several times, but knowing that there are new readers to the blog, here we go again with it:

1st show
Roy Acuff & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Wabash Cannonball
Roy  Acuff: You Are My Sunshine
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Jerry Clower: Marcella's Chain Saw
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
President Richard Nixon & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Mrs. Nixon
President Richard Nixon: My Wild Irish Rose
Roy Acuff & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Stay A Little Longer
President Richard Nixon & Grand Ole Opry Cast: God Bless America
Jan Howard: My Kind of People
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Goodin
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces of Life
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: American Trilogy
George Morgan: You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfied
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' on Me
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
The Four Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Ernest Tubb: Walking the Floor Over You
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Loving Heart
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination

2nd show
Roy Acuff: Back in the Country
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe
Ernie Ashworth: Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jeannie Seely: Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: What in the World Has Gone Wrong with Our Love
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination
Jan Howard: Sunshine on My Shoulder
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Grandpa Jones: Heading South with Nashville on My Mind
Connie Smith: Dallas
Bobby Lord: Mississippi
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife; She's My Woman
Jerry Clower: The Last Piece of Chicken
George Morgan: Red Rose from the Blue Side of Town
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: The Potato Song
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfied
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
Sam & Kirk McGee: Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such as I
The 4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Justin Tubb: Ramblin' Man
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Marion Worth: Me & Bobby McGee
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/I'm Wanting To/Big Boss Man/Singing the Blues

The first show started at 6:30 and ended at 10:15 while the 2nd show went from 10:47 until 1:54. The first show was made up of an invited audience while the 2nd show was for the "regular" Opry fans. President Richard Nixon was the first President of the United States and he was on stage for just about 30 minutes. As you can see, the artists went pretty much in alphabetical order during the first show, with Roy Acuff leading off. The 2nd show was pretty much the same, but there were a few changes as some artists needed to get on the road for Sunday matinee shows.

While just about every member of the Grand Ole Opry made it that night, there were a few who did not: Archie Campbell, Bill Carlisle, Lester Flatt, David Houston, George Jones, Bob Luman, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Bill Monroe (who did phone into the first show), Earl Scruggs, Billy Walker and Tammy Wynette.  While still listed as Opry members, Bobby Bare and Tom T. Hall both made the decision to give up their Opry memberships while Skeeter Davis was still on suspension.

There you have it for this week. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend. And don't forget that on the Tuesday Night Opry Chris Janson will become the Opry's newest member.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 3/13 & Opry Country Classics 3/15

Is it just me or does it seem that the Tuesday Night Opry shows offers a better line-up then the weekend shows? I know that a lot of the bigger name artists tour on the weekends or are involved in other activities, which is fine, but it just appears that the Opry management deems the weeknight shows as equally important as the weekend shows, if that makes sense. For some of the Opry's members, they are getting in their appearances but none are coming on the weekends.

With that said, it is another strong Tuesday night show with Opry members Rascal Flatts, Craig Morgan and Dailey & Vincent leading the way:

7:00: John Conlee; Emily West
7:30: Easton Corbin; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Craig Morgan
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Opry Country Classics has Tracy Lawrence as the Spotlight Artist this week. He is one entertainer who I would not mind seeing as an Opry member.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Tracy Lawrence
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers, Moe Bandy, Amber Digby, Sylvia


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 3/9 & 3/10

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the three shows this weekend. Yes, that is correct as Saturday night there are two shows scheduled. If there is anyone reading this who wants to go to the Opry this weekend, Saturday's 2nd show is for you. Looking at the ticket site, there are probably 3500 tickets still available for that 2nd show. Don't know what the Opry was thinking when they scheduled two, or if they thought they had someone else lined up and it fell through....who knows?

But as who will be appearing this weekend, there are only two Grand Ole Opry members who are scheduled for both nights: Jeannie Seely and Mike Snider. Joining those two on Friday night will be Riders In The Sky, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, and Country Music Hall of Fame members Bill Anderson and the Oak Ridge Boys, who will be signing in the Opry Shop after the show. Joining Jeannie and Mike on Saturday night will be Opry members Jesse McReynolds, The Whites, and Hall of Fame member Ronnie Milsap. Really nice to see Ronnie back at the Opry. I met Ronnie a couple of years ago and he really is a super nice guy.

Guest artists on the Friday Night Opry include Gene Watson (who cancelled his appearance on Opry Country Classics), Parmalee, Gary Mule Deer, frequent Opry guest Mark Wills, and making her Opry debut, Darci Lynne.

Gary Mule Deer is also scheduled for both shows on Saturday night, and he will be joined by Erin Enderlin, Jerrod Niemann, and Hall of Famer, and former Opry member, Bobby Bare.

Friday March 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Gene Watson
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Parmalee; Darci Lynne
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Gary Mule Deer

Saturday March 10
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Erin Enderlin; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: The Whites (host); Jerrod Niemann
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Bare; Opry Square Dancers; Gary Mule Deer; Ronnie Milsap

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Ronnie Milsap
10:00: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Bobby Bare
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Erin Enderlin; Opry Square Dancers; Gary Mule Deer; Jerrod Niemann

Only 9 artists currently scheduled for Saturday night, and as with last week, just 3 segments.

As mentioned, Darci Lynn (Farmer) will be making her Opry debut on Friday night. This 13 year old lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. As a child she was very shy so her parents encouraged her to participate in the International Cinderella Scholarship Program where she won the title International Mini Miss. At the pageant she met Laryssa Bonacquisti, a young ventriloquist who inspired Darci to try ventriloquism. Darci self taught herself. She asked her parents for a puppet and on her tenth birthday she received one as a gift.

In 2014 she entered Edmond's Got Talent and one first price. Since then she has worked with ventriloquy coach Gary Owen and vocal teacher Tiana. In 2015 she won first place in both the junior division at Oklahoma's Got Talent and Oklahoma Kids, and won Broadway, Specialty Acts, and overall Entertainer of the Year at American Kids in Branson, Missouri. In March 2016, Darci made Little Big Shots. In 2017, she competed in American's Got Talent. She performed with a girly rabbit named Petunia. After going through the competition, Darci was the winner of that season's America's Got Talent. Since then, she has appeared on numerous television shows and has performed nationally, including Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. She is currently on a nationwide tour.

And now, from the second weekend in March 10 years ago, the weekend of March 7 & 8, 2008:

Friday March 7
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Tennessee Mafia Jug Band; Connie Smith; Sunny Sweeney
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; John Conlee; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Ernie Ashworth; Jean Shepard; The Whites

Saturday March 8
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Mel McDaniel; Sunny Sweeney
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jim Ed Brown; Lee Greenwood
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; The Whites
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Tennessee Mafia Jug Band; Jimmy C Newman; Tift Merritt; Opry Square Dancers. 
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mel Tillis; Charlie Daniels Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Hal Ketchum
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Sunny Sweeney; Lee Greenwood
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Tennessee Mafia Jug Band; Jean Shepard; Tift Merritt; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mel Tillis; Charlie Daniels

So who remembers Tift Merritt? Well, for those who do not, Tift was born in Houston, Texas and grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2000, she won the MerleFest's Chris Austin Songwriting Contest and in 2002 she released her debut album "Bramble Rose." The Associated Press called it the best new album of the year. Her follow up album, "Tambourine" was released in 2004 and was nominated for a Grammy Award in the best country album of the year category. In 2005, she was nominated by the American Music Association for Album of the Year, Artist of the Year and Song of the Year. Still active, she released her latest album in January 2017. 

From Saturday March 13, 1993, 25 years ago: 

1st show
6:30: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Osborne Brothers; Skeeter Davis; The Whites; The 4 Guys
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Roy Drusky; Hank Locklin; Brother Oswald
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Riders In The Sky; Charlie Walker; Bill Carlisle

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; The Whites
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jack Greene
10:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jeannie Seely; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Justin Tubb; Charlie Walker; Riders In The Sky
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Louvin; Roy Drusky

Looking back at the 2nd weekend in March, Saturday March 13, 1999 saw Trisha Yearwood become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Whether belting out one of her signature hits on the Grand Ole Opry stage or writing a best-selling cookbook, Trisha Yearwood approaches everything she does with an abundance of passion, integrity, and talent. The Georgia native knew she wanted to be a country singer by the time she was five years old. Winning a talent contest in Macon at 16 served to further fuel her creative desires. As a teen, she talked her parents into a family vacation in Nashville and after seeing her heroes on stage at the Grand Ole Opry, she knew there was nothing else she wanted to do. 

She moved to Music City to attend Belmont University, took a job as a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame, and began pursuing her dream. She worked as a receptionist at MTM Records and began singing demos. She met Garth Brooks when the two were hired to sing a duet demo for songwriter Kent Blazy. Garth introduced her to his producer, Allen Reynolds, who introduced her to Garth Fundis, who would become her friend and longtime producer. After five years in Nashville, Trisha signed with MCA Records and her first single, "She's in Love With the Boy," rocketed to the top of the country charts in 1991. Since then, Trisha has populated country radio with such memorable hits as "Wrong Side of Memphis," "The Woman Before Me," "XXXs and OOOs (An American Girl)," "Thinkin' About You," "The Song Remembers When," "Walkaway Joe," and "How Do I Live," as well as hit singles recorded with Garth, now her husband. Trisha has won Grammy Awards and has been recognized as a top female vocalist by both the CMA and ACM. 

Among all the accomplishments and accolades, being a member of the Grand Ole Opry holds special significance for Trisha. "My mother came here on her senior class trip from South Georgia," she says. "She wrote in her diary about seeing Hank Snow, Hawkshaw Hawkins and all those people. When I was inducted as a member of the Opry in 1999, she brought her diary and got Hank Snow to sign it. So it's not only about me, it's also about my whole family."  

Trisha was invited to become an Opry member on Saturday January 16, 1999 by Ricky Skaggs. It was the weekend that the Opry returned to the Ryman Auditorium for the first time since it left in March 1974. I was there that night and it was a great feeling to be back. As to Trisha, and what I find interesting, is that she had wanted to be an Opry member for a long time prior to being asked. However, Bob Whittaker resisted asking. Bob retired in September 1998 and was replaced by Steve Buchanan who had responsibility of the Opry until Pete Fisher was hired in June 1999. One of Steve's first moves was to honor Trisha's request to become an Opry member. 

From 19 years ago, Saturday March 13, 1999:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Cajun Stripper

6:45: National Corvette Museum
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking Back to See/Morning/Pop A Top/The 3 Bells

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited Too Long
Janie Fricke: Bouncing Back/Don't Worry "Bout Me Baby
Porter Wagoner: Fireball Mail/Night Train to Memphis/Cabin in Gloryland
Rick Wayne: On the Line
Randy Scruggs: Black Mountain Rag
Steve Wariner: Holes in the Floor of Heaven
Trisha Yearwood: Wrong Side of Memphis/She's In Love With the Boy/Sweet Dreams

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): No Fair Falling in Love
Marty Stuart: Southern Accent
John Prine: Paradise
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Opry Square Dance Band: Rachel
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Ricky Skaggs: Little Maggie
The Whites: I Hear the Wind 'A Blowing
Vince Gill: Pretty Little Adriana/When I Call Your Name

2nd show
9:30: Blue Green Vacation Resort Development
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Good Deal, Lucille
Trisha Yearwood: A Perfect Love/How Do I Live/She's In Love With the Boy
Porter Wagoner: I'll Fly Away

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Vince Gill (host): Don't Come Crying to Me
Randy Scruggs: Soldier's Joy
Vince Gill: Whenever You Come Around

10:15: Ray Stevens Show
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Mike Snider & Marty Stuart: Rawhide
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

10:30: Epiphone
Marty Stuart (host): Doin' My Time
John Prine: Grandpa Was A Carpenter
Marty Stuart & John Prine: Angel From Montgomery

10:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Ricky Skaggs (host): I'm Lost & I'll Never Find the Way
Jean Shepard: The Tennessee Waltz
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Ricky Skaggs: Connemara

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
John Conlee: Friday Night Blues
Jeannie Seely: Make the World Go Away
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer
Bill Anderson: The Paper

11:30: Opry Book
Johnny Russell: Folsom Prison Blues
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Del Reeves: Splish; Splash/Answer the Phone/Hound Dog
Stonewall Jackson: A Wound Time Can't Erase
Johnny Russell: Wabash Cannonball

Interesting that the last hour of the 2nd show was filled with a lot of folks who only appeared on that 2nd show: Holly Dunn, John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, Billy Walker, Johnny Russell, Jack Greene, Stonewall and Del Reeves. Also, you will note that Trisha Yearwood made the mention of Hank Snow signing her mother's diary the night she became a member. However, Hank was last at the Opry in 1996, so obviously Trisha is a little confused. I am guessing Hank signed the book when Trisha made her Opry debut some years earlier. 

Also from the 2nd weekend in March, March 9, 1963 saw the Opry dedicating the show and remembering Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas and Randy Hughes, all of whom had died earlier in the week from the tragic plane crash, along with Jack Anglin who had died the day before in a car accident. 

March 9, 1974 was the final Saturday night show at the Ryman Auditorium. The following week the Opry moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House. It was also Bobby Bare's final night as an Opry member as he left the cast when the show moved. March 10, 1979 was the night of the famous James Brown appearance, set up by Porter Wagoner, and finally, March 9, 1996 was the final Saturday night that longtime Opry member Bill Monroe performed on the show. 

To finish it up for this week, let's go back to that final Saturday night at the Ryman, 44 years ago on Saturday March 9, 1974: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Willis Brothers: Cool Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bobby Bare (host): Detroit City
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Bobby Bare: The Mermaids

7:00: Rudy's
Billy Grammer (host): Under the Double Eagle/Black Mountain Rag/Wildwood Flower
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Billy Grammer, Jr: Orange Blossom Special
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: To My Mansion in the Sky
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need to Move a Mountain
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Roy Acuff: Back in the Country
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll Muddy River
Justin Tubb: Rambling Man
Jody Miller: Good News
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
Jody Miller: Let's All Go Down to the River

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jan Howard: My Kind of People
The 4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Hank Snow: Brand On My Heart
Jan Howard: Sunshine on My Shoulders
The 4 Guys: Top of the World
Hank Snow: Hello Love

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Bobby Bare (host): Come Sundown
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Bobby Bare: Blowing in the Wind/Worried Man Blues/Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Willis: Maiden's Prayer
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Bobby Bare & Bobby Bare, Jr: Daddy, What if?

10:00: Fender
Stu Phillips (host): Pride
Jody Miller: Darling, You Can Always Come Back Home
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): When I Lay My Burdens Down
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Loving Heart

10:30: Trailblazer
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces of Life
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless American Again

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jerry Clower: The Coon Hunt
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Hank Snow: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola 
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
The 4 Guys: Streaking With My Baby on a Bright & Sunny Afternoon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin' Ridge
Tanya Tucker: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: Freight Train/ Victor Rag/I Don't Love Nobody
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): I Walk Alone
Jeanne Pruett: You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/Satin Sheets
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/I'm Wanting To/Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms/Love Me/Now Is the Hour

I think you can tell what a lot of Opry members felt about the Ryman as to who was, and was not there, that final Saturday night. 

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

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 3/6 & Opry Country Classics 3/8

I have never heard of anyone in recent memory (at least since Jeanne Pruett) who has made multiple Opry appearances between the time of being asked to becoming a member and then actually becoming one. Tuesday night, Chris Janson is once again a guest on the Opry.

Tuesday March 6
7:00: Terri Clark; The SteelDrivers
7:30: T Graham Brown; LANCO
8:15: Bill Anderson; Dustin Lynch
8:45: Lorrie Morgan; Chris Janson

Opry Country Classics on Thursday night will feature Craig Morgan as the Spotlight Artist:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Craig Morgan
Also Appearing: Jeannie Seely; Gene Watson; Natalie Stovall

A couple of pretty nice shows

Sunday, March 4, 2018

March Opry Highlights

Welcome to March and the month that brings us Spring. I hope wherever you live that winter is coming to an end. Up here in Ohio, it was a pretty typical winter with some cold and snow. It was worst than the last couple, but overall, I can't complain. Getting back to the business of the Grand Ole Opry, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or in regards to members of the Opry, during the month of March:

March 9, 1925: Ralph Sloan, the leader and founder of The Tennessee Travelers, was born. Ralph and his group joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1952 and continued under Ralph's leadership until his death in 1980. After Ralph passed away, his brother Melvin took over as the group's leader, changing the name to the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin continued on until his retirement in 2002.

March 24, 1928: Kitty Cora Cline became the first female solo artist to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Kitty was at the Opry until March 31, 1934, when she decided to quit. The story goes that on that particular evening, she was on her way to the Opry and witnessed a serious car accident that bothered her so much that she refused to travel by car again. Thus, she quit performing.

March 31, 1934: Robert Lunn made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. After joining the Opry, he stayed until retiring in 1958.

March 16, 1946: Future Grand Ole Opry member Grandpa Jones made his first appearance on the Opry, appearing as a member of Pee Wee King's band.

March 1, 1952: Uncle Dave Macon, one of the Opry's earliest stars, made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Uncle Dave was one of the Opry's originals and was one of the first professional musicians to join the cast. Two weeks later, on March 22, Uncle Dave passed away at the age of 82.

March 21, 1953: Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles made their first guest appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.

March 1, 1958: After criticizing the management of WSM radio, Marty Robbins was fired as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Opry management quickly realized their mistake and Marty was quickly hired back.

March 2, 1963: Opry members Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins made their final appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Several days later, the duo would pass away when the plane they were riding in crashed on the way back to Nashville. Copas, Hawkins, along with Opry member Patsy Cline and pilot Randy Hughes were returning after performing on a benefit show in Kansas City.

March 9, 1963: The Grand Ole Opry observed a moment of silence to honor Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Randy Hughes. Also honored was Jack Anglin of Johnny & Jack, who also passed away the previous week, in his case the result of injuries from an auto accident. In the tribute read by Opry manager Ott Devine, he said, "All of their friends standing with me tonight on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium know that it is impossible to put our thoughts, or feelings, our love for Patsy, Hank, Cope, Jack and Randy. And so we ask for a moment of silent prayer in tribute to them."

March 29, 1963: Texas Ruby Owens died in a fire at her home. Along with her husband Curly Fox, she came to the Opry in the 1940s. After Ruby's death, Curly remained at the Opry as a solo act.

March 2, 1964: Jim & Jesse McReynolds were invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry. Later that week, they made their first appearance as Opry members. Jim & Jesse were very popular members of the Opry and along with their group the Virginia Boys, continued as members of the Opry until the death of Jim in December 2002. After Jim's death, Jesse has continued on at the Opry. In September, he took ill and was hospitalize for a period of time. After a lengthy recovery, Jesse returned to the Opry this past weekend and was recognized upon his 54th year as an Opry member.

March 7, 1964: Ernie Ashworth, along with Jim & Jesse, made his first appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ernie, who was famous for his hit song, "Talk Back Trembling Lips" and for his colorful suit with flaming lips on it, remained an Opry member until his death on March 2, 2009.

March 28, 1964: Connie Smith made her first appearance as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry. Connie appeared at the invitation of Bill Anderson. Later that evening, Connie stopped by at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and the Midnight Jamboree. A year later, in 1965, Connie became an Opry member.

March 9, 1968: Irene Ryan, who played the part of Granny on the very popular show, "The Beverly Hillbillies," made a guest appearance on the Opry.

March 15, 1968: The Byrds, featuring Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, made an appearance on the Friday Night Opry. They sang "Sing Me Back Home" and "Hickory Wind." The Byrds always considered it an honor to perform on the Opry and this appearance ended up being their only one. It was later reported that a few of the Opry's members were not thrilled over their appearance and the audience response was much the same.

March 28, 1970: Grand Ole Opry member Marty Robbins returned to the Opry for the first time since suffering a heart attack in January. As usual, he returned as the host of the 11:30 segment. Reporter Jerry Thompson, who was there that evening, wrote, "The sound from the jam-packed crowd was deafening. They couldn't hear the words to the songs that familiar figure behind the Opry mic was crooning, but there was no mistake. Marty Robbins was back where he belonged. Midway through the show, Robbins sat at the piano and told the audience, 'I had so many things I was going to say tonight. I want to thank all of my friends for their concern and I want to thank God for letting me be there. Now, I can't think of anything else to say, so I guess I'll have to sing for you.' And sing he did until 12:27 a.m. when the curtain closed amidst repeated shouts of 'more, more, more.'" This was one night that Ernest Tubb did not complain about the Midnight Jamboree starting late.

March 27, 1971: Jan Howard became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  Jan will be celebrating her 47th year as an Opry member. Jan had been appearing on the Opry for several years before becoming an Opry member, and in fact, Opry member Bud Wendall had thought she was already a member. Jan is not basically retired from performing, although she has made a couple of visits backstage at the Opry over the past year. Finally, let's not forget that Jan's birthday is on March 13 and that Jan is the Opry's oldest female member.

March 9, 1974: The Grand Ole Opry had its final Saturday night show at the Ryman Auditorium. The Opry, which had been at the Ryman since 1943, was scheduled to move to the new Grand Ole Opry House the following weekend. Also, this was the final night that Bobby Bare was a member of the Grand Ole Opry, as he quit the cast when the Opry made the move to the new Opry House. Also giving up his Opry membership was Tom T Hall, although in Tom's case, he would later rejoin the cast.

March 15, 1974: The Grand Ole Opry conducted its final Friday Night Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. While the previous Saturday night was the final Grand Ole Opry show, this being the final show made for a very emotional night, so much so that both Bill Anderson and Charlie Walker forgot the words to their songs. The final segment this night was hosted by George Morgan, who concluded the show with his hit "Candy Kisses." After the Opry ended, Reverend Jimmie Snow hosted the final Grand Ole Gospel from the Ryman with guests Hank Snow, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, and the Carter Family, none of whom actually appeared on the Opry that night. The show concluded with the singing of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" and as soon as they were finished, the signs were taken down and many of the items were immediately transferred to the new Opry House. After the Opry left, the Ryman stayed empty for many years, with the inside of the building looking exactly as the Opry left it when they moved in 1974.

March 16, 1974: With President Richard Nixon in attendance, the Grand Ole Opry had its first performance at the new Grand Ole Opry House. When President Nixon made his appearance, he became the first President to visit and perform on the Opry. As yes, he did perform, playing several songs on the piano. There was much discussion on who would be the first Opry member to perform on the show, and with the decision made to go in alphabetical order, Roy Acuff took the honors, followed by Bill Anderson. With pretty much every Opry member in attendance, both shows that night ran well past the allotted time. The Grand Ole Opry House was the first building built specifically for the Opry, and despite damage from the flood in 2010, the building has held up well and has now been the Opry's home for 43 years.

March 30, 1974: The Earl Scruggs Revue made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. When Flatt & Scruggs broke up, both Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs maintained their Opry membership. While Lester enjoyed playing the Opry on a regular basis, Earl had a more progressive sound and enjoyed playing before different audiences. While he gave up his Opry membership, Earl would continue to come back and perform on the show.

March 14, 1975: One year after the Opry House opened, the Cumberland River overflowed its banks, causing a flood that forced the Opry to move the shows that weekend to the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville. It was also the weekend of the 1st anniversary of the Opry House, so the timing wasn't the best. At first, many thought the Opry would return to the Ryman for the weekend, but it was determined that the old building was in no shape to host a live show. Unlike the flood of 2010 which caused extensive damage to the Opry House, the 1975 flood just affected the parking lots and the surrounding area.

March 4, 1978: For the first time in the history of the Grand Ole Opry, an entire show was televised. PBS had approached Opry officials to see if there was any interest in televising the show as part of the annual fundraising drive that PBS conducts. The Opry agreed and it was considered such a great success that PBS would continue to televise an Opry show for the next three years. The Opry did agree to a few changes, including all references to their commercial sponsors, which included covering the sponsor's signs that appeared on the Opry stage and backdrop. (however, in looking at video from those nights, Martha White's sign appears to show through rather well and Roy Acuff did get in a few Martha White plugs). What made those nights so special, besides the quality of the line-ups, was the fact that the Opry did not change the show at all. The format remained the same, although several of the members dressed up a bit more than usual. These shows also gave people across the country who had never attended an Opry show, a chance to see the entire Opry as it happened.

March 10, 1979: James Brown appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. He appeared at the invitation of Porter Wagoner, who thought it would be a great idea. It was a tough night at the Opry as several of the Opry's members did not agree with Porter and decided not to appear that night. James was on stage for almost 20 minutes and would later say that he enjoyed performing on the show.

March 23, 1979: Lester Flatt returned to the Opry for the first time since the previous November. A brain hemorrhage kept Lester away.

March 12, 1980: Ralph Sloan passed away. Ralph and the Tennessee Travelers had been at the Opry since 1952. Upon his death, brother Melvin took over the square dance group.

March 22, 1980: Opry member Marion Worth made her final appearance on the Opry. Marion joined the Opry in 1965 and while she didn't have a spectacular career in country music, she was a fairly popular member of the show. After leaving the Opry, Marion did a few shows in Las Vegas, then eventually retiring. Marion passed away in December 1999.

March 28, 1980: Tom T Hall rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Tom, along with Bobby Bare, quit in March 1974 when the Opry moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House. It was reported that Ernest Tubb ran into Tom T in the parking lot after a show at the Opry House and told him he needed to get back to the Opry. He did and for most of the 1980s, was a regular performer on the show. Tom T has not been on the Opry in several decades and is now retired.

March 1, 1982: Roy Acuff was honored with a two-hours special that was televised on ABC. An all-star cast of performers and entertainers honored Roy, including President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George Bush, Minnie Pearl, Tom T. Hall, Bill Anderson, Chet Atkins, Charlie Daniels and Gene Autry.

March 7, 1983: TNN, The Nashville Network, made its debut. This network would later become the television home of the Grand Ole Opry as a half hour of the show was televised live each Saturday night.

March 3, 1984: The Whites, consisting of Buck, Sharon and Cheryl, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 34rd year as Opry members.

March 7, 1986: Randy Travis made his first guest appearance on the Opry. He was introduced by Jimmy Dickens and sang, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Later that year, in December, Randy would become an Opry member.

March 4, 1996: Grand Ole Opry legend Minnie Pearl passed away from complications after suffering a series of strokes. Minnie had been a Grand Ole Opry member for over 50 years and was perhaps the most loved member of the Opry.

March 9, 1996: Minnie Pearl was remembered at the Opry on the first Saturday night following her death. Wilma Lee Cooper, Jean Shepard, Jeanne Pruett, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely sang, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" which was Minnie's favorite song.

March 15, 1996: Grand Ole Opry member Bill Monroe, an Opry member since 1939, made his final appearance on the Friday Night Opry. The following morning, Bill was admitted to Baptist Hospital after suffering a stroke.

March 14, 1998: Diamond Rio was invited to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. The accepted and officially became Opry members the following month.

March 13, 1999: Trisha Yearwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Trisha had been invited in January by Ricky Skaggs to join the cast. This will be her 19th year as an Opry member.

March 22, 2001: Opry member Johnny Russell was honored at a special benefit show at the Opry House. The show was held to raise funds for Johnny to help cover his mounting medical bills. Among those attending were Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs and Ralph Emery.

March 7, 2003: Long time Grand Ole Opry member Bill Carlisle made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. A few days after this show, Bill suffered a stroke. Bill joined the Opry in November 1953 and 49 years later, Bill was appearing on the Opry most every weekend. The stroke ended Bill's performing career and he passed away on March 17.

March 15, 2008: Randy Travis surprised Carrie Underwood during a guest appearance on the Opry and invited Carrie to become the Opry's newest member. Several months later in May, Carrie was officially inducted into the Opry's cast.

March 2, 2009: Opry legend Ernie Ashworth passed away. Ernie had been an Opry member for 45 years.

March 8, 2009: Grand Ole Opry member Hank Locklin passed away at the age of 91. Hank joined the Opry in 1960 and at the time of his death, was the Opry's oldest member. "Send Me The Pillow You Dream On" was one of Hank's classic numbers, as was his rendition of "Danny Boy" which he did every St. Patrick's Day.

March 1, 2011: It was announced that Grand Ole Opry members Reba McEntire and Jean Shepard had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. For Jean, it was the culmination of a long career in country music.

March 6, 2012: Opry members Connie Smith and Garth Brooks were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

March 24, 2012: Carol Lee Cooper. the leader of the Carol Lee Singers, announced her retirement. Carol Lee originally came to the Opry with her parents, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper in 1957. Her retirement was the result of some voice and vocal issues that she had been experiencing.

March 5, 2013: The Grand Ole Opry honored Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins on the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that took their lives, along with pilot Randy Hughes. Among those taking part in the tribute were Jean Shepard, Terri Clark, Mandy Barnett, John Conlee and Chuck Mead.

March 14, 2013: Opry member Jack Greene passed away after a long illness. Jack, who was formally a member of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours, joined the Opry in December 1967. Jack always did a great job singing "There Goes My Everything" and "Statue of a Fool." Even in his later years, Jack never lost his great voice.

March 15, 2014: The Grand Ole Opry marked the 40th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House with two special shows that featured Blake Shelton, Old Crow Medicine Show, Josh Turner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Jimmy Dickens and Miranda Lambert.

March 6, 2017: It was announced that Sally Williams was promoted to the position of Senior Vice President of Programming & Artists Relations for Opry Entertainment and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry. She previously had been the General Manager of the Ryman Auditorium.

March 11, 2017: Dailey & Vincent became the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. The bluegrass duo had been extended an invitation by Marty Stuart in December, upon their 100th guest appearance on the show.

There you have it for this month. I hope a lot of those dates bring back some memories.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 3/2 & 3/3

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, I was in Nashville last weekend and attended both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Overall, I thought both shows were very solid. Among the highlights on both nights were Mike Snider, Connie Smith and Crystal Gayle. All three did a great job. I always enjoy Mike and the boys, as they play that good old traditional Opry instrumentation. Connie did her usual good job and it was nice that she brought out a classic, "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down" that you don't hear much on the Opry anymore. Crystal Gayle, one of the Opry's newest members, just adds a lot to the show.

Other highlights from Friday night included the family bluegrass group Flatt Lonesome. That was my first time seeing them and they were outstanding. They have already won several awards and I can see them winning a few more as their career progresses. Dan Tyminski and his group were very good, as was Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Mo Pitney, and was pleasantly surprised by Mickey Guyton. Jeannie Seely did a nice job opening the show. The only act that I did not personally enjoy was Ryan Kinder. He has talent, just didn't care for him.

I thought Saturday night was the better of the two nights. Besides those I already mentioned, I wanted to point out a couple of acts. While others don't, and I get it, I really enjoy Elizabeth Cook. It is not every night you hear Tom Petty songs on the Opry, but Elizabeth has done several for some time now, and I just enjoy them. As I said, she is not for everyone, and the same can be said for Charles Esten. Yes, I know he is an actor playing the role of a country music singer. But he can sing, and he is good. I hope he continues doing the Opry even after the "Nashville" show ends. Bill Anderson looked and sounded good, and at 81 he is still bringing it. He closed with "This Old Army Hat" to prolonged applause. Shenandoah sounded better than they did last time I saw them. Steve Wariner did a fine job hosting the last segment and I was very surprised by Troy Cassar-Daley from Australia. If I heard it right, he has had 31 No.1 records in his home country. He sounded good and he and Steve did well on the Merle Haggard duet. Natalie Stovall was the other artist from Saturday night and she is young and talented.

Friday night I would estimate about 3500 in attendance and Saturday was just about sold-out. And there was a new Opry sponsor, Kentucky Kernel Flour. No, it is not Martha White, and no, I had never heard of this product before, but then again I don't shop grocery stores in the south. There were chuckles in the audience during the commercial. Springer Mountain Farms also sponsors a segment now on Saturday night.

The renovation of the Grand Ole Opry House is underway. The ticket office area is closed and blocked off, including Roy Acuff's old house. The ticket office is in the old Opry Museum, and it was funny walking in as the interior entrance is the same as it was when it was the museum. The same lighted signs are hanging up on the walls, restrooms still in the same place. They would not let you past the lobby, where the ticket agents are, but being inside brought back some old memories. The building looked in perfect shape. Too bad it is no longer in use.

Now to the line-ups for this weekend. Grand Ole Opry members set for both nights include Mike Snider, The Whites and Jeannie Seely. They are scheduled to be joined on Friday night by Ricky Skaggs and Jesse McReynolds will give it a go again. He will also be celebrating his 54th year as a member of the Opry. Jesse has been out since September and was scheduled to return a few weeks ago, but wasn't quite ready. On Saturday night, joining Mike, Jeannie and The Whites, will be Bobby Osborne.

Guest artists on Friday night include Jim Lauderdale, Levi Hummon, Brooke Eden, Lee Roy Parnell, Mary Gauthier, Devin Dawson and Darryl Worley. That is a lot of names and you get that when only five Opry members are on the schedule.

That is actually one more than what is scheduled for Saturday night, as joining the four members will be Drew Baldridge, Sam Palladio (from Nashville), Maggie Rose, Lucy Silvas, Dukes of Hazzard star John Schneider, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweets.

Friday March 2
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Lauderdale; Levi Hummon
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Brooke Eden; Lee Roy Parnell
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mary Gauthier
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Devin Dawson; Darryl Worley

Saturday March 3
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Drew Baldridge
7:30: The Whites (host); Sam Palladio; Maggie Rose
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lucy Silvas; Opry Square Dancers; Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats; John Schneider

(I would say there are a few names that some of those attending the Opry this weekend probably will not recognize).

Nathaniel Rateliff comes out of Denver, Colorado and he is described as folk, Americana, and vintage rhythm & blues. His group, the Night Sweats, is described as a soulful R&B combo. His first single was released in 2011. Since then he has released six more singles, none of which has made the charts in the U.S. He also has released several albums, both with his group and as a solo artist. He does have a regional following in the Denver area and will be embarking on a national tour this year. He has been around for a while and at age 39, not a youngster anymore. But I give him credit for continuing with his love of music.

From the first weekend in March 10 years ago, Saturday March 1, 2008:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Joe Diffie
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Terri Clark; James Otto; Elizabeth Cook
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Jim Ed Brown; Del McCoury Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; James Otto
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Terri Clark
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Del McCoury Band

25 years ago, Saturday March 6, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett; Billy Walker
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Walker; Jan Howard; Loretta Lynn
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); The 4 Guys; Riders In The Sky; Mel McDaniel; Opry Square Dance Band
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Mike Snider; The Whites; Osborne Brothers; Grandpa Jones

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Bill Carlisle; Charlie Louvin; Loretta Lynn
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); Ray Pillow
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Brother Oswald; Jimmy C Newman
10:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Justin Tubb; Opry Square Dance Band
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Mike Snider; Osborne Brothers; Mel McDaniel
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); The 4 Guys; Riders In The Sky; Johnny Russell

Among other events of note from the 1st weekend in March, it was Saturday March 2, 1963 that Grand Ole Opry Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins made their final Opry appearances. Here is the Opry running order from that night:

7:30: Kellogg's
George Morgan (host): Little Dutch Girl
Carter Family: 14 Caret Nothing
Jimmy Newman: Bayou Talk
Willis Brothers: Eat A Little More
George Morgan: Untie the Knot
June Carter: Comedy
Jimmy Newman: A Fallen Star
George Morgan: Down Memory Lane

8:00: Martha White
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Come Walk with Me
Billy Walker: I've Got A New Heartache
Wilburn Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Stringbean: Pretty Little Widow
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Higher Power
Del Wood: Are You from Dixie
Margie Bowes: Think it Over
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilburn Brothers: Trouble's Back in Town
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer

8:30: Stephens
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): Darkness on the Face of the Earth
Lonzo & Oscar: There's A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea
Bobby Lord: Out Behind the Barn
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I Don't Apologize
Glaser Brothers: Lover's Farewell
Curly Fox: Instrumental
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Silver Threads and Golden Needles

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Cowboy Copas (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
Bill Monroe: (?)
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Cowboy Copas: Alabam'
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Carlisle: Shutter & Boards
Bill Monroe: (?)
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs

9:30: Pet Milk
Roy Acuff (host): Plastic Heart
Jordanaires: (?)
Marion Worth: Shake Me; I Rattle
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Roy Acuff: The Wreck on the Highway
Oswald: Roll On, Buddy, Roll On
Justin Tubb: (?)
Jimmy Riddle: Fox Chase
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:00: Gates Rubber
George Morgan (host): Roly Poly
Curly Fox: Instrumental
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied
Del Wood: Bill Bailey
George Morgan: Who's Jealous Now

10:15: Luzianne
Wilburn Brothers (host): Day After Day
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Margie Bowes: Within' Your Crowd
Harold Morrison: The Cat came Back
Wilburn Brothers: Not That I Care

10:30: Harvey's
Jimmy Newman (host): (?)
Carter Family: (?)
Billy Walker: Thank You for Calling
Jimmy Newman: (?)

10:45: Ford
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): Big Old Heartache
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Stringbean: There'll Be Moonshine In Them Old Kentucky Hills
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Lonesome 7-7203

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Little Pal
Jordanaires: (?)
Marion Worth: Tennessee Teardrops
Lonzo & Oscar: I'm My Own Grandpa
Roy Acuff & Oswald: Stuck Up Blues
Sam & Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Justin Tubb: (?)
Oswald: John Hardy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin' Ridge
Roy Acuff: Shake My Mother's Hand for Me

11:30: SSS Tonic
Cowboy Copas (host): Down in Nashville Tennessee
Bill Monroe: (?)
Roy Drusky: It Worries Me
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Archie Campbell: A Fool's Side of Town
Glaser Brothers: Odds & Ends
Bobby Lord: So Doggone Lonesome
Bill Monroe (host): (?)
Cowboy Copas: Flat Top

Lloyd Estel Copas began performing professionally in the 1930s, appearing on several radio stations in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. In 1940 he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, where he performed on WNOX-AM with his band, the Gold Star Rangers. A big break for him came in 1943 when Pee Wee King picked Copas to replace Eddy Arnold as the featured vocalist with his Golden West Cowboys, which included performances on the Grand Ole Opry. His first solo single, "Filipino Baby" was released by King Records in 1946 and reached No. 4 on the Billboard Country chart. From the late 1940s, into the early 1950s, he had several other hits including "Signed, Sealed and Delivered," "The Tennessee Waltz," " Tennessee Moon," "I'm Waltzing with Tears in My Eyes," "Candy Kisses," "Hangman's Boogie," and "The Strange Little Girl." His 1952 single, "'Tis Sweet to Be Remembered" reached No. 8 on the Billboard chart. It would be his final charted single that decade.

Copas continued to make regular appearances on the Opry, along with guesting on the Ozark Jubilee. In 1960 he reached the top of the charts with "Alabam'" which would prove to be the biggest hit of his career. That record stayed at No. 1 for three months. Other hits followed including "Flat Top" and a remake of "Signed, Sealed and Delivered."

Harold Franklin Hawkins first appeared on local West Virginia radio in the 1930s, specifically WSAZ-AM in Huntington and WCHS-AM in Charleston. By 1941 he was traveling across the United States as part of a musical revue. Hawkins entered the Army in 1943 and was stationed in France and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. After he was discharged, he became a regular on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, while at the same time recording for King Records in Cincinnati. He stayed with King Records until 1953 and had hits with "Pan American" and Dog House Boggie."

In 1954, Hawkshaw left the Wheeling Jamboree and began performing on the Ozark Jubilee, where he met future wife Jean Shepard. After limited success recording with Columbia and RCA Records, he moved to Nashville and joined the Grand Ole Opry. He also resigned with King Records. In 1962, he had the biggest hit of his career with "Lonesome 7-7203." The song first appeared on the Billboard country chart on March 2, 1963, three days before he died. It would later spend four weeks at No. 1.

Both Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins, along with Patsy Cline and Randy Hughes, would die in a plane crash on March 5, 1963, while returning to Nashville after performing in a benefit concert in Kansas City for the family of disc jockey "Cactus' Jack Call. The crash took place near Camden, Tennessee, 90 miles from Nashville.

The first weekend in March also saw The Whites: Buck, Sharon and Cheryl, becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry on March 3, 1984. March 7, 2003 saw the final Opry appearance of long-time member Bill Carlisle. A few days after that appearance, Bill suffered a stroke and would pass away shortly after.

Finally, let's not forget Saturday March 4, 1978 when an entire Grand Ole Opry show was televised for the first time on Public Broadcasting as part of their annual fundraiser. It was such a success that the Opry would do it for the following three years. For the first time, fans across the country could see the Opry as it took place live (although minus the commercials).

Let's take one more look at that first PBS show:

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
George Hamilton IV: Cornbread, Beans & Sweet Potato Pie
Lonzo & Oscar: When the Fields in the Valleys Turn Green
Billy Grammer: Birth of the Blues
Willis Brothers: Boots & Saddles
Del Reeves: Folsom Prison Blues/Margariteville

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy C Newman (host): Diggy Liggy Lo
Jean Shepard: The Things That Might Have Been/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels/You Win Again/A Dear John Letter
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee/Down Yonder
Bessyl Duhon: Opryland Special

6:45: Rudy's
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Archie Campbell: A.C. in N.Y. Last July

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind's A Comin'
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Don Williams: Some Broken Hearts Never Mend/I've Got A Winner In You
Wilburn Brothers: Because He Lives
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/'Ol Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Minnie Pearl: Careless Love
The 4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Lafayette
Roy Acuff: How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling
Stu Phillips: She Thinks I Still Care
Jan Howard: Will the Circle Be Unbroken
Charlie Louvin: Warm, Warm Woman
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing it Now
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Bill Monroe: Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: Stand By My Woman's Man/What Goes on When the Sun Goes Down/Day Dreams About Night Things/A Legend in My Time
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbin' Ridge
Hank Snow: I've Done at Least One Thing That Was Good in My Life

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Jean Shepard: If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time
George Hamilton IV: Only the Best
Archie Campbell: The Interview
Osborne Brothers: Midnight Flyer
Willis Brothers: Bob
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Saturday Night/On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Fender
Bill Monroe (host): Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine
Ronnie Milsap: What A Difference You've Made in My Life/Let My Love Be Your Pillow
Kenny Baker: The Lucky Lady

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Don Williams: Amanda/You're My Best Friend
Billy Grammer: Georgiana Moon
Howdy Forrester: Cotton-Eyed Joe

10:30: Trailblazer
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Skeeter Davis: He Will be There
Del Wood: Just Because
Jimmy C Newman: Big Bayou

10:45: Beech-Nut
Wilburn Brothers (host): Country Kind of Feelings
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Jan Howard: Better Off Alone
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Justin Tubb: You'd Never Be Happy with Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bury Me Beneath the Willow
Kirk McGee: The Waltz You Saved for Me/Freight Train
Hank Snow: Once More, You're Mine Again

11:30: Elm Hill
Charlie Louvin (host): Let's Put Our World Back Together/A Toast to Mama/Love Has to Die All By Itself/I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Jeanne Pruett: Break My Mind/A Poor Man's Woman
Bill Carlisle: Amazing Grace
The 4 Guys: When Will I Be Loved
Charlie Louvin: Woman, Warm Woman

There you have it for this week. Welcome to March with Spring right around the corner. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 2/27 & Opry Country Classics 3/1

Here is the posted line-up for this week's Tuesday Night Opry:

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Dailey & Vincent
7:30: Tegan Marie; Easton Corbin
8:15: Bill Anderson; Henry Cho
8:45: The Isaacs; Alison Krauss

Nice to see Alison back on the Opry.

Opry Country Classics is back starting this Thursday night. The theme for the first show will be songs of Johnny and June Carter Cash, in honor of what would have been their 50th anniversary

Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers
Ana Cristina Cash
Chuck Mead
John Carter Cash
Mandy Barnett
The Whites

For those who might ask, Ana Cristina is the wife of John Carter.