Sunday, May 31, 2009

June Opry Notes

As we enter the month of June, let's take a look back through Opry history, as a number of historical and important events in Opry history took place during this month.

First, let's look at the Grand Ole Opry members who are celebrating Opry anniversaries this month:
>Stu Phillips-June 1, 1967(42 years)
>Mike Snider-June 2, 1990(19 years)
>Alan Jackson-June 7, 1991(18 years)
>Lorrie Morgan-June 9, 1984(25 years)
>Mel Tillis-June 9, 2007(2 years)
>Ricky Van Shelton-June 10, 1988(21 years)
>Patty Loveless-June 11, 1988(21 years)
>Terri Clark-June 12, 2004(5 years)
>Connie Smith-June 13, 1965(44 years)
>Riders In The Sky-June 19, 1982(27 years)

One final note on anniversary dates. On June 19, 1999, Pete Fisher began his duties as the General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry. It is hard to believe that he has been in charge for 10 years. A lot of changes, both good and bad, have happened during his time in charge and he has guided the Opry through a very difficult period in its history.

A number of historical and special moments have taken place in June:
>On June 13, 1926, DeFord Bailey, the Opry's first African American member, made his Opry debut. He remained a member until 1941 when he was fired by George D. Hay. Bailey was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and later in his life, he did return to make several guest appearances on the Opry.
>June 12, 1936, Dr. Humphrey Bate died from a heart attack at the age of 61. He was one of the original members of the Grand Ole Opry, and in the opinion of many, should have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame many years ago.
>On June 13, 1936, the Opry relocated to the Dixie Tabernacle, which was located on Fatherland Street in East Nashville. It would remain here for several years.
>June 5, 1937, Pee Wee King & The Golden West Cowboys joined the Opry. They left the Opry a decade later to move to Louisville, Kentucky for television opportunities. At the time, he tried to talk WSM into exploring television, but the WSM management did not immediately jump at it. Pee Wee King was later elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>On June 5, 1943, the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium, which would remain its home until 1974. It is considered its most famous former home and the Opry returns there for a run of shows each winter.
>June 11, 1949, Hank Williams made his Opry debut. He sang "Lovesick Blues" and was called back for 6 encores.
>June 1, 1957, the Everly Brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They would leave several years later. The Opry management asked them to join in an effort to keep the younger country music fans who were flocking to rock and roll. This was also the period of time when many felt that the future of the Opry was in serious danger.
>June 12, 1965, Tex Ritter joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would remain as one of its most popular and loyal members until his death.
>On June 30, 1970, ground was broken in Nashville for Opryland.
>June 4, 1974, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton performed together as an official duo for the last time at the Opry. They would eventually put aside their differences and perform together again, including several duets at the Opry.
>June 3, 1984, the Ryman Auditorium reopened with a broadcast of "Praire Home Companion", hosted by Garrison Keillor.
>On June 17, 2000, the Opry began being broadcast on the internet.

Hope everyone enjoys this look back into the history of the Opry.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 6/2

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry-June 2nd

7:00: John Conlee; Justin Moore
7:30: Jean Shepard; Aaron Tippin
8:00: Bill Anderson; Craig Morgan
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Josh Turner

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 5/29 & 5/30-Updated

Here is this week's Grand Ole Opry line-up:
Friday May 29
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Jimmy C. Newman
8:00: Marty Stuart(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Connie Smith; The Quebe Sisters Band
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Charlie Nagatani; Riders In The Sky

Saturday May 30
First Show:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jim Ed Brown; Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
7:30: Marty Stuart(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith
8:00: Bill Anderson(host; Jean Shepard; Joe Diffie; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill(host); Amy Grant; John McEuen; Tim O'Brien; Steve Martin

Second Show:
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Mel McDaniel; George Hamilton IV; The Whites

10:00: Marty Stuart(host); Jack Greene; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith
10:30: Bill Anderson(host); Jeannie Seely; Joe Diffie; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill(host); Amy Grant; John McEuen; Tim O'Brien; Steve Martin

I am really looking forward to seeing and hearing Steve Martin on the Opry. He has a great new banjo CD out called "The Crow", and he should really be entertaining. The Opry is back to 2 shows on Saturday night and the line-up for both shows is really strong. There also is some variety between the 2 shows. Friday has a solid line-up also. I would imagine that the Saturday shows will be sold-out. Finally, the host of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this weekend is Daily & Vincent, about the hottest act in bluegrass music right now. A very talented duo with deep roots in bluegrass, they were the bluegrass entertainers of the year in 2008.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Montgomery Gentry-Newest Opry Members

Press Release:
Columbia Nashville duo Montgomery Gentry was invited to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry this evening during the Tuesday Night Opry. Montgomery Gentry made their Grand Ole Opry debut nine years ago on March 3, 2000. The duo will be formally inducted into the Opry family on Tuesday June 23.

Opry member Charlie Daniels suprised Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry by approaching them from the Opry House audience and making his way on stage. "I have been chosen to do something very special," Daniels said. "I have known you guys for a long time, and I am very proud of your accomplishments," he continued before offering, "if you agree to it, on June 23rd, you're gonna be made members of the Grand Ole Opry!"

Montgomery and Gentry, both visably suprised and moved, exchanged hugs with each other and with Daniels, after which Gentry managed, "I'm speechless" and Montgomery borrowed a handerchief from Daniels to wipe his eyes.

After composing themselves, the two kicked into their current hit, "One In Every Crowd," while Gentry noted his suprise, yelling out to the Opry staff and Daniels, "y'all got us!"

"With each and every Opry performance Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have offered, it has been quite apparent that not only do they know how to move audiences with their unique brand of music, but they too are moved by the connection they share with the Opry and its rich legacy," said Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. "All of us at the Opry eagerly await the 23rd of June when Montgomery Gentry will formally join the ranks of the Opry's esteemed membership roster."

Becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry has been a career dream for both of the duo's members.

Now for my opinion:
I checked with a couple of my sources, and they just did not see this happening. But, after thinking it over, it makes sense. Montgomery Gentry has been on the Opry numerous time over the past several years. I saw them at the Opry in the fall. They bring a lot of energy to the stage and had very good audience response. And, they respect the legacy of country music. While the argument can be made that they are not "traditional country", they are still country. I am sure that they will be loyal members and give the show the attention that it deserves. Their career is peaking right now and it is a good time to bring them on board.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 5/26 & Opry Country Classics 5/28

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry May 26:
7:00: Riders In The Sky; Jamie O'Neal
7:30: Jimmy C. Newman; Cherryholmes
8:00: Bill Anderson; Steve Wariner
8:30: Jimmy Dickens: Montgomery Gentry

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics on Thursday May 28:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Jessi Alexander
Bobby Bare
Eric Church
Andy Griggs
Justin Moore
Opry Square Dancers
Jon Randall
Charlie Daniels Band(Spotlight Artist)
This Week's Theme: A salute to Country Music Outlaws

Nice to see former Opry member Bobby Bare making a rare Opry visit. Also, the last show in this series of Opry Country Classics will on Thursday June 18. After that last show, I will give an indepth report on Opry Country Classics to see if it lived up to its announced intention and what the future of the show looks like.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Time Warner Cable To Carry RFD-TV

Time Warner Cable announced a multi-year agreement to carry RFD-TV on its cable system. Time Warner Cable is the 2nd largest cable system in the country. In addition to its rural line-up of shows, it is also home to such country music shows as The Marty Stuart Show; Crook & Chase; The Ralph Emery Show; The Wilburn Brothers Show; The Porter Wagoner Show; Pop Goes The Country; and Midwest Country. There was some talk of RFD getting the broadcast rights to the Grand Ole Opry, but that apparently will not happen at this time.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 5/22 & 5/23-Updated

Here is this week's Grand Ole Opry line-up:

Friday May 22
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Mike Snider; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Caitlin & Will
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd
8:30: Ricky Skaggs(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; The Whites

Saturday May 23
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Connie Smith; Dale Watson
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jean Shepard; Emily West
8:00: Ricky Skaggs(host); Riders In The Sky; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Hal Ketchum

Next week, the Opry returns to 2 shows on Saturday night.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hall Of Fame Induction

Congratulations to Grand Ole Opry members Barbara Mandrell and Roy Clark who were formally inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame last night. Also inducted was Charlie McCoy. 3 very deserving individuals who have added a lot to the history and enjoyment of country music.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up Weekend Of January 16, 1999

It was a historic weekend, as on January 15th and 16th, 1999, the Grand Ole Opry returned to the Ryman auditorium for the first time in 25 years, to commemorate the 25th annivsary of the show's move to the Grand Ole Opry House. There was 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night, and all 3 shows were sold out. I had the privilage and honor to attend all 3 shows. While these 3 shows were the first "official" Opry shows to return to the Ryman since March 15, 1974, the Grand Ole Opry did hold a Ryman Reunion Celebration on October 18, 1998, which was a fundraiser for The Performer's Benefit Fund. On that Sunday night, 34 Opry members put on a show that was a big success. The success of this benefit show, and comments from Opry members, led to the Opry coming back to the Ryman for this weekend. As everyone knows, the return to the Ryman was so successful that the Opry has made an annual return to its former home every year since. Now let's go back in time to this historic weekend:

Friday January 15, 1999
7:30(Cracker Barrel): Porter Wagoner(host); Billy Walker; Jeanne Pruett, Del McCoury Band; Bill Carlisle
8:00(Williamson Dickies/Opryland Hotel): John Conlee(host); George Hamilton IV; Skeeter Davis; Daryle Singletary
8:30(Johnny Walker Tours-Fiddlers Inn/Sunterra): Jimmy Dickens(host); Charlie Walker; Stonewall Jackson; Holly Dunn
9:00(Local Lincoln Mercury Dealers): Ricky Skaggs(host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Vince Gill
9:30(Standard Candy): Bill Anderson(host); Del Reeves; Jimmy C. Newman; Jim & Jesse; Hank Locklin
10:00(Ryman Auditorium): Johnny Russell(host); Sherrie Austin; Jim Ed Brown; The 4 Guys; Mike Snider

Saturday January 16, 1999
First Show:
6:30(GHS Strings): Jimmy C. Newman(host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45(Williamson Dickies): Billy Walker(host); Skeeter Davis
7:00(Shoney's): Jimmy Dickens(host); Holly Dunn; The 4 Guys; Joe Diffie
7:30(Standard Candy): Ricky Skaggs(host); Steve Wariner; Trisha Yearwood
8:00(Martha White): Porter Wagoner(host); Jeanne Pruett; Mike Snider; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30(Physicians Mutual Insurance): Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Hank Locklin; The Whites; Bill Carlisle

Second Show:
9:30(Wildhorse Saloon): Porter Wagoner(host); Oswald & Charlie; Charlie Louvin; Trisha Yearwood
10:00(Local Lincoln Mercury Dealers): Jack Greene(host); Jim & Jesse
10:15(Opry History Picture Book): Jimmy Dickens(host); Martina McBride
10:30(Epiphone Guitars): Ricky Skaggs(host); Joe Diffie
10:45(Jogging In A Jug): Steve Wariner(host); Charlie Walker; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00(Coke): Bill Anderson(host); Holly Dunn; George Hamilton IV; Vince Gill
11:30(Detro Sales): Johnny Russell(host); Stu Phillips; Del Reeves; Mike Snider; Stonewall Jackson

A couple of notes regarding those 2 nights:
>On Friday night, Johnny Russell introduced Bobby Bare, who was visiting the Opry. He did not perform, but he did invite everyone to his gift shop on Broadway, owned by himself and his wife, and featuring a large collection of teddy bears. Bobby would sit on a big chair inside the shop on a regular basis, and greet the fans and pose for pictures.

>On Saturday night, during the televised portion, Ricky Skaggs invited Trisha Yearwood to become a Grand Ole Opry member.
>Also during the televised portion, Steve Wariner introduced Chet Atkins from the stage of the Opry. At the time, he was very ill with cancer and was very frail. As a side note, Steve is in the process of releasing a new CD honoring Chet.
>During Saturday night's 2nd show, I spent some time in the sound section, up in the balcony. I was joined by Mike Snider, who said it was so crowded back stage that he needed to get away!! Also, he wanted to hear what the sound was like in the auditorium and he was amazed at the quality. Sitting in the top row of the balcony for part of the show was George Hamilton IV, just listening and enjoying.
>Also up in the upper balcony was Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys, who was just watching the show and listening to his wife perform(she is a member of the Carol Lee Singers). I mentioned to him that the Oak Ridge Boys would be a natural fit as Opry members, but he told me that their schedule was just too busy to commit to the show.
>I also spoke that night to Steve Buchanan, the President of the Opry group, and he was just pleased with how everything was going. He thought the crowds were very enthusiastic. I saw him later in the gift shop buying shirts and I kidded him that not even he could get free merchandise.
>The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree took place from the shop on Broadway. When I left the Opry to head over, I could not believe the large crowd that was gathered outside on the sidewalk in the chilly weather. The jamboree host that night(if I remember right), was Ricky Skaggs. The shop was jammed.
>The biggest complaint I heard, which I still hear, is how hard it is to park downtown if you are coming to the 2nd Saturday night show. If there is a hockey game at the arena, or a convention in town, it is just hard to find a spot close to park.

We'll, I hope you enjoy and look forward to more classic Opry line-ups. Thanks!!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Book Recommendation

Over the years, I have acquired a large collection of country music books, especially books relating to the golden years of classic country music and have had the opportunity to meet many of the authors. Recently I came across a new book that was recently published and a book that I highly recommend: "In the Beginning....There Was the Men's Room." The author of the book is Sam Wellington and the book tells the story of The Fabulous Four Guys. It is a nice paperbook book that can be purchased on Amazon, and the book really told in detail the story of the group and gave me a different feeling about the group. These were really a talented group of guys, and really did a lot in country. Sam tells how the group was formed and how they ended up in Nashville, and becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry. Stories are told about working with Jimmy Dean and Ferlin Husky. And, Sam also talks about the mistakes that were made within the group, how they tried over and over to have a hit record, and the story on how the group ended up losing their Opry membership after 32 years. Overall, I think Sam presents a good inside look at the group, and I think this is a book that any fan of The 4 Guys should read.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 5/19 & Opry Country Classics 5/21

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry on May 19th:
7:00: Jeannie Seely; The Grascals
7:30: Eddy Raven; Chris Young
8:00: Bill Anderson; Luke Bryan
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Montgomery Gentry

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics on Thursday May 21st:
Larry Gatlin(This week's host)
Elizabeth Cook
David Frizzell
The Gatlin Brothers
Joey + Rory
Ashley Monroe
Opry Square Dancers
Holly Williams
The Whites
Ricky Skaggs(Spotlight Artist)
This Week's Theme: A salute to families in country music

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 5/15 & 5/16

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this weekend.
Friday May 15th(one show)
7:00: Hal Ketchum(host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Ashton Sheperd
8:00: Riders In The Sky(host); Jack Greene; Keith Anderson
8:30: Ricky Skaggs(host); Gary Mule Deer; Gene Watson

Saturday May 16th(one show)
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; David Nail
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Jewel
8:00: Marty Stuart(host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky(host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Charlie Daniels Band

Midnight Jamboree Host: Jesse McReynolds

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up-Weekend of May 17, 1986

As we try to do each week, here is another in our series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This week, we look back on the year 1986. Hope you enjoy!!!

Friday May 16, 1986
First Show:
6:30(Block Drug): Porter Wagoner(host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; The 4 Guys; Boxcar Willie
7:00(Cat's Paw Rubber Co.): Ricky Skaggs(host): Jack Greene; Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Charlie Louvin
7:30(Cracker Barrel): Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Jimmy Dickens; Minnie Pearl
8:00(Nabisco, Taco Bell): Bill Monroe(host); Tom T. Hall; Jean Shepard
8:30(Kroger, Po'Folks): Hank Snow(host); Bill Anderson; Connie Smith; The Osborne Brothers

Second Show:
9:30(Music Valley Drive Merchants): Ricky Skaggs(host); Lorrie Morgan; Jimmy C. Newman; Billy Walker; Ray Pillow
10:00(Goody's Headache Powder): Roy Acuff(host); Jeannie Pruett; Bill Anderson; Boxcar Willie; Carlisles
10:30(Red Man Tobacco): Porter Wagoner(host); Tom T. Hall; Stonewall Jackson; Jeannie Seely
11:00(Luck's Foods): Hank Snow(host); The Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith
11:30(Heinz): Bill Monroe(host); The 4 Guys; Johnny Russell
12:05: Grand Ole Gospel-Rev. Jimmy Snow; Evangel Temple Choir

A couple of thoughts:
>A very solid line-up of Grand Ole Opry Stars. Everyone who performed on both shows were Opry members.

>Po'Folks restaurants was the national chain that Bill Anderson was the spokesperson for and he appeared on that segment.
>It is suprising that Jimmy Dickens was not hosting any segment.
>This was the time period that Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl would appear on Nashville Now and have to head over to do the Opry. The Nashville Now studio(The Gaslight Theater), was just down the sidewalk from the Opry House at Opryland.
>It is suprising the large number of artists that appeared on only 1 of the 2 shows that night.

Saturday May 17, 1986
First Show:
6:30(Mrs. Grissoms): Porter Wagoner(host); Boxcar Willie
6:45(Rudys): Tom T. Hall(host); The 4 Guys
7:00(Shoneys): Ricky Skaggs(host); Lorrie Morgan; Ray Pillow; Johnny Russell
7:30(Standard Candy): Roy Acuff(host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00(Martha White): Bill Monroe(host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy Dickens; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
8:30(Music Valley Drive Merchants): Hank Snow(host); Del Reeves; Jack Greene; Jeanne Pruitt; Jimmy C. Newman

Second Show:
9:30(Dollar General Store): Tom T. Hall(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Boxcar Willie; Charlie Louvin
10:00(Little Debbie Snack Cakes): Ricky Skaggs(host); Jeannie Seely
10:15(Sunbeam): Roy Acuff(host); Carlisles
10:30(Pet, Inc): Bill Monore(host); Roy Drusky
10:45(Heil Quaker): Del Reeves(host); Jean Shepard; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00(Coke): Hank Snow(host); Justin Tubb; Jimmy Dickens; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
11:30(Quincy's): Jack Greene(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jeanne Pruett; Johnny Russell

A few comments on the Saturday night shows:
>Again, only Opry members appeared on both shows, with a number appearing on only 1 of the 2 shows.

>Porter Wagoner appeared only on the opening segment of the 1st show. A couple of possible reasons why: he probably had an out of town show on Sunday and did the early segment and then headed out of town(lot's of Opry members would do this), or he could also have been hosting the Opry Backstage Show that went on the air at 7(Nashville time). When Porter Wagoner hosted the Backstage show, he usually did the opening segment on the Opry. If Bill Anderson hosted, he usually was a guest on the 8:00 segment of the 1st show.
>Roy Acuff traditionally hosted the Standard Candy segment of the 1st show, at 7:30. After TNN started televising this segment, Roy then shifted to hosting the Martha White segment at 8(if he was not hosting the tv segment).
>Again, as on Friday, no segment hosted by Jimmy Dickens, and based on the line-ups, it looks like he was limited to 1 song per show.

Saturday May 17
3:00: Porter Wagoner; Charlie Louvin
3:30: Stonewall Jackson; Lorrie Morgan
4:00: Ray Pillow; The 4 Guys
4:30: Jack Greene; Amy Sue Macy; Carlisles

Only comment is I have no ideal who Amy Sue Macy is. Enjoy!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 5/12 & Opry Country Classics 5/14

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry May 12:
7:00: The Whites; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: Jack Greene; Dailey & Vincent
8:00: Connie Smith; T. Graham Brown
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Diamond Rio

A real good, solid line-up for Tuesday night. You have Opry favorites The Whites, Jack Greene, Connie Smith, Jimmy Dickens and Diamond Rio. Among the guest artists, Jimmy Wayne is a talented young singer with a fine career ahead of him and he has done the Opry several times; Dailey & Vincent is the hotest new act in bluegrass and won the entertainer of the year award in bluegrass music; and I just enjoy the music and style of T.Graham Brown. He is unique and has a distinctive style. I have seem him at the Opry several times and once when he hosted the Midnight Jamboree, and he is a crowd favorite.

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics on May 14th:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Gail Davies
Jimmy Fortune
Jim Lauderdale
Charlie Louvin
Charlie McCoy
Christy Sutherland
Gene Watson
Jett Williams
This Week's Theme: A salute to The Country Music Hall Of Fame

We'll, at least they have a couple of Hall of Famers on the salute in Charlie Louvin and one of the newest members, Charlie McCoy. They have Jimmy Fortune, who I am sure will sing at least one Statler Brothers song and I am sure Jett Williams will honor her father, Hank Williams. Larry Gatlin has done a fine job hosting on the previous shows that he has been on. To bad that Bill Anderson, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and other Opry Hall Of Fame members are not on this salute.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Grand Ole Opry on GAC

In response to a comment on this blog, I checked with some people to see if there is any update on the Opry and GAC. As I am sure most of you know, GAC has been showing repeat episodes of the Opry on Saturday nights and have had no new live shows on since the 1st of the year. There was speculation that the contract between GAC and Gaylord had expired or was up for renewal and that talks were under way. The official explanation from GAC was that they were just showing best of Opry shows, as they received response that viewers wanted to see these shows again. I talked to an individual at Gaylord Entertainment yesterday(no names please), and she told me a couple of things. First, that GAC does have the contract to show the Opry. Secondly, she told me that the Opry management is meeting with GAC producers to set up a new production schedule and that new shows would start to air later this summer or fall. I also received an email from a source at GAC which stated; "GAC will continue to air the best of Opry live shows for the next few weeks. GAC is currently planning to begin airing new Opry live shows later this year in either summer or fall." Finally, I talked to an individual at the Scripps Network, which is the owner of GAC. She told me basically the same thing, that the Opry is a part of GAC and new shows would begin airing in the summer.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Opry Is Safe With New Gaylord Directors

From the Nashville Tennessean:
The Grand Ole Opry apparently is safe as the new major shareholders in its parent company, Gaylord Entertainment, take their seats on the company's board of directors this week.

Robert Rowling, the billionaire Texas hotel owner whose TRT Holdings, Inc. last year bought 14.9 percent of Gaylord's stock and engineered a deal for two seats on the board, said after this morning's annual shareholders' meeting that he is "huge country music fan" and doesn't intend to tamper with the Opry.

"The new board members intend to be great stewards of that asset," he said of Gaylords fabled entertainment venue, which has been a Nashville staple since it began in 1925 as a live weekly music performance on WSM radio, which also is owned by Gaylord.

When Gaylord Chairman and Chief Executive Colin V. Reed opened the floor to questions at the end of today's meeting, only one was asked, by shareholder Stacy Harris of Nashville.

She wanted to know if the board, with another two new members representing GAMCO Asset Management Inc, which bought 13.6 percent of the stock last year, would remain supportive of the Opry-which she said was her only interest in Gaylord.

"I think to a person, they revere the Grand Ole Opry and what it stands for, " Reed said of the new board members.

Reed said the board would be "looking at the overall plan" for the Opry at its September meeting, but did not indicate whether any change in direction is being considered. But during his remarks to the shareholders, he said that in spite of the bad economy, "The Opry had a decent year in 2008." He said it added a new weekly performance, and also opened a new store on Broadway in Nashville, called Opry Originals, to cater to fans of the country music showcase.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 5/8 & 5/9

Here is the line-up for this week's Grand Ole Opry shows:

Friday May 8
7:00: Riders In The Sky(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Kate & Kacey
7:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Daryle Singletary; Mountain Heart
8:30: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Aaron Tippin

Saturday May 9
7:00: Jim Ed Brown(host) w/ Helen Cornelius; Jimmy C. Newman; James Otto
7:30: Jean Shepard(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Ernie Haase & Signature Sound
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Stonewall Jackson; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum(host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene
9:00: Reba McEntire

A couple of comments regarding the shows:
>It looks like a few of the regulars are out of town and on the road. I know that Bill Anderson is in Canada with a big tour. No Jimmy Dickens this weekend and Jeannie Seely only on Friday. Regarding the legends, nice to see Jean Shepard hosting a segment.

>They will add another artist on the Friday 7:30 show.
>Aaron Tippin makes another appearance. He has been appearing more and more on a regular basis. Also, Darryl Worley is back on for another appearance.
>I have no idea who Ernie Haase & Signature Sound is. Also, I have heard the name Kate & Kacey, just cannot picture them. Again, the use of unknown or little known artists.
>Reba McEntire, as advertised, gets her own segment. She has the full half hour, which normally would allow for 6 songs. However, it is being reported that she will sing 4 songs. Either she is going to do a lot of talking between songs, or perhaps, she will bring on a special guest or two. We will see.

Finally, Bobby Osborne is the host of this week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree at the record shop. It should be another good show and I am sure Bobby will be showcasing songs from his new CD.

News Involving Gaylord Entertainment

I am posting this because Gaylord Entertainment is the owner of the Grand Ole Opry and their financial condition is important to the success of the show, especially with Gaylord stock "in play" at this time, in regards to the majority ownership of the company.

Gaylord Entertainment reported Tuesday a $3.4 million profit in its first quarter, despite an increase in room cancellations and groups booking fewer participants than expected. Some analysts pointed to continued challenges ahead for the Nashville based company as corporations and meeting groups-Gaylord's prime customers-continue to closely monitor how money is spent. The company's earnings were helped by cancellation and attrition fees as well as cost-savings initiatives that Gaylord had put in place, including 350 layoffs earlier this year, analysts said.

The company will hold its annual shareholders meeting on Thursday, with shareholders voting on proposals including whether they approve four new board members proposed by major shareholder TRT Holdings Inc. and money manager Gamco Asset Management Inc.
(Courtesy of the Tennessean).

A couple of observations and comments from what I have heard on the streets:
>Nowhere in the press release from Gaylord is there any mention of the Opry or its properties, including WSM. Obviously some of the cost cutting that Gaylord did, involved the Opry, including cuttting the Saturday night 2nd show during parts of the year, and in having fewer artists and band members performing on stage. In addition, the cost cutting did involve WSM radio.
>From what I have heard, TRT is not interested in the entertainment part of Gaylord, but the hotel and convention business. They are the owners of the Omni hotel chain and that is the business they know. They tried to take control of Gaylord earlier this year, but now they are settling for board seats. The Opry is apparently safe as long as Gaylord is the owner of WSM. If WSM is sold, then all bets are off.

As an interested observer in Gaylord and the Opry, we will continue to follow this story and report information as necessary.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up-Weekend of August 14, 1976

Here is another in our series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This week we go back to the weekend of August 14, 1976, when the Opry had shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This would have been during the middle of the peak tourist season at Opryland. Enjoy!!!

Friday August 13-Matinee
5:00: Lonzo & Oscar; Bob Luman
5:30: Jimmy C. Newman; Charlie Louvin
6:00: George Hamilton IV; The Carlisles
6:30: David Houston; The Wilburn Brothers

Friday August 13
8:00: Jack Greene(host); Jeannie Seely; The Four Guys; The Promenadors
8:30: Roy Acuff(host); The Wilburn Brothers; Del Wood
9:00: David Houston(host); Bob Luman; The Willis Brothers; The Promenadors
9:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper(host); Skeeter Davis; The Carlisles
10:00: Charlie Louvin(host); Lonzo & Oscar; George Hamilton IV
10:30: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Marion Worth; Jim & Jesse
11:05: Grand Ole Gospel: Rev. Jimmy R. Snow; Evangel Temple Choir; Special Guest

Saturday August 14-Matinee
3:00: Skeeter Davis; The Four Guys
3:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; George Hamilton IV
4:00: The Carlisles; Bob Luman
4:30: Charlie Louvin; Roy Drusky

Saturday August 14-First Show
6:30: The Wilburn Brothers(host); Bob Luman
6:45: Roy Drusky(host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Jack Greene(host); Jeannie Seely; The Willis Brothers; The Carlisles
7:30: Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Jimmy C. Newman; The Crook Brothers; The Tennessee Travelers
8:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Dottie West; The Four Guys; Del Wood
8:30: Charlie Louvin(host); George Hamilton IV; Stuart Hamblen; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Marion Worth

Saturday August 14-Second Show
9:30: Jack Greene(host); Jeannie Seely; Bob Luman; Roy Drusky
10:00: Porter Wagoner(host); The Wilburn Brothers; Skeeter Davis
10:15: Roy Acuff(host); The Willis Brothers; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper
10:30: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Dottie West; Del Wood
10:45: The Four Guys(host); Debbie Brown; The Crook Brothers; The Tennessee Travelers
11:00: George Hamilton IV(host); Marion Worth; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30: Charlie Louvin(host); The Carlisles: Ronny Robbins

Sunday August 15-Matinee
2:00: The Wilburn Brothers; Skeeter Davis
2:30: Charlie Louvin; The Willis Brothers
3:00: Bob Luman; The Carlisles
3:30: Stu Phillips; The Four Guys

Wow!! Lot's of entertainment. A couple of interesting items: Several of the acts did all the shows over the weekend. Also, Roy Acuff did not do any of the matinee shows. In his later years, he would do everyshow over a weekend. Also, on the matinee shows, they used the 2 performers per half hour format that is used today on the Tuesday Night Opry shows. Like today, quite a few of the stars were missing on the shows-Hank Snow, Bill Anderson, Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, Jim Ed Brown to name a few. On a final note, you see Kirk McGee in his usual spot, being the last performer on the 11:00 segment, dispite his asking to get on an earlier spot.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 5/5 & Opry Country Classics 5/7

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry on May 5th:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown; Restless Heart
7:30: Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Jean Shepard; Rodney Atkins
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Joe Diffie

Only comment is that usually there is 1 Opry member and 1 guest artist per half hour and this week there are several more Opry members performing than guests.

Here is the line-up for the Opry Country Classics on Thursday May 7th:
John Conlee(host)
Laura Cantrell
Jennifer Hanson
Opry Square Dancers
Riders In The Sky
Jeannie Seely
Daryle Singletary
Rhonda Vincent
This Week's Theme: A salute to the music of Eddy Arnold

At this point, no Spotlight artist is listed.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May Opry Notes

Taking a look at Opry history for the month of May:

There are several Grand Ole Opry members that are celebrating Opry anniversaries in the month of May:
Charley Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry of May 1, 1993
Carrie Underwood celebrates her 1st anniversary as an Opry member of May 10th
Steve Warnier joined the Opry on May 11, 1996
Ricky Skaggs joined the Opry on May 15, 1982
Congratulations to all 4 of these Grand Ole Opry members

Over the years, several Opry moments took place in the month of May:
>On May 1, 1954, Andy Griffith made his first Opry appearance. He would appear several more times through his life.
>On May 8, 1968, the Solemn Old Judge and Opry founder George D. Hay passed away in Virginia. He had left the Opry years before and was elected as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
>On May 11, 1957, the Everly Brothers made their Opry debut. They joined the Opry during the period when rock and roll was putting a big hurt on the Opry and there was concerned that the Opry would even continue. Stories are told that on the nights that the Everly Brothers performed, that there would only be several hundred in the Opry house, but when it came time for the Everly Brothers to take the stage, hundreds of teenage fans would run into the Opry house to see their spot, but as soon as they did their songs, their fans would leave.
>On May 13, 1967, Merle Haggard made his first Opry appearance.
>On May 29, 1950, "Mother" Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters(June, Anita and Helen) joined the Grand Ole Opry. Over time, just Mother Maybelle remained an official, but unappreciated member, as she received less than desireable spots.