Tuesday, June 30, 2009

July Opry Notes

As we enter the month of July, let's take a look at historical and important events that took place in Opry history during the month:

Several Opry stars became Opry members in July. Those members are:

>Alison Krauss-July 3, 1993(16 years)

>Bill Anderson-July 12, 1961(48 years)

>Jeanne Pruett-July 21, 1973(36 years)

>Barbara Mandrell-July 29, 1972(37 years)

A couple of notes:
>When Alison Krauss became a member she was only 21 years old, and at the time, she was the youngest member of the Grand Ole Opry. When she joined, she was the first new bluegrass member in 19 years to join the cast. She was inducted by Garth Brooks.

>Jeanne Pruett was the last singing member to become an Opry member while the Opry was at the Ryman Auditorium.

In Opry history, these events took place in July:

>In July 1939, the Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville from the Dixie Tabernacle. For the first time, the show started charging admission-25 cents. The show would only remain here for a short amount of time due to the crowds and the condition that they left the Auditorium and surrounding area after the shows.

>On July 28, 1940, the movie "Grand Ole Opry" premiered in Nashville. It starred Roy Acuff and Uncle Dave Macon, among others. Long out of circulation, it is still requested at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

>On July 15, 1944, Rod Brasfield became an Opry member. He would later die from a heart attack and through the urging of Minnie Pearl, be later elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

>On July 7, 1956, Johnny Cash joined the Opry. He was a member until 1965, when he was fired for damaging the stage lights in a famous incident that has been well documented. After he damaged the lights, he borrowed June Carter's cadillac and crashed it. To make matters worst, the police officer who responded to the accident was June Carter's husband, who was a Nashville officer. June later said that it was an unpleasant evening at their house afterwards. Johnny Cash was welcomed back to the Opry later in his career and appeared many times. He would later be asked if he was interested in becoming a member, but he said he was too busy with concerts to devote the time necessary to the Opry.

>On July 8, 1964, Dottie West became an Opry member. She would later die while on her way to an Opry performance.

>On July 7, 1975, George Morgan died following a heart attack. He joined the Opry in 1948, and among Opry members, he was one of the more popular and well liked performers. When the Opry left the Ryman Auditorium, he hosted the final segment of the show, on Friday March 15, 1974. The final song he sang was his great #1 song, Candy Kisses. His daughter, Lorrie Morgan, later became an Opry member and George was later elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

> On July 2, 1982, former Opry member DeFord Bailey died at the age of 82. He would later be elected a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and his firing by George D. Hay from the Opry is still one of the unfortunate events in Opry history.

>In July 1982, The National Life & Accident Insurance Company was bought by American General Corporation. At the time, American General was only interested in the insurance business from National Life and made it immediately known that the Opry was for sale.

>In July 1983, The Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland, The Opryland Hotel, WSM Radio, and TNN for a reported $270 million. As Gaylord has changed management over the years, it as sold TNN and closed Opryland.

>In July 1991, Vince Gill was asked to become a member of the Opry. His induction took place on August 10th. Since joining the Opry, Vince has been one of the more vocal members in urging his fellow artists from his generation to perform on and to support the show. When at the Opry, he is generally assigned to dressing room #1, which was Roy Acuff's former dressing room.

There you have it. A few of the interesting events that took place in Opry history during the month of July. Enjoy the 4th. Happy Independence Day to all.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 6/30

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry-June 30th:
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Aaron Tippin
7:30: The Whites; Justin Moore
8:00: Jack Greene; Cherryholmes
8:30: Jimmy Dickens

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 6/26 & 6/27

Here is this week's Grand Ole Opry line-up:
Friday June 26th:
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Connie Smith; Mark Wills
8:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Ray Pillow; John Anderson
9:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Tracy Byrd
9:30: Ricky Skaggs(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Whites

Saturday June 27th:
First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Connie Smith; David Nail
8:00: Steve Wariner(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Jamie O'Neal
10:00: Mike Snider(host); Connie Smith; Steve Wariner
10:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jimmy C. Newman; David Nail; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Billy Yates; Wynonna

What is interesting is that both Saturday shows have the same artists. Usually there is a variation of at least several. Also, Steve Wariner will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnight Jamboree after the Opry. It will be a CD release party for his new tribute CD honoring Chet Atkins.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Gaylord's Chief Operating Officer Resigns

I send along this post courtesy of the Tennessean, as anything that involves the parent company of the Grand Ole Opry is important news to be aware of, as at some point, it does have an impact on the Opry.

Nashville-based Gaylord Entertainment Co. announced Wednesday its chief operating officer is leaving his role as part of the company's efforts to reduce costs. John Caparella, chief operating officer, was instrumental to building the company's culture and developing the Gaylord Hotel brand into a destination for convention and leisure guests, Gaylord said.

"John's departure has given us the opportunity to move forward with our ongoing effort to streamline our management structure while taking advantage of the strength of our existing executives," said Gaylord's chairman and CEO Colin V. Reed in a statement.

David Kloeppel, the company's president and chief financial officer, will now oversee Gaylord's operations, sales, marketing, development and information technology. Mark Fioravanti, the company's treasurer is being promoted to chief financial officer, the company said.

Gaylord, which reported a $3.4 million profit in the first quarter, has taken a cautious stance toward the future, delaying its expansions at Gaylord Opryland, Gaylord Texas and Gaylord Palms.

A couple of comments: You can start to see the effects of the expanded board of directors as one of the missions of the new directors was to cut costs and to improve stockholder value. Also, Gaylord is concerned about their Nashville convention business. They would like to expand the convention facilities at the Opryland hotel and to add more rooms and exhibition space. But, at the same time, Nashville is building a new state of the art convention center, to be located South of the Country Music Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville. A number of hotels are being added in this area also. This will be a direct competitor to Gaylord and also effect their plans on the additional property that they own on the other side of Briley Parkway. On a final note, it is good to see that Gaylord turned a profit to start the year.

Montgomery Gentry Officially Inducted Into The Grand Ole Opry

During last night's Tuesday Night Opry, Montgomery Gentry were officially welcomed as the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Little Jimmy Dickens and Marty Stuart handled the honors with the help of Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher. They were also presented their member award.

In my opinion, they will be worthy members of the Opry and will be committed to the show. I know that some of the older, classic country music fans are against this move, but if the Opry is going to continue and to move forward, acts such as these sometimes need to be added. While many would like nothing but veteran country music acts to be added as members, the show can not sustain itself with such a limited roster of acts. Adding folks such as Montgomery Gentry, Charlie Daniels and Carrie Underwood, along with people like Mel Tillis and Del McCoury will help to insure the long term success of the Opry.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Opry Country Classics-Opinion and Views

Now that the first series of shows in the Opry Country Classics series is done, I wanted to review the Thursday night shows and offer some opinion on how the show has turned out. First, I wanted to go back to the press release from the Opry that announced the show:

"Beginning March 26, Nashville will have a new entertainment option on Thursday nights when the Grand Ole Opry adds Opry Country Classics to its current line-up of Tuesday, Friday and Saturday performances. The all-new addition to the Opry's schedule will shine a spotlight on the classic country songs that have defined country music for generations of fans. Opry Country Classics will share country music's colorful story through a live performance featuring country favorites performed by legends of the genre as well as talented new artists, a rousing live band, square dancing, and more. Like current Opry broadcasts, the show will be heard on 650 WSM-AM."

To review, there were 13 shows in the current series, that will return on September 10th. Larry Gatlin hosted 8 shows; Marty Stuart and Jeannie Seely 2 each and John Conlee once. Of the hosts, I would say that Larry Gatlin was by far the strongest and best suited for the role. With his former television and stage experience, he was a natural at introducing the acts and in sharing the spotlight with those artists. He is scheduled to host several shows in the next series. Beginning with the 2nd show, a "spotlight artist" was featured, who was considered the featured performer on the show, and sang up to a 30 minutes. Of the 13 shows, 9 had these featured artists. These artists were Vince Gill, Josh Turner, Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Mel Tillis, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Daniels, Tanya Tucker and Steve Wariner. All but Tanya Tucker are Opry members. Beginning with the 6th show, each show featured a theme and the songs sang by the artists, or the artists themselves, reflected that theme. For example, on the show that featured families in country music, the artists included people such as The Whites, Holly Williams and the Gatlin Brothers.

The number of artists per show were from 5, at the final show, up to 9. There were a total of 92 acts during these 13 shows, of which 42 were Opry members and 50 were not. Several of the shows featured only 1 Opry member. Of course, in the original press release, even though the show is called Opry Country Classics, no where does it mention that it will feature Grand Ole Opry members. Of the Opry members who performed on the show, in addition to the hosts, they included Charlie Louvin(2 times); Bobby Osborne; Riders In The Sky(2 times); Jimmy C. Newman; Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds; Lorrie Morgan(2 times); George Hamilton IV(2 times); Ray Pillow; The Whites; The Gatlin Brothers(3 times); Jim Ed Brown(2 times); Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band; Stu Phillips; and Loretta Lynn.

The show was a work in progress. Each week, there seemed to be some tinkering with the show, and by the final show, they seemed to have the formula down. The host would be introduced and he would introduce the 1st series of artists. They would generally perform 1 song, perhaps 2. If they sang just one song, it would reflect the theme of the show. If an artist did 2 songs, 1 would be one of the artist's hit record and the 2nd song would reflect the theme of the show. There was an intermission during the show, at which time classic country music was played and videos shown, by the original artists. The show would finish up with the spotlight artist performing from 15 to 30 minutes. All of this resulted in a 2 hour show. Some of the line-ups were very strong, such as during the 1st week, and the show featuring the ladies of country music. Some shows had line-ups that were filled with a lot of opening acts. Some shows held to the theme very well. For example, during the show that honored Chet Atkins, all of the artists on the show had a connection to him. Same with the show that featured the theme of the State of Texas. However, a couple of the shows missed the target. The show that had the theme of the Country Music Hall of Fame, only had 2 Hall of Fame artists on the show(Charlie Louvin and Charlie McCoy). This would have been a great opportunity to have featured several of the Hall of Famers. What would the majority of the fans have wanted: George Jones singing one of his classic songs or Jim Lauderdale doing it? With the number of classic Hall of Fame members, this could have been one of the great shows during this series.

It was hard to get a true reading on the attendance and the paid crowd. Several of the shows, including the 1st show, were very well attended. For the final show last week, the day before the show I checked availability with the Opry ticket office, and was offered a ticket in the 4th row, and was told by the representative that plenty of tickets were available. I also know, that there were many price discount promotions offered, including a show that offered tickets for $6.50(from WSM), to package deals that basically offered you a ticket to the Opry Country Classics for as low as $10.00 if you bought a ticket to a Friday or Saturday Opry show. I also know that lots of tickets were given away on radio station and sponsor promotions.

From a fans standpoint, listening to the show on the radio, it was very entertaining. The song selection was very good, overall, and almost all of the newer artists sang songs that others had made famous.

When the show was first announced, I know from many fans on the classic country music comment boards, that the concern was many of the older artists would be pushed off the Friday and Saturday Grand Ole Opry shows and instead be placed on the Thursday night classic show. While several of the Opry legends did make an appearance on the classic show, it would appear that it did not affect their regular Opry appearances, as little as they might be. Of the veteran artists, Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Mel Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Charlie Louvin, George Hamilton IV, Jeannie Seely, Jean Shepard, Ray Pillow, Stu Phillips, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman and Jack Greene made Thursday appearances, and most of them only appeared 1 time. I, for one, figured that when the shows were 1st announced, that someone like Jimmy Dickens would have been on all the shows, especially considering that he does almost every Opry show(much like Roy Acuff used to do).

We'll, considering everything, did Opry Country Classics do what it was advertised to do? At the beginning, they said this would be a live performance featuring country favorites performed by legends of the genre as well as talented new artists. On that first point, they did do what was advertised. There was a mix of legends and new artists. They advertised a rousing live band.The Opry staff band is a good one and performed at every show. There was square dancing at every show. As far as the "more": they did have a theme per show and a featured artist. So, all things considered, the Opry Country Classics did offer what was originally advertised.

How about for the future. The 2nd series of shows goes from September 10-October 29. I see on the Opry website, that those shows are offering appearances by George Jones and Ray Price, among others. And, Larry Gatlin is back to host. I did like the format of the show by the time they got to the last week. If the show is going to continue to have a theme with each one, I would try to book more artists that have a direct relationship to the theme. The mix of legends and new artists is fine, although just from a ticket standpoint, each show needs to have at least a couple of big names on the line-up. People are not going to pay a high dollar amount per ticket to see several new artists singing songs of others and then a headliner. Finally, I would place each of the shows at the Ryman Auditorium instead of the Opry house. The smaller capacity of the Ryman, and the legendary feel to it, would be more in line with the classic theme of the show. The one drawback is that lack of a video system in the Ryman. During the classic show at the Opry House, they make great use of the video system to offer biographies of the stars being spotlighted. But, I am sure something could be set up at the Ryman.

All in all, I think it was a good attempt and I would hope that the Opry management will continue to work on the show and bring it back next year.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Offers Captions For Hearing Impaired

The Grand Ole Opry remains steeped in a tradition of sound, but the 83-year-old country music program will offer captions for the hearing impaired for the first time Saturday. About 450 people participating at the Hearing Loss Association of America convention in Nashville this week will attend on the the Opry's evening shows and will be able to follow along with captions on large projection screens. Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Hal Ketchum, Little Jimmy Dickens and others are set to perform.

Vice President and General Manager of the Opry, Pete Fisher, said the show is somewhat of an experiment and captions may be used again in the future. "It is somewhat of a paradox our show that has a 80 plus-year history and presents over six decades of music each week to be on the cutting edge of technology." Fisher said. "But we've been committed to employing state of the art technology."

Nancy Macklin, director of events for the association, said the group asked the Opry about the captioning since many convention attendees wanted to see a show. Macklin said captioning at entertainment venues, including sports stadiums, is growing.

The association estimates nearly 36 million people in the U.S. have some degree of hearing loss. "The technology has been around, but more and more venues are using it as hard-of-hearing people are requesting it," said Macklin. "They(Opry) now know it exists and it's available."
(Story courtesy of Yahoo News/Associated Press)

Nice move on the part of the Opry. I am sure that the words to the various songs will be on the big video screens, or maybe on one of the screens with the hearing impaired people sitting in one section. With many of their elderly patrons in possibly this situation, it will be interesting to see if the Opry does it again.

Tuesday Night Opry Line-up 6/23

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry-June 23rd:
7:00: Montgomery Gentry
7:30: Connie Smith; Darryl Worley
8:00: Jimmy C. Newman; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Marty Stuart; Montgomery Gentry Opry Induction

Congratulations to Montgomery Gentry on becoming the newest Grand Ole Opry members.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 6/19 & 6/20

Here is the line-up for this weekend's Grand Ole Opry shows:
Friday June 19th:
7:00: Mike Snider(host); The Whites; Emily West
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jeannie Seely; Tracy Byrd
8:00: Marty Stuart(host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith
8:30: Vince Gill(host); John Conlee; Alison Krauss

Saturday June 20th:
First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Hal Ketchum; Point Of Grace
8:00: John Conlee(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jim Ed Brown; Sammy Johns; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill(host); Alison Kruass w/ The Whites

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Rhonda Vincent
10:00: Vince Gill(host); Mike Snider; Point Of Grace
10:30: John Conlee(host); Hal Ketchum; Sammy Johns; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Alison Krauss w/The Whites

A couple of comments:
>Alison Krauss makes her 1st Opry appearance since 2007, doing all 3 shows. She is also scheduled for an appearance in July. I do notice that she is not with Union Station, but it would appear that the Whites are going to back her up on Saturday's show.
>Rhonda Vincent will be doing both shows on Saturday night. With Alison and Rhonda, you have 2 of the top female bluegrass entertainers on the same show.
>Vince Gill is on all 3 shows for the weekend.
Overall, I would call it a pretty good line-up. In addition, Rhonda Vincent will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnight Jamboree after the Opry. That should be a great show, as she has hosted the Jamboree several times in the past and has always drawn a very good crowd.

On another note, GAC(Great American Country), has announced that they have pulled the Grand Ole Opry off of their regular schedule for the Summer and that the Opry will be returning with brand new shows in the fall. There have been no new Opry televised shows since the 1st of the year.

Finally, on the Tuesday Night Opry on June 23rd, Montgomery Gentry will be inducted as Opry members. I find it strange that they would do an induction on a Tuesday night show and not the main Saturday night Grand Ole Opry. It makes me wonder how important the Opry management or Montgomery Gentry view the tradition of the Saturday night show. I also checked my records, and the vast majority of Montgomery Gentry's appearances in the past year at the Opry have been on the Tuesday night show, with a Friday night appearance thrown in. I hope someone tells them that the Grand Ole Opry's flagship show is on Saturday night.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 6/16 & Opry Country Classics 6/18

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry 6/16:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown; T. Graham Brown
7:30: Mel McDaniel; The Isaacs
8:00: George Hamilton IV; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:30: Riders In The Sky; Exile

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics 6/18:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Suzy Bogguss
George Hamilton IV
Raul Malo
Opry Square Dancers
Clay Self
Steve Warnier(Spotlight Artist)
This Week's Theme: A Salute to Chet Atkins

This is the final show in this 1st round of Thursday night Opry Classic shows. Within the next week, I will have a post on some interesting information on this show, regarding how successful the show was and if it fulfilled the description of the show, as originally advertised.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Grand Ole Opry 6/12 & 6/13 And Other Special Shows

As mentioned previously, the CMA Music Festival is underway in Nashville. As always, the Opry has added extra shows for the huge amount of fans in Nashville. It started with 2 shows for last night's Tuesday Night Opry and continues tonight with Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium. We wanted to recap the Opry related shows in Nashville for the remainder of the week, starting with Opry Country Classics for Thursday June 11th:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Lynn Anderson
Janie Fricke
The Gatlin Brothers
Opry Square Dancers
Jeannie Seely
Ashton Shepherd
Emily West
Tanya Tucker(Spotlight Artist)
This Week's Theme: A Salute to the Women of Country Music

A very nice line-up for the Thursday night show.

Here is the line-up for the Friday Night Opry on June 12th:
7:00: Pam Tillis(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Riders In The Sky; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jean Shepard; Diamond Rio
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); Mike Snider; Emerson Drive
8:30: Charley Pride(host); Stu Phillips; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Collin Raye

Here is the line-up for the Opry at the Ryman Fan Fair Matinee Saturday June 13th:
3:00: Jimmy C. Newman; Danielle Peck
3:30: Jeannie Seely; Buddy Jewell
4:00: The Whites; Pam Tillis
4:30: Jim Ed Brown; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Here is the line-up for the Grand Ole Opry for Saturday June 13th:
First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Charley Pride(host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider
8:00: Mel Tillis(host); Charlie Louvin; Pam Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Connie Smith; Mandy Barnett
10:00: Charley Pride(host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV; Mike Snider
10:30: Mel Tillis(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Pam Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Ray Pillow; Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd

A weekend of very good line-ups at the Opry. With the major stars playing the big concerts at the music fest, the Opry has given a line-up of both nights with a number of Country Music Hall of Fame members(hosting each segment on Saturday), and a number of veteran Opry members. These shows should draw very good crowds.

On Saturday night, at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, the host will be Mel Tillis. The record shop should be at capacity for a rare appearance by Mel at the shop. Admission is always free.

On Sunday, the Grand Ole Opry is presenting Sunday Mornin' Country at the Grand Ole Opry house, at 2:30. Admission is only $15 and kids are free. The artists to appear, including a number of Opry members are:
Brenda Lee(host); The Whites; Linda Davis; Bill Anderson; Jean Shepard; The Fox Brothers; Charlie McCoy; George Hamilton IV; Point of Grace; Jason Crabbs; Margo Smith; Holly Watson; Cowboy Joe & The Babcocks; Stu Phillips; Nashville Edition; Casey Rivers; Melanie Walker; Dianne Sherrill; Beyond The Ashes and The Country Chorale. What a great line-up and more are to be announced. This is an annual concert on the Sunday of the Music Fest and should be well attended.

Finally, last but not least, R.O.P.E.(Reunion Of Professional Entertainers), is presenting their annual fan fair show on Thursday June 11th at the Al Menah Shriners Temple in Nashville, with 2 shows at 4 and at 7. Keith Bilbrey will be the M.C. The artists to appear are as follows:
Charlie McCoy; Jimmy C. Newman; Dickie Lee; Freddy Weller; Little David Wilkins; Tom Bresh; Jean Shepard; Tommy Cash; Jack Greene; Stonewall Jackson; Mark Chesnutt; Trey Hensley; Lane Brody; Darryl Singletary; June Stearns; Mike Siler; Bobby G. Rice; Johnny Moore; Billy Henson; and more to be announced.

What a great week to see some legends in Nashville. I hope all of these shows are well attended so that it will encourage more to be held like these.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dollar General Returns As Opry Sponsor

The Grand Ole Opry has announced that Dollar General will announce its sponsorship of the Grand Ole Opry on stage Tuesday June 9 during the 8pm segment. Separately, country music star Trace Adkins will be on hand to announce an exciting sweepstakes launching soon in all Dollar General stores.

Dollar General will join US Bank, Bass Pro Shops and Humana as an offical Opry Partner Sponsor. Cracker Barrel Old Country Store was named the Opry's first-ever Presenting Sponsor in October 2004. Martha White, which celebrated a 60-year association with the Opry in 2008, continues to partner with the Opry as a radio broadcast advertiser, through sponsorships of Opry events, and in numerous other arenas.

This is good news for the Opry as Dollar General sponsored the 9:30pm Saturday segment for many years. They are a natural fit for the Opry and they are one of the companies doing very well in today's economy. Looking at the press release, I do not see Johnson Controls listed, although they are still listed on the Opry's weekly line-up. Perhaps they are the odd sponsor out.

Opry Country Classics 6/11

As the CMA Music Festival continues, so does the strong line-up for Grand Ole Opry shows. Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, Thursday June 11th:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Lynn Anderson
Janie Fricke
The Gatlin Brothers
Opry Square Dancers
Jeannie Seely
Emily West
Tanya Tucker(Spotlight Artist)
This Week's Theme: A Salute to the Women of Country Music

Next week is the last week for this edition of Opry Country Classics

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tuesday Night Opry 6/9

This week is the CMA Music Festival in Nashville. With it, the Opry always has outstanding line-ups and extra shows during the week as many of the top stars are in town. Tuesday night is no exception, as the Opry has 2 shows scheduled and both will be sell-outs. During the 1st show, Lorrie Morgan will be celebrating her 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Hard to believe that she has been a member for that long. While not at the Opry everyweek, she has always met her committment of 10 shows per year.

Also, as part of the CMA Music Festival and the Opry, Ricky Skaggs will be singing copies of his new CD at Opry Originals: The Shop On Broadway, on June 9th from 11:30am-1:00pm. He also will be signing copies at The Opry Shop from 5:30pm-6:30pm. We will highlight the other Opry activities tomorrow.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry. Again, 2 shows and the nice thing is that of the 9 artists scheduled to appear, 8 are Opry members.

First Show:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens; Lorrie Morgan
7:30: Ricky Skaggs; Bill Anderson
8:00: Little Big Town; Trace Adkins
8:30: Charlie Daniels Band; Carrie Underwood

Second Show:
9:30: Jimmy Dickens; Charlie Daniels Band
10:00: Ricky Skaggs; Connie Smith
10:30: Bill Anderson; Trace Adkins
11:00: Little Big Town; Carrie Underwood

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Opry Announces New Comedy Show With Mike Snider

Press Release From The Opry:

Funnyman Mike Snider will star in Pickin' & Grinnin' in historic Studio A at the Opry House Wednesdays-Saturdays June 25-July 25. Audiences will revel in the "pickin" of the former Tennessee and National Banjo Playing Champion and will be "grinnin" thanks to Snider's unique brand of country storytelling and laugh-along tunes such as "The Fur Coat" and "Born to Shop".

The show will be a return to Studio A for Snider, who filmed HeeHaw there 20 years ago alongside some of country music's most beloved personalities including greats such as Minnie Pearl and Grandpa Jones. Snider, the pride of Gleason, Tennessee (2,000 Gleason residents were on hand for his Opry debut) will be joined for Pickin' & Grinnin' by his multi-talented band and magician Scott Cantrell.

We're going to have a good time every time," Snider says. "It's going to be great to fill Studio A with some laughs and some good down home pickin again. And if a joke bombs, I'll just ask the magician to make me disappear."

Pickin' & Grinnin' will run Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturdays at 4 p.m.

My editorial: I hope that this show is successful. The more live music in Nashville, the better. In the summer months, I am sure it will appeal to the bus tours and the senior citizens who come to town and remember the Hee Haw show. But, with mid-week shows, they will have to depend on the local Nashville area to come out and support the show. With a 1 month limited run, it should work. I am somewhat suprised they are doing the show from Studio A and not the Acuff Theater. The Acuff Theater is easier to get to and is more visable than Studio A, although with the smaller studio A, it will be easier to fill. I have not seen a ticket price for the show, but I would assume it would be reasonable.

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 6/5 & 6/6

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this weekend:
Friday June 5:
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jimmy C. Newman; George Hamilton IV; Little General Cloggers
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jean Shepard; Carter Twins
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Kathy Mattea
8:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Helen Cornelius; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Mark Chestnutt

Saturday June 6:
First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Mark Wills
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Stonewall Jackson; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Connie Smith; Patty Loveless

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
10:00: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Crystal Gayle
10:30: Jean Shepard(host); Stonewall Jackson; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Connie Smith; Patty Loveless

A couple of notes:
>Stonewall Jackson is on all 3 shows this weekend, which is a first for him in many years.

>Holly Williams was on the original line-up for this weekend, but cancelled.
>Little General Cloggers make their annual visit to the Opry. Nice to see that Pete Fisher has kept that tradition going. They do a fine job.
>The Carter Twins will be making their Opry debut.
>Jett Williams is the host of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. She usually gets to host the jamboree twice a year.
>Next week starts the CMA Music Fest, formally Fan Fair. The Opry will be putting on a few more shows next week, including 2 shows on Tuesday, a Saturday matinee and a Sunday Morning Gospel show. Also, the Marty Stuart jam will be taking place and usually there is the Opry trust fund show. Should be a great week for all the festival attendees.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-March 5 & 6, 1976

Here is another in our series of Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This time we go back to the weekend of March 5 & 6, 1976. There was 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night. Opryland was not open for the season, so there were no matinee shows scheduled.

Friday March 5, 1976:
8:00-Odom Sausage: Del Reeves(host); The Four Guys; Ronnie Milsap
8:30-Krogers/Sunbeam: Roy Acuff(host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Stonewall Jackson
9:00-Baltz Bros./Schlitz: Roy Drusky(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Walker
9:30-Acme Boot/Beechnut Tobacco: David Houston(host); Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb
10:00-Cee Bee/Schlitz: Jack Greene(host); The Carlisles; Stu Phillips
10:30-Rudy's: The Osborne Brothers(host); Skeeter Davis; Lonzo & Oscar; Ernie Ashworth
11:05-Grand Ole Gospel: Rev. Jimmie Snow; The Evangel Temple Choir; Larry Gatlin

Saturday March 6,1976:
First Show
6:30-Mrs. Grissom's: Ray Pillow(host); Justin Tubb; The Willis Brothers
6:45-Rudys: Charlie Walker(host); Roy Drusky; Barbara Mandrell
7:00-Shoneys: Porter Wagoner(host); Skeeter Davis; The Carlisles; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Ernie Ashworth
7:30-Standard Candy: Roy Acuff(host); Jean Shepard; Bashful Brother Oswald; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
8:00-Martha White: Jack Greene(host); Stonewall Jackson; Stu Phillips; Melba Montgomery
8:30-Stephens Work Clothes: Hank Snow(host); David Houston; Lonzo & Oscar; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

Second Show
9:30-Kellogg's: Roy Drusky(host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb; Barbara Mandrell
10:00-Fender Guitar: Porter Wagoner(host); Charlie Walker; Skeeter Davis
10:15-Union '76: Roy Acuff(host); Jean Shepard
10:30-Trailblazer: Jack Greene(host); The Carlisles; Ernie Ashworth
10:45-Beechnut Tobacco: Stonewall Jackson(host); Stu Phillips; The Crook Brothers; The Stoney Mt. Cloggers
11:00-Coca Cola: Hank Snow(host); Melba Montgomery; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30-Baltz Bros.: David Houston(host); Lonzo & Oscar; Jimmy Martin

A couple of notes and observations:
>As you look at the Grand Ole Opry line-ups in the 1970's, it is interesting to see that pattern of which artists appear during the shows. There is a lot of consistency. Hank Snow always on at 8:30 and 11:00; Roy Acuff always on 7:30 adn 10:15; Porter Wagoner always on 7:00 and 10:00. The pattern does not vary much from week to week.
>Interesting to see Jimmy Martin on the Opry, and in the last slot on Saturday night. As his career went on and he became older, he was no fan of the Opry management. I have read that he always wanted to be a member, but was never asked and became bitter about it in his later years.
>Larry Gatlin, who was on the Grand Ole Gospel show on Friday night was not a member of the Opry as of yet. He would become a member later in the year, on Christmas night.
>Melba Montgomery was one of the fine young female artists in country music and had a number of hit records, and duets with George Jones and Charlie Louvin. Some people thought she would have a huge career in country music, but her career seemed to peak with her huge hit "No Charge", and it never seemed to get back on track after that.
>During the 1st show on Saturday night, Bashful Brother Oswald had his own slot. Roy Acuff would do that once in a while, spotlighting members of the Smoky Mountain Boys.
>Of all the sponsors listed, only Martha White is with the show today. Standard Candy, Shoneys, Coca Cola and Rudys would last into the 1990's.

Hope you enjoy!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Opry Country Classics-June 4--Updated

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics-Thursday June 4:
Larry Gatlin(This Week's Host)
Jeff Bates
Jim Ed Brown
Terri Clark
Elizabeth Cook
Glen Templeton and Emily Portman from "The Conway Twitty Musical"
Opry Square Dancers
Billy Yates
Spotlight Artist: Vince Gill
This Week's Theme: A salute to Conway Twitty