Monday, August 31, 2009

September Opry Highlights

With the month of September upon us, let's take a few moments and look back at Grand Ole Opry historical moments that took place in September.

2 of the great female members of the Opry are celebrating Opry anniversaries this month:
>Jeannie Seely became an Opry member on September 16, 1967(42 years).
>Loretta Lynn became an Opry member on September 25, 1962(47 years).

Other September moments:
>September 18, 1947: Ernest Tubb host the first Grand Ole Opry show at New York's Carnegie Hall. Also in the cast that night were Minnie Pearl and George D. Hay.
>September 4, 1948: Eddy Arnold leaves the Grand Ole Opry to head his own CBS network radio show. At the time, Eddy was the biggest star on the Opry and had asked to be paid more than the other performers. His manager at the time was the famous Colonel Tom Parker, later of Elvis fame. He was refused so he decided to move on, as he had outgrown the Opry. His leaving the Opry and starting his own show ultimately led WSM to starting the Friday Night Frolics, which became the Friday Night Opry. After Eddy left the Opry that night, he never returned.
>September 25, 1948: George Morgan became a Grand Ole Opry member.
>September 13, 1952: Webb Pierce makes his first Opry appearance.
>September 24, 1956: Jim Denny quits his post as Opry manager. He was replaced by D. Kilpatrick, who was the first Opry manager hired that did not work for WSM. He had been employed by Mercury Records. Jim Denny was considered the first Opry manager and left to form his own talent agency. When he left, several Opry stars followed him to his new agency, leaving the WSM booking service.
>September 27, 1963: The National Life & Accident Insurance Company bought the Ryman Auditorium from the City of Nashville for $200,000. It was renamed The Grand Ole Opry House.
>September 6, 1984: Ernest Tubb passed away in Nashville. Hard to believe that it has been 25 years.
>September 4, 1991: Dottie West dies from injuries sustained in a car accident en route to the Opry.
>September 1993: Bob Whittaker becomes the manager of the Opry, replacing Hal Durham who becomes President of the Grand Ole Opry. It was during Bob's time as Opry manager that the Opry membership roles were expanded with many of the new artists of the era including Joe Diffie, Hal Ketchum, Alison Krauss, Martina McBride and others. Along with Hal Durham, he was responsible for relaxing the membership appearance requirements to the point that many of the artists that they brought on board as Opry members seldom appear at the Opry.

Hope you enjoy the brief look back at history.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-Saturday August 19, 1979

Here is another in our series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups. This time we go back to Saturday August 19, 1979:

First Show
6:30: Billy Grammer(host); Ernie Ashworth
6:45: Bill Monore(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; The Willis Brothers
7:00: Porter Wagoner(host); George Hamilton IV; Lonzo & Oscar; Del Wood
7:30: Roy Acuff(host); Stonewall Jackson; Bashful Brother Oswald; The Crook Brothers; Bill Jones Promenadors
8:00: Lester Flatt(host); Roy Drusky; Marion Worth; Don King; Bill Carlise
8:30: Hank Snow(host); The Four Guys; Janie Fricke; The Fruit Jar Drinkers

Second Show
9:30: Bill Monroe(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Lonzo & Oscar; Del Wood
10:00: Porter Wagoner(host); Billy Grammer; The Willis Brothers
10:15: Roy Acuff(host); George Hamilton IV
10:30: Lester Flatt(host); Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle
10:45: Roy Drusky(host); Janie Fricke; The Crook Brothers; Bill Jones Promenadors
11:00: Hank Snow(host); The Four Guys; Don King; The Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins(host); Marion Worth; Ronny Robbins

Saturday Matinee:
3:00: Stonewall Jackson; Wilma Lee Cooper
3:30: George Hamilton IV; Bill Carlisle
4:00: Lonzo & Oscar; The Four Guys
4:30: Roy Acuff; Barbara Green

Hope you enjoy!!!

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Opry Goes Pink" in Support of the Fight Against Breast Cancer

Press Release: August 27, 2009

The Grand Ole Opry is joining the fight against breast cancer by "going pink" during two Opry performances Friday October 2. On each of the night's shows, Opry superstar Carrie Underwood will take the stage to "flip the switch," turning the Opry's signature barn backdrop pink in support of the groups Women Rock for the Cure and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The shows will include performances from Underwood, Terri Clark, and other artists to be announced as well as special activities recognizing breast cancer survivors and the continuing fight against the disease.

>Nice that the Opry is doing this and donating $5.00 from the sale of each ticket. I hope they have a good turnout. The only other couple of comments is that I notice they are saying there will be 2 shows on that Friday night and that the barn backdrop will be pink.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up August 28th & 29th

Here is this week's Grand Ole Opry line-ups:
Friday August 28th:
7:00: John Conlee(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Riders In The Sky; Cherryholmes
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jamie O'Neal
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; The Whites
8:30: Marty Stuart(host); Connie Smith; Ralph Stanley

Saturday August 29th:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jim Ed Brown; Daryle Singletary
7:30: Riders In The Sky(host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Ralph Stanley
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; Clay Walker; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Marty Stuart(host); John Conlee; Connie Smith

>Daryle Singletary and Clay Walker are on the Saturday night show. At one time, both were among the hotest new stars in country music, but their careers fizzled out. Clay had the greater success of the 2. Daryle, by the way, will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree on Saturday night/Sunday morning.
>Nice to see Ralph Stanley back on the Opry this weekend. I remember when he was asked to become a member. It was on a Friday night and the next night it became official. No big build-up or special events. I know that Patty Loveless and Ricky Skaggs were involved with him becoming a member. I will be seeing Ralph next Sunday night, as he is doing a show up in my neck of the woods. It should be great.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry on September 1st:
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
7:30: John Conlee; Hal Ketchum
8:00: Jack Greene; The Bellamy Brothers with special guests The Bacon Brothers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Gretchen Wilson

A strong line-up for the Tuesday night show. Is it just me, but I don't hear much about Gretchen Wilson lately!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ex-Opry Members Still Living

One of the comments to an earlier post(thanks Michael) mentioned the Homecoming shows that the Opry used to have once each year(for a while it was in March). The Opry ended those shows years ago, but Mike listed names of ex-Opry members who could possibly perform at a Homecoming show. It got me to thinking: what ex-Grand Ole Opry members are still alive. I have a few names to list. If anyone has others, please add:
>The Four Guys
>Bobby Bare
>Margie Bowes
>Bonnie & Maxine Brown
>Tompall and the Glaser Brothers
>Norma Jean
>Sonny Osborne(technically still a member but retired)
>Jeanne Pruett(still a member but retired)
>Willie Nelson
>Holly Dunn
>The Everly Brothers
>Sonny James
>Carl Smith

>Doug Kershaw
>Leroy Van Dyke
>Kitty Wells
>Johnny Wright
>Oscar Sullivan
>Don Williams

I know I am missing lots, but with some research I can come up with the rest. Please add yours.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 8/21 & 8/22-Updated

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up for this weekend:
Friday August 21st:
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Hal Ketchum(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Whites
8:30: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday August 22nd:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Joey + Rory
8:00: Hal Ketchum(host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Exile

A couple of comments:
>This weekend features veteran artists on both shows, with the exception of Joey + Roey. A nice change instead of so many newcomers.
>The Oak Ridge Boys return for the Friday night Opry. During one of the winter Opry shows at the Ryman about 5 years ago, I was standing up in the balcony and Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys was up there, just watching the Opry. I talked to him for a couple of moments, and I did ask the question whether or not the Oak Ridge Boys had ever been asked to become Opry members. He told me that it would be nice to be Opry members, but that they were too busy touring to devote the time necessary to be members.
>Crystal Gayle makes another Opry appearance. She has been appearing on the Opry a few times lately. Could she be the next veteran being considered for Opry membership? It seems like after they ask a newer artist to join, they try to balance it with an older artist. That would follow in the footsteps of Charlie Daniels, Mel Tillis and Del McCoury.
>Hal Ketchum is hosting on both shows this weekend. From a personal standpoint, I have really come to enjoy his appearances on the Opry.
>The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree is hosted this week by Mandy Barnett. If you are looking for it at its usual location, don't go. The Jamboree will be live from the Wilson County Fair this weekend.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, August 25th:
7:00: Jim Ed Brown; Aaron Tippin
7:30: Connie Smith; Gene Watson
8:00: Jimmy Dickens; Darius Rucker
8:30: Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Craig Morgan

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-October 17, 1992

I wanted to post another in my series of classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups. This one is more recent than some that I have posted. It is from Saturday October 17, 1992, which was the Grand Ole Opry's 67th birthday celebration. Let's take a look:

First Show:
6:30: GHS Strings: Bill Monore(host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame: Grandpa Jones(host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky
7:00: Shoney's: George Hamilton IV(host); Jeanne Pruett; Mike Snider; The Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard
7:30: Standard Candy: Porter Wagoner(host); Shelly West; John Conlee
8:00: Martha White: Roy Acuff(host); Connie Smith; Bill Anderson; Opry Squaredance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Kraft: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Jan Howard; The Carlisles; The Whites

Second Show:
9:30: Dollar General Stores: Porter Wagoner(host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; The Osborne Brothers; Mike Snider
10:00: Little Debbie Snack Cakes: Bill Monroe(host); Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely
10:15: Sunbeam Bread/Tennessee Pride: Roy Acuff(host); Hank Locklin
10:30: Pet, Inc.: Grandpa Jones(host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Walker
10:45: B.C. Powder: George Hamilton IV(host); Shelly West; Opry Squaredance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Coke: Hank Snow(host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; John Conlee; Justin Tubb
11:30: Creamette: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; The Whites; The Carlisles; Johnny Russell

A couple of notes:
>Of the 28 acts that appeared at this show, 12 have passed away.
>This was Roy Acuff's final Saturday night show. His final Opry show was the Friday night Opry on October 23rd. Regarding this Saturday first show, Roy had done the matinee show that ended at 5:00. He was in such ill health and in such difficulty, that he was taken after that show to the hospital and was not expected to be released. Bill Anderson, who had hosted the backstage show on TNN, was told with 5 minutes to go until the segment was to start, to be prepared to host the segment. However, with just several minutes to go before it was time for the segment to start, Roy arrived and insisted on going on. I can tell you from sitting in the audience that night, I was shocked at how frail he had become in the short amount of time since my last Opry visit. He never really faced the audience and stood at the microphone stand the entire time. Of course, he was basically blind at this point in his life. When Bill came on for his 2 songs, he sang the classic "I wonder if God likes Country Music", for his second song and Roy stepped forward and sang his part of the song perfectly. It was a classic moment and the sold-out crowd knew it was seeing a historical moment. They gave Bill and Roy a long standing ovation and the emotion was obvious to all in the Opry House. Roy did do the 2nd show with Hank Locklin. The following Friday when he appeared at the Opry for the final time, he did the show sitting in a directors chair.
>The 7:30 segment was the portion televised by TNN. In addition to the 3 artists on that segment, the birthday cake was rolled out. This was the first year that Porter Wagoner formally handled those duties, as in the past, it was Roy that hosted the birthday segment on TNN.
>During this period of the Opry, Bill Monroe and Grandpa Jones always hosted the first two segments of the first show.

Hope you enjoy!!

Friday, August 14, 2009

RFD Planning New Show "Larry's Country Diner"

Whisperin' Bill Anderson will be the first musical guest on a new show being created in Nashville at RFD-TV called Larry's Country Diner, scheduled to debut on Sept. 3.

Taped in a typical diner setting, the show is hosted by broadcast personality/producer Larry Black, who is joined by regular cast members, along with announcer Keith Bilbrey.

Anderson will perform on the first show and artists already booked for future shows include Larry Gatlin, The Whites, Jim Ed Brown, Gene Watson, Jeannie Seely, T. Graham Brown, and Bobby Bare.

Larry's Country Diner is a 60-minute show, which is scheduled to air on RFD-TV every Thursday night at 6:0pm/Eastern and will re-broadcast every Saturday night at 11:00pm/Eastern.
(Courtesy of Music Row)

Now, if they can only add the Grand Ole Opry this would be a great network. They already have The Marty Stuart Show, Opry Family Reunion and the reruns of The Porter Wagoner Show, The Wilburn Brothers Show and Pop Goes The Country. They have dropped Imus in the morning.

Grand Ole Opry News & Updates

Just a couple of pieces of information from the Opry:

On September 10th, Opry Country Classics returns for an eight-show fall run. The first show will celebrate "Country Music in the Moves" including a performance by Spotlight Artist Mel Tillis as well as host Larry Gatlin. Other shows include:
>September 17: "Tribute To Hank Williams" with performances by Holly Williams, Moe Bandy, Joe Stampley, and more.
>September 24: "Tribute to George Jones" with performances by host Vince Gill and including CMA award-winners Jamey Johnson and Tanya Tucker, Hall of Famer Jimmy Dickens, and Jones, himself as the night's Spotlight Artist.
>Plus, appearances this fall by Ray Price, Marty Stuart, Pam Tillis, and many more.

Shows are Thursdays at 7:00pm, September 10-October 29.

Also, the Opry is promoting a ticket package for Opry Country Classics. Right now, they are offering a Fall Season Pass to Opry Country Classics. You can purchase tickets to all eight shows in the fall run for the price of just four shows. Or you can purchase a Four-Pack of tickets for just $120, and choose the Opry Country Classics shows that you want to see.

Also, Music City's own minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds, will host a special Opry Night at Greer Stadium on Wednesday, August 19. There will be chances to win great Opry prizes including t-shirts, tickets, and one person and a guest will win a grand prize Nashville weekend including VIP tickets to an Opry performance, a backstage tour, and one-night accommodations in Nashville.

Ray Price will be in concert on October 2 at the Acuff Theater, next to the Grand Ole Opry House. The Country Music Hall of Famer is also scheduled to appear as the Spotlight Artist at the new show Opry Country Classics th evening prior to his Acuff concert. You can save money when you purchase a ticket package including tickets to eithr Opry Country Classics(Thursday October 1) and the Friday Ray Price concert, or the Grand Ole Opry(Saturday October 3) and the Ray Price concert.

Some great deals from the Opry, but obviously with the less than stellar attendance during the Opry Country Classics 1st run, they are looking to "pad" the house a little bit more by running these, and other promotions. I will say that the announced Opry Country Classics shows look very good. The Hank Williams tribute with a chance to see Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley, 2 of the real characters in country music from a decade ago, looks good. And the George Jones show looks excellent, with a great line-up of performers, and more to come. Hopefully, management learned something from the first group of shows. Finally, if you are a Ray Price fan, October 1st is the weekend to be in Nashville. The Acuff Theater is a great venue for a show, with not a bad seat in the house. And, the chance to see Ray two nights in a row is a bargain. Ray is over 80 years old, and although he continues to tour and perform on a regular basis, how many more opportunities will you have to see a true legend in country music?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-up 8/14 & 8/15

Here is this weekend's Grand Ole Opry line-up.

Friday August 14th:
7:00: John Conlee(host); Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider; Justin McBride
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rodney Atkins
8:00: Ricky Skaggs(host); Jim Ed Brown; Riders In The Sky; The Whites
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Connie Smith; Vince Gill

Saturday August 15th:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Infamous Stringdusters
7:30: Vince Gill(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
8:00: Mel Tillis(host); Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider(host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Josh Turner

A real solid line-up for both the Friday Opry and the Saturday Night Grand Ole Opry. Josh Turner has a new single out this week and Jesse McReynolds has a great new CD out, "Family Harmony", featuring his grandchildren. His current line up of the Virginia Boys(and girl), sounds great. And, its always a good night at the Opry when Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill are appearing.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, August 18th:
7:00: John Conlee; Chris Young
7:30: Jimmy C. Newman
8:00: Riders In The Sky; Hal Ketchum
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Restless Heart

Monday, August 10, 2009

Bacon Brothers To Make Opry Debut

Press Release From The Grand Ole Opry:

The Bacon Brothers to Make Opry Debut Alongside Bellamy Brothers September 1. Others Coming Soon To Opry Stage Include Charley Pride, Rodney Atkins; Josh Turner, Oak Ridge Boys, Craig Morgan, Gretchen Wilson, and more

The Bacon Brothers will make their Opry debut Tues., Sept. 1 when they appear alongside the Bellamy Brothers to perform the Bellamys' current single, "Guilty of the Crime," on which both sets of brothers appear. The appearance will mark the first public appearance for the Bacons and the Bellamys together. The song is the first single from The Bellamy Brothers newest album The Anthology, Vol 1 available digitally now and in stores Sept. 29. The appearance of the Bacon Brothers--Golden Globe-nominated Keven and Emmy-winner Michael--lengthens the list of award-winning television and film veterans who have debuted on the Opry in the past year. Others include Academy Award-winner Kevin Costner, Golden Globe nominee Jack Black, and Emmy-winner Steve Martin.

Other upcoming performers include Rodney Atkins, Ricky Skaggs(August 14); Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Josh Turner, Mel Tillis(August 15); Oak Ridge Boys; Crystal Gayle, Del McCoury Band(August 21); Craig Morgan(August 25); Cherryholmes, Marty Stuart(August 28); Gretchen Wilson(Sept. 1).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Classic Grand Ole Opry-April 6, 1957

I know that it has been a while since I last posted a classic Grand Ole Opry line-up from year's past. So to make up for it, I am going to go way back, over 52 years ago, to Saturday night April 6, 1957. What is interesting about this line-up, and for most of this era, is that the programs listed not only the artist, but what they were going to perform. It made it more of a formal program, but at the same time, it took some of the surprise from the show. I do not know if the artists stuck exactly to the listed songs, or if they could make a switch and sing something else, depending on the mood of the audience. Regardless, let's go back and take a look from April 6, 1957

7:30 to 7:45: Nabisco
Roy Acuff:It's Hard to Love
Justin Tubb: Pepper Hot Baby
Oswald: Southern Moon
Roy Acuff: How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
Howdy Forrester: Forked Deer

7:45 to 8:00: American Ace
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Faron Young: I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die
Maybelle Carter: I Never Love But One
Benny Martin: Story Of My Life
Faron Young: Schrine Of St. Cecelia
Fiddle Tune: Bill Cheatham

8:00 to 8:30: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs: Shuck A Little Corn
Porter Wagoner: I Should Be With You
George Jones: Don't Stop The Music
June Carter & Smokey: Comedy
Flatt & Scruggs: Is There Room For Me
Jean Shepard: I'd Rather Die Young
Carlisles: Rough Stuff
Possum Hunters: Fire In The Mountain
Porter Wagoner: I'm Day Dreaming Tonight
Flatt & Scruggs: Down The Road

8:30 to 9:00: Prince Albert
Marty Robbins: Singing The Blues
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Ray Price: I've Got A New Heartache
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin
Marty Robbins: Knee Deep In The Blues
Chet Atkins: Back Home In Indiana
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Ray Price: Crazy Arms
Marty Robbins: Singing The Blues
Hal Cook: Presentation
Marty Robbins: Singing The Blues
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

9:00 to 9:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Ernest Tubb: TBA
Johnny & Jack: Oh Baby Mine
Stringbean: Herro Mr. Banjo
Wilburn Brothers: I's Setting You Free
Kitty Wells: Searching
Ernest Tubb: Don't Forbid Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Johnny & Jack: I Want To Be Loved
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Wilburn Brothers: Go Away With Me
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May

9:30 to 10:00: Stephens
Hank Snow: Calypso Sweetheart
Louvin Brothers: Don't Laugh
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Sunny Side Of The Mountain
Chet Atkins: Limehouse House
Wilma Lee & Stoney: Cheated Too
Hank Snow: Marriage And Divorce
Ladell Sisters: Alabama Jubilee
T. Texas Tyler: Deck Of Cards
Crook Brothers: Either Of January
Louvin Brothers: New Partner Waltz
Hank Snow: Put Me In My Trundle Bed

10:00 to 10:15: Wall-Rite
Roy Acuff: I Love Mountain Music
George Jones: Uh Uh No
Maybelle Carter: Cold Watch And Chain
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light
Fiddle Tune: Money Musk

10:15 to 10:30: Delited
Carlisles: Theme
Ray Price: Wasted Words
Jean Shepard: If You Can Walk Away
Carlisles: Lil Liza Jane
Ray Price: you Done Me Wrong
Fiddle Tune: Grey Eagle

10:30 to 10:45: Hester Battery
Marty Robbins: I Can't Quit
Flatt & Scruggs: What's Good For You Should Be Alright For Me
Justin Tubb: I'm A Big Boy Now
Marty Robbins: Same Two Lips
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

10:45 to 11:00: De Con
Faron Young: Sweet Dreams
Wilma Lee & Stoney: Loving You
Crook Brothers: Tennessee Wagoner
Faron Young: Until I Met You
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

11:00 to 11:30: Coca-Cola
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Ernest Tubb: Will You Be Satisfield That Way
Johnny and Jack: A Pleasure Is Not A Habit In Mexico
Wilburn Brothers: Go Away With Me
June Carter and Smokey: Comedy
Ernest Tubb: God's Eyes
Kitty Wells: A Change Of Heart
Stonewall Jackson: Stop You Naggin Hoss
String Bean: Pretty Little Pink
Gully Jumper: New Five Cents
Johnny and Jack: All The Time
Ernest Tubb: Kansas City Kitty

11:30 to 11:45: Jamison Mattress
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Hank Snow: Calypso Min From Juares
Louvin Brothers: You're Running Wild
T. Texas Tyler: Remember Me
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

11:45 to 12:00 Midnight: Sustaining
Fiddle Tune: Back Up And Push
Porter Wagoner: I Guess I'm Crazy
Hawshaw Hawkins: If It Ain't On The Menu
Sam and Kirk: The Wagon Is New
Benny Martin: Look What You Have Done To Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Ida Red
Porter Wagoner: Uncle Pen

A couple of notes:
>This was during the time of 1 Saturday night show. Normally, each artist would perform once before 10:00, and then once afterwards. After 10, some of the audience would start to leave, and that is when those standing outside were allowed to purchase tickets and go in. Allowing this type of admission helped to contribute to the long lines outside the Opry house, that you see in some of the famous photos of that era.
>The Prince Albert portion of the Opry was nationally broadcast on NBC and was considered the "prime" portion to be on.
>Roy Acuff always said that he did not care what time he performed on the Opry, as long as he did not have to open or close the show. Yet, on this particular Saturday night, he was the show opener.
>Stonewall Jackson had only 2 songs. At the time, he was one of the newest members of the Opry and had not yet fully established himself as a hit making performer.
>Ernest Tubb normally did the 10:45 or 11:00 segment, so that he could walk over and do the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree after the Opry.
>T. Texas Tyler was a guest on both of the segments hosted by Hank Snow. Hank writes about T. Texas in his book and how he tried to help T. Texas clean up his personal life and to become Opry members. This was the time period that Hank was writing about.
>Minnie Pearl and Rod Brasfield were only on 1 segment, as was Sam and Kirk, who were already being relegated to the less than desirable 11:45 segment.
>Between his first and second segments of hosting the Opry, Ernest Tubb would usually walk over to his record shop and do some paperwork in his office, while Roy Acuff would usually walk to his Acuff Exhibits on Broadway and wait out the time. Of course both of them, along with many others, would frequent Tootsie's between their segments and have a drink or two.(or maybe 3!!).

That should do it for this classic line-up. Hope you enjoy!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 8/7 & 8/8

Here is this week's Grand Ole Opry line-up:
Friday August 7th:
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Darryl Worley
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Sunny Sweeney
8:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); w/Helen Cornelius; Stonewall Jackson; George Hamilton IV; Mark Wills
8:30: Charley Pride(host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale

Saturday August 8th:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jeannie Seely; David Nail
7:30: Hal Ketchum(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Jean Shepard
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Sunny Sweeney; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Charley Pride(host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry-August 11th:
7:00: The Whites; Love & Theft
7:30: Dailey & Vincent; Bucky Covington
8:00: Jean Shepard; Jason Michael Carroll
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Keith Anderson

A couple of notes/comments:
>Darryl Worley returns to the Friday Night Opry. He has been making regular appearances of late and some believe that at some point he will become an Opry member.
>Bill Anderson was in the studio this week working on a new CD that he hopes to have released by the end of the year, along with a new book. He will be on the Opry for just limited shows in August and then hitting the road for some shows.
>Stonewall Jackson is on both the Friday and Saturday shows. Saturday, by the way, is just 1 show, as that will be the case for the month of August.
>The 84th Opry Birthday Celebration will be October 9th and 10th. Usually by this date, some of the artists that will be appearing has been announced, but so far only Larry Gatlin and Diamond Rio have been confirmed. Several of the artists you would expect to appear at what are usually star studded shows, will be on the road and not available for the birthday bash, including Vince Gill, Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs. Also, have you noticed that since the Opry has stopped being televised, that the number of "big-name" non-Opry stars guesting on the Opry has gone down? Do you think some of these artists were using the Opry just for the television exposure?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gaylord Entertainment Earnings

Gaylord Entertainment's earnings were up 14% in the 2nd quarter compared to the same period a year ago. That is the good news. The not so good news for fans of the Grand Ole Opry: The Opry and attractions segment saw revenue drop 27.6% to $17.7 million in the 2nd quarter.

Opry revenues down should not be a surprise. The Opry has cut the number of shows, reducing to 1 on a number of Saturday nights. Also, the Thursday night Opry Classics show is not bringing in the strong revenue that would have equalled the 2nd Opry Saturday show. The economic downturn has reduced the number of tourists and tours coming to Nashville, and that is still the majority of Opry ticket buyers. That said, the general feeling among financial people is that Gaylord is in better shape than it was a year ago and that the company is doing better in its management of its revenue.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mel McDaniel Benefit August 13th

The country music community is coming together to raise funds for Grand Ole Opry star Mel McDaniel. The 66 year-old is slowly recovering from a June 16 heart attack. Family, friends and fans are gathering Thursday August 13 at 6 p.m. at the Nashville Palace to pay tribute and raise money for this cherished member of Music City.

Mel was born in Checotah, Oklahoma in 1942. When he was 14, he decided to pursue a career in music after seeing Elvis Presley on television. He signed with Capital Records in 1976 and the hits followed. Well known McDaniel classics include, "Louisiana Saturday Night," "Stand Up," and the Number One hit "Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On." Three years ago, Mel's home state of Oklahoma recognized his many accomplishments to date and inducted him into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame.

The August 13 concert and benefit for Mel has a long list of entertainers lined up to perform including T. Graham Brown, Buddy Jewel, David Ball, Tommy Cash, Ricky Lynn Gregg, plus Opry regulars Jim Ed Brown, Helen Cornelius, Little Jimmy Dickens, Jack Greene, Charlie Louvin, Jean Shepard and many more. In addition to the show, there will be a silent auction and many items to bid on like vacations, autographed items from the stars, sports memorabilia, gift certificates and much more.

Tickets for the Mel McDaniel benefit at the Nashville Palace are $10 at the door.
(Thanks to David Ross at Music Row)

I hope that this is a big success. $10 is a cheap price to see this kind of entertainment and I know that there will be a suprise or two. I always hate to see a benefit for anyone and I hope that this turns out to be more of a tribute to Mel than a fundraiser. I am sure Mel would love to make a suprise appearance, just to thank those for coming. I am not sure if his health would be up to that or not. Regardless, this continues a recent pattern of veteran artists remembering their own and saluting them. If you are in Nashville on August 13th, I hope that you can take a minute to stop in and see some great entertainment for a great cause.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August Opry Highlights

As the month of August begins, let's take a look at past Opry moments that took place in August.

Several Grand Ole Opry members are celebrating Opry anniversaries in August, including 2 of the members who have been Opry members the longest:
>Jimmy Dickens joined the Grand Ole Opry in August 1948. This year marks his 61st year as a Grand Ole Opry member. Jimmy is one of the most treasured and loved Opry members in history. He is the last link to the earlier days of the Opry, and along with Kitty Wells, represents the last of that era of country music entertainers. Jimmy will be 89 years old later this year. Hearing him on the Opry in recent months, it is obvious that his voice is slipping a bit, especially on the ballads, and he has forgotten some names. But, when telling stories or talking to the guests, his voice is clear and strong. There is no one left like a Jimmy Dickens in country music today. Enjoy him while you can.
>Jimmy C. Newman joined the Opry in August 1956. This year marks his 53rd year as an Opry member. Whenever he comes on stage with his Cajun Country Band, he always receives a great reception. His music is bouncy and fun to listen to. He remains a popular member of the Opry.

The other members celebrating Opry anniversaries in August are:
>The Osborne Brothers-August 8, 1964(45 years).
>Vince Gill-August 10, 1991(18 years).
>Jim Ed Brown-August 12, 1963(46 years).
>Roy Clark-August 22, 1987(22 years).
>Trace Adkins-August 23, 2003(6 years).
>Pam Tillis-August 26, 2000(9 years).

The following Opry historical moments took place in August:
>August 11, 1952, Hank Williams is fired as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was officially fired for failing to show up for scheduled shows, but Opry management was tired of his eratic behavior and drinking. After leaving the Opry, he went back to Louisiana and rejoined the Hayride. Of course he died on New Year's Day 1953.
>August 1959, Skeeter Davis became an Opry member.
>August 17, 1967, Charlie Walker joined the Opry. He would remain a member until his death late last year.
>August 1985, Johnny Russell joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would later become the primary host for the 11:30 segment of the Opry. On most Saturday nights, that was the only show he performed.
>August 10, 2002, The Dixie Chicks performed as guests on the Opry. During the televised portion of the Opry, they made the announcement that Porter Wagoner and Bill Carlisle has been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In the case of both of these individuals, it was a long overdue honor. Porter, in fact, had made several comments over the years regarding his thoughts on not being a part of the Hall of Fame, and watching others go in ahead of him. Porter was never shy about voicing his opinion on the country music industry, and many felt that this delayed his election to the Hall.
>August 31, 2002, the Opry celebrated its 4,000th consecutive Saturday night broadcast. During the show, the Opry paid tribute to one of its most beloved members, Minnie Pearl. Steve Wariner received the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award during the show. This was not the 4,000th consecutive performance of the Opry, as on April 6, 1968, the Opry was forced to cancel its Saturday night show due to a curfew in Nashville following the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King. WSM broadcast a previously taped show that night.

There you have it for the high points in August in Opry history.