Thursday, September 10, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 9/11 & 9/12

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

Friday September 11th:
7:00: Steve Wariner(host); Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Stonewall Jackson; Joe Diffie
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); Jean Shepard; Pam Tillis
8:30: Marty Stuart(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith

Saturday September 12:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Infamous Stringdusters
7:30: Lorrie Morgan(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Jean Shepard
8:00: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; The Carter Twins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); The Whites; Pam Tillis

A pretty solid line-up for both nights. A couple of quick notes:
>After going with 2 shows last Saturday night, the Opry is back to 1 show, and will continue with that through most of September, unless ticket sales demand more. Unless there is a big superstar coming on, such as Carrie Underwook or Keith Urban(who is scheduled coming up later in the fall), the crowds are just not there.
>Jean Shepard is on both shows this weekend. She was on Eddie Stubb's radio show last night on WSM and she told Eddie that her book is finally finished and will be released in 3 weeks. She stated that she started working on it 25 years ago and that the person who was writing it with her just dropped it into her lap, so she finished it up on her own. She said for a while, they did not work on it, but for the past several years, she worked hard on getting it done. She said there are lots of stories in the book, all true. I am looking forward to it, as with all the years she has in the business, the people she has known and the experiences she has had, it should be a great book.
>When you think about it, many books have been written about, or by, Opry members. They include Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Bill Carlisle, Skeeter Davis, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Jim Reeves, Charlie Pride, Pee Wee King, Bill Monroe, Eddy Arnold, June Carter, Faron Young, The Browns(Maxine), Jan Howard, Stonewall Jackson, Charlie Louvin. Minnie Pearl, and I know I am missing many. My personal favorites are the Ernest Tubb biography by Ronnie Pugh, Hank Snow's book, Porter's book, The Bill Monroe book and the Bill Carlisle biography. All of those are well done and tell great stories about the industry and the people involved. Hank Snow, in fact, was very candid in his book about a lot of things. I think if I would like to see one more book written, it would be a new Roy Acuff biography, told in an independent way, as lots of things took place in his life that he was involved in, and have not been written about.

After I wrote this post, I got to thinking about the books written by or about Grand Ole Opry members. I have come up with a better list:
>"Pride-The Charley Pride Story", by Charley Pride with Jim Henderson
>"I Lived to Tell it All", by George Jones with Tom Carter
>"Hell-Bent for Music: The Life of Pee Wee KIng", by Wade Hall
>"The Hank Snow Story", by Hank Snow with Jack Ownbey and Bob Burris
>"Ernest Tubb-The Texas Troubadour", by Ronnie Pugh
>"Eddy Arnold-Pioneer of the Nashville Sound", by Michael Streissguth
>"Can't You Hear Me Callin'-The Life of Bill Monroe: Father of Bluegrass", by Richard Smith
>"A Satisfied Mind-The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner", by Steve Eng
>"Live Fast Love Hard-The Faron Young Story", by Diane Diekman
>"Looking Back to See-A Country Music Memoir", by Maxine Brown
>"Bus Fare to Kentucky", by Skeeter Davis
>"Roy Acuff-The Smoky Mountain Boy", by Elizabeth Schlappi
>"Like a Moth to a Flame-The Jim Reeves Story", by Michael Streissguth
>"Whisperin' Bill", by Bill Anderson
>"The Delmore Brothers-Truth is Stranger than Publicity", by Alton Delmore
>"Not Too Old to Cut the Mustard-Bill Carlisle" by Anita Capps
>"In the Beginning..There Was the Men's Room", by Sam Wellington(The Fabulous Four Guys)
>"From the Heart", by June Carter Cash
>"Sunshine and Shadow", by Jan Howard
>"Coal Miner's Daughter", by Loretta Lynn
>"Get to the Heart-My Story", by Barbara Mandrell
>"In Close Harmony-The Story of the Louvin Brothers", by Charles Wolfe
>"Tom T Hall-Country Poet", by Tom T. Hall
>"Dolly-My Life and other Unfinished Business", by Dolly Parton
>"Reba-My Story", by Reba McEntire
>"Man of Constant Sorrow-My Life and Times", by Ralph Stanley and Eddie Dean(October 15)
>"It's The Cowboy Way-The Amazing True Adventures of Riders In The Sky", by Don Cusic
>"The Life Story of Kitty Wells-The Queen of Country Music", by A.C. Dunkleburger
>"Cowboy Copas", by John Roger Simon
>"Minnie Pearl", by Minnie Pearl
>"Life Everlaughter-The Heart and Humor of Jerry Clower", by Jerry Clower
>"Everybody's Grandpa-Fifty Years Behind the Mike", by Grandpa Jones and Charles Wolfe
>"Honky Tonk Angel-The Intimate Story of Patsy Cline", by Ellis Nassour and Dottie West
>"George Hamilton IV", by Paul Davis

As a disclaimer, I know that numerous books have been written about Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash(both former Opry members), and Dolly Parton. Bill Anderson has written several books. I also realize that a number of books have been written about Patsy Cline, Reba, Ralph Stanley, Eddy Arnold, etc, but I tried to stick to the major title associated with them. I know that Jeanne Pruett and others have written cookbooks, which I did not include. I also did not include the newer Opry members, who have had books written about them. Again, I know that I am missing some. I was amazed to find no major biographies written about a number of great stars including Little Jimmy Dickens(which I think would be great), a major Kitty Wells biography(in more detail than the earlier one written), or a Wilma Lee Cooper biography. I mention these three entertainers because of their age and the fact that they might not be around much longer and could provide us with many details of the past eras of country music. We'll, the list above is a start.


  1. GREAT list! Let's see. Johnny Bond wrote a biography of Tex Ritter. Bashful Brother Oswald worked with a couple of friends on a small autobiography. And I agree on the need for a new book on Mr. Acuff. That would be a major work. I'd also love to see a joint biography of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

    I just re-read Hank Snow's autobiography, and it was incredibly candid about some things and a bit coy about some others, I thought, but the detail was incredible. I know that Jean Shepard will have some great stories about him because they shared a dressing room for years and fought like the dickens (not Little Jimmy), but just loved each other.

  2. It is funny that you mention the Hank Snow book. I have a copy and I look through it reguarly, because it is such an interesting book. As I read it, you can really tell, just in his own words, that he was a complex guy. I know that he had a reputation in town of being "difficult", and also of being a "womanizer".(It's ironic that his son grew up almost like him, Jimmie Snow has even commented on that), but he did have some great talent and was a fine guitar player. He is one of my personal favorites. And, he always acted like a "big star", even when he was not, in his early days. Just a side note: I now that whenever I went to the Opry and he was hosting a segment, once he sang his opening song, he always went and stood behind the podium to introduce his guests. He never went back onto the stage except when it was his time to perform his next song. Most of the artists will come out center stage to introduce the acts. Also, in his later years, he used index cards that he hooked to the mic stand, with the words written down for his songs. He always said that he just wanted to make sure he got the songs exactly right and didn't make a mistake. The final note, is that it is still funny, and they have the clip at the Country Music Hall of Fame, that when he was elected into the Hall of Fame, he thanked his wife,"Mrs. Hank Snow." Odd that he did not use her first name, as everyone knew his wife was "Mrs. Hank Snow".