Brad Paisley had a press conference yesterday where he announced his big plans and tour for the coming year. Nowhere during the press conference did he mention the Opry. I only say that because it would have been nice, as an Opry member, to say that he was going to plan on being on the Opry a few times this coming year as part of his tour. He is another one, who before they became an Opry member, was on the Opry a lot. He talked about his love of the Opry, how much he appreciated Jimmy Dickens and Bill Anderson. Then, in typical fashion of late, he becomes a member and basically disappears.
It just seems to be a pattern. As a young and upcoming artist, they do the Opry as much as they are asked, knowing it is good exposure, and at the time, were probably getting on the televised portion. Then the artist has a hit and it looks like their career is going to take off, so the artist is asked to become an Opry member. They agree and talk about what a great place the Opry is, how they listened to it every week as a child, how much their Mom or Dad loved George Jones or Hank Snow, or whoever, and promise to be there as much as possible. Then, they have several number one hits, start touring, and suddenly the Opry is not as important to them anymore. If we are lucky, we see them at the Opry 5 times a year. Or, whatever number of times the star feels like coming to the Opry. (In the case of Alan Jackson, that would be once per year). Then when they get to the Opry, they say how great it is, how much they miss it, and they will be back soon. (Right!!).
At his press conference last year announcing his return to Vegas, Garth Brooks held it on the Opry stage and talked about getting back to the Opry and how great it was. We'll, we are still waiting. (Although if Garth follows his pattern of Opry appearances, he might be there for the 85th birthday celebration).
I know that as "big" stars, they have busy lives and tours and recording sessions, etc., But, if they don't feel that the Opry is that important to them any longer, than quit. Make room for someone else.
And, yes, big stars can find time to do the Opry. When Vince Gill was the hotest thing in country music, he was there. And there are many others.
I use Brad Paisley as a recent example. But he is not alone. The pattern continues. There is always the hope that it will be broken. Maybe Carrie Underwood or Josh Turner will be the ones to set a new pattern. I wish, but just not hopeful.