Opry Country Classics, the Thursday night show that the Opry started last year will be returning for another year starting on Thursday March 25.
In looking at the Opry website, it looks like they are going to stick to the same format that they used last year, with most shows having a theme and a spotlight artist. Larry Gatlin, who hosted a majority of the shows last year, will be back again to host many of the shows this coming year.
Looking at what Opry Country Classics has planned so far for this year:
>March 25 will be a salute to The Statler Brothers, with Larry Gatlin as the host. Scheduled to appear so far are Dailey & Vincent, who just released the great Statler Brothers tribute CD, Eric Heatherly, who had a hit a number of years back with "Flowers on the Wall", Wilson Fairchild and Jimmy Fortune. It will be interesting to see if any of the other three Statler Brothers will make an appearance, just to say hi and wave to the audience. I know they are retired, but it would be nice to have a suprise appearance by them.
>April 1 will have Larry Gatlin again hosting, with Ray Stevens as the spotlight artist.
>April 22 will have Larry Gatlin as the host with Ronny Robbins scheduled.
>April 29 has Steve Wariner as the spotlight artist.
>May 5 will again have Larry Gatlin as the host.
>May 20 has Mel Tillis listed as the spotlight artist.
>May 27 is again Larry Gatlin with David Frizzell.
>June 10 has The Oak Ridge Boys as the spotlight artist, with Larry Gatlin as the host.
Larry is also scheduled to host all of the shows in September when the Thursday night show returns.
I know many times we have discussed who might be a future member of the Grand Ole Opry. I have speculated, and have heard several times, that Rhonda Vincent was going to be a new member, and it just hasn't happened as of yet. She wants to be a member, but I have noticed that her appearances on the Opry have dropped as of late, and she just announced that she is leaving her record label and going elsewhere. She doesn't seem as "hot" as she was a couple of years past and maybe the thought of her becoming an Opry member is fading away.
Dailey & Vincent have been guesting on the Opry quite a bit as of late, and they have received great response from the audience. Several have speculated that a bluegrass act might be the next logical choice to become a member, as current group of bluegrass performers who are members of the Opry are starting to age, with Jesse McReynolds and Ralph Stanley over 80 years old, Bobby Osborne and Del McCoury moving past 70, and even Ricky Skaggs, who many of us think as being one of the newcomers to the Opry, being 55.
Sometimes I get a "hunch" or a funny feeling about something, with no real information on if it might happen or not. But for some reason, I am starting to get feelings about The Oak Ridge Boys. I saw them at the Opry in February and the response they got was just outstanding. I also noticed during their entire time on stage that Pete Fisher was standing on the side of the stage watching. Normally, he is in the wings and not out front except for certain acts. I have seen the Oaks on the Opry several different times, all with the same audience reaction. My feeling is that they would be great Opry members and maybe at this stage in their career, might be open to becoming members.
Over the past several years, some older acts have been added as Opry members, people such as Mel Tillis and Charlie Daniels. I also have noticed the the Oak Ridge Boys have a couple of upcoming Opry appearances scheduled. Like I said, I have nothing right now to base this on, but I just wouldn't be suprised if the Oak Ridge Boys ended up being members of the Opry. Just something to watch out for.