Monday, May 31, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry--June 1

Here is the line-up for this week's Tuesday Night Opry, June 1. This week's show will be at the TPAC's Jackson Hall. Having been in this facility a couple of times, this is a pretty nice hall and it should suit the Opry well.

7:00: Jim Ed Brown; Holly Williams
7:30: Jean Shepard; Billy Dean
8:15: John Conlee; Jim Lauderdale
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Cherryholmes

We have been seeing a lot of Holly Williams on the Opry over the past several months. I know she has a new CD out and is trying to establish her career. I know that in the past the Opry likes to hook on to younger singers and give them exposure hoping that they will make it and remember the Opry after they do. Josh Turner is a good example of someone that this worked out well for, while there are a couple of others who just never hit it big, despite the Opry's help. I can think of Mandy Barnett and Rebecca Lynn Howard, who fall into that group.

Also, I did listen to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night and thought it was a pretty good show. I especially enjoyed John Conlee singing, "They also Serve", which I think is a great song.

Happy Memorial Day to all. And, please remember.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 5/28 & 5/29

The Grand Ole Opry has announced their line-ups for this weekend's shows. There is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night, with both shows taking place at the Ryman Auditorium. Here are the line-ups:

Friday May 28
7:00: Mel Tillis(host); Riders In The Sky; John Conlee
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Michael Montgomery
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Jean Shepard; Ole Crow Medicine Show
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Jack Greene; Lee Greenwood

Saturday May 29
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); John Conlee; Dan Tyminski & Ronnie Bowman
8:15: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; Exile; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Jaron & The Long Road To Love; The Whites

As far as the Midnight Jamboree at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, the hosts this week will be Riders In The Sky.

Finally, I am hearing of some people having issues involving the shows that were originally scheduled for Tuesday night June 8. This is night during the CMA Music Fest that has scheduled Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner, Trisha Yearwood and others. Originally, there were going to be two shows, one at 7 and the second at 9:30, both at the Grand Ole Opry House. Now there is one show scheduled at the Municipal Auditorium. Here are the issues that some ticket holders are having:
>The Opry said it would refund the tickets to those who held tickets for the 9:30 show and were unable to attend the earlier show. Some have said that there is confusion when they call the Opry asking about getting a refund.
>The second issue involves seating. The Opry is offering "comparable" seating to the ticket holders when the show is moved to a different location. But, in this case, as they are turning two shows into one show and the talent line-up that is being advertised, all who had tickets in the front row at the Opry House want seats in the front row at the Auditorium. Obviously that cannot happen, so you have some unhappy customers. Also, for those who have been in the Municipal Auditorium, it is not like the Opry House. It is an older arena, better suited for the circus and wrestling shows, than the Opry. That also means that many people who thought they would have good seats looking straight into the stage, will have seats on the side of the arena. The Opry says it is doing their best to make everyone happy, and knowing a few of the customer service folks who work for Gaylord, I am sure that they are working very hard to try to make that happen.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Opry Country Classics-May 27

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, at the Ryman Auditorium on Thursday May 27

Host: T.G. Sheppard
Spotlight Artist: John Anderson
Also Appearing: Rhett Akins, David Frizzell, Opry Square Dancers, Shelly West, Chris Young.

Just a couple of comments:
>I find it interesting that David Frizzell and Shelly West are not scheduled together. I would assume that they would sing a duet or two.
>How can you have an Opry sponsored show and not have an Opry member on it? I just don't get it. There are 66 current members and Pete Fisher could not find one of them who could or would appear on the show? I find this totally unacceptable! And when I think of classic artists, I think of folks like Jimmy Dickens, Ray Price, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, etc. (I think you get the idea). I don't think of any of those listed for this show.

Come on Grand Ole Opry. If you are going to have an Opry show, let's get some members appearing and if you are going to call the show a "classics" show, let's feature some classic country music performers.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Observations on Tuesday's "Televised" Opry Show

After watching tonight's Tuesday Night Opry on, I wanted to offer my observations and opinions on what I saw tonight.

First, let's look at what I view as the positives:
>I thought that the picture quality and sound were excellent and far better than the last attempt at a live video stream of the Opry when Carrie Underwood was on.
>It was great that they showed the Opry as it was actually taking place, uninterrupted, on the Ryman stage. There was no Nan Kelley or Storme Warren acting as an "tv" announcer. The show was shown straight through, including Eddie Stubbs being shown reading all of the commercials and introducing each segment and act.
>The Ryman Auditorium looked full, although I know that tickets were still on sale earlier today. Also, I was pleased that they used the backdrop that is used for Opry country classics and was used in previous years, instead of the mini-version of the backdrop that is used at the Opry house.
>All the artists were great, and they all played with their full road bands. If you have listened or been to the Opry lately, you know that Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill have been appearing without their bands. Same with Steve Wariner when I saw him on the Opry in April. The crowd was also very enthusiastic.

Now for the negative:
>The show started out great with Steve Wariner, but as the show went into Ricky Skagg's segment, then buffering and video streaming problems started. I am not a computer expert, but I would suspect that many more people were trying to watch it tonight than the server could handle. And, I was not the only one with the issue as I went on the Opry's facebook page, and the Opry was acknowledging the problem and suggesting people go to a couple of different sites to watch it. But, the Opry should have anticipated that a high number of people would be interested in this broadcast and should have been prepared. I will say that the buffering and streaming problem seemed to get a little better when the jam started so maybe some of those watching finally quit watching or when to other sites because of the issues.
>On the video site, there was the option to join a chat. I did and it was not what I had expected. There were only around 15-20 people on it during the several times that I checked, and only a couple were actually chatting about the show. The others were just off on other things. Also from what I could tell, there was no moderator for the chat.
>The jam at the end was good but it consisted of only 2 songs. I kept hoping that a guest star, such as Jimmy Dickens, would come out. Nobody did.
>Finally, the Opry only televised 1 hour of what was a 2 hour show at the Ryman. The first hour included Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely. Since the Opry was producing this show themselves and not having a network tell them who they could or could not put on, I don't understand why they did not include any legends. Of course, what are the chances that this hour would have been shown live if Steve, Ricky, Vince and Brad were not on the Opry tonight? The answer in none.

A couple of final observations:
They showed a little video at the end with Steve Buchanan showing some of the work and damage at the Opry house with some video taken backstage. There was nothing new to report on the damage. The Opry is supposed to announce in a couple of weeks their timetable for returning to the Opry House. Everything up until September has been moved to other sites. I think sometime in September might be a good guess, but I would not be suprised at all if they did not make it back until the birthday celebration in October. Either way, I expect a big, big weekend when they do return to the Opry House and billing it as a grand re-opening or a homecoming.

I noticed on the video site that Brad Paisley was appearing courtesy of Arista Nashville. None of the other artists were appearing courtesy of anyone. But that begs a couple of questions? Does Brad have to get Arista's permission to do the Opry or their permission to be televised while on the Opry? Or did Arista pick up a portion of Brad's pay for being on the Opry tonight while nobody picked up the Opry's cost for Steve, Ricky or Vince? Just a couple of questions, that is all. I know that all of the Opry's members are covered by the musician union's contract and the television and internet rights are covered in that contract, but I have never seen anyone appearing before courtesy of their record company.

I would love to see the Opry do this again. Obviously, they are experimenting with various ways to do a better job at getting the Opry out in the public eye and television continues to be a problem for them. Nobody wants to pay the price that Gaylord is asking to televise the show and there are few options available. I have said in the past that I would love for RFD-TV to try to work something out, but I have not heard anything in that regard. Doing an internet show is a great idea and I would love to see them continue to do it. I am sure that if they make the decision to do another of these shows, they will continue to work at making the presentation better. Just like this one was better than the first one that they did, I am sure the next one will be even better. And, if they were to show an entire Opry show every once in a while, even if it was just one time each year, I am sure most people would pay a reasonable cost to watch it. And, this gives everyone across the country an opportunity to see an Opry show.

Overall, I would give this show a thumbs up!!!!!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Grand Ole Opry---December 30, 1961

Here we go again. I am posting another of my classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. This time, I go back to December 30, 1961 as the Opry had one show at the Ryman Auditorium.

Porter Wayne Wagoner(host)
Robert L. Lord
Thurman Theodore & Virgil Doyle Wilburn
David Akeman
Margie Bowes
Justin Wayne Tubb

Lester Raymond Flatt & Earl Eugene Scruggs(host)
Carl Robert Butler
William Toliver Carlisle
Jimmy Yves Newman
Louis Marshall Jones

Donald Eugene Gibson(host)
George Thomas Morgan
Archie James Campbell
Ira Lonnie & Charles Elzer Loudermilk
Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood
Claude Sharpe, Ross Dowden, Luther Heatwole, Joseph McPherson

Martin David Robinson(host)
William Smith Monroe
Lloyd Estel Copas
Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon
James Clue Summey

Clarence Eugene Snow(host)
Wilma Lee Leary & Dale T. Cooper
Harold Franklin Hawkins
Lloyd Leslie George & Rollin Lillian Sullivan
Ollie Imogene Shepard
Thomas Paul, Charles & James Glaser

Porter Wayne Wagoner(host)
Thurman Theodore & Virgil Doyle Wilburn
Margie Bowes

Lester Raymond Flatt & Earl Eugene Scruggs(host)
George Thomas Morgan
Robert L. Lord
Justin Wayne Tubb

Donald Eugene Gibson(host)
William Toliver Carlisle
Carl Robert Butler
Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood

Martin David Robinson(host)
David Akeman

Clarence Eugene Snow(host)
William Smith Monroe
Jimmy Yves Newman
Lloyd Leslie George & Rollin Lillian Sullivan
Louis Marshall Jones
Claude Sharpe, Ross Dowden, Luther Heatwole, Joseph McPherson

Harold Franklin Hawkins(host)
Thomas Paul, Charles & James Glaser
James Clue Summey
Ollie Imogene Shepard
Lloyd Estel Copas
Wilma Lee Leary & Dale T. Cooper
Ira Lonnie & Charles Elzer Loudermilk

Ok, before everyone gets excited and thinks that I have lost my mind, I decided to post the line-up with the artist's real/legal names. I wonder how many of you knew who each artist was? Just having some fun with everyone and testing how much all of you know about those classic Opry stars. Now, here is the line-up as I am sure most would recognize:

7:30: Porter Wagoner, Bobby Lord, Wilburn Brothers, Stringbean, Margie Bowes, Justin Tubb
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs, Carl Butler, Bill Carlisle, Jimmy Newman, Grandpa Jones
8:30: Don Gibson, George Morgan, Archie Campbell, Louvin Brothers, Del Wood, Old Hickory Singers
9:00: Marty Robbins, Bill Monroe, Cowboy Copas, Minnie Pearl, Cousin Jody
9:30: Hank Snow, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Hawshaw Hawkins, Lonza & Oscar, Jean Shepard, Glaser Brothers
10:00: Porter Wagoner, Wilburn Brothers, Margie Bowes
10:15: Flatt & Scruggs, George Morgan, Bobby Lord, Justin Tubb
10:30: Don Gibson, Bill Carlisle, Carl Butler, Del Wood
10:45: Marty Robbins, Stringbean
11:00: Hank Snow, Bill Monroe, Jimmy Newman, Lonzo & Oscar, Grandpa Jones, Old Hickory Singers
11:30: Hawshaw Hawkins, Glaser Brothers, Cousin Jody, Jean Shepard, Cowboy Copas, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, Louvin Brothers

The only artists that appeared only one time that night were Archie Campbell and Minnie Pearl. Remember, this was in the era of only one show on each Saturday night, with the general rule that each artist would appear one time before 10:00 and one time again after 10:00.

Hope you enjoyed this.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry to be shown on

The Grand Ole Opry has announced that the Tuesday Night Opry on May 25 will be shown live on The show will feature Grand Ole Opry members Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Ricky Skaggs and Steve Wariner.

The night is set to both raise funds for Middle Tennessee flood relief and kick off the Opry's months-long 85th Birthday Celebration. Each Opry member will take the stage individually followed by a guitar jam finale featuring the group's take on some of the most popular songs in the Opry's 85-year history.

My opinion is that I am glad that the Opry is doing this. Since they can't seem to get a television deal, it looks like they are exploring other options. This is a good start and perhaps we will see more of this. On the down side, it would have been great if they were to show the entire 2 hour show, as the 1st hour of the show will feature Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson and Jeannie Seely, true Opry legends. Since the Opry is producing this themselves, I would ask what is the reason for not showing the entire show? Based on the press release, they are not.

Billy Walker

Just a note that we lost Billy Walker 4 years ago today, on May 21, 2006. He really had one of the great voices in country music and had a string of hits. I will tell you that my favorite was, "When a Man Loves a Woman." He was always well received when he was on the Opry. It is just too bad that during his last several years on the show, he was considered one of those artists that didn't have to be scheduled every week as Pete Fisher started the push to use younger artists. If you remember, Billy was one of the artists who spoke out, along with Del Reeves and Charlie Louvin.

Billy was really underrated in the history of country music and I think that he does deserve serious consideration for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

RIP-Billy Walker.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Grand Ole Opry-Future Sites

The Grand Ole Opry has made a couple of decisions regarding future sites for the show. The Saturday June 5 and Tuesday June 15 shows will take place at Allen Arena at Lipscomb Univeristy.

The Tuesday June 8 show, which features Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner and Trisha Yearwood will be held at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium, which has hosted the Opry previously. Originally, there were going to be 2 shows for that night, but now that it is in a much larger venue, there will only be one show at 7.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 5/20 & 5/21

The Grand Ole Opry has posted this weekend's line-ups. The Friday Night Opry will be held at the Ryman Auditorium, while the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will be at the War Memorial Auditorium.

This weekend's shows are highlighted by a return to the Opry stage by Bill Anderson, who has been on tour recently. On Saturday night, Charley Pride will be hosting a segment.

Friday May 21:
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Whites
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jason Michael Carroll; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Gary Mule Deer; Joey + Rory
8:45: Jim Ed Brown(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Mountain Heart

Saturday May 22:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jim Ed Brown; The Bowling Family
7:30: John Conlee(host); George Hamilton IV; Laura Bell Bundy
8:15: Charley Pride(host); Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Kathy Mattea

Kathy Mattea continues her string of recent Opry appearances. I know she was there on one of my last visits to the Opry and was well received by the crowd. Someday, she might make a good Opry member as she loves the traditonal sound.

The Opry has also announced the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry on May 25. If you remember, this was the show that was supposed to It kick off the Opry's 85th birthday celebration. It still will, but now the show will be at the Ryman Auditorium instead of the Opry House. The line-up for the show is:

7:00: Jimmy Dickens; Jeannie Seely; Bill Anderson
8:00: Steve Wariner; Ricky Skaggs; Vince Gill; Brad Paisley

And finally, The Ernest Tubb Record Shop Midnight Jamboree will be hosted this Saturday night by Stonewall Jackson. Should be a great show.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Opry Country Classics-Thursday May 20

Here is the line-up for this week's Opry Country Classics. The show will take place at the Ryman Auditorium.

Host: Nan Kelley
Spotlight Artist: Mel Tillis
Also appearing: Mandy Barnett, Shawn Camp, Opry Square Dancers, Ray Pillow, Joe Stampley, Chris Young.

Nice to see Mel as the spotlight artist, but there is only one other Opry member performing on the show. I would still like to see more Opry legends and country music legends appearing on the classics show.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Grand Ole Opry---October 20, 1962

With all the bad news about the Grand Ole Opry House lately, I thought it was time to look back at happier times at the Grand Ole Opry. So, I have decided to post another of my classic Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past. Today I go back to October 20, 1962

7:30: Faron Young(host); Billy Grammer; Justin Tubb; Del Wood
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs(host); Hank Locklin; Cowboy Copas; June Carter; Carter Family
8:30: Hawkshaw Hawkins(host); Wilburn Brothers; Don Gibson; Archie Campbell; Jean Shepard
9:00: Jim Reeves(host); Leroy Van Dyke; Glaser Brothers; Texas Ruby; Curley Fox
9:30: George Morgan(host); Roy Drusky; Cousin Jody
10:00: Faron Young(host); Cowboy Copas; Justin Tubb
10:15: Flatt & Scruggs(host); Billy Grammer; Carter Family
10:30: Wiburn Brothers(host); Don Gibson; Del Wood
10:45: Hank Locklin(host); Archie Campbell
11:00: Jim Reeves(host); Glaser Brothers; Hawkshaw Hawkins; Jean Shepard; Leroy Van Dyke
11:30: George Morgan(host); Curley Fox; Roy Drusky; Cousin Jody; Texas Ruby

If you notice at the line-up, quite a few of the Opry's heavy hitters were missing that night including Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, Grandpa Jones, Marty Robbins and Minnie Pearl among others. Also, this was the period where the Opry was still doing just one show on Saturday night that ran from 7:30-Midnight. The general rule was that each performer would be on one time before 10:00 and then once after 10. There were a couple of exceptions, such as June Carter, who was only on once that night. This was also the period of time when things were a bit rough at the Opry, as attendance was down from it's peak that occured before Elvis and rock n' roll hit. Before that time, people would line up outside the Ryman Auditorium after the Opry started, and as people would leave after 10:00, having seen each performer once, those outside would be admitted. That is where some of the famous Opry pictures come from, where you see the big lines outside the Ryman after dark. People would wait for hours for a chance to get in and see the big country stars. But, when you bought your ticket for that night's show, it allowed you to see the entire show.

Sorry I don't have the list of sponsors that night or the entire list of songs that each artist performed.

Hope you enjoyed that look back at Opry history.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry 5/18

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 18. This show will be held at Two Rivers Baptist Church.

7:00: Riders In The Sky; Eric Church
7:30: Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; David Nail
8:15: The Whites; Darryl Worley
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Charlie Daniels Band

Friday, May 14, 2010

Grand Ole Opry House Stripped Down For Repairs As Show Continues

(From The Tennessean)
Dressing room #1 at the Grand Ole Opry House is the one that Roy Acuff, the "King of Country Music," used. It's the closest room to the stage and on the door there's a plaque with words that served as a mantra for Acuff.

"Ain't Nothin Gonna Come Up Today That Me And The Lord Can't Handle," reads the plaque still in fine shape since it is placed about a foot above the line where the muddy waters crested on May 3 during the 2010 flood. The water rose to 46 inches throughout most of the Opry House, including over the stage.

The water is gone now from the damaged and dusty building. Hundreds of artifacts-audio and video tapes, musical instruments, photos and stage clothes-that were underwater are now being cared for away from the Opry House. The six-foot circle of pine cut from the Ryman stage and installed on the Opry House stage fared comparatively well, while the rest of the stage's wood is a loss.

"The strength of the Ryman Stage was superior to the rest of what we had in place," said Grand Ole Opry Group President Steve Buchanan.

Outside the Opry House, chairs that once supported country music's elite, desks and cabinets that held beloved trinkets and a dressing room mirror used by famous faces all baked in the sun: treasures to trash, courtesy of 36 hours of rain and one breached levee.

Workers have stripped most everything from the building. Anything remotely salvageable is off-campus, doctored by people who do this sort of thing for a living. A team of luthiers is working to restore stringed instruments that were in hall lockers, in dressing rooms or in the Grand Ole Opry Museum, and Acuff's personal instrument collection is among the things the luthiers are trying to save. All lower-level benches in the auditorium have been taken out.

And what is left? Several warped pianos, some muddy electrical equipment and loads of cleanup equipment. Plenty of people, as well. It's hard to tell the temporary, cleanup staff from the longtime employees.

"We have over 70 employees whose offices were impacted, but that hasn't kept them from showing up for work," Buchanan said. "Nobody is worried about job descriptions at a time like this."

Buchanan said it's still too early to get into damage estimates or specific timelines for reopening. Thousands of decisions must be made, many of them involving what to replace, what to renovate, what to let go. Backstage men's room was already on the list of things to make better, so the Opry's male performers can count on at least one new perk when the building reopens.

Most of all Buchanan is prone to mention that the Opry has taken place at a handful of buildings over the years, and that the current performance schedule-a mult-artist show's version of couch-hopping in which the Opry plays at the Ryman and other venues during renovation-is an unexpected reality but not a historically outrageous prospect.

The show goes on, no matter the venue. The Grand Ole Opry House spent hours underwater. The Grand Ole Opry was dry the whole time.

(The Tennessean does have a photo gallery of backstage pictures on their website. Also, this is th first I have heard mentioned of the Acuff musical collection since the flood. If you have never seen his instruments, they were among the most historical items in the Opry Museum and not only go back to the original stars of the Opry, but to perfomers before the Opry was even thought of. That is one collection that I hope can be restored.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Future Opry Show Locations

The Grand Ole Opry has made several decisions regarding the locations of their future shows. For the most part, the shows will be at the Ryman Auditorium. But there are a couple of exceptions. Here is the schedule as I currently have it:

Friday May 14/Saturday May 15/Tuesday May 18-Two Rivers Baptist Church
Thursday May 20/Friday May 21-Ryman Auditorium
Saturday May 22-War Memorial Auditorium
Tuesday May 25/Thursday May 27/Friday May 28/Saturday May 29-Ryman Auditorium
Tuesday June 1-TPAC's Jackson Hall
Thursday June 3/Friday June 4-Ryman Auditorium
Saturday June 4/Tuesday June 8-Location To Be Determined

Then from Thursday June 19 thru Thursday September 2, all shows will be at the Ryman Auditorium, except for the following dates, with locations to be announced:
Tuesday June 15/Tuesday June 29/Tuesday July 27/Friday August 6/Tuesday August 10/Saturday August 21/Saturday August 28.

Right now, it looks like they might be targeting a return to the Opry House on Friday September 3, but that is just an estimate at best. The shows during the first week of June that they haven't decided on the location as of yet are the shows the week of the CMA Festival, and feature among others Carrie Underwood. My guess is that they are looking for a larger facility to hold the show in and take advantage of the crowds in town for the Music Festival.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 5/14 & 5/15--Updated

The Opry has filled out their line-up for this weekend:

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the preliminary line-ups for this weekends shows. I say preliminary because over the past couple of weeks there have been some last minute cancellations and also the schedule still has a couple of slots to fill.

This weekend's Opry shows will take place at Two Rivers Baptist Church, which is across Briley Parkway from the Opry House. Two Rivers Baptist Church was the site of the funeral of Ernest Tubb, which took place on September 10, 1984. 1500 people attended the services that day. The pallbearers included Bill Monroe, Cal Smith, Carl Smith, Hank Williams, Jr., Teddy Wilburn, Carl Butler, Jack Greene, Billy Parker, Junior Pruneda, Porter Wagoner, and Ernest's brother C.R. Tubb, Jr. Among the stars who attended the funeral were Roy Acuff, B.J. Thomas, Jimmy Dickens Kitty Wells, Billy Walker, Hank Snow, George Hamilton IV, Jim Ed Brown, Connie Smith, Lorrie Morgan, Charlie Walker and Jeannie Seely. Bill Monroe and B.J. Thomas sang at the service. A number of Ernest Tubb songs were also played.

With the Opry at Two Rivers, there will be one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday. Here are the line-ups:

Friday May 14:
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Andy Griggs
7:30: Lorrie Morgan(host); Jack Greene; Matt Kennon
8:15: Jimmy C. Newman(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
8:45: Jean Shepard(host); Jan Howard; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday May 15:
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Holly Williams
7:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jean Shepard; Matt Kennon
8:15: Steve Wariner(host); Jack Greene; Riders In The Sky
8:45: Ricky Skaggs(host); Charlie Louvin; The Whites

Grand Ole Opry on NBC Nightly News

Just a note that the Grand Ole Opry House is being featured in a story on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams tonight. Brad Paisley will be the guide for the story.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry 5/11 & Opry Country Classics 5/13

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May11. The show will take place at the Ryman Auditorium and as we saw this weekend, it would appear that some of the Opry's biggest stars are going to be making appearances at the Opry. Over this weekend, we had Brad Paisley and Alan Jackson and on Tuesday we have Martina McBride and George Jones. I will be listening to see how George sounds. From the reports that I read from a friend of mine who saw George in concert recently, his voice was not good at all. I hope that is not the case.

7:00: John Conlee; Joe Diffie
7:30: Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Carolina Chocolate Drops
8:15: Jean Shepard; Martina McBride
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; George Jones

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, Thursday May 13
Host: T. G. Sheppard
Spotlight Artist: Blake Shelton
Also Appearing: Wade Hayes; Gene Watson; Opry Square Dancers; The Whites; Holly Williams.

What is wrong with this line-up? Outside of the square dancers, there is only one act on the show, The Whites, that are members of the Opry. And, this is an Opry sponsored show!!! Also, it is called Opry Country Classics. I can't say that Blake Shelton would fall into the "country classic" definition, but he is the spotlight artist. Originally, I thought this show would feature not only classic country songs, but also classic country artists. This show does have Gene Watson and T. G. Sheppard, but I think it is missing the mark.

On a final note, the Opry has announced the locations of some of its future shows:

Next weekend, May 14 & 15, and next Tuesday May 18, the shows will be at Two Rivers Baptist Church, which is located basically across the parkway from the Opry House. My first thought was that the Opry must really be scrambling to find a location to put on the show on such short notice, but as was pointed out to me, this church seats over 3,000 people and looks very impressive inside based on the picture that was sent to me. (Thanks!!)

The shows on May 22 and June 1 will be at the War Memorial Auditorium.

The rest of the shows through June 3 will be at the Ryman Auditorium.

On a final note, I have noticed that none of the press releases about upcoming shows have mentioned the Wednesday night shows that were planned for this summer. I wonder if those were put on the back burner.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Opry House Update

From the Tennessean:

Country music's most famous circle is unbroken.

Cut from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium and inserted into the Grand Ole Opry House stage as a nod to tradition and history, the six-foot circle of oak was submerged in two feet of water during the flood of 2010. The rest of the waterlogged Opry stage will likely be trashed. But the circle, where Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Patsy Cline and other greats stood and sang is irreplaceable.

"It is in remarkably good condition," said Grand Ole Opry Group president Steve Buchanan. "We will ultimately need to replace the stage, but we do that every few years. But the circle will be saved, and it will be center stage when we open back up."

Buchanan declined to specify other individual Opry House items that made it through last weekend's storms. He and others are still searching through the rubble, which is, after all, better than wading through the rubble. The water is gone now from the auditorium and from the backstage area, though noxious filth remains. It should take three to four weeks to clean the mud off, after which the process of assessing and repairing the damage will begin.

"The destruction is on a grand scale," Buchanan said. "And this is a building we have a loving and emotional attachment to. There've been moments of significant emotion every day. It's hard for everyone here, because they care so much. the people that work here consider this to be a very special place. We will not feel a sense of relief until we have completed the entire process, until we have gone through and hopefully been able to restore or rebuild."

Thursday, workers removed items from hallway lockers that had been flooded. Before the flood, the backstage hallways looked like what may be seen in a typical American high school, only the lockers often held rhinestone stage wear and iconic guitars rather than textbooks.

"We are very happy with the amount of stuff that got saved," said Colin Reed, CEO of Opry's parent company, Gaylord Entertainment, before talking for a moment about some of the items that did sustain water damage. "There were instruments. Jimmy Dickens had a few of his suits...we hope they haven't shrunk." Reed's Dickens comment made during a mid-day press conference, drew nervous laughter. "If we didn't make light of it, we would be in pertetual tears," he said.

On Sunday, May 2, with rain pouring down and the nearby Cumberland rising, Buchanan and a team of others worked at the Opry House, moving items of value to higher elevations. They saved archival photographs and tapes, and numerous items at the Grand Ole Opry Museum. The work ended around 10 p.m., when word came that the water had breached the levy. Less than 12 hours later, water covered all but the top four rows of the auditorium and spread throughout the building. Eye-level photographs on the wall were high enough to escape harm. Below that, things look rough.

"It's a profound loss," said Opry member Marty Stuart. "The good news is that the House can be replaced. But there were treasures in there, and some of them cannot be replaced. In my dressing room, there was a tapestry on the wall that was made from what was to be Porter Wagoner's last suit. It was made for him an dhe died before he could wear it. I don't know if that tapestry made it through or not. There was also a lot of stuff at the Grand Ole Opry Museum that I want to know about: There's Roy Acuff's instrument collection, Marty Robbins' costumes and other things. It's hard for me to wrap my head around all of it."

"It breaks your heart," Buchanan said. "But it's our responsibility to be sure that the building comes back to life. And it will."

Buchanan and Reed expect the Grand Ole Opry House will reopen well before the Opryland Hotel, and that both will be open for business by the end of the year.

"Already, we're starting to see the effects of being able to get in and clean up, and we're realizing that, clearly, we can get this done," Buchanan said.

Getting it done would mean a return to normalcy for the Opry show, which will bounce around between venues until its permanent home is patched and polished.

(Great job by Steve Buchanan and the others for working all day Sunday to try to save the most valuable of the items. It shows me the committment that Steve and the others have to the history of the Opry, and how much they understand how important the Opry is.)

Gaylord Press Conference

The executives from Gaylord Entertainment had a press conference today and offered an update on the condition of their properties. Just to review the highlights, they stated:

Water inside the Opry House reached as high as 2 feet above the stage. Workers have begun the driving process. The shows will continue at alternate sites and it will be about another 10 days until Gaylord officials will have a better timeline as far as how long it will take to get the repair and restoration work done.

Colin Reed did say that the hotel should be opened by the end of the year. They will know in about a week if it will be open in time for Christmas.

A Letter From Pete Fisher

This letter from Pete Fisher, Vice President/General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry showed up in my email box this morning. I know many of you received it also, but I wanted to post it for those who didn't:

Dear Grand Ole Opry fan:

As I'm sure you know by now earlier this week, the entire Opry Entertainment Complex including the Grand Ole Opry House experienced flooding from the Cumberland River here in Nashville. We have heard from fans around the world sharing their concern for the Opry family, and we thank each of you for thinking of us.

As a result of the flooding, the Grand Ole Opry has been temporarily displaced from its permanent home, the Grand Ole Opry House. I am pleased to tell you that even after the flood, the Grand Ole Opry tradition we all love continues and the show goes on! Though we will miss our permanent home for a while, you can bet there'll be great Opry shows in store for fans every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday this summer in a variety of venues.

Even on Tuesday night when the flood waters had just begun to recede, we performed a historic show at the War Memorial Auditorium, one of the Opry's former homes. As Opry member Marty Stuart said from the stage that night, "our family, our songs, and our spirit live on." Tonight's Opry Country Classics, this weekends shows, and next week's Tuesday Night Opry will all take place at the Opry's most famous former home, the Ryman Auditorium. Among the artists on those shows are Alan Jackson, George Jones, Brad Paisley, and Ricky Skaggs.

We will announce the venues for other upcoming shows soon. As you know, some of your favorite artists have already confirmed for those shows including the Charlie Daniels Band, Lady Antebellum, Charley Pride, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner and Carrie Underwood. Our Call Center is operational but can't yet handle its usual volume. Until it's back in full operation (which we hope will be very soon), the best way to buy tickets is online at If you still prefer to call, thank you for your patience.

Many of you have reached out to us to ask what you can do to help. The answer quite simply is that you can visit us at our shows. You can count on us to keep the music playing while we clean up, restore, and rebuild, and we would very much appreciate seeing you in the audience for this summer's performances. Please come see us, clap and laugh along, and see that spirts are high and the excitement continues in Music City!

Pete Fisher
Vice President, General Manager
Grand Ole Opry

I think Pete and the Opry staff are doing a great job communicating and reaching out to their fans. There have been many comments posted on their Facebook page, and the website of the Opry has been kept updated. If nothing else, this flood I think will cause some people to think about the Opry more, and the Opry will probably see increased attendance from this, and as I said in an earlier post, will probably see more of its members making appearances as a show of support for the show.

It still appears they are trying to figure out where to hold most of the future Opry shows. The Ryman Auditorium is the first choice and since it is owend by Gaylord, they would be keeping the money within the company. However, they do have to work around the shows already booked at the Ryman, including next weekend. I would think that the War Memorial is out, just from the fact that the seating capacity is only around 1600 (if I have the number right), and that is not nearly enough for the Opry, especially going into the summer months.

There are a couple of more venues around town, such as the Bridgestone Center (if they want to go real big), and even Belmont College. We will just have to wait and see. I know those who have tickets for upcoming shows have been calling and asking. Whatever tickets have been sold, will have to be converted to whatever facility they end up at.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Gaylord To Hold Press Conference On Friday

Colin Reed, CEO of Gaylord Entertainment said today that it could be up to 6 months before the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center reopen. He said it will take a week to pump the water out of hotel and then they would be able to look at the damage. He did say that Gaylord had $50 million dollars in flood insurance, and he did not know if that would cover all the damage. He did say that was the maximum amount that Gaylord could buy since it was next to the Cumberland River.

On an additional note, he said that Gaylord officials would hold a press conference on Friday to address the future plans of the Grand Ole Opry and the Wildhorse Saloon. Maybe by this time tomorrow we will have more information on the future locations of the Opry, the damage to the Opry House and how soon they expect to get the show back there.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 5/7 & 5/8---Updated

No joke intended, but it seems like as the flood waters have retreated, some missing Opry stars have been found. First, we had Brad Paisley scheduled for the Friday Night Opry and now Alan Jackson has been scheduled for the Saturday night show. And if that is not enough, George Jones is going to be on the Tuesday Night Opry. I would suspect that this will be the first wave of country stars, both members and non-members, who we will see appearing as a show of support on the show in the coming weeks.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-up for this weekend's shows. There is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night, with both nights being at the Ryman Auditorium. The line-up for Friday is the stronger of the two, with Brad Paisley making an appearance. Other stars that night include Ricky Skaggs, Dailey & Vincent and Diamond Rio. Saturday nights show is highlighted by Lee Greenwood. Looking at Saturday's line-up, there are still a couple of slots to fill.

Here is the line-up for the Friday Night Opry
7:00: Ricky Skaggs(host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; The Whites
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Janie Fricke
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Diamond Rio(host); Jan Howard; Mike Snider; Brad Paisley

Here is the line-up for the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Emily West
7:30: Jean Shepard(host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Stonewall Jackson; Lee Greenwood; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Alan Jackson

Now both Opry shows look good this weekend. Finally, Larry Gatlin is going to be on Larry King live tonight, and he will be live from Opry Country Classics. Hopefully, Larry will not interrupt him too much and give him a chance to say something. Maybe others will be on also. And, if you are a fan of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, Leona Williams is the host for this week's show.

Opry Notes

Just a couple of notes in looking at the various news stories:

Gaylord Entertainment announced today that it will hold a conference call on Friday May 7, 2010 at 10:00 a.m. to update shareholders and other constituents on the impact of the flood damage experienced at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and the Company's other Nashville-based facilities earlier this week.

As a shareholder, I will watch this webcast, as I am sure they will be discussing their plans on reopening the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and also regarding the Grand Ole Opry House. I also know that they still are going to have their annual stockholders meeting, so I am sure more information will come out of that.

In looking at the Opry website, they are still listing future shows at the Opry House. Obviously, they are still trying to figure out where future shows are going to be held. Also, they are entering a period where only one show was scheduled on Saturday night, and I am sure they will also be looking at that, to see if it is feasible to go to two shows every Saturday night or even on some Friday nights. With the Ryman significantly smaller than the Opry House, they may do that to maximize the attendance. Looking at who as committed for future shows, you have folks such as Carrie Underwood, Josh Turner and of course the big 85th anniversary kick-off show.

The last word that I have heard is that everything backstage at the Opry House is pretty much ruined. That would include all the dressing rooms, musical instruments, the stage costumes that various Opry stars had stored in their lockers, along with the sound equipment and the backdrop. Water filled the entire lower level up to the last four rows.

Finally, I look for the Opry and Pete Fisher to try to commit to a date to return to the Opry House as soon as they can. I would also expect the Opry to fully use the return to the Opry House as a very special event, maybe even calling it a homecoming, or a grand reopening of the Opry House, with many Opry stars returning for the opening night's show in a show of support for the Opry. Maybe they can get GAC involved since it would be such a special event. I know that I am going to make every effort to be there that night when they do return.

I also look for them to use this as a reason to maybe do some more updates inside the Opry House and to improve and update some of the interior of the Opry House. Items such as new carpeting, some new pews, and maybe even update the backdrop again. I am sure they are formulating their plans.

Those are just some of my thoughts.

Despite floods, Grand Ole Opry held across town/Relocated Grand Ole Opry show goes on

(By Chris Talbott, The Associated Press)

The venue was different, the tickets were handwritten and the gear was cobbled together. But the floodwaters that deluged Nashville couldn't stop The Grand Ole Opry.

Marty Stuart kicked off Tuesday night's show, which was moved to the city's War Memorial Auditorium after 4 to 6 feet of water from weekend storms flooded the Grand Ole Opry House east of downtown. Stuart, an Opry veteran, said it's not suprising the show went on: "That's wat we do at the Opry."

The evening was as much catharsis as it was entertainment after a harrowing three days when floodwaters killed dozens, destroyed thousands of homes and flooded some of Nashville's most well-known attractions.

Opry officials aimed for as much normalcy as possible. Hundreds of fans turned out to see the show at the auditorium, the Opry's home from 1939-43. As she has for 11 and a half years, Minnie Pearl impersonator Tesse Swinehart greeted fans outside with a super-sized, "Howdy!" She couldn't help but be affected by the devastation at the Opry House, though, after seeing pictures. "It's very sad, very disheartening," she said.

Once the show got underway, Stuart was joined on stage by U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who played piano on "Tennessee Waltz" and there were several poignant moments throughout the evening. Longtime Opry member Jeannie Seely lost her house in the flooding. She said friends were suprised she was still going to perform a set, which she pulled off in borrowed shoes. "We'll, she told the crowd, "it's not like I can sit and watch TV on the couch," before adding: "You can either laugh about it or you can cry, and I don't feel like crying."

The rest of the week's Opry shows have been moved to the Ryman Auditorium, also a former site of the show and a part-time host currently. The Ryman wasn't affected by the floodwaters, but many of the city's musical landmarks and institutions were.

Country stars have expressed concern about the state of the Opry House since it was flooded Monday. Stuart, in an interview earlier Tuesday, said he'd been told of widespread devastation by those who witnessed it. "What I understand is that as of yesterday one of my friends floated through the Opry House in a canoe and there was 4 feet of water on the stage at that time," he said. "The dressing rooms are a total loss."

It has yet to be determined if the Grand Ole Opry Museum, the Acuff instrument collection and the archives were lost. Stuart said if those things were destroyed, it would be "a profound
American loss." "I would say you lost photographs, "he said, "I would say you lost film. I would say you lost audio and the costumes, instruments, manuscripts, boots. You know, just everything that goes along with the Opry and Opry stars."

Gaylord Entertainment CEO Colin Reed says it will be a minimum of three months before the massive entertainment complex that also includes the Opryland Hotel and the Opry Mills Mall host guests again.He said ther will be thousands of workers on site within a week.

Opry General Manager Pete Fisher said it's too early to assess the damage in the Opry House. He called the evening historic because of the show's return to the auditorium and said it was a celebration of the enduring nature of the 85-year-old Opry. "We're here to get the word out that the Grand Ole Opry is not a place, it's a show," Fisher Said.

Of special concern was a 6-foot circle of wood from the old Ryman floorboards that was incorporated into the Opry House stage when it opened in 1974. Many consider it the very heart of country music.

Fittingly, the evening came to an end with the Opry's stars gathering on stage to perform "Will The Circle Be Unbroken?" "It's done in such a way I would have to think when the water goes down it will still be there and that's what I've got my eye on," Stuart said. "That circle really is symbolic of the spirit, and so the circle will be unbroken, if you will."

Here is another article, from the Tennessean:

Relocated 'Grand Ole Opry' show goes on

There were no padded wooden pews or big red curtain no barn in the background and no hallowed circle in which to stand, but the show went on, just like always. Due to extensive flooding at the Grand Ole Opry House, Tuesday night's Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium downtown, marking the first time an Opry show has taken place in the venue in more than 60 years. Tuesday's show was also the first time since 1975 that an Opry has taken place anywhere other than the Opry House or Ryman Auditorium.

The evening kicked off with opening remarks from Steve Buchanan, president of the Grand Ole Opry Group. "The Opry is a show," Buchanan told the crowd that filled about two thirds of the space. "No matter where the show is held, it takes the heart of country music with it. This is a historic occasion."

Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander also dropped by to address the Opry attendees. Corker said he thought it was important for the Opry to continue its programs because Middle Tennesseeans desperately needed a return to normalcy. Alexander then took a turn on the keyboard, performing a version of "Tennessee Waltz."

Other stars who lent their talents to Tuesday night's Opry-the first performance since floods ravaged downtown on Sunday-included Suzy Bogguss, Restless Heart, Marty Stuart, Jimmy C. Newman, Chris Young, Jack Greene and Jeannie Seely.

Seely, was also one of many local residents to lose their home in the flood. She was able to save her dog, but she did have to borrow a pair of shoes to wear on Tuesday night's show. "It's so great to be here," Seely said from the stage. "Somebody said, 'I can't believe you're going to play the Grand Ole Opry tonight.' I said, 'Well, it's not like I can stay home and watch TV.' You can laugh about it or cry, and I don't want to cry."

The show ended with all of the evening's performers returning to the stage to sing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." The crowd sang along and as the audience was leaving there was a feeling of reverence and optimism among many of its members.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Opry Relocates To Ryman Auditorium--Updated

The Grand Ole Opry has posted a notice on their Facebook page that future Grand Ole Opry shows will be held at the Ryman Auditorium until further notice.

Looking at the Ryman schedule, there could be a couple of issues. Next Friday, May 14, there is a sold-out Norah Jones concert. On Saturday May 15, there is a performance by Rickey Smiley.

On Tuesday May 18, Swell Season is scheduled and on Saturday May 22, Dierks Bentley is scheduled.

I am sure that the Ryman will try to reschedule those shows to different dates based on the artist's tour itinerary. Sometimes, that can easily be done.

What I don't know is whether the contracts are written in a way that gives Gaylord first priority in using the building for one of their own shows, and if that is grounds for cancellation.

If not, the Opry could be on the road, rotating to different locations, and I am sure that is not "Plan A".

The Tuesday Night Opry has just started, about 15 minutes late due to the crowd. Colin Reed, the CEO of Gaylord is there and he just announced that it will be at least 3 months until the Opry can return to the Opry House. He said that there is 4-6 feet of water in the Opry House. Until then, he said the Opry will be moving around at different locations in Nashville.

They are treating tonight as a historic night for the Opry, which I was sure they would do. They just announced Marty Stuart as the first act, and he started it off with a special song and was talking about Patsy Cline and Dottie West... "Let the church roll on."

This could also be bad news for the Opry if this stretches into June. That is when Opry attendance really picks up, especially with the CMA Music Festival in town and there tend to be stronger Opry line-ups.

I know that the articles always reference the 1975 floods, but that reached just the parking lot and the outside of the building and if I remember right, the Opry was only at the Municipal Auditorium for one week.

Opryland Crippled: tourism hurt

(From The Tennessean)
The weekend's historic floods struck Nashville's tourism industry at its heart, taking out a signature hotel and other attractions just as the city enters its peak summer visitor season.

The flooled Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center won't reopen for several months, leaving Nashville without 12 percent of its hotel rooms and wiping out as much as a fourth of the convention business that comes to town.

Honky-tonks and shops along Lower Broadway and on Second Avenue, including the Wildhorse Saloon and Hark Rock Cafe, closed Monday and didn't know when they could reopen because of flooding in their basements.

Water damage also shut down major tourist attractions including the Grand Ole Opry and Opry Mills shopping center the Frist Center for the Visual Arts and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.

Most should bounce back in time for the CMA Music Festival on June 10-13, if not well before then, said Butch Spyridon, president and CEO of Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

But Gaylord Opryland, with its nearly 2,900 hotel rooms and 600,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, will be out of commission indefinitely, and the city will be without a fifth of its hotel taxes, the amount typically collcected by Gaylord.

As the floodwaters continued to rise Monday inside the garden-filled atriums of the famous hotel, some of the conventions booked there thissummer were being redirected to Gaylord resorts in other cities, said David Kloeppel, president and chief operating officer.

"We know there is significant impact," Spyridon said. Already, one large convention that was to bring 5,000 guests to the hotel for a government-related meeting had to be canceled.

With hundreds of conventions and meetings in jeopardy, Spyridon is working with Gaylord officials to keep some of the smaller groups here by booking them at other Nashville hotels and downtown's Nashville Convention Center, althought those venues are nearly full this summer. Nashville won't be able to accommodate the largest groups because no other venues have big enough meeting spaces, he said.

The resort on the banks of the Cumberland River evacuated 2,000 guests and employees Sunday night as the rain-filled river rose, flooding the Delta and Cascades atriums. The Cascades seafood restuarant and lobby were underwater by Monday, spokeswoman Kim Keelor said. Most of the hotel rooms were free of damage as of Monday.

The impact of the flood was such an unprecedented disaster that officials at Gaylord Entertainment Co. said it was withdrawing reports about its 2010 financial earnings and said the company's finances will be affected for the next two quarters.

Mayor Karl Dean said he is still encouraging people to visit Nashville. "Opryland is obviously a very serious situation, and they're going to have to deal with the repair to the buildings and cleanup, which will take some time. That will have an impact on our local economy."

Tunes of heartache and loss floated out of the honky-tonks on Lower Broadway on Monday, while tourists shopped and gawked at the floodwaters that crept up Broadway to at least Second Avenue.

Some downtown businesses reported less tourist traffic than usual. "Right now, I think people are staying away," said Kandy Felker, a store manager at Boots N More on Lower Broadway.

The bigger issue for tourist-reliant businesses is what will happen without Gaylord guests this summer. "We'll be able to stay open, but it will affect us," said David Osborne, a manager at Second to None gift shop and the Charlie Daniels Museum on Second Avenue.

By Monday afternoon, water had risen to the third row of the subterranean Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but no water damage was expected to the museum's extensive collections, spokeswoman Liz Thiels said. Officials were to decide by 7 a.m. today whether to reopen.

The Grand Ole Opry has rescheduled shows to the Ryman Auditorium and War Memorial Auditorium, former homes to the Opry. The last time the Opry had to relocate was in 1975, when it temporarily moved to Municipal Auditorium, also because of Cumberland River flooding.

Only one downtown hotel , the Hampton Inn, had to close because of flooding. Hard Rock on Second Avenue will stay closed for another three to four days, as much of the beer, produce frozen goods and dry goods stored in its basement have been ruined, said general manager Jim McGonagle. Officials don't know when the Wildhorse will reopen.

At the Hilton Nashville Downtown, some 10 feet of water shut down its two-level underground garage on Monday, but all vehicles were moved to dry ground, said general manager Ray Waters. It could be today before the parking garage is accessible, he said. Inside the hotel, teh basement is flooded but no rooms are in danger, and the hotel was able to make 75 rooms available to guests evacuated from the Opryland Hotel.

Gaylord officals could not specify how long cleanup could take because they had not fully tallied damage and how much in sales the hotel would lose.

Last year, the hotel earned $55.3 million in revenue and had $13.6 million in cash flow during the second quarter, which runs from April to June.

Coincidentally, Gaylord Entertainment released its first-quarter report yesterday, with Opryland Hotel posting small increases in revenue and occupancy.

"They reported strong numbers with future bookings up attrition down and business in general turning the corner," said Amit Kapoor, an equity analyst who follows gaming and lodging for Gabelli & Co. in New York. Gabelli is a shareholder in Gaylord.

(More updates will come as the information becomes available. Thanks to all who have posted updates on their own.)

Monday, May 3, 2010

Flooding forces Opry move

Due to heavy flooding in Nashville, including the Grand Ole Opry Entertainment Complex, this week's Grand Ole Opry performances have been moved from the Grand Ole Opry House to other Nashville venues.

The Tuesday Night Opry performance scheduled for May 4 will take place at the War Memorial Auditorium, 301 6th Ave. North, Nashville. Weekend performances will move to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Thursday's performance of Opry Country Classics will remain at the Ryman as previously scheduled. Show times for all shows will remain at 7 p.m. Both the War Memorial and the Ryman are former homes of the Opry.

The Opry House suffered damage as a result of the record-breaking rain and subsequent flooding in Nashville The last time the Opry had to relocate was in 1975 to Nashville's Municipal Auditorium, just one year after the opening of the Grand Ole Opry House. That move was also caused by Cumberland River flooding.

"While we ourselves are shaken by the impact of the flooding of the Opry House and throughout the area, it is important that Nashville's most treasured tradition continues with this week's shows," said Grand Ole Opry Vice President Pete Fisher. "We look forward to coming together both as the Opry family and as a great American city just as we have every week for nearly 85 years. Our hearts go out to all of those affected in the Middle Tennessee area."

The Opry Call Center is temporarily out of service, and other operations on the Opry Entertainment Complex including Opry backstage tours and the Grand Ole Opry Museum, have been temporarily suspended. It is too early to determine how long Opry operations will be impacted at this time.
(From the Grand Ole Opry).

I think that this could be an issue that will affect the Opry for a while. With the water as high as it appears to be in the Opry House, it will take it a while to go down (the water is still rising), and then the clean-up and repair. You are probably talking about replacing carpeting, wood and tile floods, possibly electrical damage and equipment damage. I know that there was lots of historical items backstage, especially in Marty Stuart's dressing room, so hopefully they got those items moved out to higher parts of the Opry House.

I am somewhat curious why the Tuesday Night Opry is not at the Ryman Auditorium, as that facility and the area around it, north of Broadway, appear ok, as we all know that the Ryman is up the hill from the Country Music Hall of Fame, which is underwater. I checked the Ryman website, and the Goo Goo Dolls concert that was scheduled for Sunday night is still listed as rescheduled for tonight(Monday), and nothing else is listed on the Ryman schedule for this week.

Next weekend could be an issue if the Opry House is still unavailable, as there are events scheduled at the Ryman the weekend of the 14th, both Friday and Saturday night. There is also a concert by Dierks Bentley scheduled for the following weekend.

Either way, with the phones out, I am sure it will be an interesting week at the War Memorial on Tuesday and the Ryman on Friday and Saturday, as they try to handle the ticket situation. Best of luck to them.

Serious Flooding In Nashville--Opry Area Flooded

As I am sure many of you have seen on the news, the Nashville area got hit with almost 15 inches of rain over the weekend. I know that I talked to someone I know in Nashville and he said it was a mess.

The Opryland area is flooded and it is being compared to the great flood of 1975. The Opryland Convention Center hotel was evacuated last night and the 1500 guests were moved to an area high school. They parking lots around the hotel were unde water.

I have also heard that the parking lots at Opry Mills mall are flooded and that the area around the Opry House, Opry Museum and Acuff Theater are also underwater.

No word as of yet if the Tuesday Night Opry will be moved to the Ryman Auditorim from the Grand Ole Opry House, but it would not suprise me. I know that in the flood of 1975, the Opry moved its show to the Nashville Sports Arena because of the flooding. I guess it would be determined by how much access they can get to the area.

Also, many areas of downtown along lower Broadway and 1st and 2nd streets are underwater also.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry 5/4 & Opry Country Classics 5/6

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 4:

7:00: Jimmy C. Newman; Chris Young
7:30: Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Restless Heart
8:45: Jim Ed Brown; Lorrie Morgan

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, May 6:
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Bellamy Brothers
Also Appearing: David Ball; Janie Fricke; Opry Square Dancers; Ashley Monroe; Billy Yates

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Opry Highlights

The month of May is underway and as is my tradition, I want to present the historical Grand Ole Opry highlights that have occured during this month.

Several Grand Ole Opry members joined the Opry during the month of May:
>Charley Pride became an Opry member on May 1, 1993 (17 years).
>Carrie Underwood joined the Grand Ole Opry on May 10, 2008 (2 years).
>Steve Wariner became an Opry member on May 11, 1996 (14 years).
>Ricky Skaggs joined the Opry on May 15, 1982 (28 years).
(When Ricky joined the Opry, it marked a turn to more traditional country music. To quote Ricky about the night he joined: "I was on the Ernest Tubb part of the Opry that night, and Ernest read a couple of telegrams. Bill Monore sent a telegram in, saying he was very happy that I was being a part of the Grand Ole Opry family. It was just a ....well, you know, the Opry was the only place in the world that made me nervous. And, I don't ever--ever!--want to get to th point where I can't come and play the Opry, where I feel like I'm too good to play the Opry. Mr. Acuff said that I would do that. He said, 'You'll get so big you'll do just like all the rest of them.' And I said, 'You don't know me. You just watch me and see. I'm not made that way. I didn't join the Opry for that." Of course we all know that every time Ricky would do the Opry and Roy Acuff was still living, that Ricky would make it a point of stopping in his dressing room to let him know that he was there at the Opry. And, Ricky has remained a loyal Opry member over the years and has supported the show, especially in the years since Bill Monroe passed away. I wish more Opry members would feel the same way about the Opry as Ricky Skaggs.)

Also, a number of Opry members are celebrating birthdays during May:
>Larry Gatlin was born on May 2, 1948 (62 years old).
>Randy Travis was born on May 4, 1959 (51 years old).
>Dana Williams of Diamond Rio was born on May 22, 1961 (49 years old).
>Tom T. Hall was born on May 25, 1936 (74 years old).
>Mike Snider was born on May 30, 1960 (50 years old).

The following important and historical events in Opry history took place during the month of May.

>May 29, 1950, Mother Maybelle Carter and her daughters, June, Anita and Helen, known as the Carter Sisters joined the Opry.
>May 11, 1957, The Everly Brothers made their first appearance on the Opry.
>May 13, 1967, Merle Haggard made his first appearance at the Opry. He would return for Opry appearances several more times during his career.
>May 8, 1968, George D. Hay, the founder of the Grand Ole Opry and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, died in Virginia. On May 11, the Opry paid tribute to him. He was known as "The Solemn Old Judge". Over the years he had experienced a number of health issues, and several mental breakdowns. As the show became more professional, Hay's role was greatly reduced, eventually to the point of being just an announcer on the show that he started.
>May 27, 1972, Opryland opened in Nashville.
>May 11, 1979, the great Lester Flatt passed away.

I want to end this by posting the words that George D. Hay would say at the end of every Opry broadcast:

That's all for now, friends....
Because the tall pines pine
And the pawpaws pause
And the bumble bees bumble all around,
The grasshoppers hop
And the eavesdroppers drop
While, gently, the ole cow slips away...
George D. Hay saying, So long for now!