Wednesday, June 30, 2010

July Opry Highlights

The month of July is about to begin and as I always do at the start of each month, I want to give you the Grand Ole Opry historical highlights for this coming month.

There are several Grand Ole Opry members who joined during the month of July:
Alison Krauss..........July 3, 1993 (17 years).
Bill Anderson..........July 12, 1961 (49 years).
Jeanne Pruett..........July 21, 1973 (37 years).
Barbara Mandrell.........July 29, 1972 (38 years).

In the case of Jeanne Pruett, she was the last singing artist to become a member of the Opry when it was still located at the Ryman Auditorium. Jeanne, like Barbara Mandrell, is now retired and no longer performs on the Opry. Jeanne was inducted as an Opry member by Dolly Parton. Oh by the way, Jerry Clower was the last Opry member to join while the show was still at the Ryman. Barbara Mandrell was first introduced as an Opry member by Roy Acuff. During her years as an Opry member, Barbara would always insist on being on his segment of the Opry and would appear with Minnie Pearl on the night Roy celebrated his 50th anniversary as an Opry member.

When Alison Krauss joined the Opry, she was its youngest member at the time, 21 years old. She was also the first bluegrass artist to join the Opry in 19 years. If you remember how Alison looked at the time, she has really changed her appearance over the years, adding a glamor look about her.

Several Opry artists have birthdays in July:
Ray Pillow..........July 4, 1937 (73 years old). Born in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Jeannie Seely..........July 6, 1940 (70 years old). Born in Titusville, Pennsylvania.
Charlie Louvin..........July 7, 1927 (83 years old). Born in Henagar, Alabama.
Jesse McReynolds..........July 9, 1929 (81 years old). Born in Coeburn, Virginia.
George Hamilton IV..........July 19, 1937 (73 years old). Born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Alison Krauss..........July 23, 1971 (39 years old). Born in Decatur, Illinois.
Pam Tillis..........July 24, 1957 (53 years old). Born in Plant City, Florida.
Martina McBride..........July 29, 1966 (44 years old). Born in Sharon, Kansas.

The following Opry historical highlights took place in July:
*July 1939: The Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. With this move, the Opry instituted an admission fee of a quarter. The Opry would move several years later to the Ryman Auditorium after complaints about the crowds at the War Memorial.
*July 15, 1944: Rod Brasfield joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would later team with Minnie Pearl and be featured on the Prince Albert-NBC portion of the Opry. He would remain a member of the Opry until his death on September 12, 1958 of a heart attack In 1956, Rod had a staring role in the Andy Griffith movie, "A Face in the Crowd", and his performance was praised by critics. Sorry to say, like many comedians, Rod led a very unhappy private life. After his death, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
*July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.
*July 9, 1952, Grand Ole Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married in Alcoa, Tennessee. They would later have a daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known as Carlene Carter.
*July 7, 1956: Johnny Cash joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would remain a member until 1965, when he was fired after an Opry performance where he stomped out the stage lights at the Ryman Auditorium in a drug-induced rage. After he left the Opry that night, he drove away in June Carter's cadillac, which he wrecked into a telephone pole. The police officer who responded to the accident was June's husband, Rex, who was a Nashville police officer. June later wrote that it was an uncomfortable night after she got home. Johnny would return in later years as a guest at the Opry and has written about the incident in several of his books.
*July 8, 1964: Dottie West joins the Grand Ole Opry. She would remain an Opry member until her death on September 4, 1991, after being injured in a car accident on her way to perform at the Opry. She had a number of successful duets with Kenny Rogers and sang the theme song for a series of Coke commercials. The song, "Country Sunshine", would later become a hit record for her. Many believe that Dottie deserves to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
*July 31, 1964, Jim Reeves, along with band member Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash in Brentwood, Tennessee.
*July 7, 1975: George Morgan died following a heart attack. He joined the Opry in 1948 as a replacement for Eddy Arnold. George hosted the final segment at the Ryman Auditorium on Friday Night March 15, 1974. He concluded with his hit song, "Candy Kisses". The following night, the Opry would move to its current home, the Grand Ole Opry House. He is the late father of current Opry member Lorrie Morgan and a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
*July 2, 1982: DeFord Bailey, former Grand Ole Opry member, dies at the age of 82. Later elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, his controversial firing from the Opry by George D. Hay would be a subject of debate through out the history of the Opry. After years away from the Opry, DeFord started appearing again in the 1970's, at the annual Opry homecoming shows that were held, when former Opry members would appear as guests. His last Opry appearance was in April of 1982.
*July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company buys the Grand Ole Opry, Opryland, The Opryland Hotel, WSM Radio and TNN for a reported $270 million. Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma were the owners of Gaylord and among their holdings was the television show, "Hee Haw". The company would later become a publically traded company and change its name to Gaylord Entertainment. In later years, the company would close Opryland, sell Acuff-Rose music, which he had bought earlier, sell TNN, which has become Spike-TV, and try to change the format of WSM to sports.

There you have it for this month. Hope you enjoy the look back in time.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry-June 29

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, June 29. The show will take place at the Ryman Auditorium.

7:00: Jim Ed Brown; Trailer Choir
7:30: Connie Smith; Chris Young
8:15: Bill Anderson; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Marty Stuart

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 6/25 & 6/26---Updated

Jimmy Dickens is off the line-up for both Friday and Saturday night. With that comes numerous changes in the line-up including Ray Pillow hosting a segment.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted their line-ups for this weekend's shows. There is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night, both at the Ryman Auditorium. The highlight of this weekend's shows is the appearance of Loretta Lynn on Saturday night.

Here are the line-ups:

Friday June 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Randy Kohrs
7:30: Ray Pillow(host); Jack Greene; Sunny Sweeney
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Stu Phillips; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joey+Rory
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Connie Smith; Raul Malo

Saturday June 26
7:00: The Whites(host); Connie Smith; Sam Bush
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Sara Jarosz
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; Steel Magnolia; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Loretta Lynn

Finally, the host for this week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree is Leona Williams. This will also be a sad night as another Nashville traditon ends as this will be the final Midnight Jamboree that will actually take place at midnight. As was previously announced, starting next week the show will be taped at 10:00pm and will be broadcast at midnight on WSM the following week. I don't know why the one week delay, but from what I heard, the changing of the show time at the record shop is for a number of reasons, and all seem related to the Opry only doing one show on Saturday night.

With the Opry ending at 9:00pm and the Midnight Jamboree not starting until Midnight, there was too long a gap between the two shows and attendance was down for the Jamboree. I know from attending many of the shows it was hit and miss. I have been there when Bill Anderson and Marty Stuart had standing room only crowds and then at other times with as few as 50 people there. Many of the people who would go to the Jamboree would go directly from the Opry, but it just seems that many did not want to wait around that long. I also heard that it was the same story for some of the Opry stars. They did not want to wait around 3 hours to do the Midnight Jamboree, so there seemed a problem in booking hosts that also appeared on the Opry.

We will see how this plays out. I understand the reasons, but I just hate to see another tradition in Nashville change. Even though the show time will change at the theater, the show will still be played on WSM at midnight.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pete Fisher-11 Years as Opry General Manager

Can all of you believe that it has been 11 years since Pete Fisher became the General Manager of the Opry. Yep, it's true. On June 19, 1999, it was announced that Pete Fisher would replace the retiring Bob Whittaker as the Opry's first full time General Manager, starting on June 28, 1999.

A lot has sure happened over the past 11 years, and some of it has not been so good. We had the firing of The Four Guys and members of the Grand Ole Opry staff band, the reduction in shows and the length of the shows, the Stonewall Jackson lawsuit and the reduction of appearances by many of the Opry's veterans and legends.

We also had the start of and the streaming of the Opry shows, the improvements in the presentation of the show at the Opry House, the shift to more appearances by many younger artists and many long time Opry sponsors leaving as the show shifted to more nationally known sponsors to help brand the show.

Oh, and we had the closing of Opryland and the great flood of 2010.

We have seen new Opry members such as Trace Adkins, Dierks Bentley, Terri Clark, Del McCoury, Mel Tillis, Josh Turner, Charlie Daniels, Carrie Underwood, Craig Morgan and Montgomery Gentry.

We have also seen the passing of Ernie Ashworth, Bill Carlisle, Skeeter Davis, Roy Drusky, Don Gibson, Hank Lockin, Jim McReynolds, Brother Oswald, Johnny PayCheck, Del Reeves, Johnny Russell, Hank Snow, Porter Wagoner, Billy Walker, Charlie Walker and Teddy Wilburn.

Yes, a lot has happened in the 11 years. I think many of us are surprised that Pete has lasted this long, I think he cares about the show and the history of the Opry. But, I also think many of the decisions have been corporate based by Gaylord management. As he continues as the boss man of the Opry, he has many challenges. With the flood, the Opry is in a slump right now. Moving the show around Nashville is not helping. The hotel being closed means the convention business is not there. There is no television contract. The shows continue to get shorter and the ticket prices higher. And, attendance is way down.

Many of us are worried about the future of the Opry. I think Pete is also. I don't think he wants to be known as the man who had to carry out the decision to close down the Opry. I have met Pete one time at a meet and great and he came off well. I have seen him in action managing an Opry show and he does know what he is doing. And, he does have a vision for the Opry. It may not be our vision, but he has one. All the decisions regarding the show have been made by Pete and Steve Buchanan, Pete's boss. I think that the scorecard is mixed on how successful these decisions have been. Personally, I think some have been good and some not so good.

Hopefully, things will improve at the Opry once they get back to the Opry House and the hotel reopens. It will be a great opportunity to show Nashville, country music and Opry fans how great the show can be again. There will be pressure to bring the fans back. Pete will have his hands full.

But, congratulations to Pete Fisher for another year at the Opry.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry-June 22

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, June 22. The show will be at the Ryman Auditorium.

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Jack Greene; The Steeldrivers
8:15: Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Chris Young
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Kellie Pickler

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Grand Ole Opry-Line-Ups 6/18 & 6/19

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for this weekend's shows. There is 1 show on Friday night and 1 show on Saturday night. Both shows will be held at the Ryman Auditorium. Here are the line-ups:

Friday June 18:
7:00: John Conlee(host); Jean Shepard; Chuck Mead
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Doyle Dykes
8:15: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Lee Roy Parnell
8:45: Mike Snider(host); George Hamilton IV; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday June 19:
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Doyle Singletary
7:30: Jean Shepard(host); The Whites; Restless Heart
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; Robert David Hall; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Jo Dee Messina

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be hosted by Jesse McReynolds

Opry Country Classics--June 17

Here is the line-up for this week's Opry Country Classics, June 17 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Host: Bill Cody
Spotlight Artist: Crystal Gayle
Also Appearing: Paulette Carlson, Jimmy Fortune, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Charlie McCoy, Opry Square Dancers, Billy Yates

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Garth Brooks--Birthday Bash?

Garth Brooks has a habit of showing up at the Opry about every five years. He performed on the Opry during the 75th birthday celebration and also during the 80th. His only other recent Opry appearance was to introduce Carrie Underwood as the newest member, but he did not perform.

This year is the Opry's 85th birthday and it takes place the weekend of October 8th and 9th. There has been speculation whether Garth would possibly appear at the Opry for the birthday celebration or even for the re-opening of the Opry House, which right now is targeted for October 1st or October 5th.

Last night, Garth released his latest round of dates for his Las Vegas performances that take place at the Encore Theater. The announced dates might reveal a clue. He is scheduled in Vegas the weekend of Oct 1-3, which would rule out performing on the Opry if it returned to the Opry House October 1st. However, he would be free on the 5th. Also, his other announced date for Las Vegas in October is the weekend of Oct 22-24, which leaves him free to perform on the Opry during the birthday bash.

I know Garth is basically retired and makes few appearances, but he seems to answer the phone when Pete Fisher calls. Garth's presence at the Opry for it's return to the Opry House would be big news and really cap off the evening. And, when all is said and done, Garth is probably the Opry's biggest star (even thourgh he rarely appears).

Just something to maybe look for during October as the Opry returns to the Opry House and the birthday bash takes place.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Jimmy Dean

As I am sure all of you now know, Jimmy Dean passed away yesterday evening at the age of 81. I am not going through the whole biography of his career. I will just leave it with the statement that he was one of the all time greats in country music history. He has deserved every honor that has come his way through out his life.

I do want to touch on one thing. He was not elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame until earlier this year. While he was a member, the offical medallion ceremony that the Hall of Fame has to welcome the new members had not taken place as of yet. His was scheduled for October. I don't understand the long wait as they knew his heath was not that good.

But, the real sadness of this post is that he had to wait so long to get elected while many younger artists have been elected in. He was elected so late in his life that he never got the chance to enjoy the honor and the recognition that comes with it.

I have nothing against these younger Hall of Fame members such as Vince Gill, Alabama, Emmylou Harris, among others. They are all deserving Hall of Fame members and would have been elected at some point. But, not before many of the legends that deserve to be in the Hall and have set the stage for these younger artists.

There are so many deserving to get in that I am afraid that they will pass away before their time comes. Stars such as Jean Shepard, Dottie West, Jim Ed Brown and The Browns, along with Bobby Bare. I know that there are more. I am happy that they got Jimmy in this year along with Ferlin Husky. But, why the wait. If Jimmy was deserving to get in this year, he was deserving 20 years ago, when he basically retired from performing. He has had no more hit records, no more #1's, but it took the voters 20 years to come to the conclusion that he was Hall of Fame material?

Some of the voting for the Hall of Fame has been questionable at times. Nothing against Dolly Parton, but how does she get in before Porter Wagoner? Or Roy Clark, (who Jimmy fired at one time and helped to launch his career), get in before Jimmy Dean? Or Alabama before the Statler Brothers? Barbara Mandrell before Jean Shepard? It goes on and on.

While I don't want to see the Hall of Fame elect 10 or 20 people at a time, as it delutes the honor, they need to do something to level the playing field for these older stars. As time goes on, it becomes difficult to remember their career achievements. Even today, many of the Hall of Fame voters just see Jean Shepard as the elderly lady on the Opry each week, and not as one of the first female stars of country music.

And, don't kid yourself. I know that there are politics involved with the voters and Jimmy was known to speak his mind over the years. But, to have personal feelings by the voters influence who is in the Hall of Fame? One of the most famous involved Webb Pierce. Several of the voters openly said that they would never vote for Webb as long as he was alive. And, he was the biggest hit maker of the 50's. He was finally voted in the year that there was the special election and 10 artists were voted in at once. The voters finally voted him in, but it was long after Webb was dead and gone. And, that is just wrong!! Those voters should have been shown the door. One thing the Hall needs to do is to make the voters names public so that we can all see who these voters are and what their credentials are to be voting for Hall of Famers.

Those are just my thoughts. Let's get these artists elected into the Hall of Fame while they are still alive and healthy enough to enjoy it. At least Jimmy and Ferlin did get in this year and that is a start. Let's hope they pick up the pace and get some more of the legends elected.

God Bless Jimmy Dean, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. And may God bless his family.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry 6/15

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, June 15. The show will take place at Allen Arena, which is located at Lipscomb University.

7:00: Riders In The Sky; Terri Clark
7:30: George Hamilton IV; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Justin Moore; Jimmy Dickens
8:45: Lady Antebellum

All I can say is another half hour segment to a non-Opry member.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Kitty Wells On Marty Stuart Show Saturday Night

Just a note, although not really Grand Ole Opry related. Kitty Wells will be the guest on Saturday night's Marty Stuart show on RFD-TV. His show airs at 8:00 in the East and is replayed on Sunday.

Kitty makes very rare appearances anymore so this is a treat for all of her fans. If I remember right, the show was taped either in mid February or the first of April, so it is very recent. (I don't remember the exact date, but I remember on one of my trips to Nashville, they were advertising the taping for that week and offering tickets to the taping). I could kick myself for not staying for it, but I had to get back to town.

I will be watching and I am sure others will be also. This may be the last time we see an appearance by her on network television.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Grand Ole Opry Line-Up 6/11 & 6/12

Some weekends the Grand Ole Opry is better than others and this is one of those weekends. The line-ups for this weekend's Opry shows are excellent, with a great group of veterans and hall of famers being featured. In fact, of the 4 segment hosts on Friday night, 3 are members of the Hall of Fame, and all 4 segment hosts on Saturday night are members of the Hall. I guess my only complaint is that there is only 1 show on Saturday night, but there is the usual Opry matinee that is always featured during the CMA music fest. I know that there are several of my readers attending Opry shows this weekend, and it should be great.

Here is the line-up for the Friday Night Opry, June 11:

7:00: John Conlee(host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jan Howard; Mark Wills
8:15: Roy Clark(host); Charlie Louvin; Mike Snider; The Whites
8:45: Charley Pride(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith

Here is the line-up for Opry matinee on Saturday June 12:

3:00: The Whites; Mandy Barnett
3:30: Riders In The Sky; Joey + Rory
4:00: Jimmy C. Newman; Pam Tillis
4:30: Jimmy Dickens; Mark Chesnutt
(Interesting that there is no intermission during this show)

Here is the line-up for the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday June 12:

7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Riders In The Sky
7:30: Roy Clark(host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; John Conlee
8:15: Mel Tillis(host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Charley Pride(host); Mike Snider; Terri Clark

All the shows this weekend are at the Ryman Auditorium. I also will be interested in how Roy Clark sounds as I have heard that he has had a few issues of late. Hopefully, all is fine.

Finally, Rhonda Vincent will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, which will take place at Robert's, directly across from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Broadway. Interesting that it is not taking place in the record shop itself. Of course, it is small and cramp and attending the midnight jamboree before, it can be tough to see and hear.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Who Should Appear On The First Show At The Re-Opening Of The Opry House

There was a CMT blog posted today that I read, and also one of my loyal readers pointed out to me, that was headlined, "When Opry Reopens, Who Should Perform First?" In the blog, the author states that the Opry hopes to reopen the Opry House on October 1. And then she goes on and asks the question, "who will have the honor of being the very first country artist to take stage when they are back in business?"

She goes on to list a few names including Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, George Jones, Carrie Underwood, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire and Trace Adkins. She also goes on to list others that she would like to see on that opening night including Martina McBride, Randy Travis, Josh Turner adn Dierks Bentley.

Now, I am not going to jump on the author of that blog, but she apparently has no concept of Opry history or tradition. Of all the artists that she named Randy Travis, Reba McEntire and Alan Jackson have been missing in action from the Opry. In fact, Reba has appeared only once in the last decade. Alan is good for once a year and Randy once every five years. Just ridiculous to even think of any of those entertainers being the first to reopen the Opry House.

But it did get me to thinking, who should be on that opening night? I have a couple of thoughts. If you remember when the Grand Ole Opry House opened, every Opry member was invited to perform on that first show and just about every Opry member was present. They appeared that night alphabetically, with Roy Acuff as the first performer. Each artist, whether an older veteran or a newer star, was treated equally and sang one song each. That first show lasted over 3 hours and everyone was happy. In fact, I don't recall anyone complaining how long the show was or any negative comments about any of the performers.

And, I think that the grand reopening of the Opry House should be handled the exact same way. Every Opry member should be invited to be on the show and they should follow that opening night tradition, and should perform alphabetically and one song each. But, I would also make one exception. I would allow Jimmy Dickens, as the oldest Opry member, the honor of being the first out on the new stage. He deserves that. Certainly more than Randy Travis or Reba McEntire.

Now, we know that what I have proposed will not happen. In today's modern Opry, it will probably be only a 2 hour show, with very few Opry veterans, but plenty of hot superstars, like Alan Jackson and others.

If it is to be a regular 2 hour Opry show, so be it. But, I would limit the performers to only those who have supported the show over the past number of years, while many of the superstar performers have vanished. I would include Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Carrie Underwood, who has made regular appearances since she became a member, and the others who have supported the show. And, I would include plenty of Opry legends, those who built the Opry and upheld the Opry's tradition.

One other thing: I would only allow Opry members to be on that first show. There is no reason for special guests to clutter things up and soak in the publicity and glory that will come with the reopening.

Yes, it will be televised and there will be television specials involved (count on it!). And that will influence who is on. But, I hope that Pete Fisher and the Opry make the right decisions on who will appear on that opening night of the Opry House.

Those are my thoughts. I am interested to hear yours.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Tuesday Night Opry 6/8 & Opry Country Classics 6/10

This week is the CMA Music Fest in Nashville, which is the event formally known as fan fair. Traditionally, this week has produced some of the Grand Ole Opry's strongest line-ups of the year as many of the stars are in town for the festival. In fact, in past years quite a few artists became Opry members during this week including Alan Jackson, Lorrie Morgan and Mel Tillis, to name a few.

This week, the Tuesday Night Opry will take place at the Municipal Auditorium in Nashville. This is an older arena that is better known for hosting the circus and wrestling shows, although the Opry has been here before. When they first announced that they were going to do the Tuesday Night Opry from the arena, I thought that it would be a pretty big show with lots of big names. While the big names are here, I am disappointed in the fact that there are only 7 artists scheduled. Even being a Tuesday night show, I just thought there would be more. Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry:

7:00: Bill Anderson; The Band Perry
7:30: Mandy Barnett; Josh Turner
8:15: Trisha Yearwood; Jimmy Dickens
8:45: Carrie Underwood

Yep, Carrie gets the whole half hour. I think that they have pretty well taken care of all the ticket problems and everyone should be happy with this show.

Opry Country Classics on Thursday night will take place from the Ryman Auditorium. Like the Tuesday Night Opry, it is a very good line-up of country music legends My only complaint is that there is only one Opry member on the line-up for this night. Here is the line-up:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Also Appearing: Lynn Anderson; The Gatlin Brothers; Neal McCoy; The Oak Ridge Boys; Opry Square Dancers; Gene Watson.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

June Opry Highlights

I did not forget!!
The month of June is upon us and as I always do, I want to take a look at the important events that have taken place in Grand Ole Opry history during this month.

June as always been one of the more active months and there are a number of artists who joined the Opry during June. They include:

Stu Phillips--- June 1, 1967 (43 years)
Mike Snider---June 2, 1990 (20 years)
Alan Jackson---June 7, 1991 (19 years)
Lorrie Morgan---June 9, 1984 (26 years)
Mel Tillis---June 9, 2007 (3 years)
Ricky Van Shelton---June 10, 1988 (22 years)
Patty Loveless---June 11, 1988 (22 years)
Terri Clark---June 12, 2004 (6 years)
Connie Smith---June 13, 1965 (45 years)
Riders In The Sky---June 19, 1982---(28 years)
Montgomery Gentry---June 23, 2009 (1 year)

I remember when those celebrating Opry anniversaries always appeared on the Opry on that weekend and it was always acknowledged on stage. In the tv days, that artist was always on the televised portion. Those appearances on their induction dates just don't seem to happen much anymore. Also, a little historical note her. On the night that Connie Smith became an Opry member, another person also joined the Opry that night. The late Bob Luman.

The following Opry members are celebrating birthdays in June:

Too Slim(born Fred LaBour)---June 3, 1948 (62 years old)
Lorrie Morgan(born Loretta Lynn Morgan)---June 27, 1959 (51 years old)

The following historical events took place in June:

>June 19, 1926: DeFord Bailey, the Opry's first African American member, made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He remained a member until 1941, when he was fired by George D. Hay. The circumstances of his firing are still in dispute, even today.
>June 12, 1936: Dr. Humphrey Bate, one of the original stars of the Opry, dies. He was just 61 years old, and was a real medical doctor.
>June 13, 1936: The Opry moves to the Dixie Tabernacle, which was located on Fatherland Street in East Nashville. Although this facility sat 3,500, it was a very basic building, with sides that opened, sawdust floors, wooden benches and no dressing rooms.
>June 5, 1937: Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys join the Opry. He would remain a member until moving to Louisville, Kentucky to take advantage of television opportunities after WSM expressed no interest in television. George D. Hay was constantly on Pee Wee for being too progressive in his sound, but a mutual trust would develop between the two. Pee Wee was one of the first professional musicians to join the Opry and he helped to professionalize the show. He was the first artist on the Opry to introduce entrance music when each act came on. Previously, they would just walk on stage and wait to start. Pee Wee left the Opry in the late 1940s, but would continue to make appearances, especially on the homecoming shows that the Opry held for many years.
>June 28, 1940: The movie, "Grand Ole Opry", premiers in Nashville. The movie stared Roy Acuff and Uncle Dave Macon. The movie is long out of print and I don't think you can even get it on DVD today.
>June 5, 1943: The Opry moves again, this time to the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Here the Opry would remain until 1974. While the Ryman is now a great facility, during the time that the Opry was there, the building had limited dressing rooms and no air conditioning. Also as time went on, that area of Nashville became very run down and unsafe. But, the acoustics at the Ryman are just about perfect and it is still a great place to watch the Opry.
>June 6, 1944: Grant Turner begins work at WSM radio. He would eventually become the best known announcer in Opry history, and had the nickname, "The Voice of the Opry". He would remain an Opry announcer until his death in October 1991, just after announcing the Friday Night Opry.
>June 11, 1949: Hank Williams makes his first appearance at the Opry. As most Opry fans know about that famous night, he was called back on stage six times to perform his song, "Lovesick Blues."
>June 1, 1957: The Everly Brothers joined the Opry. They were added as an appeal to the younger fans of country music as the Opry tried to keep up with the changing times. As everyone knows, they did not last long at the Opry.
>June 13, 1958: Roy Drusky becomes a member of the Opry. He would remain an Opry member until his death on September 23, 2004.
>June 12, 1965: Cowboy legend Tex Ritter becomes a member of the Opry. Although his time at the Opry was relatively short, he became one of the Opry's most loyal and beloved members.
>June 30, 1970: Grand breaking takes place for Opryland. This park would eventually become home to the Grand Ole Opry upon completion of the Grand Ole Opry House.
>June 28, 1974: Paul McCartney visited the Friday Night Opry and was introduced on stage by Roy Acuff. He did not perform, but he and his family were in town recording and visiting.
>June 17, 1978: In one of the more unusual Opry moments, Marty Robbins drove his new Panther DeVille onto the Opry stage. To add some humor to the moment, Roy Acuff had an Opry security guard write a parking ticket to Marty. (I had read somewhere that one of the complaints about today's Opry is that some of the fun and spontaneous moments have disappeared).
>June 9, 1984: As I listed above, Lorrie Morgan became an official Opry member. But, she was no stranger to the Opry. She is the daughter of Country Music Hall of Famer and long time Opry member George Morgan, and made her Opry debut with her father at the age of 13.
>June 28, 1985: Country artist Gary Morris became the first person to sing opera on the Opry. (And we complain about some of the music being played today!!). He performed Rudolfo's first aria from Puccini's La Boheme. (I wonder how many fans attending that night even recognized the song).
>June 3, 1994: The Ryman Auditorium reopens after an extensive renovation. The first show is a broadcast by of the radio show, "Praire Home Companion", hosted by Garrison Keillor. He would also do the show the following evening, June 4. At the time of the reopening of the Ryman, there were no plans to have the Opry perform any shows there.
>June 10, 2000: The Opry unveiled their new set that is still being used today. It was the first new backdrop in 25 years. While the barn-shape of the backdrop is still there, the basic red barn that many of us have come to know and love, is no longer a part of the stage. The Opry did add the large video projection screens to the Opry House, which has made a difference in the show.
>June 17, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry begins streaming on the internet. Ricky Skaggs started the evening by playing "Tennessee Waggoner", which was the song Uncle Jimmy Thompson reportedly played during the first broadcoast of the Opry in 1925.
>June 14, 2003: Jimmy Dickens invites Trace Adkins to become a member of the Opry. Of course he accepted.

That should do it for June. Like I said, it was a busy month in Opry history.

Grand Ole Opry Line-ups 6/4 & 6/5--Updated

A couple of additions with Terri Clark, T.G. Sheppard and Wade Hayes added.

The Grand Ole Opry has announced their line-ups for this weekend's shows. There will be one show on Friday night at the Ryman Auditorium, and on Saturday night, the Opry road show continues with one show at the Allen Arena at Lipscomb University. Here are the line-ups:

Friday June 4
7:00: Mike Snider(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Terri Clark
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T.G. Sheppard
8:15: Jim Ed Brown(host); Connie Smith; Jason Crabb
8:45: Riders In The Sky(host); Jean Shepard; Gene Watson

Saturday June 5
7:oo: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Sunny Sweeney
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); George Hamilton IV; Charlie Nagatani; Wade Hayes
8:15: Mike Snider(host); Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); The Whites; T. G. Sheppard

Obviously not one of the stronger line-ups of the year and there are still a couple of spots to fill. With their first trip to Lipscomb, I thought that they would try to present a better line-up.

Jett Williams is the host of this weekend's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. The show is always free and is a great bargain.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Opry Country Classics-Thursday June 3

Here is the line-up for this week's Opry Country Classics, Thursday June 3. The show will be at the Ryman Auditorium.

Host: Bill Cody (From WSM radio)
With performances by Elizabeth Cook, The Time Jumpers, Ronnie Robbins, Bobby Bare, Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely.

Since Vince Gill is a member of The Time Jumpers now, I wonder if he will be part of the group at this week's Opry show? For those who are not familiar with the group, it's members tend to rotate sometimes so you do not always get the complete line-up. Doug Green from Riders In The Sky is also part of the group.

The highlight, at least for me, is Bobby Bare on the show. I find it interesting that there is no spotlight artist listed for this week's show, when Bobby would have been a natural for that honor. He rarely plays the Opry anymore and he was one of the finalists for the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. Also, no square dancers on the show.

October 1st ?

Gaylord today issued a press release on their plans for the Opryland Hotel and the Grand Ole Opry House. The press release mentioned that they expect the Opry to return to the Opry House on October 1. Good news and I hope that the date holds.

The Opry birthday celebration is the following weekend, October 8 and 9 and that is always one of their biggest weekends.