The Opry has finished this week's line-up by adding a couple of their standbys, Rebecca Lynn Howard and Daryle Singletary.
It has been a very quiet week around the Grand Ole Opry and I would call it a week when some news was expected, but no news came.
First, the Opry keeps saying that very soon they will announce the plans on returning to the Grand Ole Opry House, but nothing has come as of yet. When I talk to the folks at the Opry ticket office, which I do every couple of days, they keep telling me that they are selling tickets for the Opry House, starting with the Friday October 1st show. The last I was told was that the lower level is almost all sold out, with tickets still available in the balcony. I think that the Opry management just continues to wait to make sure everything will be done and ready. I know it was reported this past week, that outside of Bass Pro Shops, the rest of Opry Mills Mall will probably not reopen until next year and that many of the stores have relocated to other locations and probably will not return to the mall when it reopens. Bass Pro Shops expects to be open for the Christmas season.
The other news that some of us had speculated would come, did not. Several of us thought that the Opry was getting ready to invite Blake Shelton as its newest member and I actually thought it would take place on last night's Tuesday Night Opry. Recent articles have linked Blake more and more with the Opry and recent interviews that he has given, along with Opry President Steve Buchanan seemed to indicate that an invite to join might be coming at some point. Blake just released his new CD, which is number 1 in country music right now. I still think this is a real possibility and if it does happen, I will offer more comments and opinions at that time.
Finally, the Opry has released their line-ups for this weekend. The shows on Friday and Saturday night will take place at the Ryman Auditorium. The highlights for this week include the return of Hal Ketchum to the Opry stage. Hal had posted on his website that he intended to take the year off and this will be his first Opry appearance this year. He is on Saturday night and the one thing that does suprise me is that, considering the quality of the segment hosts on that night, that Hal is not hosting a segment. Also on Saturday night, Lee Greenwood makes an appearance, as does Kathy Mattea, who will also appear Friday night. Now for the line-ups:
Friday August 20
7:00: John Conlee(host); Riders In The Sky; Emily West
7:30: Jeannie Seely(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Daryle Singletary
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Kathy Mattea
8:45: Mike Snider(host); The Whites; Blake Shelton
Saturday August 21
7:00: Riders In The Sky(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:30: The Whites(host); Jan Howard; Hal Ketchum
8:15: Jean Shepard(host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Kathy Mattea; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson(host); Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood
There is a slot to fill both Friday night and Saturday night, and it is in the segment that is traditionally hosted by Jimmy Dickens. It makes me think that maybe Jimmy was on the original schedule for both nights and decided he could not make it and they just bumped up Jeannie Seely and Riders In The Sky to host the segments.
To close out, Charlie Louvin is scheduled to host this week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree and of last report, is still set to go. This would be amazing for him to return this soon after his cancer surgery, but I am looking forward to this and will be watching the webcast on Saturday night, at 10pm to see how he looks and how he sounds. It should be a great night and I am sure some guest stars will show up to show their support for Charlie.