Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 9/2 & 9/3

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the schedule for the shows this weekend. As with most weekends, there is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night. Traditionally, Labor Day weekend does not produce some of the best line ups as many of the Opry's members are on the road doing the state and county fair circuit. I know that that our county fair is taking place and Rodney Atkins is the headline performer on Thursday night.

As far as this weekend, there is some good variety in the line up. Friday night will feature several non-Opry members who have performed on the show previously, those being Gloriana, James Otto and Mark Wills. Opry member Diamond Rio will also be on Friday's show.

Saturday night will feature bluegrass artist Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, who have received good reactions from the Opry crowd. Also appearing will be Elizabeth Cook and Billy Dean, both of whom are not strangers to the Opry stage, along with Wynn Varble, who will be making his first Opry appearance. I know that the name probably doesn't mean much to many of you, but Wynn has been around Nashville since the early 1980s. Not only is he a singer, but he is a talented songwriter. Among his credits is the great Darryl Worley song, "Have You Forgotten."

Also appearing on Saturday night will be Opry veteran Stu Phillips. Stu has not made many Opry appearances over the past several years, and I am sorry to report that based on his last couple of Opry shows, his voice is not what it once was. He was such a fine ballad singer. Of course, I always find it odd that he is a minister and owns a winery in the Nashville area. I have visited his winery in the past, and while I do not drink, my wife who does reported to me that his wine is not the best on the market. But, he does draw some tourists to his location.

Here is the complete schedule for this weekend:

Friday September 2
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Gloriana
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; James Otto
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Mark Wills
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Diamond Rio

Saturday September 3
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Elizabeth Cook
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Wynn Varble; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Billy Dean

For those counting at home, that is 12 artists each night, of which on Friday, 9 are Opry members and on Saturday 8 are Opry members. And, I am sure you have also noticed that for the 2nd week in a row, Jimmy Dickens is hosting the 2nd segment on Saturday night and not the traditional 1st segment that he had been hosting for years.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree on Saturday night/Sunday morning will be hosted by Glen Douglas Tubb, who will be basically doing a tribute show to Ernest Tubb, who was his Uncle. For those who don't know, Glen Douglas Tubb has been around Nashville for a number of years, and his currently married to Dottie Snow, who was Hank Snow's son Jimmy's ex-wife. Hope you can all follow that.

Finally, here is the line up for the Tuesday Night Opry on September 6. This show looks like a very solid show.

7:00: Bill Anderson; Frankie Ballard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Steel Magnolia
8:15: David Nail; Henry Cho
8:45: Blake Shelton; Rascal Flatts

As I have shared with a couple of others via the email system, I would not be surprised at some point if Rascal Flatts was asked to join the Opry. They have been making a few appearances of late and as you would expect, have been very well received. They are also scheduled for a couple of more Opry appearances in the next several months, including at the Opry's birthday celebration in October. I have no inside information on this one, just a thought.


  1. And Jimmie Snow's ex-wife is Carol Lee Cooper. I'm now exhausted.

    If Rascal Flatts will respect the Opry, bring 'em on. Of course, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Clint Black, Randy Travis, and several others loved and respected the Opry until they became members, then joined witness protection.

    I wonder whether Jim Ed Brown might have to leave early and got the first segment Saturday night as a result. That sometimes happens, and The Potato seems less proprietary about his segment than, say, Hank Snow was about 8:30 and 11:00.

  2. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Byron, maybe Stu has insider access to some real cheap makings for his wine (heh, heh).

    Michael, good one about witness protection.

  3. You are right with the Hank Snow comment. Once he took over those 2 segments, that was where he was, except for once in a while hosting the televised Opry portion on TNN, which he did rarely.

    I know that we have mentioned Hank Snow before and more than a few of us are fascinated by Hank. There have been some great country music books written, but 2 that I would love to see would be independent biographies on Roy Acuff and Hank Snow. I know that in recent years we have seen books done on Faron Young and Bill Monroe to name a couple, and I know that Hank wrote his autobiography and an earlier book was written about Roy, but I think that there are many inside stories about their careers that need to come to light. Not National Enquirer stuff, but just some of the inside stories about Roy and the Opry, his publishing business, etc. And with Hank, just some of the details on his career from others. Maybe someday, it will happen.

    One more comment on Rascal Flatts. Pete Fisher has had some pretty good success on the members he has brought to the Opry, at least in the fact that they do show up close to the 10 times per year that he asks. If Rascal Flatts were to become Opry members, I would expect the same from them.

  4. From Fred in Bismarck:

    YES to the need for those biographies -- and, please, by somebody knowledgeable about the music as well as the life. It's the kind of treatment received by Hank Williams, Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Faron Young and Bill Monroe ... but definitely NOT by Hank Snow and George Jones writing for themselves.

    Jones told many horror stories on himself, but had virtually nothing to say about the music he made. The new import on his Starday years is a reminder of what a prolific and fabulous writer, as well as singer, he was in the 1950s; but he shares nothing about his writing with us.

    Maybe it was all so long ago that it's lost in the alcohol and drug mists. But it's essential to any complete appreciation and understanding of George Jones.

    Snow's adoration of his worthless-sounding mother ... who always put her son second to whatever man she was with at the time ... was grimly interesting in a pathological sort of way. I suspect that his version of many other events is just as unreliable -- his failure to mention his son's marriage to Carol Lee Cooper, for starters.

    In any case, I'd much rather have learned about how he developed, and what he thought of, the many features of Hank Snow music that made him my No. 2 of all time, after only Roy Acuff.

    Elizabeth Schlappi did a decent job on Roy Acuff, I feel, without bringing perhaps all the critical skills to the job that one would like. She was fabulous on his early life ... which makes him out to be, frankly, such a bum that you marvel at his later good luck and success. (I think, in Acuff's case, the good Lord simply said, "By God, I'm going to lift this guy up. Just to show what I can do.")

    Incidently, Acuff reminds me in that way of Jimmie Rodgers, who succeeded almost in spite of himself, if you read Nolan Porterfield's biography closely ... often arriving unprepared for recording sessions, for instance, with no new material, etc.

    I realize that this kind of success also goes by another name ... genius.

    For my part, add Webb Pierce to the list of fabulous and gifted personalities that could use a good bio. Maybe Diane Diekman, when she finishes with ol' Marty?

  5. Fred, I was proud of that line ....

    One of the problems for any biographer is source information. There is the music, of course. There may be interviews, but unless the person was fairly public in his or her activities, it may be hard. For example, Johnny Cash and George Jones were very open and public about their problems; Faron Young wasn't open about them, but they were public, for sure. TNN once aired a documentary on Mr. Acuff and got into his early misbehavior, and I don't think he ENTIRELY calmed down later in life, but he is so important to the history of music, not just country music. And Fred, your comment about Hank Snow's mother ... I remember thinking much what you did about her, that if she would stick with a man who beat her kids .... But it also was a different time and place, and that could well be part of any such book.

  6. Great comments Fred!!

    I have an autographed copy of George Jones's book, and while it is a fine book, lots of material is left out, and as you said, you get George's version of certain events, which may or may not be what actually happened.

    As far as Johnny Cash, I am a big fan and always have been. But in Johnny's life, I think he wrote 2 autobiographies on himself and participated in one other. What I remember most is that in each of the books, there were events that were told by Cash differently in each book. It was like he was trying to change what had already happened.

    Roy Acuff's book would be tough only from the standpoint that there is probably no one living from that early era that could really add anything. Jimmy Dickens is still alive, but he is such as Acuff fan that he wouldn't add anything critical and Kitty Wells seems like the type not to say anything that would hurt anyone. Roy's son and I think daughter are still alive, so maybe they could add something, but they are both pretty private people. But I have heard many stories about Roy and the bottom line, like with so many others, is that he may not have been the nice old man that he was portrayed as later in his life. I still remember him and the girl from Krogers making the National Enquirer and other publications.

    I know for years that Jean Shepard has been trying to get her autobiography published but without success. She has promised to hold nothing back. That book might be interesting to read as Jean has always been very outspoken.

  7. Oh, would I ever pay for a Jean Shepard autobiography!

    I remember at one point there was a story--I think it's the one Byron refers to--about Mr. Acuff in his 80s having a 30-year-old girlfriend. I was shocked that he denied it. I wouldn't have!

    I mentioned the TNN documentary. It talked about how his daughter was born well before he met Mildred, and that he wrote "Precious Jewel" about the mother--and that that was the real cause of his nervous breakdown in his late twenties. That doesn't make him a bad person; it makes him a human person.

    As for generosity, I know that he could be very warm and giving. But he also was a businessman. The two aren't mutually exclusive, although that could lead me into a discussion of my politics!

  8. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Great comments, everybody. Wow, that Acuff stuff is all new to me.

    Yes, a salty old gal like Jean S. should have lots to say. I'm surprised she can't interest somebody like the University of Indiana Press, which published Snow's book and lots of others on country music.

    Failing that, she should simply publish the thing herself. It's not all that expensive -- she's got to have c. $12K for a first edition of 1,000 and a web site -- and I'll bet she'd get her money back pretty quick!

  9. I think that to be as successful a business man that Roy Acuff was, and make no mistake about it, he was very successful, you have to have a certain personaliy. I would imagine that the Roy Acuff that people saw in business meetings, particuarly in the 1940s and 1950s, is a different image than what we saw on stage.

    Mike, I know we have mentioned it before, but for those who don't, if you ever wanted to see how Roy could be, try to watch the clip of him and Minnie Pearl from Ralph Emery's show talking about Jimmie Rodgers. Classic!! And of course, Minnie did have her own issues with Roy over the years.

    And yes Mike, I think we are talking about the same woman. If I remember right, Roy's wife had died and he was living in the Opryland house at that time and the female was a cashier at Krogers that Roy saw everytime he went to the store and became friendly with her. I believe she eventually moved in with him and when she tried to put pressure into having Roy marry her and he would not, she left. From what I read, he was somewhat depressed after that, at least for a time.

    And just to clarify, there was nothing wrong with this as they were both single at the time. And Roy was not the first older Opry member to take up with a much younger female. (Just read Bill Monroe's biography).

  10. Byron, I hope when I am in my eighties, I am interesting to a woman in her thirties; my wife probably would even be happy about it! More seriously, Minnie Pearl once said she saw a lot of misbehavior on the road, and she never saw a country singer who had to go looking. I'm sure she had her friend in mind.

    Another thought: it was Mr. Acuff, with Ernest Tubb and Minnie Pearl, who did a lot to get Jim Denny fired. They had power and they used it. It doesn't make them bad people, but it's an interesting change where nobody appears willing to complain about the management--and those who do have memories of the dwindling appearances of Stonewall Jackson, Del Reeves, and Charlie Louvin to discourage them.

    Mr. Acuff also had, I believe, a nurse or assistant who took care of him, and there were rumors about her. Bless him.

  11. Jimmy Dickens Will Make The Opry Tonight He Will Host The 7.30 Show He Is Fine This Week

  12. I'm worried about Mighty Stonewall. I remember his wife had had health problems a while back. Here's hoping everybody is all right.

  13. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Boy, did I used to love listening to the Opry on Saturday night. Following in the tradition of my grandfather, who also gloried in it.

    After electronic clutter ruined my ability to bring it in, I never made the transition to listening on the computer. But, tell you what: Tonight, in the well-lubricated runup to supper, I listened to music by the Blue Sky Boys, Hank W. (from the 'Complete' Mercury collection) and Country Ham, an oldtime group.

    Saturday night successfully observed!

    Best wishes to all you wonderful correspondents, and thanks to Byron for this site for likeminded people!

  14. Fred, thanks for your kind comments. I know what you are saying. While I still enjoy listening to the Opry, it sure isn't like the old days when you would have 30 artists on a single show.

  15. I will say that Jeannie Seely did a nice job in remembering Dottie West last night at the Opry. She had some kind words to say about Dottie.

  16. I wasn't able to listen last night. But, Fred, it's sad to report that the best thing about WSM on Saturday nights now is usually that period AFTER the Opry when, for a couple of hours, they play transcriptions of broadcasts from the 1960s, when the Opry actually let its members perform.

  17. Thank you for that info, Michael. I did not know about the rebroadcasts. It's getting past my bedtime these days, but it's nice to know the option is out there. -- Fred in Bismarck