The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for this weekend's shows. There is one show on Friday night and one show on Saturday night. In looking at the line-ups and who they have scheduled, let me just say that these will not be the strongest shows that the Opry has put on. And, as we have discussed before, that is one of the issues with the Opry. When you are collecting $54.00 for a prime seat and people are coming from miles away, you have to give them a show worth the money that they are paying.
When you look at Friday night, I would have to say that the two biggest stars on the show are Collin Raye and Exile. And, both are well past their prime. Then you have two acts who are trying to make a name for themselves in the business. The Black Lillies, who are an Americana musical group who are nominated for several awards, but they are not household names. They will be making their second Opry appearance. Also appearing on Friday will be The McClymonts. They are a female trio of sisters from Australia. This will be their first Opry appearance and while they have made records and have had some success in the "Land Down Under", nothing has happened to their careers stateside. In other words, they will be an unknown to most of the Opry audience.
Saturday night offers Danny Gokey and Randy Montana, who have made several Opry appearances this year. Opry semi-regular Mandy Barnett will be on and I am sure she will be promoting her new Patsy Cline CD. Also appearing will be Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. This is a quality bluegrass group that bluegrass fans will recognize and have supported over the years. Finally, Saturday night will feature two of the Opry's veterans. Ray Pillow will be hosting a segment and one of his guests will be Stonewall Jackson, who have made very few Opry appearances so far this year. Nice to see Stonewall back.
Friday September 9
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; The Black Lillies
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Collin Raye
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; The McClymonts
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jim Ed Brown; Exile
Saturday September 10
7:00: The Whites (host); Jimmy C Newman; Randy Montana
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Stonewall Jackson; Russell Moore & IIIrd Time Out; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Danny Gokey
Interesting that Bill Anderson is leading off the Friday Night Opry and Jimmy Dickens seems to have settled into the 2nd slot on Saturday nights. And, as Pete Fisher will do when he has a shortage of segment hosts, he has called upon Ray Pillow, who seems to be the "go-to" guy when everyone else who could host is out of town. I know that Jimmy C Newman is on Saturday night, but I don't think he has hosted a segment in years.
And for those keeping track at home, there are 13 artists scheduled for Friday night, or whom 9 are Opry members and 12 artists for Saturday night, of whom 8 are Opry members.
The host of the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree on Saturday night/Sunday morning will be country music veteran "No-One", as it is the employee showcase show. We'll, at least it is free.
Finally, the big news this week at the Opry will be the upcoming Tuesday Night Opry on September 13 as the Opry pays tribute to George Jones upon his 80th birthday. Who could have believed that George, with the life that he led, would live to see his 80th!! But, sorry to say, George is not scheduled to perform on the show. Hopefully they can talk him into singing at least one number. But, there is no shortage of stars on this show. Alan Jackson, who seems to be good for one Opry show a year, if there is a special occasion that they can talk him into coming for, will be there, along with Jamey Johnson, Pam Tillis and the Opry's newest members, the Oak Ridge Boys. Also appearing will be Blackberry Smoke, who I had to look up. They are billed as the primary Southern Rock band in America. Then you have Eric Lee Beddingfield. I think the reason he was scheduled is that his new record is called, "The Gospel According to Jones." He has been around for a while, trying to make it.
Tuesday September 13
7:00: Bill Anderson; Blackberry Smoke; Pam Tillis
7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Joe Diffie; Oak Ridge Boys
8:15: Jamey Johnson; Eric Lee Beddingfield
8:45: Lee Ann Womack; Alan Jackson