Thursday, December 8, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 12/9 & 12/10

The Grand Ole Opry continues it's winter run at the Ryman Auditorium with 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday night. The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists Darius Rucker and Joey+Rory, who have each appeared on the Opry several times. Also on the Friday night show is very frequent Opry guest Mandy Barnett.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night includes a guest appearance by Rhonda Vincent. I know that for several years there was a lot of thought that Rhonda might become a new member of the Opry, but that talk has cooled down. I still think it should happen and maybe someday it will. I think she would be a nice addition to the Opry cast. Also guesting on Saturday night will be Sarah Darling and Eamonn McCrystal.

Friday December 9
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del McCoury Band; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jack Greene; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Joey+Rory
8:45: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darius Rucker

Saturday December 10
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Sarah Darling
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Eamonn McCrystal; Connie Smith
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Rhonda Vincent; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Exile

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Sarah Darling
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Eamonn McCrystal; Connie Smith
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Rhonda Vincent; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Exile

Interesting that both Saturday shows have the same exact line up. Anyways, the Friday Night Opry has 14 artists booked, which is the most that they have had in a while. Of the 14, 11 are Opry members. Both Saturday shows have 12 artists, of whom 8 are Opry members.

Leona Williams will be the host of the Midnight Jamboree at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. I have seen her before hosting and she does a great job and has a fine following. That should be a good show.

The Tuesday Night Opry on December 13 will have the following line up:

7:00: John Conlee; Diamond Rio
7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Matthew West
8:15: Bill Anderson; Phil Vassar
8:45: The Whites; Ricky Skaggs

I am sure that The Whites and Ricky Skaggs will do some Christmas numbers together that they have been doing on their Christmas tour. RFD-TV will also be showing the Skaggs Family Christmas special this weekend at various times.



  1. First, I just want to let you know how much I enjoy reading your blog each week! You're a wealth of information and I appreciate your weekly perspectives. So thanks! Second, what exactly are the requirements for Opry membership? There always seems to be lots of discussion 'out there' about members vs non-members...will performers like Barnett / Vincent ever
    become members, why do non members perform so
    much etc. I can certainly understand and appreciate the sanctity of the Opry but membership seems pretty

  2. Thanks for the compliment. And thanks for reading. And yes, you are right in the Opry membership is pretty subjective.

    Regarding requirements for Opry membership, there are no real requirements except to be asked by the Opry's management, which right now would be Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher. Many entertainers, such as Mandy Barnett, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent and Restless Heart, just to name a few, have appeared on the Opry many, many times and have never been asked to join. Others, such as Lee Greenwood and before they finally accepted, The Oak Ridge Boys, had been asked to become members, but have declined.

    Management has traditionally kept Opry membership to around 60 members, give or take a few. When they consider asking a person to become an Opry member they do look for a few things. Among them are a willingness to support the show, how well they have been received when they have guested on the Opry, and it helps if they have had a hit or two. Attendance requirements of its members has varied over the years, but right now Pete Fisher asks each new member to commit to doing 10 shows per year. Most of those that he has made members generally come pretty close to that number.

    For much of its history, the only time non-members appeared on the show was when there were not enough members to fill out the line up. And those were the days when up to 30 artists appeared on a show. Now there are generally 12-13 artists per show, with about 8 or 9 being Opry members and more non members appearing.

    The reason so many non members are appearing now is that Pete Fisher has decided to add more variety to the show and not have the same people appearing each week. In additon, many of the Opry's older members have died in recent years and the younger members that have joined the Opry are not appearing as much as those older legends. And many of the older legends that still appear on the Opry have had their appearances reduced because Pete has made it known that he would like to make the Opry "younger" as well as the audience. So while you see a Jimmy Dickens still on each week, that is why you see a Jimmy C Newman, Jack Greene or Jan Howard appearing on the Opry fewer times.

    I know that is a long answer, and maybe more than what you wanted, but I hope that helps you out. Let me know if you had any other questions.

    (from Byron)

  3. Thanks so much for your insightful response! It provided the type of info I was looking for. Keep up the great work and enjoy your weekend,.,

  4. As always, great work Byron.
    I have great trouble understanding how folks like Mandy, Rebecca, and others you mentioned who come each and every time they get a call aren't offered membership.
    If they're good enough to appear regularly, they're good enough to be members.

  5. Jim Ed just finished the 7:30 portion and mentioned he was backed by "the Carol Lee Singers." I wondered, Byron: is Carol Lee back?

    By the way, The Potato sounded pretty strong on the 7:00 segment, though I suspect getting a hug from Sarah Darling didn't hurt his health.

  6. Mike, I listened to the first show and heard Jim Ed saw the same thing, but I have not heard of anything regarding her being back. I will check today and see what I find out.

    You are right, Jimmy sounded much better tonight. But I have to tell you, his sound is sure different since Pee Wee passed away. The steel guitar just doesn't sound the same, and if you listen when they play his intro of "Old Joe Clark", it just doesn't have the same musical arrangement that it once did. It almost sounds like the staff band is just playing it very generically.

    Over all, I thought last nights show was pretty good.

    (byron-still having trouble posting a comment under my own name!!!)

  7. Byron, I know you're not having an identity crisis.

    You are right. There is a sound--Mr. Acuff didn't sound the same without Oswald, and when I hear a Bill Monroe number from his later years, I can tell if it's Kenny Baker on fiddle.

    I heard most of the show. I still wish they would ask Rhonda Vincent to join.

  8. "I still wish they would ask Rhonda Vincent to join."
    I second that idea. Rhonda is old school, understands the concept of family, and would be a great addition.

  9. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Also, Rhonda is bluegrass and plays smaller venues rather than stadiums. Theoretically, at least, she leaves less money on the table when she plays the Opry.

    (Re. financial sacrifice, I did appreciate the point made by a poster on another thread who said, hey, these megabuck guys and gals don't tour year-around; they could cash the big checks and have plenty of time left over for the Opry ... if they wanted to be there.)