Friday, April 29, 2011

May Opry Highlights

As I do each month, I would like to take the time to highlight the various historical and important events that have taken place during the month of May.

May 1, 1894: Sam McGee was born. He would team with his brother Kirk and together would appear on the Opry. Sam passed away in 1975, while brother Kirk would remain with the show until he passed away in 1983. They make their first Opry appearance in 1926 and would appear individually, as a duet and as part of the Fruit Jar Drinkers and the Dixieliners.

May 12, 1901: Benjamin Francis Ford was born in DeSoto, Missouri. Later known as Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, this comedian would join the Opry in 1942 and was brought to the Opry to specifically be on the Prince Albert Show. He would stay at the Opry until 1959 and in 1986 he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 30, 1909: Lewis Crook of the Crook Brothers was born in Tennesee. As part of the Crook Brothers, and other groups, Lewis would join the Opry just after the time that it started, and would remain with the show until he passed away in 1997.

May 1, 1910: Former Opry manager Ott Devine was born.

May 30, 1912: Alcyone Bate Beasley was born. As with Lewis Crook and the McGees, she was one of the early performers on the Opry and would continue to appear at the Opry's reunion shows each year until her death.

May 9, 1914: Hank Snow was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. He would join the Opry in 1950, and would remain an Opry member until his death in 1999. He was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1979.

May 1, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon joins the WSM Barn Dance. He would remain with the Opry for the next quarter century, making his last Opry appearance on March 1, 1952. He became ill after that performance and would pass away seveal weeks later at the age of 81. He was the first member to join the show that would soon change its name to the Grand Ole Opry, who was a performer with a national reputation. In 1966, Uncle Dave was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Not too bad for an old country boy.

May 25, 1936: Missing Grand Ole Opry member Tom T. Hall was born in Kentucky. And, he was actually born in a log cabin. The Country Music Hall of Famer joined the Opry on January 1, 1971. As many of you know, even though he is an Opry member and still active in the music business, he has not been at the Opry for many, many years.

May 2, 1948: Grand Ole Opry member Larry Gatlin was born. Larry, along with his brothers, would join the Opry on Christmas Day in 1976.

May 29, 1950: Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters join the Opry. The sisters, of course, were June, Helen and Anita. When the Carters joined the Opry, they brought along their guitar played from Nashville, Chet Atkins. Over the years, while the sisters would come and go, Mother Maybelle would remain with the Opry, and along with Sam and Kirk McGee and a few of the other older veterans, would complain about their Opry spots being limited and not being given any prime spots. Sounds like things haven't changed much over the years with the veterans and legends of the Opry.

May 11, 1957: The Everly Brothers make their first appearance at the Opry. They would eventually join the cast of the Opry, but would stay only a short length of time, leaving the Opry in 1958.

May 20, 1958: Don Gibson joined the Opry. He would be fired from the Opry as part of the purge of 1964, but would later rejoin the show and remain a member, although an infrequent one, until his death in 2003. In 2001, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 13, 1967: Merle Haggard makes his first appearance on the Opry.

May 8, 1968: Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay passed away at his home in Virginia Beach, Virgina. On the following Saturday night's show on May 11, the Opry paid tribute to him. Grant Turner was quoted on the Opry that night as saying, "He called himself the Solemn Old Judge. If he was solemn, it was only in the face of those who thought to change or corrupt the purity of the barn-dance ballads he sought to preserve. We, the performers and friends of the Grand Ole Opry, salute the memory of one whose influence is felt on the stage of the Opry tonight-the Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay." George Hay stated the Opry in November 1925 and he would stay with the Opry until leaving WSM in the spring of 1957. After he started the Opry, he would clash with WSM management over the direction of the Opry. He wanted to keep the show "close to the ground" with the rural and string performers, while WSM wanted to professionalize the Opry. He would suffer from health problems over the years, and each time he returned from a leave of absence, he would see his role at the Opry further diminished. At the time of his retirement of the Opry, his only role was that of an announcer.

May 27, 1972: Opryland opens. On its first day open, it will draw over 10,000 visitors and by the end of the first year, it drew over 1,400,000 visitors. Opryland will remain one of Nashville's most popular tourist attractions before Gaylord Entertainment officials made the decision to close the park. While the park opened in May 1972, it would be until March 1974 that the Opry House was finally done.

May 11, 1979: Lester Flatt passed away in Nashville at the age of 64. After the split from Earl Scruggs, Lester stayed with traditional bluegrass, while Earl went to a more modern sound. While many older bluegrass fans turned away from Earl, Lester moved on to legendary status with his group, Nashville Grass. Lester continued as an Opry member until his death and usually hosted the Martha White portion of the show.

May 15, 1982, Ricky Skaggs joins the cast of the Opry. In 2011, he will celebrate his 29th year as an Opry member. When Ricky became an Opry member, he was quoted as saying, "That was a childhood dream of mine. Because I used to go to sleep on my grandfather's lap listening to the Grand Ole Opry in his Ford pickup truck out by the barn. We'd pull away from the house where all the electric lines were and we'd pull down to the barn, and he would turn his radio on-an old tube radio that he had in his pickup-and, of course, Nashville always came and went, you know, the frequency and the signal would just come adn go up in those Kentucky mountains. But, you know, when it would come back in, you'd hear Earl Scruggs playing the banjo-it was the greatest sound in the world. And I used to listen to that. I'd been playing since I was five years old, when I played with Bill Monroe up in Martha, Kentucky, in a little high school." Ricky also said, "And I don't ever-ever! want to get to the point where I can't come and play the Opry, where I feel like I'm too good to play the Opry. Mr. Acuff said that I would do that. He said, 'You'll get so big you'll do like all the rest of them.' And I said, 'You don't know me. You just watch me and see. I'm not made that way. I didn't join the Opry for that.'" After that, each time Ricky would come back and do the Opry and Roy was there, Ricky would always make it a point of going to Roy's dressing room and telling him that he was there. Except for a few bumps here and there, Ricky has stayed true to his word and has supported the Opry.

May 1, 1993: Charley Pride joins the cast of the Opry. He first appeared as a guest on the Opry 26 years before. This year will mark his 18th year as an Opry member.

May 11, 1996: Steve Wariner joins the cast of the Opry. This year will be his 15th as an Opry member.

May 21, 2006: Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker was killed in a crash while returning to Nashville after a show in Alabama. He was 76. Also killed in the accident where his wife Bettie and two members of his band. He had been a member of the Opry for 46 years.

May 19, 2007: Porter Wagoner celebrates his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart and Buck Trent joined Porter on stage that night. Sad to say, this would be the last time that Porter and Dolly performed together on the Opry stage.

May 10, 2008: Carrie Underwood joins the Opry. Celebrating her 3rd year as an Opry member, Carrie has surprised many people with her commitment to the show. Even as her career has taken off, she has met her appearance obligations at the Opry, which is much more than many of the Opry's other contemporary members.

May 30, 2009: Comedian and expert banjo player Steve Martin makes his first appearance on the Opry. Martin led the band in the great Flatt & Scruggs classic, "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." Appearing with Steve that night were Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Stuart Duncan, Tim O'Brien and John McEuen.

May 1, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House sustains major damage as the Cumberland River spills over its banks, after Nashville receives a record rain fall. The Opry would be unable to return to the Opry House until September, and would spend the summer months at various other locations, including the Ryman Auditorium, Two Rivers Baptist Church and War Memorial Auditorium.

In honor of Ricky Skaggs and his 29th year as an Opry member on May 15, 1982, I want to post the line up from the show that night:

6:30 Mrs Grissoms
Jack Greene (host)
Boxcar Willie

6:45 Rudys
Stonewall Jackson (host)
Stu Phillips
Jeannie Seely

7:00 Shoneys
Archie Campbell (host)
Jim & Jesse
Charlie Louvin
Connie Smith
Justin Tubb

7:30 Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host)
Jean Shepard
Billy Walker
Ricky Skaggs (Cryin' My Heart Out Over You" "Blue Moon Of Kentucky"
Crook Brothers
Tennessee Travelers

8:00 Martha White
Roy Acuff (host)
Jimmy C. Newman
Charlie Walker
Tennessee Ernie Ford

8:30 Acme
Hank Snow (host)
4 Guys
Roy Drusky
Wilburn Brothers
Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30 Kelloggs
Ernest Tubb (host)
Stonewall Jackson
Ernie Ashworth
Ricky Skaggs
Bill Carlisle
Boxcar Willie

10:00 Little Debbie
Billy Walker (host)
Ray Pillow
Vic Willis Trio

10:15 Sunbeam
Archie Campbell (host)
Jeannie Seely

10:30 Martha White
Roy Acuff (host)
Billy Grammer
Connie Smith

10:45 Beechnut
Jimmy C. Newman (host)
Jean Shepard
Crook Brothers
Tennessee Travelers

11:00 Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host)
Charlie Walker
Justin Tubb
Fruit Jar Drinkers
Jan Howard
Kirk McGee

11:30 Bama
Marty Robbins (host)
4 Guys
Roy Drusky
Wilburn Brothers

B.J. Thomas was also scheduled to appear that night but cancelled. Not a bad show.

That will do it for this month. Thanks again for looking back.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 4/29 & 4/30--Updated #2

No Jimmy Dickens tonight. Eddie Stubbs said he was not feeling well and decided to stay home tonight. Jean Shepard took over the hosting duties for that segment.

A couple of additions to this weeks line up. Emily West has been added to Friday night during the first segment and Mandy Barnett was added to the 2nd segment on Saturday night. The only thing that bothers me with Mandy being added on is that Ray Pillow and Jack Greene each get cut down to just once song each, while on the previous line up, they would have gotten two songs.

Before starting this post, my heart goes out to those in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and the other southern states that suffered greatly in the storms yesterday. The lost of life and damage is just terrible. The past year has been rough on many of those areas and it just seems to keep coming. Thoughts and prayers go out to my friends in the south.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, as I was hoping, Ray Pillow is on the schedule for Saturday night. It was on April 30, 1966 that Ray became a member of the Opry and this will be his 45th anniversary as an Opry member. I do hope that there is some recognition for this great accomplishment.

Also this weekend, Opry members Montgomery Gentry will be at the Opry on Friday night, along with Marty Stuart. At this point of time, the only non-Opry member on the line up for Friday night is John Michael Montgomery.

Saturday night's line up is not the strongest of recent weeks, but Restless Heart, Carter's Chord and Troy Olsen are guesting on that show. There is only one show on Saturday night.

Friday April 29

7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jeannie Seely; Emily West
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C. Newman; John Michael Montgomery
8:15: Marty Stuart (host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Montgomery Gentry

Saturday April 30

7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Troy Olsen
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Carter's Chord; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Restless Heart

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry 4/26 & Opry Country Classics 4/28

Here is the line up for tonight's Tuesday Night Opry, April 26:

7:00: Jim Ed Brown; Josh Thompson
7:30: Jeannie Seely; Steve Wariner
8:15: Riders In The Sky
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Eric Church

Jennette McCurdy was originally on the schedule for this show but cancelled out yesterday. At this point, there is no word on a replacement.

Here is the line up for Opry Country Classics, April 28:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Also Appearing: Lynn Anderson; Jimmy Fortune; Jack Greene; Chuck Mead; Daryle Singletary; Teea Goans.

I am glad to see Teea Goans on the schedule for Opry Country Classics. She has a great country voice and her initial album was pretty good. Hope she gets a break at some point in the business.

Some of noticed that Carol Lee Cooper has not been at the Opry the past several weeks. I know she was not there when I went down 2 weeks ago. Jennifer O'Brien has been replacing her and doing a great job. If that name sounds familiar to Opry fans, I believe she did some back up singing with Charlie Louvin at the Opry back in the 1990s or early 2000s. No word on Carol Lee or when she might be back.

And on next weeks Tuesday Night Opry, the Opry is going to have a special show to mark the first anniversary of the Nashville flood. Brad Paisley, Dierks Bentley and Charlie Daniels are among those who will be performing. The Opry is also going to be making a donation to various charities as part of the show. Hard to believe that it has been a year since all that happened.

On a final note, on April 30, Ray Pillow will be celebrating his 45th year as an Opry member. Here is to the hope that Ray, who only plays the Opry about once each month, is on the schedule this weekend and hopefully get some recognition for this great career achievement. I always thought that Ray had one of the smoothest voices in country music.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 4/22 & 4/23

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line ups for this weekend's shows. The Opry is back to just one show on Saturday night, and based on the attendance at last week's 2nd show, I can see why. Unless the line up is at an "A" level or if there is a good advance sale for the 1st show, it just does not make any sense in the world to go with 2 show.

Looking at this week's shows, they are pretty good, especially on Saturday night. The show that night features the return of Martina McBride to the Opry stage, along with Pam Tillis, Marty Stuart and Ricky Skaggs. Friday night's show features 15 artists, including Opry member Josh Turner, along with Paul Williams, Randy Montana and Thompson Square.

Friday April 22
7:00: John Conlee(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Riders In The Sky; Thompson Square
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jeannie Seely; Randy Montana
8:15: Marty Stuart(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Connie Smith; Paul Williams
8:45: Mike Snider(host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Josh Turner

Saturday April 23
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); John Conlee; Danny Gokey
7:30: Ricky Skaggs(host); George Hamilton IV; Jim Ed Brown; The Whites
8:15: Pam Tillis(host); Mike Snider; Jack Owen; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Marty Stuart(host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Martina McBride

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry 4/19 & Opry Country Classics April 21

The artist line-ups have been posted for the Tuesday Night Opry and Opry Country Classics for this week. Neither show has what I would call an all-star line up, with the Opry Country Classics show very weak this week. For the prices that they charge, I would expect something a lot stronger. Anyways, here you go:

Tuesday Night Opry April 19
7:00: The White
7:30: Jesse McReynolds; Kim Richey
8:15: Bill Anderson; Rodney Atkins
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Craig Morgan

Opry Country Classics-Thursday April 21
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Dailey & Vincent
Also Appearing: Mandy Barnett; Con Hunley; James Intveld; Jeannie Seely

Monday, April 18, 2011

Observations From My Opry Visit

This past weekend I went down to Nashville for the Opry. There was one show on Friday night and then the two shows on Saturday night. All 3 shows were pretty good, with the Friday Night Opry probably the best of the three.

The Friday Night Opry featured the return of Clint Black to the Opry stage, and he did a nice job. He had Steve Wariner with him, who played guitar and sang with Clint on his 2nd number. When Bill Anderson introduced Clint, he made some comments about Clint not being around as much as he should be and that he hoped Clint would play the Opry more often. Nice of Bill to say that, although there was no response from Clint. The other headliner, if you will, on Friday night was Vince Gill. He did his usual good job and probably got a better reaction from those in the Opry House than Clint did. He closed out the show with a song dedicated to Amy's Mom, who he mentioned was in the final days of her life.

Besides Clint and Vince, The Grascals were on and were excellent and well received. Jimmy Dickens looked and sounded the best that I have seen him in the last several years. Jim Ed Brown was good as was Jimmy C. Newman. The Whites had Vince Gill singing some backup for their song, along with the Carol Lee Singers, who were missing Carol Lee. John Conlee, Bobby Osborne, Jeannie Seely and Bill Anderson rounded out the Opry veterans who were on the Friday show. The final guest appearing was Rebecca Lynn Howard. She has an absolutely great country voice and I just don't understand why her career has not taken off like you would expect. She has a great personality on the stage and to be honest, has a good look about her.

The Friday show had about 3000 in attendance and the show ran over by about 15 minutes. And of course, there was that intermission that most everyone hates. He just ruins the flow of the show.

As far as Saturday night, the first show had a little over 3000 there. The lower level was all filled as was the lower balcony. The 2nd show had only about 400-500 people there. It was one of the smaller crowds that I have seen in a long, long time. I was up in the balcony talking to one of the hostesses that I know and I counted the crowd when the show started, and there were only 80 people in the entire balcony. They were telling people they could sit where they wanted and to move closer. It was just terrible. I know that this was the last Saturday with 2 shows for a while, but I cannot see how they can have 2 Saturday shows with that type of attendance. A couple of the artists made comments about the size of the crowd, not in a negative way, but really thanking the people for coming out. Jimmy Dickens, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill were really good about it. And I will say that the 2nd show was better than the first one.

As far as the 1st show, Jimmy Dickens sounded good again, as did Jimmy C. Newman on the opening segment. Rebecca Lynn Howard was the final guest Jimmy's show and she did the same two songs that she did on Friday Night. Again, an excellent job. Mike Snider hosted the 2nd segment and had a guest vocalist with him and I did not catch his name. I think he was a college student from North Carolina, and he did do a nice job. Jean Shepard came out next and looked real rough. She was wearing sunglasses and made reference to her husband causing the injuries she had. She also had a black eye, a big bruise on her face and she said she had a broken rib. Wow!! I had not read anything about her being in an accident, but that is what it looked like, or she fell. Either way, my prayers go out to her and I applaud her for appearing on the Opry. For whatever pain she was in, she sounded great. Jack Greene also sounded good, but it appeared to me that he was having some sight issues. Point Of Grace was the final act on this segment and they are a three female gospel group. They were fine, just nothing special. To me, they were more of a filler group.

Bill Anderson hosted the 3rd segment and had on John Conlee and Mountain Heart. They were both good. The Opry Square Dancers were on and what I found odd was that there were 6 dancers for the first show, but the regular 8 dancers for the 2nd show. And finally, Vince Gill hosted the final segment with Riders In The Sky and Connie Smith as his guests. Connie sounded and looked great.

Also during the first show, Jean Shepard introduced Oscar Sullivan, from Lonzo & Oscar fame, who was sitting up on the Opry stage in the back. He stood up and waved. It was a little hard to see him behind everything, but from what I could see, he looked pretty good. He stayed up on stage for the rest of the show and I could see numerous people going over and talking to him. Nice to see him there. Carol Lee Cooper was missing again on Saturday night. The Carol Lee Singers were introduced a couple of times, but no particular mention was made of Carol Lee.

The 2nd Saturday show had The Whites and Jan Howard as the only additional artists that were not on the first show, while Jimmy C. Newman, Mike Snider and Jack Greene only worked the first show. The show ran over as most of the artists song slower, ballad songs and there just seemed to be a more relaxed atmosphere to the show. Point Of Grace and Rebecca Lynn Howard did the same 2 numbers as the first show. Connie Smith did a great job with "Peace In The Valley". And Vince was awesome with a new number, "If I Die", which he said would be in a new album that he will have out in the summer.

As far as outside the Opry House, the Acuff Theater is still up and it looked like some work was being done at the Museum. There was a dumpster out front of it with trash in it and yellow caution tape in front of the doors. Neither was there in February when I was down. And it was announced last week that Opry Mills would be rebuilt and opening by summer of 2012. That will be great news for the Opry area as it still looks like a ghost town out there. With Gaylord Opryland open again there was a lot more traffic than in the winter. They just don't seem to be getting to the Opry. I think what really hurt the 2nd show on Saturday night was the lack of star power for the show. Vince Gill is fine, but he cannot carry the show by himself. And with ticket prices the way they are, people are expecting much more. I know it is hit and miss a lot of week with the Opry, but if they don't have a Carrie Underwood or someone like that there that is going to help sell walk up tickets, it probably does not pay to have that 2nd show.

Those are my observations. I hope the show sounded good on the radio. I will listen to the archive broadcast later in the week and thanks for checking the blog out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Grand Ole Opry---April 4, 1881--Old Timers' Night

I realize that it has been a while since I posted a classic Opry line up from the past. I think that I found a good one this time. There was a period of time in the Opry's history, and I am sure many of you will remember it, when each year the Opry had an "Old Timers' Night", which was a yearly show when the Opry invited back former Opry members who had either retired or moved on from the Opry. The show was usually held in April and was actually very popular. Of course over time, these "Reunion Shows" as they were sometimes held, were discontinued as the older veterans died off and there was really nobody to invite to these show. These reunion shows usually were spearheaded by Roy Acuff and some of the Opry's veterans who had been with the show for many years. It was a way for the Opry to remember its past.

In going through my files, I found the line up from one of the "Old Timers' Night", which took place on April 4, 1981. Hope you enjoy it and that it brings back some memories.

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Charlie Walker(host): 'San Antonio Rose'
Stu Phillips: "Great El Tigre'
Charlie Walker: 'Crazy Arms'

6:45: Rudys
Jack Greene(host): 'I'll Be There'
Jan Howard: 'The Story Of Hondo Crouch'
Ernie Ashworth: 'Memphis Memory'
Jack Greene: 'There Goes My Everything'

7:00: Shoneys
Porter Wagoner(host): 'Dooley'
Skeeter Davis: 'Take It Easy'
Curley Fox: 'The Old Grey Mule'
Wilburn Brothers: 'I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight'
Duke Of Paducah: 'Comedy'
Porter Wagoner: 'Trouble In Amen Corner'

7:30: Goo Goo
Jimmy C. Newman(host): 'Happy Cajun Country'
David Houston: 'Texas Ida Red'
Zeke Clements: 'Where Could I Go But To The Lord'
Billy Grammer: 'Somebody Loves You'
Crook Brothers & Tennessee Travelers: 'Sally Goodin'
Jimmy C. Newman: 'Cajun Country Special'

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff(host); 'Wabash Cannonball'
Connie Smith: 'Give Them All To Jesus'
Pee Wee King: 'Tennessee Waltz'
Alcyone Beasley: 'Silver Threads Among The Gold'
Jack Shook: 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds'
Alcyone Beasley & Jack Shook: 'Instrumental'
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle'
Roy Acuff: 'I'll Fly Away'

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow(host): 'Storms Never Last'
4 Guys: 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'
Ray Pillow: 'Too Many Memories'
Lonzo & Oscar: 'Delta Dirt'
Paul Howard: 'Stay A Little Longer'
Fruit Jar Drinkers: 'Nubbing Ridge'
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: 'Before The Next Teardrop Falls'

That was the line up for the first show that night. Like I said, I hope all of you enjoyed the look back.

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 4/15 & 4/16

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line ups for this weekends shows. And believe it or not, Friday night will feature the return of Clint Black to the Opry stage. I hope that he can find the Opry House as the last time he was on the Opry was on Saturday August 18, 2007, when he did both shows that Saturday night. Yep, over 3 years since his last appearance.

Not to pile on Clint, but since he joined the Opry, he has never really taken his Opry membership seriously. Those 2 August appearances in 2007 where his only Opry appearances of that year. And prior to that, he had not been on the Opry since 2003, when he made 5 appearances. Not a very good attendance record for Clint. Makes you wonder why he stays a member.

Also this weekend, Vince Gill is scheduled for all 3 shows, with Rebecca Lynn Howard and The Grascals joining Vince on Friday night and Mountain Heart and Point Of Grace on both Saturday shows.

I will be in Nashville this weekend attending the Friday Night Opry and both shows on Saturday night, in addition to the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree with Ricky Lynn Gregg as the host. Next week, I will post my observations on what I saw over the weekend.

Friday April 15

7:00: Jeannie Seely(host); Jim Ed Brown; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; The Grascals
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Clint Black
8:45: Vince Gill(host); John Conlee; The Whites

Saturday April 16

First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman
7:30: Mike Snider(host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Point Of Grace
8:00: Bill Anderson(host); John Conlee; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers

8:30: Vince Gill(host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); The Whites
10:00: John Conlee(host); Jean Shepard; Point Of Grace
10:30: Bill Anderson(host); Jan Howard; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill(host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

Seems interesting to me that Mike Snider has been cut back to one show. This has happened a couple of times the past several weeks and he was usually good for hosting a segment on each show over the weekend. Just an observation.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Opry Country Classics 4/14

Here is the line up for Opry Country Classics, Thursday April 14

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Crystal Gayle
Also Appearing: John Conlee; Gail Davies; Chris Scruggs; T.G. Sheppard; James Wesley; Holly Williams

Monday, April 11, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry 4/12

It looks like a solid line up for this weeks Tuesday Night Opry on April 12.

7:00: Connie Smith; Ricky Skaggs
7:30: John Conlee
8:00: Luke Bryan; Diamond Rio
8:30: Jimmy Dickens; Jason Aldean

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Vince Gill

All of us have our favorite Grand Ole Opry stars and as I have admitted before, Vince Gill is one of mine. I have always enjoyed his ballads and the way he plays and sings not only country music, but bluegrass. He has also committed himself to the Opry and has challenged others to appear on the show.

On Tuesday April 12, Vince will be celebrating his 54th birthday. Since coming to Nashville, Vince has been one of the most awarded artists in country music history. He has won numerous CMA awards, holds the record for most Grammy Awards won by a country music artist, and in 2007, he was elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame. He is also married to the very talented Amy Grant. They are considered one of Nashville's "power couples."

What I appreciate most about Vince is that since he became an Opry member, he has regularly supported the show. He generally appears at least 20 times each year and he is very vocal in his support for the Opry. When he does the Opry, he is assigned dressing room #1, Roy Acuff's old dressing room. In fact, Roy considered him one of his favorite singers. One of my vivid images of Vince and Roy is Vince on stage singing and Roy being shown on camera directly behind Vince mouthing the words as Vince was singing them. And Vince appreciated Roy Acuff. I also remember the time when Vince was doing an interview on the backstage show prior to the Opry one night and Lorrie Morgan was also on. Vince was calling out Lorrie and telling her she needs to, and should appear on the Opry more often. Lorrie was clearly caught off guard and gave some flim-flam answer about touring a lot and being busy, but she would try to do the Opry more often. If nothing else, Vince loves to perform. Every Monday night when he is in town he can be found at the Station Inn, playing and singing as a member of the Time Jumpers, a great western swing band.

This will be a big year for Vince as on August 10, he will be celebrating 20 years as an Opry member, as he joined the cast on that date in 1991. To honor Vince Gill on his birthday and to look back and remember his 20 years as an Opry member, I wanted to post the line-up from Saturday night August 10, 1991, when Vince Gill became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves(host); Skeeter Davis

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker(host); Bill Carlisle

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown(host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow

7:30: Goo Goo
Roy Acuff(host); Osborne Brothers; Vince Gill

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy C. Newman(host); Jeannie Seely; Boxcar Willie; Roy Drusky; Opry Square Dance Band

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow(host); Jean Shepard; 4 Guys; Mike Snider

9:30: Dollar General
Del Reeves(host); Skeeter Davis; Willis Trio; Teddy Wilburn; Bill Carlisle

10:00: Little Debbie
Jim Ed Brown(host); Charlie Louvin

10:15: Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff(host); Vince Gill

10:30: Pet Milk
Charlie Walker(host); Jan Howard

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C. Newman(host); David Houston; Opry Square Dance Band

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow(host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Osborne Brothers

11:30: Creamette
Boxcar Willie(host); Jeannie Seely; 4 Guys; Mike Snider

On the 1st show, Vince sang, "Look at Us" and "When I Call Your Name". On the 2nd show he did "Pocket Full of Gold" and "When I Call Your Name".

Happy Birthday Vince!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Grand Ole Opry Line Up 4/8 & 4/9

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line ups for this weekends shows. As per the April schedule until Easter weekend, there is one show on Friday night and two shows on Saturday night.

The Friday Night Opry will feature an appearance by Opry member Trace Adkins, who will be appearing with The West Point Glee Club. I am sure it will be a special night for them. Also on Friday night, country legend T. Graham Brown will be on. I can tell you from seeing T. Graham on the Opry several times, he always produces a very enthusiastic reaction from the crowd and puts a lot of energy into his songs.

Saturday night will feature Opry member Joe Diffie, along with guests Elizabeth Cook and Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Also appearing on Saturday night will be Mandy Barnett, who will be back playing Patsy Cline in the play, "Always Patsy Cline" at the Ryman for a limited run. I would expect more Opry appearances from Mandy as Gaylord works to cross promote the show. Several years back I did see the play with Mandy in the lead role and she does an outstanding job. I highly recommend it.

Here are the line ups for this weekend:

Friday Night Opry April 8

7:00: John Conlee(host); Riders In The Sky; Eden's Edge
7:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press; Exile
8:15: Bill Anderson(host); Connie Smith; T. Graham Brown
8:45: Trace Adkins(host); featuring The West Point Glee Club

Saturday April 9

First Show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: John Conlee(host); The Whites; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
8:00: Jim Ed Brown(host); Stonewall Jackson; Joey+Rory; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson(host); Mandy Barnett; Joe Diffie

Second Show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens(host); Jimmy C. Newman; Elizabeth Cook
10:00: John Conlee(host); The Whites; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
10:30: Jim Ed Brown(host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joey+Rory; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson(host); Mandy Barnett; Joe Diffie

If both Saturday shows look the same, that is because they are with the exception of Stonewall Jackson on the first show and Jesse McReynolds on the 2nd show. And the running order for both shows is the same. I am not a big fan of running two identical shows as I like to see a little variety between the two. Also, for Stonewall, this will be just his 2nd Opry appearance of the year. And, he will have a busy night as he will be the host for the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

You will also note that Jimmy Dickens is scheduled for all 3 shows this weekend. He did make the Tuesday Night Opry this week and he sounded pretty good. He did make mention that he had been missing from the Opry for the past several weeks and that he had been in and out of Vanderbilt Hospital. Glad that Jimmy is doing better.

On a final note, and a sad one, they have scheduled a memorial service for Mel McDaniel. It will be held on Wednesday April 13 from 2-4pm at the Grand Ole Opry House. It will be open to the public.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tuesday Night Opry 4/5 & Opry Country Classics 4/7

As of Monday night, Jimmy Dickens is still on the schedule for this weeks Tuesday Night Opry. We shall see as it has been 3 weeks since his last Opry appearance.

Tuesday Night Opry 4/5

7:00: Riders In The Sky
7:30: Jean Shepard; Sam Bush
8:15: Bill Anderson; Bucky Covington
8:45: Jimmy Dickens; Restless Heart

The line up for Opry Country Classics 4/7

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Charlie Daniels Band
Also Appearing: Suzy Bogguss; Elizabeth Cook; Jim Lauderdale; Jimmy C. Newman

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mel McDaniel

Grand Ole Opry star Mel McDaniel has passed away. While no suprise, anytime some one passes away, it still causes you to reflect. Mel has had it tough the past several years. It seemed like his health issues started when he fell off the stage while performing years ago. Then he had the heart attack, in a coma, a long recovery to get himself well enough to get back onto the Opry stage and to made a new album, and then discovers he has lung cancer, from which he passed away from.

I know Mel's big dream was to get back on the Opry stage and to perform again at the Opry. While he did appear on the Opry when the Opry House reopened and was at the Opry for the 85th birthday celebration in October, he never got to fulfill his dream of singing again on the stage.

His biography has been printed on various sites, including the Tennessean, so I won't go into all the details. But, I will say that I had the opportunity to meet Mel back in the 80s and he was a great, great guy to talk to. Very friendly and outgoing.

The Opry has lost more than its share of legends the past several years, and now we have lost another one.

God bless Mel McDaniel and his family.