Thursday, April 26, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 4/27 & 4/28

After the Opry induction of Keith Urban last weekend, things are back to normal at the Grand Ole Opry as they have posted their line-up for the 3 shows this weekend. Actually, they have posted their 2nd line-up for the weekend as after the first one went up, Jimmy Dickens cancelled out for all 3 shows this weekend, making for an immediate change.

The biggest was that on Saturday night for both shows, they turned the first segment into an hour, with Mike Snider hosting on both shows. I find that amazing that they either didn't have enough hosts available for 4 segments or enough artists to fill 4 segments, take your pick. My thought regarding the hosts is that on Saturday night, both The Whites and Diamond Rio are on both shows, and they are certainly capable of hosting a segment. As far as the other thought of not enough talent for 4 segments, there are only 11 artists scheduled for both shows, so there might be something to that one.

After pretty good line-ups last weekend, the shows this weekend are not as strong. The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers and Del McCoury, along with non-Opry members Will Hoge, Sarah Darling and John Michael Montgomery. In addition to those already mentioned, the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature non-members Tyler Farr, George Ducas and Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, who I will say are very entertaining. They have a new album out that is pretty good.

Friday April 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Greg Bates
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Sarah Darling; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; John Michael Montgomery
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Will Hoge; Connie Smith

Saturday April 28
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Tyler Farr; George Ducas; Diamond Rio
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sarah Darling; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Mallary Hope; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Tyler Farr; George Ducas; Diamond Rio
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; Sarah Darling; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Mallary Hope; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

For Friday night, that comes out to 12 acts of whom 8 are Opry members, while the 2 Saturday shows have 11 acts of whom 6 are Opry members. Only 6 Opry members on an Opry show!! That is shameful.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be hosted by Bobby Osborne.

The Tuesday Night Opry on May 1 will feature the following line-up:

7:00: Jimmy C Newman; Dustin Lynch
7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Point Of Grace
8:15: Jean Shepard; Elizabeth Cook
8:45: John Conlee; Del McCoury Band


  1. And so it continues... now we're down to three segments... how long until it's just one segment with one host? Go look at the Opry Country Classics and count how many members are on any one show -- one or two -- and the Tuesday Night Opry is already 50/50. Remember when there used to be a different backdrop for every segment, that used to have its own feel, everyone had their own band with their own sound? If I was making the trip to Nashville this weekend and this was the line up I would be SO disappointed. It wasn't that long ago that we'd see 20-22 artists on one show... Now I think about going to Nashville and I ask myself, what's the point?

  2. I can live with change. I cannot live with this kind of change. I am to the point now that I much prefer the one two-hour show on Saturday night so that WSM will play the old Opry recordings and I can hear the show as it was before Pete Fisher and his band of merry men destroyed it.

  3. Pete Fisher has pulled this before, going to just 3 segments on a Friday or Saturday night show. And in my mind, there is no reason for it. Just like there is no reason to have only 6 out of 66 Opry members on an Opry show. Just shameful!!!

    On the other hand, I am listening to the Friday Night Opry and the great Ray Pillow is sounding fine tonight. Last week he celebrated 46 years as an Opry member.

  4. I enjoy the Thursday night 'Opry classics show thanks mostly to Larry Gatlin's energy and Eddie Stubbs. But there is simply no life to the weekend shows (except for Jimmie Dickens). The Riders of the Sky should be on every week. They have some energy.
    I don't know if we're all just a bunch of old farts who can't stand change, or if the 'Opry show is about to fold up shop. I'm scared to death it is the second.
    I LOVE WSM, but the 'Opry itself is beginning to scare me with its continuous loss of concern for the quality of the show.

  5. Fred in Bismarck here:

    I agree that ENERGY, life, is the issue as much as the "country-ness" (for lack of a better word) of the music. The old Opry had several acts who were not strictly country -- more vaudeville, like the Old Hickory Singers -- but enhanced the show thru VARIETY (another lost virtue on the Opry) as well as energy.

    The pure entertainment value of the old Opry is captured in the WSM rebroadcasts and also in the mid-1950s TV show still out there via the Al Gannaway DVDs. In the latter, I find the acts that really give me a charge are not my old favorites -- the 1950s hitmakers whose 45s I bought back then -- but half-forgotten showmen like Lew Childre, Moon Mullican and (especially) Lonzo & Oscar (with Cousin Jody on the slide guitar).

    Too many modern entertainers think they have done their job just by giving fans a live glimpse of their gorgeous selves. That might satisfy the bubblegum crowd, but not us grizzled veterans of better days.

  6. I have been listening a lot to old tapes of Grand Ole Opry shows. The one I have now is from July 25, 1992. Not that long ago, but it took 5 cassette tapes to fit the 5+ hours of Opry and the Opry warm-up show. That is from 20 years ago, which is not that long, but the Opry has really changed. Next up will be a show from the 1960s. Amazing.

    On a different note, I happened to catch Larry's Country Diner last night on RFD, and this was the show that Carol Lee Cooper was in the audience for. I know this is old news, but when she was talking, she said that she had had back surgery, which I had not known. Then she mentioned that when she was recovering from that, she started having the voice issues.

    As has been noted from this show and her last Opry appearance, she did sound a bit weak and on this show she mentioned that she hoped to get back to doing the country family reunion shows. She said nothing about returning to the Opry. This, of course, was filmed before her "retirement" from the Opry, so even at the stage, she either knew, or felt, that she would not be returning to the show.

  7. I think the Opry management believes its audience has a short attention span. We can't expect them to sit that long. They also think they audience is more sophisticated. I think of how little country comedy there is anymore and think, well, even those out in the country have access to the internet and all kinds of television that they didn't have in the old days. But there's room for all of it, and the Opry no longer has it.

    Fred, bear in mind that some of those performers DID come out of vaudeville or something like it: medicine shows. Oscar Sullivan and Oswald both talked about how the Opry in those days emphasized the idea that they were doing a live show and had to keep it live and alive. So, one of them usually wound up in the RC cooler during that segment, and Mr. Acuff would play with his yoyo. Today? A different generation of performers has come up a different way and if they can't have smoke rising behind them or smash their guitars, they don't know what to do on stage.

    I also think of Johnny Russell's great story about how he had the job one night of being Archie Campbell's heckler. Virginia Cutrer, T. Tommy's wife, was next to him and thought he was just some annoying guy and had the guards remove him. Johnny kept yelling the lines as they dragged him out of the Ryman. The point is, imagine THAT kind of interplay with the audience today. Larry Gatlin and Vince Gill do a little bit of it, but not much.

  8. From Fred:

    Good insights and memories, Michael.

    Yeah, did comedy ever liven the pace and add variety in the old days. One act I would make a member in a moment is Johnny Counterfeit. He's not only funny -- in the modern, rather than cornpone, way (not that I didn't love the cornpone style, but you're just not going to get that anymore) -- but does wonderful country impersonations.

    There's some perversity in management that seems to keep obvious good fits like Counterfeit, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent and the like from Opry membership.

  9. The 'Opry needs comedy, energy, and more music.
    The show has degenerated into a lifeless parody of itself.
    Bring on Counterfeit, Cletus T. Judd, or Johnny Mule Deer. Anybody who can entertain!
    And, I totally agree with Fred's recommendation of Watson and Vincent as well. They always get a great reception at the 'Opry.

  10. I have been asked if I have heard anything regarding who the next new Opry member might be after Keith Urban. I haven't heard anything coming out of the Opry or people that I talk to. Of course, any speculation that I hear, I will pass on.