Sunday, April 22, 2012

"Noteworthy at the Opry"-featuring Keith Urban's Opry Induction

Last night I watched the new GAC show, "Noteworthy at the Opry", which featured the induction of Keith Urban as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. In addition to Keith, the show featured Trace Adkins and Josh Turner, along with Nan Kelly as the host. Let's just say after watching the show that I was not impressed.

As I said, Nan Kelley was the host and they had her up in the balcony in section 22. When they pictured her doing the introductions of the artists, you could see the Opry stage behind her. The show started with Trace Adkins walking behind the Opry stage giving a brief introduction of the show and Keith Urban. Then they went up to Nan and she did the introduction of Keith and the curtain went up and Keith went into his first song. Immediately after that, they cut to Marty Stuart and others giving interviews and comments about the Opry and Keith.

In addition to Marty, the interviews featured Trace Adkins, Nan Kelley, Peter Cooper of the Tennessean, John Mayer, Lee Ann Womack and Kerry Collins, the NFL quarterback. I may have missed one or two others. They also included Keith talking about his life, with a bunch of still pictures and silent videos about his career. As far as the Opry, while talking about the tradition of the Opry, they had pictures of Porter & Dolly, George & Tammy, along with George D. Hay. Finally, they did mention Roy Acuff and had a picture of him in dressing room #1 with Gene Autry and Minnie Pearl. They also showed the video of Vince Gill from the "All for the Hall" show with the surprise announcement of Keith becoming the Opry's newest member.

Trace Adkins came out and did one song, as did Josh Turner. As they were performing, I did notice that they added a bank of lights at the foot of the Opry stage where the old floodlights used to be. They were not there last week, so I assume they were added for the television show.

At about half past the hour, they did the induction of Keith. He was joined on stage by Josh Turner, Trace Adkins and Opry vice-president and general manager Peter Fisher. Josh started off with a short joke about being an Opry member for only 5 years, while Trace was an Opry member much longer, so he handed it off to Trace. It was kind of funny because it was obvious that Josh was reading his line off the telepromter in the back and he had trouble doing that. Anyways, Trace made a short introduction and then Pete Fisher made his usual comments about the significance of the member award he was giving to Keith and then he handed it back to Trace who gave the award to Keith and then Keith went into a pretty long speech that sounded like he was accepting an academy award. There were no special guests who came out, although they did show a video from Brad Paisley, and that was it.

After the induction of Keith, Josh and Keith each did a final song and the show ended. What struck me about the show, besides the length of the commercials, was the fact that there seemed very little music compared to the previous Opry shows that GAC did, if that is possible. I know the artists did more songs for the Opry audience during the commercial breaks, but for the television audience, there wasn't much. Obviously, the focus on this new series will be getting to know the artists in addition to the music.

This was advertised as a sneak preview of the new series on GAC that will debut on the network on Saturday May 26 and will run for 16 weeks. There is no indication whether or not the show will be live or taped at the Tuesday Night Opry, or a combination of both. For those attending the Saturday night shows, I hope for them that they tape this series from the Tuesday Night Opry. While no additional artists were announced for future shows, I see Alan Jackson is scheduled for an upcoming Tuesday Night Opry, so I would not be surprised if he was an upcoming feature.

As usual with a GAC Opry show, there were no legends, not even Jimmy Dickens. I would have liked to have seen one of the legends come out to do the Opry induction, just to give it some significance. And I was actually surprised that nobody else showed up to welcome Keith into the family.

On a final note, I did watch the Marty Stuart show last night as it featured just Marty and his band, along with his new album. It was a very good show. Connie Smith did a lot of the taped introductions and they had interviews with Marty and behind the scenes pictures of Marty and his group. They also talked about the new album and Marty sang several numbers from it. Buck Trent was featured along with the daughter of Anita Carter, who was fantastic singing harmony with Marty. Sorry, I missed her first name. For true country music, Marty's show was much better than the Opry last night.

If you missed the GAC show, it will be shown about a dozen times over the next week.


  1. I missed the GAC show. But, clearly, I didn't miss much. "Noteworthy at the Opry" sounds like the headline on a bunch of items at the end of a music column.

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  3. What is better than listening to Marty & His Fabulous Superlatives on the Friday Night Opry with Marty feeding the words to Connie Smith as she was singing "Long Line of Heartaches" (she forgot the words not once but twice & they were really laughing about it & it was funny) than seeing him & his band last night? Kenny Vaughan, Paul Martin, & Harry Stinson walked on stage just ahead of Marty & The Superlatives were dressed to the nines all in turquoise 2 piece rhinestone studded suits, black shirts & white boots.

    They were on stage for two hours & they did it all … traditional country, Stop the World & Let Me Off, Long Black Veil & Dark as a Dungeon for starters, a few of Marty’s past radio hits, Hillbilly Rock, This One’s Gonna Hurt You & The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ to a few bluegrass tunes & four gospel songs. Marty weaved his life & experiences throughout the concert, spoke about the only two jobs he has ever had – working with Lester Flatt & Johnny Cash & he turned back up player when he turned the stage over to each of his band members. Each one is tremendously talented in their own right but when they pair their musicianship & sing harmonies with Marty, in my opinion, no one can best them.

    Halfway in, the Superlatives left the stage & as Marty was getting his mandolin he spoke about his band telling everyone that he’s been in some band since aged 9 & only now does he feel he has the band of a lifetime & how much he loves each of them & how they are great human beings. He did a couple of songs, he told of how he has missed Johnny Cash every single day since his passing. He also picked a very long version of The Pilgrim from his album of the same title. His fingers were plucking the strings & sliding up & down the fret board so fast that it was just unbelievable & for his great efforts he was rewarded with a standing ovation but it wouldn’t be the only one of the night … we gave them four.

    After the concert they greeted, signed autographs for & spoke to those of us in line. They all couldn’t be more gracious & I was able to tell the Superlatives how their stage wear reminded me of the sparkly outfits Porter Waggoner & Buck Owens wore - they were appreciative of my compliment to them as they all thanked me. When people describe Marty as being a Renaissance man, believe it – the guy truly can do it all. So when I think of the Country Music Hall of Fame, I certainly think Marty Stuart. Hopefully it will happen for him, he has devoted his entire life to this music & has done a great job of promoting it & should anyone even remotely like this guy & if he is ever comes to your neck of the woods & you can afford a ticket – he comes more than highly recommended.

    I have watched Marty’s TV show from last night & have watched the first repeat of the Noteworthy on GAC with Keith’s Opry induction. The Opry has become quite polished & for me last night’s show was disjointed with five minutes worth of commercials after every song or two but I have noticed the last few times GAC has shown a live Opry show, it has been no different.

    Byron, Anita Carter’s daughters’ name is Lori Carter Bennett. She has appeared on Marty’s show twice & has a wonderful voice.

    For those interested, Eddie Stubbs told the audience during Marty’s segment Friday night that Marty will be his in-studio guest tomorrow night (Monday) from starting at 8:00 Central time where Eddie will world premiere Marty’s new album “Nashville 1 – Tearing the Woodpile Down.” The time will fly by as when these two get together they have a great time. Also, Marty is going to be the spotlight artist on this coming Thursday’s Opry Country Classics show.

    Have a good week ahead all ~


  4. Jeanene, thanks for the great review of Marty's concert. I am so glad that you had a great time. Like I mentioned, I saw him in concert a few years back, and like you, it was before Paul Martin joined up with him. He just doesn't get to this area of the country very much, and I wish he would.

    I listened to the first half of the Friday Night Opry so I missed Marty's segment. Thanks for the update and review. I will say that if I miss an Opry show, I usually will listen to the reply on WSM on-line after it gets posted.

    And thanks again Jeanene for Lori Carter Bennett's name. I missed it on his introduction of her and she does have a very pretty voice.

    Finally, you are so right on your observation regarding the televised Opry on GAC. When you are there in person, the televised hour feels more like a television taping than a part of the Opry. The Opry is so far away from its roots that I don't know if it can every find its way back.

  5. I did want to mention that Vince Gill did show up for the 2nd show last night and came out on stage with Keith Urban.

  6. Yes, I'd like to thank Jeanene for that update, too! I don't get RFD-TV in Las Vegas, unfortunately, so I can't see Marty's show. What I also like about Marty's band is that they remind me of the old days when a performer--Roy Acuff is an example, but there were many others--would spotlight the band. It wasn't just them singing and occasionally talking to the audience. And they are indeed well turned out, and that's nice. I don't need everybody dressed that well, but when I see people in T-shirts ... no.

  7. For those interested, Connie Smith will be Eddie Stubbs' guest Wednesday evening (April 25th) 7-9pm Central time, for his monthly "Intimate Evening with Eddie Stubbs" show which is held in the Ford Theater at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    Michael: Sorry you don't get RFD-TV - they do carry quite a few country music shows besides Marty's. I do agree with you, it is great that Marty features his band. He's been doing that on his show lately as well. Regarding their style of dress - the F.S.'s been dressing like this all along. When Eddie Stubbs described the F.S.'s as the best dressed band in country music, they are. It is a long lost art in country music, though Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts usually wears very nice shirts with a bit of sparkle & shine to them. When I started going to "country & western" concerts, back in the day, how the F.S.'s were dressed is how the front guy & the men in back were dressed, so for me, I love seeing the rhinestones & sequins sparkle in the lights it is very refreshing to see a few not only come to the wall but surpass it. And like you, Michael, I do not like seeing t-shirts & even more so, I do not like seeing ball caps being worn front or backwards & sunglasses don't make it with me either, unless it is an outdoor concert during the day, then I am good with it, but on the Opry stage? William Lee Golden, Richard Sturbin & Eric Church come to mind. There are a couple genres of music that are synonymous with these looks & for my taste, I would prefer country music artists leave that look to them.


  8. Remember back when everyone was so hard on Bob Whittaker when he was manager? Makes you long for about 1996 or 1997 when there was actually something still left of the Opry. At least Bob gave us mostly Opry members back then and a FULL night of music on Saturday and Friday nights. It just gripes me to no end that the Opry doesn't start at about 8 p.m. on Saturday night and run until midnight as it ALWAYS did before.

    I believe we have entered into a new era that I have been fearful would come. What few old-timers that are left are few and far between and the 'new' members seldom show up so I think this is a gradual move to an Opry that will probably resemble more of a concert with four or five artists than the show we all knew and loved.

    Another thing while I'm on my soap box. I was switching channels about a week ago and came across that horrid special on CBS with young country stars singing the songs of Lionel Richie. Nothing against Lionel but if you ask me, when you have an artist (loose use of the word) like Luke Bryan who gets up and sings a Lionel Richie song and says he was one of his musical heros, you know commercial country music is in trouble. Granted, I don't expect these young guns to say their heros were Acuff, Snow or Tubb but for heaven's sake they at least should be saying their musical heros were Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis or even Alan Jackson let alone Haggard, Jones & Owens if they are country stars!!


  9. Fred in Bismarck here:

    I hear you, Oldtime. The ironic thing is, there is plenty of good old country music out there, but you have to know where to look. It ain't on your average "country" station and not even dependably on the Opry. It's at the bluegrass festivals, country music parks and other places where bluegrass and "old-timey" groups perform and sell their CDs. To get your feet wet, I'd suggest a visit to the mail-order store, Read their newsletter and other reviews and spring for a CD or two that look good.

    The other thing not to overlook is the incredible series, numbering in the hundreds, of classic country reissues by the Bear Family, of Germany. It's funny how the Germans, Brits and others appreciate our old music more than the domestic industry does. My latest purchase by Bear: a 3-CD set of classical Porter Wagoner from the 1960s, The Cold Hard Facts of Life. (This came from Collectors Choice, another place to check in with on the web.)

    One can't be passive and just accept the crap the industry wants us to listen to and buy. I stopped bitching and started shopping around. It's less social and fun than listening to good radio used to be, but unlike today's radio, it delivers!

  10. Bill and Charlie in the morning, Eddie Stubbs at night.
    WSM online is the listening solution for those of us who love real country music. A lot of the new Americana stuff is a welcome addition to my musical world.
    Check 'em out!

  11. Jeanene, when I do get RFD-TV, I just love watching the Wilburns and Porter and company. It is a great channel. I don't need the livestock stuff, but, hey, that's why it's RFD-TV!

    Oldtime Opry, my mother sent a nasty letter to Hal Durham about the damage HE was doing to the Opry. Bob Whittaker sent her to the moon. Now he does look good, doesn't he? And I have to mention a story you may have heard. Lionel Richie appeared on the CMA awards about 20-25 years ago with Kenny Rogers, and Johnny Russell, bless his memory, called Irving Waugh, who ran the show then, and asked why there wasn't time for Michael Jackson. Today they'd probably say, because Jackson is dead, or we would have had him host.

  12. It is funny that we look bake on the Hal Durham and Bob Whittaker days as "the good old days" of the Opry, but the current state that the Opry is in started with Hal and the decisions that he made on who could or could not be an Opry member.