Thursday, May 3, 2012

Grand Ole Opry Schedule 5/4 & 5/5--Updated

A couple of updates to the line up for this weekend. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver along with Opry favorite guest artist Jimmy Wayne have been added for Saturday night. The updated line up is listed below.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. We are back to 1 show on Friday night and 1 show on Saturday night. The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Terri Clark, along with guest artists The Grascals, Canaan Smith and Darryl Worley, all of whom have made numerous Opry appearances.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature Kristen Kelly, another in the series of young talent that Pete Fisher has been bringing to the Opry. Elizabeth Cook will also be a guest on the Saturday show.

Friday May 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Darryl Worley
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds; Canaan Smith
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Terri Clark
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; The Grascals

Saturday May 5
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Kristen Kelly
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); The Whites; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Presss; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy Wayne

I assume that they are going to fill the 2 spots that are empty. But to be honest, even with 2 additional artists, these are not very strong shows. I feel bad for those who have paid the top price for this weekend. Jimmy Dickens continues to be missing, although he is scheduled for the Tuesday Night Opry next week. Also, for those counting at home, Friday night there are 12 artists, of whom 9 are Opry members, and currently, there are 10 artists on Saturday night, of whom 8 are Opry members.

Tonight is the Opry Country Classics show and I wanted to mention it because the spotlight artist is Charlie Daniels, and among those scheduled are Ronny Robbins, the son of Marty Robbins, and Jim Glaser of Thompall and the Glaser Brothers, former Opry members. In additon to those, the show will also feature Jacob Lyda and Emily West, along with host Larry Gatlin.

The Tuesday Night Opry on May 8 will feature Opry member Alan Jackson. If he follows his normal pattern, this will be his 1 appearance for the year. He gets a half hour segment to himself and it will be filmed by GAC for their new Opry series. As far as GAC is concerned, at least they are doing the filming on a Tuesday night and not messing up the Saturday night show. Here is the line up for the Tuesday Night Opry:

7:00: Chris Young; Bill Anderson
7:30: Josh Thompson; Jimmy Dickens; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Little Big Town; Thompson Square
8:45: Alan Jackson

A pretty good show, but they way they have Jimmy Dickens booked, it is almost as if they expect he will not make the show.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this week will feature a special show hosted by Glen Douglas Tubb and it will be the 65th anniversary for the Midnight Jamboree. Joining Glen will be his wife Dottie Snow Tubb, along with Leon Rhodes. And I am pretty sure there will be more.

On a final note, I am printing a couple of past Opry line-ups for everyone. The 1st one is from Saturday May 3, 1997, 15 years ago this weekend. This was the night that the Ernest Tubb Record Shop celebrated their 50th anniversary and I was in Nashville for the weekend. There were 2 shows on Saturday night.

1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); Jean Shepard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Jeanne Pruett; The Whites
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Steve Wariner; Joe Diffie; Travis Tritt; Waylon Jennings
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Oswald & Charlie; Connie Smith; Melvin Sloan Dancers/Opry Squaredance Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Justin Tubb; Loretta Lynn

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Steve Wariner; Joe Diffie; Travis Tritt; Waylon Jennings
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Loretta Lynn
10:15: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Mike Snider (host); Jeanne Pruett; Melvin Sloan Dancers/Opry Squaredance Band
11:00: The 4 Guys (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Del Reeves; Ray Pillow
11:30: Johnny Russell (host); Charlie Walker; Stu Phillips; Connie Smith

That comes out to 22 artists for each show. Of those, only Jean Shepard, Mike Snider, The Whites, Bill Anderson, Jimmy C Newman, George Hamilton IV and Connie Smith are on the shows this weekend.

Here is another line up. This one is from Saturday May 4, 1991, 21 years ago this weekend.

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Skeeter Davis; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Del Reeves; Jim & Jesse
7:30: Jack Greene (host); Ray Pillow; Shelley West; Travis Tritt
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Melvin Sloan Dancers/Opry Squaredance Band
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); 4 Guys; Jim Ed Brown; Charlie Louvin; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Jan Howard
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jim & Jesse
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Del Reeves
10:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Melvin Sloan Dancers/Opry Squaredance Band
11:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Justin Tubb; Charlie Walker; The Whites
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; Bill Carlisle; 4 Guys

Hank Snow was scheduled for both shows but cancelled and Travis Tritt, who only did the 1st show, was not an Opry member at this time. As with the previous show I listed, there were 22 artists on each show. Of those, only Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds Connie Smith, Jimmy C Newman, Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown, The Whites and George Hamilton IV are scheduled this weekend.

It doesn't take much to see how far the Opry has fallen in the last decade.


  1. Great stuff and great lineups.

    To me the decline is evident in having the one two-hour show with next to nobody on it, especially the lack of members. We can understand why so many of the greats from 1991 and 1997 aren't on. What I can't understand is the Opry ignoring simple economics: people will not pay what they are charging for the show they are putting on. I wouldn't.

  2. The 'Opry Country Classic show last night featured standing ovations for folks like Ronnie Robbins, Jim Glaser, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin and even newcomer Emily West.
    The 'Opry should take note of that.

  3. I know we have beat this into the ground before, but I will continue to do so. The way Gaylord has worked at destroying the Opry should be a college business course on how not to be successful.

    Let's see: Cut the length of the show, reduce the number of shows, reduce the number of artists performing on each show, reduce the amount of music performed on each show, raise ticket prices and create new price levels, cut sponsorships and add members who ignore the show except when they have a new album out or it will be filmed for television.

    Then wonder why attendance is down and people are complaining!!!

  4. Fayfare, you are spot-on with your assessment of the current 'Opry management.

  5. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Hear, hear, Byron!

    I know I have said this before, but I will repeat:

    The secret, I think, to getting members to show up is to make members for whom the Opry would be professional step up, as in the old days -- artists who would play by the rules (and sacrifice those occasional Saturday nights on the road) for 1) the radio exposure and 2) bragging rights in their resume. Again, like in the old days.

    Dropping the no-shows might hurt with the youth crowd, but how much of a draw are they, anyway, when they never show up? My impression is that attendance is already hurting.

    One thing about more-mature fans ... they make more of us all the time, including out of former kids! Last I heard, Branson is still making a pretty good living off of us.

    I can even see a publicity windfall for an Opry that made headlines by firing a couple of dozen headliners, a la 1964. An astute management could use the platform to positive effect by declaring, "The Opry is going back to its roots!"

  6. Fred, I wonder. The Opry certainly didn't collapse after the 1964 exodus. It's also kind of interesting to consider that, in that same year, the Opry added (if I am correct) Dottie West, Norma Jean, Jim & Jesse, The Osborne Brothers, Ernie Ashworth, The Willis Brothers, and Willie Nelson. The next year, AFTER the purge, came Tex Ritter, Connie Smith, Bob Luman, and Bobby Bare, all of whom proved to be pretty loyal members, though Bare left after about a decade and of course Connie cut back her career. The point is, if the Opry announced that Travis Tritt and Blake Shelton were gone, what would be the big deal? At least Garth showed up once or twice for an event.

  7. We can blame Pete Fisher and the current Opry management for a lot of things, but the issue of Opry members not supporting the show goes back to when the Opry started. The only difference between then and now is that management was quick to terminate someone's Opry membership back then.

    The current situation actually started with Hal Durham, and was continued by Bob Whittaker, who signed up a bunch of new members and did it with no set commitments from those artists regarding how many times each year they would do the Opry. Which is why we have Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Reba and so many others as Opry members.

    Pete Fisher does try to get 10 shows per year out of the members that have joined since he has been the manager and overall, it has worked out pretty good. He has missed on a couple, especially with Trisha Yearwood and Blake Shelton. But most of the rest, if they are not making it 10 times per year, are at least getting there 5 or 6 times per year, and I am actually ok with that.

    Now, regarding some of the others. I believe they have to go. Tom T Hall has not been back at the Opry since the 1990s. He is not coming back, so why keep him a member? Travis Tritt has not done the Opry since 2007. Why should he stay a member? Reba McEntire has made just 1 Opry appearance since 2001, and that was in 2009. Garth Brooks finds the time to perform in Las Vegas (even though he says he is retired), yet his last Opry apperance was in 2008, and since 2001, he has only made 3 Opry appearances. Trisha Yearwood's last Opry show was in 2010, when she stopped by once.

    I think those 5 would be a good place to start. But, we all know it will not happen. Steve Buchanan, Pete Fisher and the rest of the Gaylord people are afraid of the publicity that would result if this action was taken. Look at what the backlash was when the 4 Guys were let go. And I still believe to this day that there would have been more let go after the 4 Guys, but they got nervous.

    I just find it sad when so many non-members make more Opry appearances than a majority of the actual Opry members. And some weeks it is tough to listen to the Opry with what is being presented on stage. I don't know what the answer really is but if something is not done soon, we may not have to worry for long about the Opry.

  8. Amen, Byron. By the way, there's a story that in the mid-1980s, Durham and his bosses discussed a purge of older members--not over non-performance, but to make more space for younger performers. I do not know whether it is true, but I do know that, according to the rumor, if it is true, Porter Wagoner apparently had a great deal to do with putting a stop to it.

    We know that the Opry evolves, and that it has to. I've always loved the story of Ira Louvin throwing his mandolin the length of the stage over the reception the Everly Brothers got. Today the Everly boys seem mighty tame, eh? But what we are seeing now is not debate over the show's direction, but the failure of good business management.

  9. I have no problem with the young acts. I have a problem when there are only eight to 10 acts TOTAL in a performance, be they young or old.
    The show used to move along quickly, now it draaaaags alooong.
    I really don't care about who is allowed to stay on the 'Opry roster.
    Just get the show moving again!

  10. Byron,

    I have been following this blog since Charlie Collins passed. It is very interesting to me for I have been listening to the Opry since I was in grade school in the mid 70's. It and the veteran members are like family to me. It often brings tears to my eyss when I think of how they have blessed us with their music and kindness through the years and we are loosing them! I could write forever here but I will make the comments and write another time.

    I have been documenting the Opry lineup each weekend since 1982 and looking at my records for Saturday May 3, 1997 I show that Loretta Lynn did not appear. Instead, Hal Ketchum did the first show and Steve Wariner did the second. I also show that Waylon went home and did not do the second show. He had just come out of the hospital. I also show that Bill Anderson hosted the Midnite Jamboree in place of Loretta who was scheduled and that it was at the Broadway store.

    In my notes on the 1991 show I see that Ray Pillow was celebrating 25 years at the Opry. I also see that Hank Snow had had eye surgory in Cinncinati, Ohio on Monday April 8th and that may be why he was missing off and on during this period. I'm sure you remember him wearing the shades that seemed to make him uncomfortable in front of the audience.

    If I have incorrect information please correct me so I can change my notes. Afterall, you were there in 1997, I was only listening!

    Keep up the good work. I love it.

    Jim Rhodes
    Knightsville, Indiana

  11. Jim, thanks for coming aboard and reading the blog. And thanks for your comments. Yes, I missed on this one. I was going off the actual program that night and I forgot to make the corrections. When I went back and checked my log, which is a bit different, you are right as Loretta was not on that night. Shame on me!!

    Bill Anderson did host the Midnight Jamboree and they actually had the stage set up across Broadway just a bit west of the record shop. The Opry ran long that night and the Midnight Jamboree did not start until after 12:30, and it ran pretty long with many guest artists.

    You had an interesting comment on Hank Snow and his eye surgery. If I remember right, it was right during that period that he started using the index cards with the words to his songs, that he had hooked to a stand next to his mic.

    1. Byron,

      This is strange. It's like I found a help group for some addiction. It's kind of like listening to Eddie Stubbs on the radio. His passion for the music and performers is so much like all of ours.

      About Hank Snow, I remember thinking that the casual fan in the seats probably thought he was getting to old to remember his songs and needed the cards. I kept a list at one point in the early 90's and I want to say he did 90 different songs at one point only repeating I'm Movin'On. I remember thinking that it was more than what was on the local station play list. I'll have to check that number, it may have been 50 but 90 seems more like it.

      As for Hank and the shades, I remember his often remarking that he had eye problems and was not wearing them to be cool.

      I did not note it but now that you mention it I do remember the guitar pull televised that night.

      I will comment from time to time and you just tell me when I talk too much or get out of line.

      Jim Rhodes
      Knightsville, IN

  12. The other interesting thing about that night was that the segment with Porter Wagoner was the televised segment that night, and he billed it as a "guitar pull", with all his guests on stage for the entire segment. What I also remember from being there was that the curtain came up early for the segment and Porter got really upset, telling them to pull the curtain back down!!! Waylon was sitting on a stool laughing the entire time and waving to the audience. Another Opry moment!!

  13. Jim, it's great to see you here. I THINK Byron once mentioned that Hank Snow decided at one point to sing every single he'd had on the Opry. I'm sure it drove poor Tommy Vaden and Kayton Roberts crazy, but it kept life interesting. I also recall in his autobiography that he said he would sometimes need the words on the music stand and Vito Pelleteri liked to put them upside down just to bug him.

  14. Jim, feel free to comment anytime. There is no such thing as too much. And yes, Mike is right. Hank Snow decided at one point, and I know it was toward the end of his career, to sing every one of his singles on the Opry, and if I remember right, he was doing them in order starting with his Canadian records. It really was great to listen to as some of those songs hadn't been heard in years.

  15. Some odd notes:

    --I've got some photos from the early 80's of Hank Snow with the music stand. I know he was very meticulous about his work from his stage clothes to his guitars to his lyrics, particularly if he was doing a song he didn't do regularly.

    --I remember the 50th anniversary of the MJ. They blocked off Broadway between 4th and 5th Avenue that night and just had a big street party. Bill Anderson was the host and his guests included Jack Greene and Travis Tritt. My parents were in town that weekend so we all went down...didn't stay the whole evening as I think it was a 2 hour show that night and by 1:30 was way past MY bed time to say nothing of Mom and Dad's! It was a fun night...a little chilly as I recall...but still a great show.

    --I'd like to be in Nashville this week for the Thursday night show. In the early 80's a bill featuring Larry Gatlin, Loretta Lynn and Mel Tillis would have been selling out arena. There's some legendary star power going on there.

    --Frankly, I rarely listen to the Opry anymore. Mainly because I'm usually working on Saturday nights but also I usually listened to the show later at night and more often than not the show has been long over by the time I turn on the radio. And, really, I kind of prefer to remember it when it WAS the "Greatest Country Music Show in the World". I don't find myself attracted to the minor league acts that Opry often features ahead of the Opry stars these days. I also find it odd that with a cast of well over 60 acts that the present management can barely get 8 of those acts to appear on a given Saturday night. I honestly expect that one of these days, the show will wind up featuring one or two acts before intermission and headliner after intermission...not a very big leap from what is going on which point it will cease to be the Grand Ole Opry and become just another run of the mill concert.

  16. Barry, you are so right about Hank. In all my times listening to Hank, I heard him make a mistake only one time and that was on a recitation on a Christmas song. But I never, ever heard a mistake in his guitar playing. Like Frank Sinatra toward the end, he just wanted to make sure he did everything right and not make a mistake.

    1. As I am seeing with many of you, Roy Acuff and Hank Snow are my all time favorites as well.

      I remember another lyric mistake Hank made one night. He was doing "The Governor's Hand" and the line goes "as the car pulls in the drive way" and he sang "as the train pulls in the drive way". A couple lines earlier the lyric is "as the train pulls in the station". Hank never missed a beat though!

      These are great memories. I have been reading some of the old posts. Some of you were lucky enough to interact and be there more than I was. I was mostly listening. However, back in the 80's there was so much conversation on stage about what they had all been doing the past week. It was so personable and made you feel like you were really a part of the Opry family if you were a fan.


  17. Hank Snow was a PRO.
    Go to the Country Music Hall of fame and observe the video of great moments from Hall of Fame inductions. Cry when Cindy Walker talks about her mother's dress. Laugh at Hank thanking people close to him, including "Mrs. Hank Snow." Good stuff.

  18. Actually, there's a Hank Snow mistake that's not really a mistake. He recorded a song in New York for the first time instead of the RCA studios in Nashville and, he said, got a little nervous and changed the first word of the song. It came out, "It don't hurt any more." It was supposed to be "I don't hurt any more." But it works either way!

    He really was a pro, and I always think of the story, which I've shared here, of the time Ernest Tubb asked Marty Robbins why the Midnight Jamboree was coming on so long after midnight. Marty said Hank Snow kept running over at 11. THAT was hilarious! He ran his segments like nobody else.

  19. When you listen to Hank Snow's songs, it's obvious why he would have the lyrics for some of his songs on a music stand... his songs tended to use a lot of words, and several of them moved really fast. Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single Hank Snow song that had simple lyrics or very much repetition of lines. Heck, I have a hard time singing some of his songs with the words in front of me. And as has been mentioned previously, he sang a lot of different songs on the Opry.

    Regarding the Opry's issues with members who rarely if ever appear, in all fairness Hal Durham did add several members who have been faithful to the Opry... Riders in the Sky, Ricky Skaggs, John Conlee, the Whites, the late Johnny Russell, Mike Snider, Vince Gill, and Marty Stuart. I think Hal's reputation has suffered because, except for Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs, the "big names" he added turned out to be duds as Opry members, and of course because he added members without asking for any commitment in return. How much difference would it have made if he had articulated at least some minimal expectations when he invited acts to join the Opry? I don't know. I do commend Pete Fisher for asking members to make 10 appearances a year, but it's too bad he doesn't make much use of the members who would play the Opry 40 or 50 times a year.