Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 8/31 & 9/1-Updated

A couple of changes in the line-ups. Jimmy Wayne has been added for Friday Night and Rebecca Lynn Howard for Saturday night.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There will be 1 show on Friday night and 1 show on Saturday night, which is surprising considering that Saturday night's show will feature another Opry appearance by Carrie Underwood, along with the Oak Ridge Boys. Carrie's last Opry appearance several weeks back resulted in 2 sold out shows. Also featured on Saturday night's show will be Mandy Barnett and Jimmy Wayne, both of whom know their way around the Opry House more than most of the members. The Friday Night Opry will feature Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, along with Sunny Sweeney, both of whom have made previous Opry appearances.

Missing this weekend is Jimmy Dickens, who was on the advanced schedule. Jimmy had cancelled out on last Tuesday Night's Opry show and he did have some voice issues the previous weekend. Hope he is feeling better.

Friday August 31
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Kristen Kelly; The Whites
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Sunny Sweeney
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

Saturday September 1
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy Wayne; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; George Hamilton IV; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Oak Ridge Boys; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Carrie Underwood

That comes out to 12 artists on Friday, of whom 9 are Opry members, while there are 10 artists scheduled on Saturday night, with 8 Opry members.

The host of this week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be Glenn Douglas Tubb, who will be doing a tribute show dedicated to Ernest Tubb. September 6 will mark the 28th anniversary of the death of this great Opry star.

In other Opry news, it has finally been confirmed that Loretta Lynn will be celebrating her 50th anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member on Tuesday September 25. Joing Loretta on this show will be Opry member Trace Adkins, along with Lee Ann Womack, Pistol Annies, Miranda Lambert and her sister, Crystal Gayle. According to Pete Fisher, "There is no one at the Opry, in country music, or on Earth quite like Loretta Lynn. We look forward to celebrating 50 years of Opry membership with her next month." I have said this before, but I think this would mean a lot more if Loretta actually appeared at the Opry more than 2 or 3 times a year. And I hope that they will include many of the Opry's veterans in this tribute to Loretta.

Looking back in Opry history as I do each week, it was Saturday August 31, 1996 that Hank Snow made his final Saturday night appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Hank would make one final Opry appearance the next weekend, on Friday September 6 but he cancelled out for the following night, September 7. He was also scheduled to be the next weekend, but cancelled out on those shows also, with Saturday September 14 the last time he would be scheduled to do the Opry.

To remember the great Hank Snow, here is the running order from Saturday August 31, 1996, his last Saturday night Grand Ole Opry show.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Mike Snider (host): Tennessee Rhapsody/Cotton-Eyed Joe
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Mike Snider: Shuckin' The Corn/Foggy Mountain Chimes

6:45: Jogging In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Ol' Blue
Jan Howard: My Heart Skips A Beat
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

7:00: Shoney's
Johnny Russell (host): Good-Hearted Woman
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down To The River/I Saw The Light/Will The Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells/Looking Back To See
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally

7:30: Standard Candy
Jeannie Seely (host): Burning That Old Memory
Cumberland Boys: Nothing But Love
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It To Me Again
Margaret Whiting: I Can't Help It
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Del Reeves: Got A Little Bit Of Heaven On Earth
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Porter Wagoner: The Cowboy's Hat
Porter Wagoner & Kristi Lynn: Forty Miles From Poplar Bluff

8:30: Kraft
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Stu Phillips: Colorado
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Tell Her Lies & Feed Her Candy
Brother Oswald: The Girl I Love Don't Pay Me No Mind
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou/Texa-cajun
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name/Freight Train Boggie

10:00: Massey-Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents Is All I Got
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Opry Book
Jean Shepard (host): I Thought Of You/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels/You Win Again/A Dear John Letter
Roy Drusky: Waltz Of The Angels/One Day At A Time
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away

10:30: Purnell's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop-A-Top
Cumberland Boys: Today I Might Be Going Home
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin' In Love With You

10:45: Fairfield
Mike Snider (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Ragtime Annie
Mike Snider: Battle Cry Of Freedom/Get Your Hand Off My Knee & Load The Cannon

11:00: Coca-Cola
Del Reeves: I Would Like To See You Again
Connie Smith: Amazing Grace
Charlie Walker: Who'll Buy The Wine
The Whites: He Took Your Place

11:30: Loreal
Johnny Russell (host): Red Necks, White Socks & Blue Ribbon Beer
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Jeannie Seely: Bubbles In My Beer
Ray Pillow: Someone Had To Teach You
Colleen Walters: Walkin' After Midnight


  1. It seems like only yesterday, doesn't it? Hank Snow always was a special favorite of mine. I think there were 23 members on that lineup?

  2. What a line up from '96. I was 16 and was properly listing to this on the front porch swing with my grandparents. They are gone now and so are a lot these artists.

  3. Fred in Bismarck:

    Not so long ago, only 16 years past, the Opry still could offer a pretty good lineup, couldn't it? I wonder what it's going to look like in 5 or 10 years, when people like Little Jimmy, Jim Ed, Jimmy 'C', Jean Shepard, Bobby Osborne, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds and a few others are either gone or that much older.

  4. We'll Fred, I quickly counted 22 acts on each of those 1996 shows and only 10 acts for this coming Saturday night. There was 5 hours of music in 1996, 2 hours this week. And there were 22 Opry members present in 1996 and only 8 this week. What's the Opry going to look like in 10 years? The facts above might give a clue to the answer.

  5. In regards to Loretta's 50th, it is so interesting to me, maybe disturbing is a better word, how and when they decide to go all out for anniversaries. Loretta is popular enough and someone the newer folks legitimately know and can site as an influence so the names they can sign on will sell the show and they can say "look who appears on the Opry". I love Loretta but as a loyal performer to the Opry in later years she has not been very impressive. I wonder what they will do for Jim Ed in two years? Maybe a nice watch and a piece of wood and a chance to do a couple of songs is what I would anticipate....hope I eat my words. Yet he must appear nearly every weekend he is in town and they will have him. And he was a pretty big and popular star in his day. Point is, what kind of blowout can they sell with Jim Ed? So he'll probably get little recognition.

    I was at the Opry Saturday 8-18-12 and if you have been lately they will send you a survey via email after you return. I filled out the survey and then took advantage of the email address provided at to expand on my comments. I don't know if Mr. Fisher will see the email but his name is at the bottom of the survey email and I addressed my response to him. My comments tie into the discussion about where the Opry will be in a few years so permit me to reprint a portion of them here:

    In filling out the survey the question is ask about value and if you would recommend the Opry to friends. In the years that I have been regularly attending the Opry I have watched it go from two 2-1/2 hour shows on Friday and Saturday nights at peak summer season down to one two hour show on Friday and Saturday night unless a really big name is appearing. I suppose this is a supply and demand situation. In that time we have gone from as many as twenty-five acts regularly appearing per show down to barley a dozen sometimes. So, the value is far from what it once was. The $45-$55 dollar per ticket is not too much to me provided that there is a variety of acts and several performances. Because of the music and the experience I would recommend the Opry to friends who like country music and have never been.

    The larger concern I have about the Opry is the type of music that is being provided and what appears to be a move away from recognizing the Opry's history. Saying it in the video shown before the show and pointing to the Ryman circle and having Hank and Minnie greet you is not enough. If new unknowns of the current era of music can appear nearly every weekend isn't there room for new nationally unknowns that are keeping the older style of country alive. I'm sure there are far more than I am aware of but all you need to do is look to Texas to find young folks keeping the styles of Ernest Tubb, Ray Price, Hank Thompson, Buck Owens, Kitty Wells and so many otters alive. How many times has Amber Digby been on the Opry. If more than one night, when Ronnie Milsap had her as a guest, I can't think of it. And it isn't because she is in Texas. She was backstage this past Friday night. If the audience only knew what they missed! Names like Justin Trivino, Jake Hooker, Dotty Jack, and Bobby Flores also come to mind. Many record for Heart of Texas run by Tracy Pitcox who just announced on the Opry last Saturday night and brought two bus loads of fans with him. I would not expect these folks to get to appear all the time but shouldn't they and their type of music have a place on the Opry. I love bluegrass but it feels like it has become a substitute for traditional hard core country on the Opry and it is not the same thing. Speaking of bluegrass, when is Rhonda Vincent going to become a member? How many guest spots must she do before she proves her worth? Before long she will be too old or not popular enough!

  6. Jim continued:

    It has appeared obvious to me for many years that the direction the Opry is taking is to become a mini concert series of top 40 country acts and maybe that is what your marketing surveys are telling you. If not, it would appear that way in the advertisements or by the folks that have appeared on the televised shows in the past few years. How would anyone but the most loyal know that Jim Ed Brown still appears on the Opry? My brother receives calls or emails all the time from young folks who have heard an older country star for the first time played on his program and they are hungry for more. Shouldn't the Opry be about exposing all ages to all types of country music and preserving the history? I understand money is the bottom line. What bothers me is that few if any of the big names of today that help the Opry turn a quick dollar will be around to keep the show going in ten or twenty years. Thank goodness folks like Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C, Charlie Louvin, Jean Shepard, Jan Howard and so many others have stayed with the Opry. Otherwise, you would not have a show to promote for Gaylord Entertainment each week. I recall you appearing on Backstage with Bill Anderson early in your career at the Opry and announcing all the upcoming stars that would be on the Opry in the next few weeks. Those you mentioned were all new and many not even members. When you were done, Bill said, "what about Bill Anderson, won't he be there?" That mind set seems to continue.

    Ray Price proves every time he comes to the Opry that many of the folks who will applaud long and loud for Carrie Underwood or Dierks Bently also appreciate older performers and their music. I will admit that Ray Price did not perform his most hardcore country songs on the 11th but then anything he dose is exceptional. Thanks for letting him appear. I should also acknowledge that Carrie and Dirks appearing was reason for two shows and therefore Ray got to do four songs. Ray is the reason we came to the Opry in May even though he missed the show and also the reason we came last October.

    Ray's appearance last October brings me to another point. Appearing just before Ray that evening was Whitney Duncan. I like to look at the pretty young girls as much as the next guy but the Opry is not a place for them to be s-----y on display. (I SAID HERE IN DIFFERENT WORDS THAT SHE WAS TOO UNDER DRESSED AND PERFORMED LIKE A CLUB ACT) I thought the Opry was supposed to be a family show for all ages. If that is still true, her performance was in very bad taste. I was pleased when the audience gave her just enough applause to be kind! You don't have to remind me of how on the edge Jeannie Seely was in her time. Her wardrobe may have been on the edge but I have never heard of her performance accentuating her outfit! Whitney Duncan is not the only act that has appeared in recent months that were in bad taste. Maybe my problem is that our society is changing and I am clinging to the values I was raised on. The Opry is becoming more reflective of what the media would have us believe is the values of most Americans but I don't buy it, at least not yet. I had hoped the Opry would remain a strong family oriented American institution. So far it has, but I see too many signs that indicate it is loosing it's way.

  7. Jim again, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story:

    Again I must reiterate that my comments are only a fan and customers opinion about a show, it's people and the music that I care so deeply about. I understand that there is a lot of behind the scenes issues and politics the fans never see. I hope that you and all of your staff will be able to carry the Opry forward and preserve it for generations to come. If the Opry disappears it will mean that America as we know it is also disappearing into history.

    To open I had explained my background and experience listening and visiting the Opry. Hope this doesn’t offend or upset anyone. I have actually written a couple letters along these lines over the years. You can see how effective they have been!!! I have fond memories of Hank Snow and those later days but I'll save them for later.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. Jim, I know the survey you are talking about as I have been sent emails after many of my visits asking for my observations. Like you, I send them in each time and who knows if they are read or not.

    I do know that they will tell you that the show being shortened to 2 hours is a result of the surveys that they have done. Apparently, many fans, especially the younger ones, felt that a show longer than that was too long. I also know that one of the complaints that they received was that all the Opry shows had the same artists on them and the shows did not feel special. In a way, I can understand that. When I look at the line-ups from the 70's into the 90's, they are so similiar as to the artists and in many cases, the songs that were sung.

    Now to us, as fans of the legends, that was not an issue. But to the younger fans they are trying to get to the Opry, it is. And in a way, I do understand that variety is needed on the show. But my argument is that it should not take place at the expense of the members. Mandy Barnett is a good example. I admit that I have met her and I like her. She is talented. But outside of playing Patsy Cline and having one charted single, she has not done anything in her career. But they will schedule her instead of a Jan Howard, The Whites, Ray Pillow or Stonewall Jackson and that is what I don't like. Now I am fine if they do want to put her on the schedule, but limit her to 1 song and still allow room for the veterans.

    I think we can debate it all day, but the Opry as we knew it is gone and is not coming back. And I can see a time when the Opry will end up like the Wheeling Jamboree was in the final years and that was a 2 hour show that had 3 or 4 local acts performing for 10 or 15 minutes each in the opening hour, a 15 minute intermission, and then a star performing for the final 45 or 60 minutes.

    That said, I think the Opry is still a great show that I still attend on a regular basis, listen to every week and still enjoy. And there is a special feeling when that big red curtain goes up. And I think that is why many of us comment on the Opry and what is going on there.

    1. I just want to follow up here and report that I did get a nice email back from Mr. Fisher thanking me for my comments and loyalty to the Opry and assuring me that they do pay attention to customer feedback. I emailed back thanking him for responding and he even briefly responded to that. This dose not change my thoughts or feelings about what I am hearing each week but it is nice to know someone is looking at the feedback. Since we can be so critical I felt it important to let everyone know I did get a response.


  9. Jim:
    Glad you mentioned Amber Digby. She is the real deal. I do wish the Opry would invite her to perform.

  10. I'm not sure why people would say a show longer than 2 hours is too long. Millions of people sit outside in rain, snow, blistering heat, and freezing cold for 3 hours or more to watch a ball game. Many of the biggest movies of the past decade have been 2 1/2 to 3 hours long. People will gladly sit for more than 2 hours for a good show. Hmmm, maybe THAT's the problem with today's Opry.

  11. Fred here:

    Agree with Tim, I think Gaylord has smoke coming out of our ears on that one. I know I complain every time someone tries to give me too much for my money -- not!

    I speak as one who sat uncomplainingly through one of those old 5 1/2-hour shows, in a Ryman pew. Thought I'd died and gone to hillbilly heaven, but was only having an out-of-body experience. I could have cried when midnight came and I was rudely jerked back.

    And remember the groans of the crowd when Marty kept them around until 12:30 or 1 in the morning?

    The real issue, I suspect with Tim, is that you can stretch a thin soup, the modern Opry talent pool, only so far, and 1:45 is about the limit.

  12. Fred P.S.:

    Another explanation, of course, is that Gaylord is just being cheap and keeping more of those admissions in its pocket rather than spending them on a longer show.

    I dunno, the older I get, the less I know for sure.

  13. Mel here; Could the Opry perhaps have a night just for its veterans? I know that would be the show I would pick?

  14. Taking the discussion back to the line-up of Hank Snow's last night... I wonder if anyone could share any particular memories of meeting Mr. Snow and/or stories about him personally. His "cool" personality has always fascinated me and I regret, although I saw him at the Opry several times, I never got the chance to meet him in person. I saw once where a fan wrote a letter asking if it would be possible to meet him at the Opry and received a letter back from Hank with his phone number asking him to call the next time he was going to be Nashville and he would do his best to have him backstage to meet him. Wow! Why didn't I think of that? (oldtimeopry)

  15. Two special performances happened Friday night in my opinion. The fact that Jean Shepard went over so well prooves that the veterans can still deliver. It was special to to hear Bill Anderson do Five Little Fingers and get a decent applause. I don't think those kind of songs are apprecited or understood the way they once were. The crowd seemed to approve but maybe that was because of the way he set it up with his story. Anyway, I thought Jean and Bill both did the Opry and the veterans proud Friday night. Those two performances would have been worth the admission if I could have been there.


  16. Fred again:

    Yeah, Jim, those wonderful old tear-jerkers or "two-handkerchief songs"! They require what is called "suspension of disbelief," but in the hands of the right performer they can still deliver the goods. I think of two of the great practitioners, Porter Wagoner and Ferlin Husky. Porter, especially, never fails to bring a lump to my throat with things like "Roses out of Season" and "My Special Prayer Request."

    Does anybody remember Ferlin's recitation version of "The Drunken Driver"? That's one of the first three 45s I ever bot, with lawnmowing money, back in 1954. It caused such a stir in Cleveland, O., that a newspaper columnist said DJ Tommy Edwards should be "spanked and stood in the corner" for playing it on the radio! (Can't recall why it was supposed to be so objectionable.)

    Capitol Records, by the way -- Ferlin's label -- sure made a durable vinyl product. That 45, and others by Capitol, still play great after years and years. Columbia 45s, on the other hand, were so poor that after a while I always bought 2 copies of new Ray Price releases. Stupid, rewarding bad corporate behavior ... but I thought I had to have that music. Anyway, at $1 a copy, they were cheap, even for those days!

  17. Fred, I think I asked you before, or you asked me, but do you have a connection with Cleveland, Ohio? Just wondering as you made the comment about Tommy Edwards, and of course, Dottie West spent time in the Cleveland area.

    And Jim, thanks for your comments regarding the Opry on Friday night as I was unable to listen on Friday night and caught only 1 segment on Saturday night. Appreciate it.

  18. Fred here:

    Yes, Byron, I was born and lived in Cleveland, 1941-1960, then going to college but coming back to visit until 1964. Saw many wonderful shows in northern Ohio, mainly courtesy of my good friend Merv Rawes, who is still alive and living in New Philadelphia. I believe I asked you once if you had ever met him -- good old Merv was kind of hard to miss!

    When I discovered country in 1954, about the only one keeping the flame in Cleveland was Tommy Edwards. He had a pop show on WERE Mon-Fri, but on Saturday he was "the city slicker turned hillbilly" and hosted the "Hillbilly Jambouree", 10a-2 p.m. He played only the new music -- no requests -- which made for wonderful listening when country was still country. In 1957, they took the country show away from him, and he departed not long thereafter.

  19. I thought that you had told me that, I must have just forgot. You will be unhappy to know that the live country music scene is still pretty weak up here. No classic country shows at all unless you hope that something comes to the county fairs. And nothing on the radio. It can be tough at times.