Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 11/2 & 11/3

First, I want to acknowledge that I have not updated the blog for the past week. Sometimes life gets in the way and up here we were on the edge of hurricane Sandy that blew threw the Northeast the past several days. We had high winds, some flickering power and lots of rain. In fact, it is still raining today, which will make 6 straight days. Anyways, sorry for not keeping everyone up to date and not responding to the comments, which I usually do and enjoy doing. I am back on track now and will be posting the November Opry highlights within the next several days.

As far as this weekend, the Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 3 shows this weekend. And starting this weekend, the Opry is back to the Ryman Auditorium for their annual winter run, which will last through January.

While nothing has been posted on the Opry's website, and I think it is a shame that they have not mentioned it, this Saturday night November 3rd, Stonewall Jackson will be celebrating his 56th year as a Grand Ole Opry member. Stonewall joined the Opry on November 3, 1956. I do want to acknowledge that Stonewall was part of the purge of 1964, and was among the Opry members dropped on that date. Stonewall rejoined the Opry on May 10, 1969 and has been a pretty loyal member since. Of course, Stonewall created news a few years back when he sued the Opry for age discrimination, which resulted in Stonewall making no Opry appearances from late 2005 through 2007. The case was settled and Stonewall returned to the Opry, but over the past several years his appearances have really dropped off. This will be only his 2nd Opry appearance in 2012. While he has been battling a few health issues, he has done a few road dates and the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. Stonewall is scheduled for the 2nd show on Saturday night, and it would be nice if Jim Ed Brown, who is hosting the segment, gives Stonewall a nice introduction mentioning the anniversary. Finally, I do want to mention that on November 6th, Stonewall will be celebrating his 80th birthday.

As far as the rest of the Opry this weekend, Josh Turner will be on the Friday Night Opry, along with guest artists Maggie Rose and Keith Anderson, who will also be appearing on both Saturday shows. Also on Saturday, Dailey & Vincent will be guesting, along with Heidi Newfield and Brett Eldredge.

Friday November 2
7:00: John Conlee (host); Greg Bates; Connie Smith
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Keith Anderson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Josh Turner

Saturday November 3
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Keith Anderson; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Brett Eldridge
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Heidi Newfield; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Keith Anderson; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; Brett Eldridge
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stonewall Jackson; Heidi Newfield; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Starting this week and continuing most weeks through the winter, the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be presenting archived shows. This week's show will feature one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Connie Smith. While I have no complaints about the archived shows, well actually I do and it has nothing to do with Connie Smith, if they are going to run these shows, I would like to see them go into their vault and play some older shows from years ago featuring some of the stars that are no longer with us, such as Ernest Tubb, Marty Robbins, Hank Snow and others. Those would be shows that I would really love to listen to.

To look back in Opry history this week, I am posting the line-up from Saturday November 4, 1978, 34 years ago this weekend.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Justin Tubb (host): Lonesome 7-7203
Wilma Lee Cooper: All On Account of You
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way that We're Doing it Now

6:45: Rudy's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once for Me
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink on Me
Vic Willis: The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
Wilburn Brothers: Mama's Shoe Box

7:00: Shoney's
Stonewall Jackson (host): My Favorite Sin
Charlie Louvin: When I Was Your Man/A Toast To Mama
Jeanne Pruett: Sweet Baby Jane/A Poor Man's Woman
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Billy Grammer: Wabash Cannonball/Detroit City
Larry Gatlin: Night Time Magic/I've Done Enough Dying Today
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Feed You Now/Big Wind's A'Comin

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Have You Come to Say Goodbye
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World/I'll Fly Away
Ray Pillow: Country Music Lovin Cowboy/Another Day, Another Dollar
Stu Phillips: It's A Heartache
Marty Stuart: Rawhide

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Wreck of the Ol' 97/One More Ride
4 Guys: Let Your Love Flow/Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Winds of A Dove
Marion Worth: New Lips
Del Wood: 12th St. Rag
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: That's When He Dropped the World in My Hands

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Wilburn Brothers: What A Way To Go
Wilma Lee Cooper: Come Walk With Me
Vic Willis: San Antonio Rose
Ernie Ashworth: I Can't Help It
Tex Walker: Boots and Saddle
Porter Wagoner: Banks of the Ohio/I'm Gonna Feed You Now/Big Wind's A Comin'

10:00: Fender
Charlie Louvin (host): I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Larry Gatlin: (?)/ I've Done Enough Dying Today
Charlie Louvin: When I Was Your Man

10:15: Union 76
Stonewall Jackson (host): My Favorite Sin
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walking

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Great Big Woman & A Little Biddy Bottle of Wine
Billy Grammer: I'm Letting You Go
Del Wood: My Country
Blake Williams: Train 45

10:45: Beechnut
Ray Pillow (host): Texas
Stu Phillips: Let Me Love You All Over Again
Crook Brothers/Ralph Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle
Ray Pillow: (?)

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Ramblin Rose
Skeeter Davis: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels/He Will Be There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Kirk McGee: Railroad Blues
Hank Snow: I Almost Lost My Mind

11:30: Acme
4 Guys (host): We Make Beautiful Music Together
Marion Worth: Fool #1/Put Your Hand in the Hand
Ronny Robbins: I Just Stopped Long Enough To Taste The Wine/The Last Lie I Told Her
4 Guys: Mama Tried/The Fugitive

Again, congratulations to Stonewall Jackson on his 56th anniversary as an Opry member.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 10/26 & 10/27

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There will be the usual one show on Friday Night, but the Opry is back to two shows on Saturday. The highlight for this weekend will be the return of Alison Krauss to the Opry stage. Alison is one of those artists that all of us would like to see more at the Opry and it is nice to see her back. Along with Alison on Saturday night will be Opry members Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, frequent Opry guest Jimmy  Wayne, and the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Connie Smith.

The Friday Night Opry will feature a guest appearance by Sweethearts of the Rodeo, who are back together with a new album out. Sweethearts of the Rodeo consists of sisters Kristine Arnold and Janis Oliver. Janis is the former Mrs. Vince Gill, so it makes total sense that they would be on Friday night and Vince on Saturday night. They have been making the rounds in Nashville this week promoting the new project. Also joining them on Friday night will be Opry members Joe Diffie and Ralph Stanley.

Scheduled to return to the Opry stage this weekend are Jesse McReynolds, who cancelled out last weekend due to a sore throat, and Jimmy Dickens.

Friday October 26
7:00: John Conlee (host); Eric Paslay; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Steel Magnolia
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Sweethearts of the Rodeo; Jimmy Wayne
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Ralph Stanley; Joe Diffie

Saturday October 27
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Canaan Smith; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Matraca Berg; Jimmy Wayne
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Alison Krauss; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Canaan Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Ray Pillow (host); Matraca Berg; Jimmy Wayne
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Alison Krauss; Opry Sqaure Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

12 acts on Friday Night, with 11 for each show on Saturday. Each show will feature 8 Opry members. The Midnight Jamboree this weekend will feature Wilson Fairchild as the hosts. The are the sons of Harold and Don Reid of the Statler Brothers.

Now it's time for this weeks look back in Opry History. This week I am going back to Saturday October 27, 1979, 33 years ago this Saturday. A salute was given to Bill Monroe by Bud Wendell, Grant Turner and Hal Durham in honor of Bill Monroe's 40th anniversary as an Opry member.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Why, I'm Walking
Lonzo & Oscar: The Old Homeplace
Stonewall Jackson: A Wound Time Can't Erase

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host) & Jeannie Seely: If It Ain't Love, Let's Leave It Alone
Jeannie Seely: Take One As Needed For Pain
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Jack Greene: Your's For The Taking

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Unclouded Day
Jim & Jesse: Ashes Of Love
Billy Grammer: Kentucky Waltz/Georgiana Moon/Tennessee Waltz
Bill Monroe (with Wilma Lee Cooper & Jim & Jesse): I Saw The Light

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Then He Touched Me
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose In December
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Tennessee Wagoner
Roy Acuff: Lord, Don't Give Up On Me

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host) & Ramona Jones: Come & Dine
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Wilburn Brothers: What A Way To Go
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Hager Twins: (?)
Charlie Louvin: Love Don't Care
Kathy Barton: Dixie

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): It Takes Too Long To Heal A Broken Heart
Connie Smith: Way Up On The Mountain
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
4 Guys: Mama Rocked Us To Sleep With Country Music
Marion Worth: Someone Is Looking For Someone Like You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbbing Ridge
Hank Snow: A Good Gal Nowadays Is Hard To Find

2nd show
9:30: Kelloggs
Jack Greene (host): Lord, I Need Somebody Bad Tonight
Jeannie Seely: Since I Met The Boy
Lonzo & Oscar: Dueling Banjos
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Last Cheater's Waltz
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Closed My Heart's Door
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

10:00: Fender
Bill Monroe (host): Bile Them Cabbage Down
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Bill Monroe: The Gloryland Way

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Carolee Singers: A Song The Holy Angels Cannot Sing
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Columbus Stockade Blues
Billy Grammer: Georgiana Moon
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Grandpa & Romana Jones: Dark As A Dungeon

10:45: Beech-Nut
Charlie Louvin (host): Hey, Daddy
Skeeter Davis: Just When I Needed You Most
Crook Brothers/ Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Katy Hill
Charlie Louvin: Working Man Blues

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Wreck Of The Old 97/One More Ride
Connie Smith: Love Lifted Me/Satisfied
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Holler Poplar
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: Just A Faded Pedal From A Beautiful Bouquet

11:30: Little Debbie
Billy Walker (host): I'm A Little Short On Love
4 Guys: Fire/Mama Rocked Us To Sleep With Country Music
Marion Worth: New Lips
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Minnie Pearl's 100th Birthday

Tuesday October 25th will make the 100th birthday of Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, otherwise known as Minnie Pearl. The Tuesday Night Opry that evening will have a special show dedicated to the memory of Minnie. Minnie was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years, joining the show in 1940 and remaining a member until her death on March 4, 1996. She last performed in 1991, prior to suffering a stroke that ended her performing career.

Minnie Pearl's first Opry appearance was in November 1940. She remembered her audition to secure a spot on the show: "I auditioned in front of maybe eight or nine people. Harry Stone, Jack Stapp, Judge Hay, Ford Rush, all of those people standing in that old control room in Studio B on the fifth floor of the National Life Building, and they just looked at me. They never cracked a smile. I didn't get through to them, I don't think."

After the audition, Ford Rush spoke to her: "He told me that they had done a little investigating about me and he wasn't sure those people out there wouldn't think I was a phony. 'A phony!' Why would they think that? I come from the country, you can go down there where I was raised and look at it yourself if you think I'm phony." Rush was concerned because she had gone to Ward-Belmont College.

She was told to that she was going to receive a tryout on the Opry the following Saturday night. Rush told her to report at 10:30 and be ready to go on the Crazy Water Crystals show at 11:05. He then told her that "normally there aren't many people listening to the Opry at that time, so if they don't like you it won't harm things very much."

When she got to the Opry that Saturday night, she said that "I went up to Judge Hay and I said, 'I'm Minnie Pearl--' Well, I didn't say, 'I'm Minnie Pearl,' that was the funny part of it, I said, 'I'm Ophelia Colley,' which was the name then. And he said, 'Oh, yes, you're the young girl that's going to do the comedy.' And I said, 'We'll, I'm going to try.' And he said, 'Now you just go back there in one of those dressing rooms and at eleven you come back here'--this was by the stage--'and we'll put you on at eleven-oh-five.' So I went back to the dressing rooms. And nobody knew me, nobody cared. At eleven o-clock I went back out and stood by Judge Hay. The house in the War Memorial was not full, because it was late and some of the people had come and gone. And teh ones there were there were asleep because it was cold outside and a lot of people would come in to get warm. You could get warm for twenty-five cents."

She went on: "I was standing there shaking, scared out of my mind, and Judge Hay said, 'You're scared, aren't you?' I said, 'Yes, sir, I am.' And he said, 'Just love'em, honey, and they'll love you back.' My mother was out front. And when I came out I said, 'How do you think it went?' And Mama said, 'Several people woke up.'"

While Minnie would remain a part of the Opry until her stroke, she did leave the show for a period of time. In fact, when the purge of December 1964, it was announced that she was taking a leave of absence from the show for the coming year, but was allowed to use the Opry billing in her contracts. Minnie's last night on the Opry prior to the purge was on November 7, 1964 and she would not return to the Opry stage until Saturday February 12, 1966. While it seemed like Minnie Pearl made a lot of appearances on the Opry, the truth was different. Looking at her Opry appearances in the last several years that she was an active member, she averaged less than 20 shows a year. In 1991, she made 7 appearances, the last of which was on Friday April 26. In fact, most of her appearances in her later years tended to be on the Friday Night Opry, in the segment hosted by Roy Acuff. If you remember, on many Friday nights, Minnie would appear on Ralph Emery's show on TNN, and then head over and do the 8:30 segment on the Opry.

On Saturday November 3, 1990, the Grand Ole Opry honored her for 50 years on Opry membership. TNN televised a special 1 hour portion of the 1st show that featured her friends, and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame members Jimmy Dickens, Hank Snow, Roy Acuff, Grandpa Jones and Chet Atkins.

In honor of Minnie Pearl's 100th birthday, here is the line-up from Saturday November 3, 1990, the night of Minnie Pearl's 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Bells of Southern Bell
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Del Reeves: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

7:00: Shoney's
(Minnie Pearl Tribute)
Gary Morris: The Love She Found In Me
Jimmy Dickens: Family Reunion
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Hank Snow: Forever And One Day, Forever And Two
Grandpa Jones: Nashville On My Mind

7:30: Standard Candy
(Minnie Pearl Tribute Continued)
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball
Chet Atkins: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Chet Atkins: Birth of the Blues/Freight Train/Yakety Axe/Wildwood Flower
Roy Acuff & Minnie Pearl: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
4 Guys: Swing Down, Chariot
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Nice
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything

8:30: Pops-Rite
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lyin' In Love With You
Charlie Louvin: Thank God For My Christian Home
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am Or Let Me Go
The Whites: Keep On The Sunny Side
Mike Snider: Satellite TV Dish
Jim Ed Brown: I Heard the Bluebird Sing

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Hero's Death
Roy Drusky: Take Good Care of Her
Gary Morris: Working Man's Blues/100% Chance of Rain
Jimmy Dickens: When Your House Is Not A Home

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): My Cherokee Rose
Del Reeves: Be Glad
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jeannie Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale That The Crow Told Me

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host): Piney Jane
Jean Shepard: Half A Mind
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
George McCormick: Wait A Little Longer, Please Jesus

10:45: B.C. Powder
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Charlie Walker: A Way to Free Myself
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Anderson: 8 by 10

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jimmy C Newman: (?)
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
The Whites: Blue Letters
Mike Snider: Lonesome Road Blues
Hank Snow: The 3rd Man

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
4 Guys: Tennessee
Charlie Louvin: My Baby's Gone
Johnny Russell: You Just Better Not Do That
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

Now here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, October 23rd, that will honor the 100th birthday of Minnie Pearl:

7:00: Pam Tillis; T Bubba Bechtol
7:30: Jimmy Dickens; Anita Renfroe
8:15: Mel Tillis; Henry Cho
8:45: Vince Gill; Amy Grant

In 1975, Minnie Pearl was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and an interesting fact is that her plaque is the only one in the Hall of Fame without a date to mark her passing because it was said that Minnie Pearl lives in peoples hearts forever.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 10/19 & 10/20

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. The Opry is back to just 1 show on Saturday night, and while the line-ups look good this weekend, there is really nothing special. On Friday night, Charlie Daniels will be appearing, as will Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison. Friday night will also feature this week's Opry newcomer, Jon Pardi, who has had one sone on the charts. The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature return visits by the Quebe Sisters Band, Sarah Darling, and Janie Fricke, who usually does the Opry every year. There is no Jimmy Dickens this weekend.

Friday October 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Darryl Worley; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jon Pardi; Connie Smith
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Gary Mule Deer; Kelly Willis & Bruce Robison
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday October 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); J.T. Hodges; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Sarah Darling; Connie Smith
8:15: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds; Quebe Sisters Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: The Whites (host); Janie Fricke; Mac Powell

That comes out to 12 artists per show, with 8 Opry members on Friday night and 7 Opry members on Saturday night.

This will be a big weekend for Connie Smith, as in addition to both Opry shows this weekend, on Sunday she, along with Garth Brooks and Hargus "Pig" Robbins, will be formally inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as the Medallion Ceremony will be taking place. Congratulations go again to all of the new inductees and they are all well deserved.

This week's look back at Grand Ole Opry history takes us to October 19, 1991, which was the morning that Country Music Hall of Fame member and long-time Opry announcer Grant Turner passed away. He died shortly after announcing the Friday Night Opry. Grant had been at WSM since December 7, 1944 and was the "Dean" of Opry announcers. He had such an easy style about him and was well liked and respected by everyone at the Opry. He was friends with many of the performers and did a great job announcing each segment.

In honor of Grant Turner, here is the line-up from the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday October 19, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope This Day Is Good
Porter Wagoner: A Satisfied Mind/Big Wind

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host); Melinda
Jim & Jesse: Orange Blossom Special
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Grandpa Jones: Baby-O

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Monroe (host); Feast Here Tonight
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Skeeter Davis: Jesus is the Answer/He Will Be There
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
The Whites: Pipeliner's Blues
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Breakdown

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Clark (host): Beaumont Rag
Billy Grammer: Yesterday/There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Jean Shepard: If Teardrops Were Pennies
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Roy Clark: If I Had to Do It All Over Again/Under the Double Eagle

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: Then and Only Then/Satisfied
Bill Anderson: Po'Folks/I Wonder If God Likes Country Music
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Golden Slippers

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host): Ramblin Rose
Charlie Louvin: Ain't You Even Gonna Cry
Osborne Brothers: Take Me Home Country Roads
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Jimmy Dickens: Family Reunion
Hank Snow: I've Done At Least One Thing That Was Good In My Life

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host); Y'all Come
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
The Whites: Love Is A Rose
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Billy Grammer: Who's Sorry Now/Gotta Travel On
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Jim & Jesse: Bringing In the Georgia Mail
Bill Anderson: Still

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Roy Clark: San Antonio Rose
Roy Acuff & Roy Clark: I Saw the Light

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): Foggy Mountain Top
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Bill Monroe: The Boat of Love

10:45: B. C Powder
Grandpa Jones (host): Happy Little Home in Arkansas
Charlie Walker: A Way to Free Myself
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Grandpa Jones: When the Southbound Pulls Away

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down the Trail of Aching Hearts
Connie Smith: The Key's In the Mailbox
Ray Pillow: If I Didn't Have You In My World
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Hank Snow: Let Me Go, Woman

11:30: Creamette
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Charlie Louvin: Old Dreams
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Osborne Brothers: Too Old to Die Young
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

On this week's Tuesday Night Opry, the show will honor the 100th birthday of Minnie Pearl. The show will feature Vince Gill, Amy Grant and many more and will be devoted to comedy.

And finally, thoughts and prayers tonight go out to T.G. Sheppard, who is hospitalized with a very serious bladder disorder and blood infection. I saw him on Opry Country Classics 2 weeks ago and he looked and sounded great. Here is to his recovery.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 16th In Opry History

October is the month that the Grand Ole Opry has their annual birthday celebration. For some reason, a number of the celebrations took place on October 16th. I thought it would be interesting to take a look back through the years at the line-ups for some of these shows, as you can see the progression of the Opry and the cast of the show.

The 1st one is from Saturday October 16, 1971. At the time, the Opry's birthday show took place as part of the annual Disc Jockey convention that took place in Nashville. The convention was an opportunity for the country music stars to meet the local disc jockeys from around the country. It was such an important event that most of the members of the Grand Ole Opry were present. Much of the time was spent doing interviews that would air on the local stations and recording station identification messages. This was during a time when almost all radio was locally owned and could play what ever records they wanted, so it was important for the artists to connect. 1971 marked the Opry's 46th anniversary.

6:30: Vietti
Tex Ritter (host): Just Beyond the Moon
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Roy Drusky: Long, Long Texas Road
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Tex Ritter: Fall Away

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Anderson (host) & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Jan Howard: I Hurt All Over
Ray Pillow: Haven't You Heard
Ernie Ashworth: A Bottle of the Blues
Bill Anderson: Quits

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Bill Monroe: Katy Hill

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Coming Down From God
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year that Clayton Delaney Died
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer the Phone
Loretta Lynn: Put Your Hand in the Hand
Charlie Louvin & Melba Montgomery: Something to Brag About
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: All Right, I'll Sign the Papers
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Ernest Tubb: Shenendoah Waltz

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Will You Be Loving Another Man
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Dottie West: Country Girl
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Del Reeves: Philadelphia Fillies
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Lester Flatt: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Sea Shores of Old Mexico
Wilburn Brothers: That 'She's Leaving' Feeling
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Bob Luman: Today I Started Loving You Again/Honky-Tonk Man
4 Guys: Shenendoah
Hank Snow: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

9:30: Kelloggs
Tex Ritter (host): Fall Away
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Jim Ed Brown: She's Leaving
Roy Drusky: I Love the Way That You've Been Loving Me
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Quits
Bill Anderson & Jan Howard: Dissatisfied
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Ray Pillow: The Waitress

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
George Morgan: Gentle Rains of Home
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): The Bluebirds Singing For Me
Tom T Hall: I Remember the Year That Clayton Delaney Died
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Lester Flatt: Orange Blossom Special

10:45: Beechnut
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Loretta Lynn: Lead Me On
Billy Walker: How Great Thou Art
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Snowbird
Earl Scruggs Review: T For Texas
Jack Greene: There's A Whole Lot About A Woman A Man Don't Know
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Del Reeves: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On/Hound Dog
Freddie Hart: Easy Lovin'/My Hangup Is You
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Wilburn Brothers: That 'She's Leaving' Feeling
Connie Smith: Just One Time
4 Guys: Let the Sun Keep Shining
Bob Luman: Getting Back to Norma
Marty Robbins: I Walk Alone/Begging to You/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Singing the Blues/El Paso

A couple of notes from that show: If that line-up wasn't big enough, Porter Wagoner, Glaser Brothers, Jim & Jesse and Cousin Jody were all scheduled but failed to appear. The only Opry members not scheduled were Bobby Bare, Margie Bowes, Archie Campbell, Skeeter Davis, Billy Grammer, Hank Locklin, Lonzo & Oscar, Bobby Lord, Osborne Brothers, Jean Shepard, Stringbean, Mel Tillis (listed). Marion Worth and George Hamilton IV. The show ran 1 hour long. And to show how WSM programmed the Opry, the radio show actually started at 7 with the Vietti segment. The 7:00 Luzianne segment from between 9-9:30 on the radio, between shows.

The next line-up is from 5 years later, on October 16, 1976, the Opry's 51st show:

6:30: Charlie Walker (host); Guy Willis; Bill Carlisle
6:45: Del Reeves (host); Hank Locklin
7:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; George Hamilton IV; Brother Oswald; Roy Clark
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilburn Brothers; Dottie West; Jimmy C Newman; Roy Drusky; Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); 4 Guys; Jerry Clower; David Houston; Lonzo & Oscar; Marion Worth
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stu Phillips; Del Wood; Jimmy Dickens; Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Dottie West; Guy Willis
10:00: Ernest Tubb (host); Bill Carlisle; Kitty Wells; Johnny Wright
10:15: Stonewall Jackson (host); Hank Locklin; George Hamilton IV
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Lonzo & Oscar; 4 Guys; Roy Clark
10:45: Wilburn Brothers (host); Jerry Clower; Brother Oswald; Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Del Wood; Kirk McGee
11:30: David Houston (host); Stu Phillips; Jimmy Dickens; Marion Worth

What a difference 5 years made!! Roy Clark did both shows as a guest and Kitty Wells guested on the 2nd show.

The 3rd year I wanted to post is from October 16, 1982, the Opry's 57th birthday show. Doyle Wilburn of the Wilburn Brothers died earlier that morning.

6:00: Del Reeves (host); Jeannie Seely; Lonzo & Oscar; Jimmy Dickens; Teddy Wilburn; Del Wood
6:30: 4 Guys (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Justin Tubb
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Billy Grammer; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Osborne Brothers; Charlie Walker; Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Roy Drusky; Minnie Pearl; Charley Pride
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Vic Willis Trio; Bill Carlisle; Riders In The Sky; Fruit Jar Drinkers

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Lonzo & Oscar; Hank Locklin
10:00: Stonewall Jackson (host): Jimmy Dickens; Jan Howard; Del Wood
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); Billy Walker; Teddy Wilburn; Osborne Brothers
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Minnie Pearl; Connie Smith
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Charlie Louvin; Jean Shepard; Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Grammer; Charlie Walker; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Justin Tubb; Kirk McGee
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Vic Willis Trio;Bill Carlisle; Riders In The Sky; Larry Gatlin

Now let's move up to the Opry's 68th birthday celebration on October 16, 1993:

6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jack Greene; Billy Walker
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Charlie Louvin; Skeeter Davis; 4 Guys; Jimmy Dickens
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Tracy Byrd; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Randy Travis; Charlie Walker; The Whites

9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jan Howard; Osborne Brothers; Tracy Byrd
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); David Houston; Bill Carlisle
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Bill Monroe (host); Jeanne Pruett; Opry Squaredance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; 4 Guys; Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Johnny Russell

Those were some of the line-ups from the birthday shows a few years back. Safe to say that times have changed a bit at the Opry.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Darius Rucker Opry Induction and Thoughts On Other Recent Members

This Tuesday Night, Darius Rucker will become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. I thought that this would be a good time to take a look back at the Opry members who have joined the cast since Pete Fisher became the Opry's general manager in June 1999.

Counting Darius Rucker, there are now 68 Opry members. Of those 68, 5 are either retired or not able to perform at this time and those include Jack Greene, Hal Ketchum, Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett and Ricky Van Shelton. Of the 68 Opry members, 18 became members since Pete Fisher took over the operations of the Opry. Those artists, with their inductions dates are Ralph Stanley (1-15-00), Pam Tillis (8-26-00), Brad Paisley (2-17-01), Trace Adkins (8-23-03), Del McCoury (10-25-03), Terri Clark (6-24-04), Dierks Bentley (10-1-05), Mel Tillis (6-9-07), Josh Turner (10-27-07), Charlie Daniels (1-19-08), Carrie Underwood (5-10-08), Craig Morgan (10-25-08), Montgomery Gentry (6-23-09), Blake Shelton (10-22-10), Oak Ridge Boys (8-6-11), Rascal Flatts (10-8-11), Keith Urban (4-21-12) and Darius Rucker (10-16-12).

It is interesting to note that after adding variety to the Opry's cast in his earlier years as the Opry's general manager, the last new female Opry member was Carrie Underwood in 2008 and the last new bluegrass Opry member was Del McCoury in 2003. With the exception of the Oak Ridge Boys in 2011, the last veteran country music singer to join the cast was Charlie Daniels in 2008. Obviously the trend is toward young male singers.

When Pete Fisher makes a decision on adding a new Opry member, he has been asking each new member to commit to at least 10 Opry apperances per year. It doesn't matter if it is on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday night, as long as it adds up to 10, he is fine. And with 3 shows on many of the Opry's weekends, that comes out to just 4 weekends each year to make the 10 appearances, or a couple of weekends, with a few Tuesday shows thrown in.

So how have these members done? Listed below are the Opry members listed above, with the number of appearances they have made each year since joining the cast.

Ralph Stanley: 2000-19; 2001-10; 2002-5; 2003-13; 2004-18; 2005-12; 2006-13; 2007-11; 2008-6 
2009-10; 2010-6; 2011-5; 2012-4. (average of 11 per year).

Pam Tillis: 2000-4; 2001-11; 2002-13; 2003-9; 2004-16; 2005-12; 2006-19; 2007-21; 2008-2; 2009-12; 2010-6; 2011-16; 2012-4. (average of 12 per year).

Brad Paisley: 2001-28; 2002-13; 2003-12; 2004-9; 2005-7; 2006-5; 2007-4; 2008-4; 2009-3; 2010-4; 2011-3; 2012-4. (average of 9 per year).

Trace Adkins: 2003-15; 2004-10; 2005-10; 2006-7; 2007-12; 2008-11; 2009-10; 2010-8; 2011-6; 2012-5. (average of 10 per year).

Del McCoury: 2003-23; 2004-35; 2005-30; 2006-47; 2007-39; 2008-47; 2009-32; 2010-28; 2011-26; 2012-21. (average of 34 per year).

Terri Clark: 2004-11; 2005-9; 2006-9; 2007-10; 2008-10; 2009-5; 2010-8; 2011-10; 2012-3. (average of 9 per year).

Dierks Bentley: 2005-4; 2006-8; 2007-9; 2008-4; 2009-5; 2010-6; 2011-5; 2012-3. (average of 6 per year).

Mel Tillis: 2007-15; 2008-14; 2009-9; 2010-10; 2011-8; 2012-2. (average of 11 per year).
Josh Turner: 2007-12; 2008-11; 2009-7; 2010-6; 2011-8; 2012-5. (average of 9 per year).
Charlie Daniels: 2008-15; 2009-13; 2010-12; 2011-12; 2012-3. (average of 13 per year).
Carrie Underwood: 2008-9; 2009-10; 2010-6; 2011-8; 2012-8. (average of 8 per year).
Craig Morgan: 2008-10; 2009-10; 2010-10; 2011-10; 2012-9. (average of 10 per year).
Montgomery Gentry: 2009-9; 2010-7; 2011-6; 2012-3. (average of 7 per year).
Blake Shelton: 2010-9; 2011-4; 2012-0. (average of 6 per year).

Oak Ridge Boys: 2011-10; 2012-7.
Rascal Flatts: 2011-7; 2012-4.
Keith Urban: 2012-7.

I did not do averages for the the members who joined since 2011 as it is too early to establish a track record and the averages listed do not include 2012.

Overall, I would say that Pete Fisher has done a pretty good job. Now, I think it is obvious that he missed on Blake Shelton, and while Dierks Bentley and Montgomery Gentry are on the low end, at least they are showing up. I am concerned about the decrease appearances by Brad Paisley, but I am impressed that as big of a star as Carrie Underwood is, she is still maintaining a number of Opry appearances. I did notice that Ralph Stanley and Mel Tillis are down on their recent appearances, but they are both over the age of 80, so I have no issue with them.

While these numbers do not seem like much, compare them to the previous general manager, who allowed members to join with no commitment on the number of appearances and you have Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood and Clint Black, who make few if any Opry appearances, while veterans such as George Jones, Tom T Hall and Loretta Lynn have largely forgotten where the Opry House is.

While I would like to see the Opry members there more, I would say that the track record is getting better and I hope that Pete Fisher made a good choice with Darius Rucker. But, in looking at the newest members, I think he needs to take a look at the females and bluegrass groups and considering adding to those.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, October 16, 2012:

7:00: Jimmy Dickens; Clint Black
7:30: Bill Anderson; Elizabeth Cook; Connie Smith
8:00: Darius Rucker; Martina McBride; Vince Gill

This will be Clint Black's first Opry appearance of the year and it looks like Vince will be handling the induction of Darius Rucker.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 10/12 & 10/13--Updated

The Grand Ole Opry has filled out the line-up for this week. With only 8 Opry members on the original schedule, do you think they would have called a few more members to fill out the line-up? All of you know the answer to that one. They have added Holly Williams, Elizabeth Cook, Exile and Sarah Darling to the shows this weekend. All nice performers, but not an Opry member in the bunch.

Fresh off what I still call a very disappointing Grand Ole Opry birthday weekend, the line-ups have been posted for the shows this weekend. As the Opry moves through October, they continue with 2 shows on Saturday night, in addition to the Friday Night Opry.

This weekend the highlight will be the return of Opry member Roy Clark to the stage, as he will be appearing at all 3 shows. In additon to Roy, the Friday Night Opry will feature Jim Lauderdale, while the Saturday Grand Ole Opry will have Andy Gibson and Elizabeth Cook as guest artists. The line-ups are not complete and to be honest, they are a little thin. Looking at who is scheduled on Saturday night, it makes me wonder why they are having 2 shows.

Friday October 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); James Otto; The Whites
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Lauderdale
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne &The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Elizabeth Cook; Roy Clark

Saturday October 12
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Andy Gibson; The Whites
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Exile
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Sarah Darling; Roy Clark

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Andy Gibson; The Whites
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Exile
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Sarah Darling; Roy Clark

Nice to see that Bill Anderson is back on this weekend after being forced to cancel on the birthday show due to illness. Also I find it interesting that Roy Clark is not in a host spot for any of the shows. Usually when Roy is on, it is an automatic that he is in that role. And after missing the birthday weekend, Opry regulars Jeannie Seely and Mike Snider are back.

As the Grand Ole Opry continues through it's birthday month, I wanted to present more line-ups from the past birthday shows. Being that this is the weekend of October 12, I wanted to focus on the shows that took place over the same weekend in years past so that everyone can compare the line-ups.

The first line-up is from October 13, 1979; 33 years ago this Saturday:
1st show
6:00: Billy Grammer (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin
6:30: Ray Pillow (host); Del Wood; Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Ernie Ashworth
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Wilburn Brothers; Justin Tubb; Susan McCann
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson; Crook Brothers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Hank Locklin; Vic Willis & Curtis Young; Bill Carlisle
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); 4 Guys; Stu Phillips; Marion Worth; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Ernest Tubb (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Grammer; Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow;
10:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jan Howard; Lamar Alexander
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; Wilburn Brothers; George Hamilton IV
10:45: Charlie Walker (host); Vic Willis & Curtis Young; Justin Tubb; Crook Brothers
11:00: 4 Guys (host); Hank Locklin; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Marion Worth
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stu Phillips; Bill Carlisle

This line up is from the Opry's 62nd birthday celebration that took place on October 10, 1987:
1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); 4 Guys
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Lorrie Morgan
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Louvin; George Hamilton IV; Jan Howard
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Del Wood; Glen Campbell
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Connie Smith; Riders In The Sky; The Whites; Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Jack Greene; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jeannie Seely; Del Reeves; The Whites; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); 4 Guys
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Charlie Walker; Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Louvin; Jan Howard; Justin Tubb
11:30: Roy Drusky (host); Skeeter Davis; Bill Carlisle; Riders In The Sky

Here is the line-up 3 years later, on October 13, 1990 during the Opry's 65th birthday celebration:
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Skeeter Davis
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
7:00: Tom T Hall (host); Stu Phillips; Hank Locklin; Steve Wariner
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Loretta Lynn; Minnie Pearl
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Charlie Louvin; Osborne Brothers; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Charlie Walker; Stonewall Jackson
10:00: Tom T Hall (host); Steve Wariner
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Loretta Lynn
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Billy Walker; Jeannie Seely; The Whites
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Hank Locklin; Charlie Louvin

Finally, Opry Country Classics on Thursday night October 11 will feature Second Generations of country stars. Bill Cody will be the host, with Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis the spotlight artists. Others performing will be Jenny Gill, George Hamilton IV & V, Waylon Payne, Ronny Robbins and Holly Williams.

Don't forget that next Tuesday October 16 will be the Opry induction of Darius Rucker.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Recap of the Grand Ole Opry's 87th Birthday Weekend

This past weekend I was in Nashville for the Grand Ole Opry's 87th birthday celebration. Not to start off on a negative note, but I have been attending the birthday shows every year since the late 1980s, and I have to state that overall, this was the worst weekend of shows that I can remember. In the past, the birthday celebrations have had some of the strongest line-ups of the year, with a majority of the Opry's members present and all shows with a full line-up of stars. While the birthday shows the past several years have had a smaller number of Opry members than in the past, the quality of the shows were still good. But this year, I believe that the Opry hit an all time low. Now for a recap:

The weekend started on a high note as on Thursday, Opry Country Classics took place at the Ryman Auditorium. The Ryman was about two-thirds filled and the line-up consisted of John Conlee, Mandy Barnett, Jim Glaser, Rhonda Vincent, T.G. Sheppard and Crystal Gayle. The show was excellent and all the artists were in fine form. To me, the highlight of the night was Jim Glaser. He did 3 songs, including "Loving Her Was Easier" and "Woman, Woman", which I had forgotten that he co-wrote. He was in fine form and received the only standing ovation of the night. After being gone for a while, Jim has been making more Nashville appearances lately and it was good to see him. With the exception of Crystal Gayle, who had her own band, all of the acts used the staff band.

The Friday Night Opry had a full house and I thought the show was the best of the 3 Opry shows this past weekend. Ricky Skaggs started the show, as he did each of the weekend shows, by playing "Tennessee Wagoner", the 1st song that was played by Uncle Jimmy Thompson on November 28, 1925, at 8:00pm, in what the Opry recognizes as it's start. After that, John Conlee came out and hosted the 1st segment. His guests were Tyler Farr, one of the newcomers and Jean Shepard. Some have commented to me how frail Jean has looked lately and I have to say that I agree with those comments. She looks like she has aged some and she walked somewhat slowly. She sounded fine and was very animated on stage. The 2nd segment was hosted by Jimmy Dickens and at the age of 91, he looked and sounded pretty good. Jesse McReynolds and Jaida Dreyer were his guests and Jesse was good. Jaida is another of the new artists and was well received. After intermission, Steve Wariner hosted. Steve had dressing room #1 for the night and he brought on George Hamilton IV, Connie Smith and Kelleigh Bannen. George IV and Connie did their usual fine jobs, while Kelleigh was also good. The last segment had Jim Ed Brown hosting, with Jan Howard and Rodney Atkins. Rodney was the best received artist of the night and he had the house rocking. The show ended with the cake coming out, with stage hands pushing it out while Jim Ed played Happy Birthday.

Saturday night's 1st show, in my opinion, was a train-wreck. To start off with, only 10 artists were scheduled for the show, and that was quickly down to 9 as Bill Anderson posted on his facebook page that he had to cancel out after becoming ill during the afternoon rehearsal. I felt bad for Bill as he was on vacation and came back early specifically to do the televised portion of the show. While I was hoping there would be a last minute replacement for Bill, there was not and nothing was mentioned about Bill to the Opry audience. As with Friday night, the show was sold-out and Ricky Skaggs started off the show, followed by the Square Dancers with Earl White. Jimmy Dickens came out to host and The Whites were his only guest. Jimmy still sounded strong and The Whites did their usual good job. Riders In The Sky hosted the next segment, with Mallory Hope doing "Ring of Fire", followed by Ray Stevens, with his full stage band and back-up singers. Ray looked and sounded good and did 2 numbers, with the 1st song being a new one about airline travel and the 2nd being "Everything Is Beautiful". Ray has a deep catalog and I would have preferred Ray doing another of his hits instead of a new song that will never get played on radio, and might not even get recorded. Then it was time for the television hour, hosted by Nan Kelly of GAC. Jason Aldean kicked it off, and the rock concert was underway. The volume level in the house was way up, and while many of the older fans did not appreciate it, the younger fans who sold-out the place absolutely enjoyed him. Casey James was next up and kept the noise level going. Steve Wariner used Bill Anderson's band for "Tip of My Fingers" and was great. I don't think that song made it to tv. After Steve, Jason and Casey were back. During the commerical breaks for television, the Opry Staff Band played a couple of numbers and the Opry audience saw the same video clips that were shown on GAC, with the various artists talking about the Opry. The cake came out, with only Jason, Casey, Steve, and Ricky Skaggs out on stage. Nan's auditorium mic was not on so the audience did not hear the introduction of the cake, which was rolled out by a couple of stage hands. For the 2 hour show with 9 acts, we received 17 songs. And as with anytime the Opry televises and hour of a two hour show, the televised hour seemed very detached from the 1st hour of the show.

With a 2nd show to start 30 minutes after the 1st show, the Opry House staff was hustling to get the sell-out crowd out and another near sell-out crowd in. In fact, there was such a rush to get the 2nd show people in that the staff at the door did not even scan the tickets. You just had to hold it up. I wonder how many were holding up tickets to the 1st show and just went on in? They did have a fenced off area for the ticket holders and some of those people were scanned, so they made an effort. With Bill cancelling out, there were 11 acts on the 2nd show, with Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C Newman and Bobby Osborne joining those from the 1st show, with The Whites not scheduled. From the 11, we got 20 songs, with Jimmy C and Bobby Osborne, the Opry veterans, only doing 1 song each. As with the 1st show, everyone did a fine job, and the volume level was again turned up when Jason Aldean and Casey James performed. Riders In The Sky hosted the final segment in place of Bill Anderson, who was not replaced with another artist.

As I mentioned before I left, to have only 9 acts on a birthday show, with only 5 Opry members, is discouraging. And that is what we got for the 1st show on Saturday. While I realize that they days of having 20 per show is gone, Pete Fisher could have done better for the birthday weekend. It is supposed to be the highpoint of the year, and it is treated more and more like another weekend. Yes there was the cake and televison, and the plaza activities, and it did sell all of the tickets, but it just didn't have that special feeling to it. I know I left thinking that maybe I just won't be back for the 88th birthday next year, but like last year, by the time I got home I was already checking on ticket availability for next years show, which will again be the 1st weekend in October.

On a final note, I think all of us remember when the Saturday Grand Ole Opry was the most important show of the week. The Friday Night Opry was considered not as important as the Saturday night shows, and many of the artists did not do the Friday Night Opry. The weekday shows that were done when Opryland was open, were much like the Tuesday Night Opry is today, with 8 or so artists scheduled. But now, it seems like the Tuesday Night Opry is becoming the big show of the week. We have seen much stronger line-ups on Tuesday night, with more star power than the weekend shows. Loretta Lynn's 50th anniversary was on a Tuesday night, and when the Opry House re-opened after the flood a few years back, it was on a Tuesday. The upcoming Minnie Pearl tribute show is scheduled for a Tuesday night. And the induction of Darius Rucker as the Opry's newest member is taking place on a Tuesday night. I realize that many of the Opry's members are doing tour dates on the weekends and it is probably easier to get some of them to come out to the Opry on a Tuesday night instead of a Friday or Saturday. But I just hate to lose the tradition and importance of the Saturday night show. While I am glad that some of the Opry's bigger names are taking advantage of the Tuesday Night Opry, management needs to make sure that the Saturday Grand Ole Opry maintains it's spot as the relevant Opry show each week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 87th Birthday Weekend 10/5 & 10/6

The Grand Ole Opry will be celebrating it's 87th birthday this weekend and the line-ups have been posted. There will be 1 show on Friday night and 2 shows on Saturday, with the last hour of the 1st show being televised by GAC-Great American Country. What that means to those who will be going or listening to that 1st show on Saturday night is the fact that there are only 9 acts listed, with 4 of those in the last hour.

The headliner for the birthday show will be current hot country star Jason Aldean, who will be doing both shows on Saturday night. Joining Jason on Saturday night will be guest artists Ray Stevens and Casey James, along with Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Steve Wariner. Ricky and Steve will also be on the Friday Night Opry, along with guest artists Rodney Aktins, Kelleigh Bannen and Jaida Dreyer.

I know I have said this for the past several years, but it just seems like the birthday weekend line-up gets weaker and weaker each year. In the past, almost every Opry member possible would be in town for at least one of the shows. In the recent past, even with the absence of many of the Opry's members, there was usually a strong showing of guest artists. But when you look at the weekend, you have 14 artists on Friday night (which is more than the usual 12), with 10 of those as Opry members. Then on Saturday night, there are just 9 acts for the 1st show, of whom 6 are members, and 10 acts for the 2nd show, of which 8 are Opry members. For the 3 shows total, there are 15 different Opry members appearing. To me, that is just terrible. Finally, you have the televised show on Saturday night. While it many look good on television, I can tell you that sitting in the Opry House for this will not be much fun. The televised part always feels separate from the rest of the show. It just doesn't flow well together.

Friday October 5
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); John Conlee; Tyler Farr; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jaida Dreyer
8:15: Steve Wariner (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Kelleigh Bannen
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Rodney Atkins

Saturday October 6
1st show
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Opry Square Dancers; Jimmy Dickens; The Whites
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Stevens
8:00: Jason Aldean; Casey James; Bill Anderson; Steve Wariner

2nd show
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Opry Square Dancers; Jimmy Dickens
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jason Aldean
10:30: Steve Wariner (host); Ray Stevens; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

It would appear that there are still a couple of slots to fill on Saturday night, with 1 possible for the 1st show, and 2 for the 2nd show. And, I am not sure if it is a typo or not from the Opry, but they do not have Jimmy Dickens hosting the segments on Saturday, but Ricky Skaggs. Ricky will be busy this weekend as in addition to all 3 Opry shows, he is also doing the Opry's Birthday Concert Saturday afternoon. Many times for the birthday weekend, the Opry will pull a rabbit out of their hat, so maybe there is still the chance of someone special showing up.

For those who missed it, Opry Country Classics on Thursday night October 4 will be hosted by Bill Cody, and will feature Mandy Barnett, John Conlee, Jim Glaser, T.G. Sheppard, Rhonda Vincent, and spotlight artist Crystal Gayle. And the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be hosted by the great legend, Wanda Jackson.

In 1991, the Grand Ole Opry's 66th birthday bash was held on Saturday October 5, 21 years ago this weekend. For the look back at Opry history for this week, here is the line-up from both shows that Saturday night.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Monroe (host): I'm Going Back to Old Kentucky
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Monroe: Dark as the Night; Blue as the Day

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
George Hamilton IV: Till I Can Gain Control Again
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Funky Grass Band
Wilma Lee Cooper: Ghost Train
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Jim Ed Brown: Just For Old Time Sake
Vince Gill: Little Liza Jane/When I Call Your Name
Roy Acuff and Everyone: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
The Whites: Doing It By The Book
Bill Anderson: Still/Southern Fried
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sugar in the Goard
Grandpa Jones: Gooseberry Pie

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
4 Guys: Way Down Deep
Del Reeves: A Dozen Pair of Boots
Mike Snider: Old Joe Clark/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Hank Snow: I'm So Glad I Got To See You Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): You Gotta Have A License
Osborne Brothers: Tennessee Hound Dog
Ray Pillow: The Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Vince Gill: Look at Us/Crying Holy Unto the Lord/When I Call Your Name
Porter Wagoner: Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Kitty Clyde
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Grandpa Jones: Tristzen Yodel

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host) Low & Lonely
Connie Smith: The Keys In The Mailbox/Satisfied
Roy Acuff and Everyone: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Del Reeves: Lay a Little Lovin On Me

10:45: B.C. Powder
Bill Monroe (host): Mary Jane, Won't You Be Mine
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Monroe: Wicked Path of Sin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): White Silver Sands
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
4 Guys: We're Only Here For A Little While
Jim & Jesse: The Flower in the Desert
Hank Snow: That Lucky Old Sun

11:30: Creamette
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
The Whites: Love is A Rose
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around, When It's Over
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown/Putting on the Dog
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

What a difference from this year's line-up.

Finally, I will be in Nashville this weekend for the birthday bash. I look forward to seeing some of you, my friends. As things stand now, I will be at all the shows and activities. If anything breaks, I will let everyone know. 

Darius Rucker--Newest Grand Ole Opry Member

Last night during the Tuesday Night Opry, Brad Paisley surprised Darius Rucker with an invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course he accepted and the formal induction will take place on Tuesday October 16, in a show that already will feature Martina McBride and Clint Black. My congratulations go out to Darius along with the hope that he will actually perform at the Opry once he becomes an official member, and the first member named to the Opry under the Ryman Hospitality name.

3 of the last 4 new members to join the Opry have been Blake Shelton, Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban and now, Darius Rucker. (yes, the Oak Ridge Boys are in there also). Seems to be a pattern forming of the Opry once again making a big effort to appeal to the younger country music fans. Also, no females in the bunch?

While we have commented before that Opry membership no longer seems as important as it once was, it is still something that country singers want. Hopefully, Darius will take his membership seriously.