With 2013 upon us, it is now time to do a recap of 2012 at the Grand Ole Opry, including show counts and member appearances. Looking at the year 2012, the Opry started the year with 65 members. 2 were added this year, Keith Urban and Darius Rucker. That brings the total number of Grand Ole Opry members to 67. No Opry members passed away this past year. Both Keith are Darius made 7 Opry appearances in 2012, with several of those taking place before they became Opry members. (Just as a point of reference, Pete Fisher has asked for a commitment of 10 Opry appearances by each of the new members that he has been adding to the cast).
Of the remaining Opry members, 3 are listed as retired. Those are Jeanne Pruett, Barbara Mandrell and Ricky Van Shelton. In additon, Hal Ketchum and Jack Greene made no Grand Ole Opry appearances due to health reasons. In addition to those 5, 8 additional Opry members made no appearances in 2012. Those were Garth Brooks, Tom T Hall, George Jones, Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Travis Tritt and Trisha Yearwood. 5 of those 8 did not make any Opry appearances in 2011 either, those being Garth, Tom T, Reba, Travis and Trisha. In addition to that group, there were a number of Opry members who made only 1 appearance in 2012. Those were Clint Black, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, Ronnie Milsap and Randy Travis. And to add to this shameful list of "so-called" Opry members, Stonewall Jackson, Loretta Lynn and Martina McBride made only 2 Opry appearances, while Dierks Bentley, Roy Clark, Terri Clark, Patty Loveless, Montgomery Gentry and Stu Phillips made only 3 appearances each. That list totals 27 of the 67 Opry members, or just over 40% of their membership. (I do give slack to both Stonewall Jackson and Stu Phillips, both of whom had some health issues in 2012 and would have done more Opry shows if they had been asked).
In 2012, there was a total of 184 Opry shows, with 71 on Saturday night, 52 Friday Night Opry shows, 43 Tuesday night shows, 13 on Thursday night, 4 on Wednesday night and 1 Saturday matinee. By comparison, in 2011 there were 181 total Opry shows, with 188 in 2010, 200 in 2009 and 201 in 2008. The additional shows this past year versus 2011 were the result of the Wednesday night shows being added.
Looking at the list of Opry members and the number of appearances in 2012, the leader was Jimmy Dickens, who appeared on 120 shows. Considering that Jimmy is the Opry's oldest member and has had his share of voice issues this past year, that is amazing. Here is a look at the top 10 for Opry appearances last year:
1) Jimmy Dickens-143
2) Bill Anderson-81
3) Jim Ed Brown-79
4) Mike Snider-76
5) Jeannie Seely-75
6) Connie Smith/The Whites-73
7) Jimmy C Newman-66
8) Riders In The Sky-64
9) John Conlee-59
10) Jean Shepard-46
What is amazing about the top 10 list from 2012 is that it is the same 11 acts that were on the top 10 list in 2010. So as you can see, many of the Opry's legends and senior members are still carrying the bulk of the work load despite the efforts to make the Opry younger and more relevant.
Continuing on with the list, these are the members who made the 10 shows that are being asked for by Pete Fisher:
George Hamilton IV-27
Charlie DanielsMarty Stuart-11
Craig Morgan/Ray Pillow/Steve Wariner-10
That comes to just 25 of the Opry's 67 members, or 37% of the membership, honoring their commitment to the show. (Remember that in today's Opry world, an Opry appearance is counted for any show that the member appears during the week).
Of those listed, Ray Pillow and Marty Stuart added themselves to the list of 10 or more shows, while Joe Diffie, Jack Greene, Charley Pride, Terri Clark, Oak Ridge Boys and Pam Tillis dropped off the list from the previous year.
As far as the rest of the Opry's members, here are their 2012 appearances:
Joe Diffie/Oak Ridge Boys/Mel Tillis-7
Trace Adkins/Alison Krauss/Lorrie Morgan/Ralph Stanley/Pam Tillis-5
Brad Paisley/Rascal Flatts-4
That takes care of all 67 members. Obviously more than a few of the Opry's members are not holding up their end of the bargin. And to take it further, of those who did not appear in 2012, Garth's last appearance was a walk-on in 2008, while his last singing performance was in 2005. Tom T last showed his face at the Opry in the early 1990's, George Jones came on his birthday in 2011, Reba made 1 show in 2009, which was her only show since 2000, and Travis Tritt last came to the Opry in 2007. Blake Shelton has only been an Opry member since 2010, and it would appear that he is now going to be a member of the "no-show" club. I have to ask why in the world are Tom T, Reba and Travis still Opry members? I could also ask that same question to a few others.
As far as who hosted segments in 2012, 21 of the Opry's members had that honor, with Jimmy Dickens leading the way with 91. The rest of the list is as follows:
Riders In The Sky-42
Jim Ed Brown-38
Vince Gill/The Whites-10
Ray Pillow/JeanShepard/George Hamilton IV-8
Charley Pride/Mel Tillis-2
Emmylou Harris/Jimmy C Newman/Connie Smith-1
Ray Pillow saw an increase in hosting assignments in 2012 and it was nice to see Jimmy C Newman host a segment after going several years without, and Connie Smith getting an opportunity.
Finally, the Opry had a number of guest artists perform in 2012. Those who had more than 10 guest appearances were:
Mandy Barnett/The Grascals/Andy Gibson/Canaan Smith-13
Love and Theft-12
Rhonda Vincent/Dailey & Vincent/Dustin Lynch-10
Compared to the 2011 list, Jimmy Wayne, Sarah Darling and Elizabeth Cook went up, while Mandy Barnett went down. And yes, several of those on the guest list should be Opry members.
That is a recap of 2012. I think it is always interesting to go back and look at the numbers. Many of the Opry's members have done a nice job fulfilling their obligations to the show. I think a number of the legends woudl have made more Opry appearances if asked. But, there are still a great number of Opry members who need to step up their appearances and support the show. I know I have said this before, but there is no excuse for some of these artists to be showing up once or twice per year and calling themselves Opry members, especially when they still have active careers going.
Now that 2012 is in the books, let's see what 2013 brings us.