Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 2/22 & 2/23-Updated

Update #2:
Jimmy Dickens is off the schedule for Saturday night. Riders In The Sky are back to hosting the opening segment with Mike Snider moving into the 2nd segment hosting spot. Frequent Opry guest Jimmy Wayne has been added.

2 changes in the Opry line-up for this weekend already. Jean Shepard is out on Friday night, replaced by Sunny Sweeney. On Saturday night, Riders In The Sky have moved down a segment and will be hosting the 2nd segment. Mike Snider has been moved down. And the reason for this move is that Jimmy Dickens has been added to the Saturday night line-up, hosting in his usual spot. I will be interested to see if he makes it or not, and will be listening to see how he sounds and what he might say about being gone.

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. Standing out right away is the fact that Jimmy Dickens is once again missing from this week's show. I have heard nothing new regarding Jimmy, so let's hope he is well. I did notice that they have taken his name off the list of any future appearances. At 92, we all know he is week-to-week. I also have noticed that Jean Shepard is on the schedule for Friday night. Jean has been battling a few health issues lately so I am glad to see that she is listed.

As far as the shows for this week, the Friday Night Opry will feature former America Idol Lauren Alaina, along with Edens Edge, The Steeldrivers and Opry member Joe Diffie. Saturday night's show will have another "Nashville" perfomer as Jonathan Jackson makes another Opry appearance, along with frequent Opry guest Aaron Tippin. Old Crow Medicine Show, one of my personal favorites, is scheduled for both nights, and once again, we see Ricky Skaggs on the Opry schedule. The way Ricky is starting off the year, you would think he is setting himself up for a record number of shows. No matter what the reason, I am glad to see Ricky doing the Opry more. The show needs him. Finally, I don't want to forget to mention Ray Pillow, who is doing his 1st Opry show of the year, and hosting a segment, which I think he does very well.

Friday February 22:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host): Edens Edge; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host): Sunny Sweeney; Joe Diffie
8:15: Ray Pillow (host): The Steeldrivers; Lauren Alaina
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host): Jimmy C Newman; Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday February 23:
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host): Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host): Jimmy Wayne; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host): George Hamilton IV; Jonathan Jackson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host): The Whites; Old Crow Medicine Show

In looking back at Grand Ole Opry history, it will be 50 years ago this Saturday night, February 23, 1963 that Patsy Cline made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Patsy had joined the Opry on January 9, 1960, making her an Opry member for just short of 3 years. But her contributions to the show were great. Even before becoming a member, she had made numerous guest appearances. Patsy would pass away a week later, on March 5, 1963 in Camden, Tennessee after the plane that she was returning to Nashville in crash, killing not only her but Randy Hughes, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins. While February 23 was the final date that Patsy performed on the Opry, both Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins would perform on the show the next Saturday, March 2.

I know I have posted this line-up before, but I also know that there are new readers to the blog who might not have seen it, so here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday February 23, 1963, Patsy Cline's final Opry show.

7:30: Kelloggs
Faron Young (host): Yellow Bandana
Willis Brothers: San Antonio Rose
Marion Worth: Shake Me; I Rattle
Harold Morrison: Beaver Creek
Faron Young: How Much I Must Have Loved You
Del Wood: 12th St. Rag
Merle Kilgore: I Am
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy
Faron Young: Hello Walls

8:00: Martha White
Ray Price (host): Heartaches By The Numbers
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Doin' My Time
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Silver Threads and Golden Needles
Patsy Cline: Leavin' On Your Mind
Ray Price: Walk Me to the Door
Crook Brothers: Love Somebody
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied
Ray Price: Crazy Arms

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Mississippi
Cowboy Copas: Alabam
Lefty Frizzell: (?)
Archie Campbell: Comedy
George Morgan: Almost
Curly Fox: (?)
Melba Montgomery: (?)
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands with the Devil
George Morgan: Rainbow in My Heart

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Roy Acuff (host): New River Train
June Stearns: Call Me Up
Bill Monroe: How Will I Explain About You
Minnie Pearl: Jokes
Roy Acuff: Sweeter Than the Flowers
Brother Oswald: Southern Moon
Bill Monroe: Were You There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldiers Joy
Roy Acuff: Stay A Little Longer
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Cowbell Polka

9:30: Pet Milk
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Glaser Brothers: Lover's Farewell
Sonny James (?)
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Hank Snow: Begger to A King
Margie Bowes: Think It Over
Sonny James: (?)
Glaser Brothers: I Wish I Had Never Seen Sunshine
Hank Snow: These Hands

Faron Young (host): Safely In Love
Marion Worth: Tennessee Teardrops
Curly Fox (?)
Faron Young: Alone With You

10:15: Luzianne
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): Darkness on the Face of the Earth
George Morgan: Allegheny Rose
Del Wood: Blue Eagle
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Twenty Miles From Shore

10:30: Harvey's
Ray Price (host): (?)
Cowboy Copas: Filipino Baby
Patsy Cline: Bill Bailey
Ray Price: (?)

10:45: Sustaining
Roy Acuff (host): I Don't Know Why
Willis Brothers: Footprints in the Snow
Brother Oswald: Mountain Dew
Crook Brothers: Soldier's Joy
Roy Acuff: So Many Times

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Big Wheel
Bill Monroe: A Good Woman's Love
Billy Walker: Thank You For Calling
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Higher Power
Hank Snow: Yellow Roses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Glaser Brothers: Odds and Ends
Sam & Kirk McGee: Freight Train Blues
Bill Monroe: Big Sandy Breakdown
Hank Snow: Wreck of the Old 97

11:30: SSS Tonic
Marty Robbins (host): Ruby Ann
Margie Bowes: Within Your Crowd
Sonny James: (?)
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman
Don Winters: Too Many Times
Margie Bowes: I Really Don't Want to Know
Sonny James: (?)
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry

Talk about a line-up!! Every segment but one was hosted by a future Hall of Fame member and it is amazing to see up to 10 songs in a half hour segment. If you ever listen to tapes from the Opry back in those days, it was short introductions and little or no talking between songs. In other words, it was get on and get off!! The other interesting fact is that this show took place during the period when the Opry wasn't doing so well at the Ryman, with crowds down due to the rock n' roll explosion that was taking place. Among the Opry members missing that night were Ernest Tubb, Grandpa Jones and Porter Wagoner among others. And if I did my adding right, there were a total of 35 performers on the show that night, with 11 being future Hall of Fame members. Compare that with this Saturday night with just 11 acts total on the show, and no Hall of Famers. You can really see where the Opry has gone in the last 50 years.


  1. Jimmy Dickens is scheduled to be doing a tour date this Saturday outside of San Antonio. We'll see if he makes it. (oldtimeopry)

  2. Jimmy Dickens has been replaced by Jim Ed Brown per the venue website for Saturday.

    I'll admit I'm concerned about him if only because I'm not sure no news is good news. Hopefully this string of absences is just an abundance of caution of wanting to stay away from crowds during flu season and waiting for warmer weather.

  3. Wow. You know they are desperate when Ray Pillow is not only appearing, but HOSTING a segment. He's a fine singer, but he brings no value whatsoever to the show. I don't understand why they wouldn't have Hall of Famer Jean Shepard or even Joe Diffie host instead.

  4. I agree that Ray Pillow does not bring "value" to the show, but as a senior member of the Opry, and with limited appearances, he does a nice job hosting and the Opry seems to go to him when they need a host. He does a nice job with the introductions and will give up a 2nd song and allow a guest to do a 3rd number without raising a fuss. While other hosts will do that, not every host is happy about it. And his voice is still very good.

    Without checking my records, I do not believe Joe Diffie has ever hosted a segment, while we know Jean Shepard has. Jean has been having a few health issues lately, so perhaps she doesn't want to be on stage for a half hour. And that is the case with many of the Opry's members. They would rather come on stage, do their 1 or 2 songs and be done, rather than hanging around and introducing others.

    Looking at the line-up for this weekend, the only other possibility to host on Friday night, other than who has already been mentioned, would have been Jimmy C Newman, and he has only hosted once in the last 3 years. He seems to no longer be in the rotation. Saturday night, your other options would have been The Whites and George Hamilton IV. Not many choices this weekend.

  5. Doing some research Joe Diffie hosted a TNN Opry Show back in 1999. But who knows what Pete Fisher is thinking. Country Music needs a big foot up its ... This lineup is very short and LAME. Whatever happen to the days that you couldn't get Marty Robbins off the stage playing until after midnight. In other words it needs reconstruction and some real Country Music put back into it.It needs more Bluegrass acts, more Comedy which is lacking and Gospel. Time for a Major Talent Hunt sponsored by PET MiLK or PURINA.

  6. Thanks. I checked my records, and the date was May 1, 1999 that Joe Diffie hosted a segment. And you are right, it was on the televised portion of the show.

  7. Please allow me to set up my following comment. In no way do I want to sound like I am snapping back a Leonard's comments about Ray Pillow. I think I fully understand what he means. However, I think it brings up an interesting question.

    What makes a singer or performer valuable to the Opry? Is it star power or name recognition? Is it stability and experience. Is it good singing or musicianship? Is it good looks or sex appeal? Is it record sales or honors such as Entertainer of the Year or the Hall of Fame?

    We could probably question the "value" of many of the veterans left on the Opry. Jan Howard, Jeannie Seely, the Whites, Stu Phillips and Ray Pillow quickly come to mind. Jeannie Seely won a Grammy early in her career but few would know that if she didn't mention it. There are very few top five or number one hits in that group and they'll never see the Hall of Fame. Yet they help the remaining big stars of there generation like Bill Anderson, Jim Ed Brown and say Ricky Skaggs or John Conlee, set the tone for an older generation of singers and fans and provide a foundation for the newer folks to build on and HOPEFULLY nurture. Although some have had health issues and have been a little off in their performances from time to time in recent months or years, they still turn in many a good performance and help keep the Opry on a more professional and classy footing that is starting to slip away from us.

    What value then does Ray Pillow provide to the Opry in a hosting position? I will echo much of what Byron sighted as reasons Ray is ask to host. As Leonard mentioned, he is a fine singer and helps keep western sing and the 4/4 shuffle alive on the Opry. He is a class act in both appearance and the way he conducts himself and shows his interest and respect to both old and new artists he introduces when hosting. Although the audience would not know or care, he is a loyal Opry member who comes when called even if they are desperate. He has to know his hosting if a request of desperation. This may not be a long list of qualities that add value but they are bare bones qualities that the Opry needs and is loosing in it's members. Will he sell any tickets this weekend? Few if any, but he still brings something to the show that many can and will enjoy even if they do know who he is.

    I might add that I love Jean Shepard and am all for her hosting when she willing and able. I hope she is okay and will make it back soon.

    Here's hoping that Jimmy Dickens makes it this weekend and is in good shape.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. Great to see Tater back on the schedule for Saturday. Even if his voice is not where it once was, he is still a fine entertainer and we need to cherish him while we still can.

    Regarding Ms Shepard's health issues; I hope they are not serious. I heard her a couple of weeks ago and she was in fine form and can still yodel quite well.

    Ray Pillow made his money outside of performing, correct? Wasn't he an A&R man? That could be why he's content to MC rather than perform when needed.

    Jimmy Newman would surprise a lot of folks who don't realize that he's in his 86th year. He sounds really good and looks younger. Billy Walker was another who looked younger. He'd likely still be an Opry stalwart at 84 if the accident hadn't occured.

  9. I wish Shepard would host more, she's quite entertaining when she hosts. She usually studies up on whoever she's introducing as well, when you know she really has no clue who they are.

    Jimmy C. Newman is a terrible host. He can barely speak, at least to where those outside of cajun country can understand.

    I'm not saying Ray Pillow isn't a good singer. His loyalty to the Opry is appreciated, but then again what other priorities does he have to pull him away from the Opry when they call? I agree Jim that some of those you mentioned are in the same boat as Ray as far as being recognized. While Jeannie Seely may not have a ton of hits, she has a unique style, voice, and is a pretty lady. She has charisma, something that so many of the performers (i.e. Jan Howard) do not have. Seely and Bill Anderson are the two best regular hosts the Opry has.

    I could care less if I ever see Jan Howard listed on an Opry schedule again. Never been a fan of Jan. I've been around her several times and always find her to be cold and stand off-ish. She also barely gets a smattering of applause when she appears.

    Stu Phillips is in the same boat as Ray Pillow for sure. However, his vocals certainly aren't comparable to Ray's. The Whites are a "draw" because they are a family and the Opry still wants to present that "family image". Their involvement with O Brother Where Art Thou is a great help to them...I'm certain that Mrs. Ricky Skaggs being the group doesn't hurt either. They had minor chart success, but I feel quite certain that most of the crowd could not tell the difference between one of their hits and a Kitty Wells cover.

    I'm still at a loss as to why Stonewall Jackson was ever dropped from making regular Opry appearances to start with. Stonewall actually had hits that people would recognize - "Waterloo," "Why I'm Walkin," "Me and You and a Dog Named Boo," etc....

    As a side note, I've very much enjoyed Ricky Skaggs on the Opry this year. The show definitely needs someone of his notoriety to be making regular appearances. I was thrilled to hear him doing some of his old Country hits last week. "I've Got a New Heartache (About an Old Sweetheart)"... shew... as Ricky said -- "that's country as a stick."

  10. Fred, Bismarck:

    Jim in Knightsville has it exactly right. Any "golden age" -- whether in music, literature, painting, etc. -- inspires a host of talents who, while not at the top of their class, help support and further the tradition. A ballplayer who may be only a utility man on his major-league team will never make Cooperstown -- but his team could not be fielded without him.

    So it is with the Ray Pillows, Stu Phillipses, Jeannie Seelys, etc. Part of and even indispensible to the overall effort, even if they are not at the top of their profession.

    Some of these people have devoted followings, which is only proper. The argument, for me, starts when one of these role players is talked up for the Hall of Fame. (I think one of them snuck in last year.)

  11. We all have different taste and tolerance for everything in our lives. So far, we can still express our opinions without too much fear of retaliation from our government or our neighbors. I would like to think that once in while maybe some of our Opry friends might just stop by this sight or hear what we discuss mostly in support of them and the Opry. Especially in recent years there have been many guest and even a few members on the Opry that do not fit my taste in music or ethics. However, when I reveal my dislike I try to remember that there may be others with a different opinion who have the right to like what I don't. I try to keep that in mind when phrasing my opinion.

    Over the past thirty or so years I would say that I have met and talked with at least 75-100 stars and musicians in country and bluegrass music. They have varied widely in fame from those young new artist out of Texas to the legends like Roy Acuff, Ray Price or Kitty Wells. I have only found one to be disgruntled and appear to be unhappy about meeting the fans. And, I gave that one the benefit of doubt because I could easily see that they did not feel well that evening. I'm sure that our experiences when meeting these folks or seeing them in concert are as varied as our own moods. I'm not sure how they put up with us fans. We have all seen fans that will not share the time with others or want to show they know more about the artist than the artist.

    I mentioned Jan Howard in my list of Opry members who fall below the superstar status but have something to offer the Opry. Her style of music and her ability to sing is certainly up to personal taste and preference. I have grown to appreciate her more "though the years" as she would say. I have met and visited with Jan many times and I have never known her to be anything but warm and pleasant to me and those around me. Reserved would be how I would describe her personality when I have seen her visiting with fans at the Opry or shows. I am only describing my experience, not doubting anyone else.

    As for charisma, it can come in different shapes and sizes. I would agree that Jeanie Seely has charisma and I have always enjoyed her soulful singing. She too is a very nice lady and a joy to visit with. Would you say that Kitty Wells had charisma? I would say yes but she and Jeannie Seely would have never walked in the same boots. One thing about Jeannie Seely is that her personality is more in tune with folks younger than her and she is full of energy. This brings us back to personal taste. It should take all kinds to present a well rounded Opry show.

    Hopefully we can all remember Stu Phillips before he began having health issues and his voice began to weaken. Never a big hit maker but one of the sweetest and smoothest singers to walk on the Opry. And Stonewall Jackson is a cut above those I mentioned in my value comments because he had greater chart success than any of them.

    Fred: I know what you mean about the one that slipped in. I love that one as well but I never thought they would make the Hall of Fame. Again, it is our own opinion as to whether they deserved it. It's a hard one for me! The stars in the sky and on the ground were all lined up and in favor or it would have been unlikely.

    To bad Jimmy Dickens has backed out again. Lets hope is doing okay.

    I hope everyone will take my comments as just my opinion and experience. This should remain and fun and educational place for us to share our love for the Opry and her people.

    Knightsville, IN

  12. I agree fully about the one who "slipped in" to the CMHOF last year. I see her as no more influential than any of the other Grand Ladies on the Opry. She has quite the reputation around Music City for being highly stuck on herself, especially since she married.

  13. I think the one who slipped in is so highly regarded as standing out among female singers that that had more than a bit to do with it ... as did her husband's influence around Music City, though I'm not saying he threw any weight around.

    The Opry always has been a potpourri. In the 1940s, Eddy Arnold said he was told he needed the Opry to be a star and replied that it didn't help the Fruit Jar Drinkers. Well, the old string bands weren't quite the same as the singing superstar, but I see the point. There will always be members who aren't exactly "stars," but some of them are, you might say, grinders--they're always there and available, and do a good job. Jan Howard comes to mind--never the biggest name, but always good.

  14. Fred, Bismarck:

    Re. fans, a subject raised by Jim, I love a quote from Marty Robbins (perhaps from the old Country Music magazine) that has stuck with me: "The fans, God love 'em -- they'll do anything for you except leave you alone."

    One has to be sympathetic. On the one hand, artists owe respectful treatment, within reason, to the people supporting their livelihood. On the other, they are human beings who can't help reacting to people as you and I do. The thing for fans is, their (possibly) one meeting with their hero is hopelessly exaggerated, bearing way too much weight. A good or bad experience sets an impression for life that may or may not be justified.

    My one meeting with Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper convinced me they were the greatest people on Earth. The impression I took away from Ray Price, same show, was that of a cold fish. That was way back in 1960, but are the impressions I retain today, fairly or not.

    If our heroes are only human, so are we. In retrospect, I feel only mellowness all around!

  15. Yes, as fans we have memories of those who we have met along the way and as Jim mentioned, most have been a joy to talk to. There are several that stand out such as Johnny Russell who sat down next to me and my then 14 year old daughter at a picnic table in Opryland and was more interested in what she was doing in school than talking about himself. Or Porter Wagoner taking the extra time with her to make sure the picture came out just right. Bill Anderson at the county fair talking to me about a guy with the same name as mine, and who was an influence on his career. And Jan Howard, who sat and talked with my daughter one night at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop, and my daughter having no idea who Jan was. And I can remember Connie Smith in a beautiful white dress on a 90 degree day at Ponderosa Park in Ohio, sitting in a booth and signing autographs and sitting for pictures for over 2 hours, in order to meet all of her fans.

    Those are just a few of many and I am sure each of us have our own stories about our favorites. And yes, I have met some who you could just tell would rather be doing something else than meeting fans, but they still do it.

    Now as far as Connie and the Hall of Fame (as I am sure it is not Garth that we are talking about slipping in), I personally have no issue with her in the Hall. Her career has been solid and she certainly isn't the worst in the Hall. Perhaps others could, and should have gone in ahead of her, and I am sure her husband pushed her election, but I am ok with it.

    As far as Stu Phillips, Jan Howard, Stonewall and the other legends, yes some nights it is tough to listen to them. But God Bless them, and I hope at the age of 80 I am half that good.

    On a final thought, please keep Jean Shepard and Jack Greene in your thoughts as they are dealing with some health issues right now.

  16. I'm glad that Connie made it to the Hall of Fame and she is among the finest female singers period. Wasn't it Dolly who said that "there are three real female singers, Striesand, Rondstant and Connie Smith, the rest of us are only pretending"(forgive my spellings). As we have discussed in length here, there are many we feel should be in the Hall of Fame and we all have an order in which we think they should go in. Connie just beat some of my other favorites in. As for her attitude, I have heard or read a few times Bill Anderson explaining how hard of time he had convincing Connie that she should take time to meet the fans and sign autographs. She felt no obligation at all to do so when she first came to town. I will say that the few times I met her at shows she was pleasent and didn't mistreat anyone and stayed until everyone had their turn.

    How about Ray Pillow closing with "My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You" tonight. Who is left to do those shuffle songs at the Opry other than Ray and Jan once in a while? Again, I miss Charlie Walker!

    Thanks for the comments, I'm enjoying them.

    Knightsville, IN

  17. Have been reading the blog for a long time now, but never have commented before. But after reading Leonard's comments I couldn't help but chime in. Your comments about Jan Howard were uncalled for. If you don't like Jan for whatever reason….fine, but to say you could care less if you ever see her on the Opry again is cruel. I began corresponding with Jan by mail in 1998, always receiving a kind response back. In 1999 at my request she dedicated one of her songs on the Opry to a family member of mine. I first met her in person in 2001 following her hosting the ET Midnight Jamboree. While talking with her she remember dedicating that song 2 years earlier. I plan my trips to Nashville around Jan hosting the Jamboree and have been back a several times since 2001. Also have seen Jan at a couple of road shows. As you can see I'm quite the Jan Howard fan and have gotten to know Jan over the years. She has always been great to me, a down to earth person that tells it like it is. She always treats people with respect. She has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years, although not officially becoming a member until 1971. She is one of the pioneers for women in country music. In the late 50's when Jan begun singing you could count the number of women in country music on two hands. Jan has been a faithful main stay at the Grand Ole Opry for many years and at 83 she seems to be doing great. I hope to continue to see and hear Jan on the Opry as long as she desires to be there. It wouldn't hurt to show a little more respect to a country music legend, or any other human being for that matter!

    Jan Fan

  18. Welcome aboard Jan Fan. Glad to have you as part of the group and I hope you will make more comments. And thanks for the kind words regarding Jan.

    Jim, I always look forward to when Ray Pillow hosts on the Opry and he did another fine job last night. His voice is still solid, and like you said, he still does those shuffle songs so well.

  19. I am restraining myself from addressing the comments about Jan Howard and Jimmy C. Newman. But we're supposed to respect one another's rights to have opinions and express them. We'll just say I don't agree and leave it at that.

    Once upon a time, the idea of Ray Pillow hosting was a rare one, indeed. The McReynolds brothers and the Osborne Brothers hosted far more frequently than he did, and Newman more often than either of them.

  20. I enjoy Jimmie C. Newman, Jan Howard, Ray Pillow, and Connie Smith.
    I do not enjoy detractors.

  21. My two cents' worth on some of the points raised:

    I did not find any of the comments out of line. Blunt and direct, yes, but nothing offensive. I would guess that most of us could think of someone that we wish would never come back to the Opry, while someone else would love to see more of that performer on the show.

    It's true that a fan's opinion of an artist is often influenced by a single brief encounter. For example, my sister-in-law and her husband met Bill Anderson once, and they both said he was incredibly rude. Their experience differs completely from everything else I have read and heard about how Bill relates to fans, but their perception was shaped by their experience and has not been changed by stories of how great he treats fans. On the other hand, I have always liked John Conlee as a singer, but after meeting him after a concert a couple of years ago my appreciation for him increased because he was so gracious toward the fans. That being said, I try not to let one experience cause me to have a lesser opinion of someone, probably because as an introvert I have been on the receiving end of that kind of encounter more than once. Just ask my wife what she thought of me when we first met!

    I like Jan Howard, but the one thing that has always bothered me about her is that she usually sings someone else's songs (at least when I've heard her). She typically does a good job, but I'm one of those people who would rather hear a song sung by the original artist. While she doesn't have the hits of someone like Loretta Lynn or Dolly Parton, she has enough where she could do them on the Opry without it getting stale. I recall reading somewhere that Vito Pellitierri was always telling Jan that she needed to sing her own songs on the Opry.

    Regarding the one who "slipped into" the HOF last year, I think she is very deserving. There are a few who are not in yet who I believe are more deserving based on their level of commercial success (such as Ronnie Milsap, Hank Williams Jr., the Oak Ridge Boys, and Tanya Tucker). However, Connie has a more impressive chart history than other Hall of Famers from that era (Ferlin Husky, Jimmy Dean, George Morgan, and Jean Shepard come to mind). I think one thing that helped push her over the top is that so many fellow artists have gone out of their way to praise her vocal ability and declare themselves as fans of hers. And her husband probably did not hurt her chances.

  22. Tim, a note about Bill Anderson and that your sister-in-law and her husband found him rude. I'm not defending him or questioning them AT ALL when I say that sometimes, someone has rubbed the entertainer the wrong way--it could be that the last person who came up to him had been nasty--or the celebrity isn't feeling well. I remember walking down the street in New York and seeing a guy named Terry Anderson, a reporter who had been held hostage in the Middle East. I really wanted to tell him how much I admired him but I thought, gee, maybe he'd rather be left alone. I don't regret not saying anything, and I'm not comparing Andersons! But sometimes rudeness has other roots.

  23. from PA: I agree with Michael; most artists who do agree to do grip&grins(photo ops) and/or autograph signings know what is expected; however, if you catch someone off-guard (while eating dinner in a restaurant or shopping, yes I've seen that happen and it is SO rude), you should expect that the interaction may not be the best. I have seen people be pushy to others in line and maybe ask some off-the-wall questions to which the artists try to be polite and get past that situation. We have had the opportunity to meet many artists and they were all different with their own parameters for meeting them. Will never forget though how gracious Porter Wagoner was backstage at the Grand Ole Opry; I wanted to get my husband's picture with him and he insisted that his bodyguard take the picture to include both of us. He was very gracious and thanked us for coming to the show :-) I have a great story about Jimmy Dickens that I'll share another time. Getting back on topic about the Opry shows; I agree, oh how wonderful it would be if they were like that 1963 show; a whole evening of great entertainment by many performers and multiple songs by each; however, the "powers that be" will never return it to that format; now all we get is less than 2-hours for a whole lot more money!

  24. Anon, my mother used to say that some country stars you would hug and others you wouldn't. Bill Monroe and Hank Snow didn't look like they wanted to be warm and fuzzy, but Mr. Acuff and Porter Wagoner were another matter. Faron Young, who was emotional about everything, once told the story of his mother meeting Hank Snow and grabbing him and hugging him and saying how much she loved him. After a couple of minutes, he looked at Faron and said, in that unforgettable voice, "Faron, your mother is attacking me." They're personalities and people, just like us, but a bit more famous and usually wealthier. We tend to forget the first part about them being just like us.

  25. Tim: I agree about Jan's song selections. She had chart success with some good songs like "What Makes a Man Wonder", "Bad Seed", "When We Tried" and of course "Evil on Your Mind" and "Rock Me Back to Little Rock". Some others, she may feel are a little out of touch for today in this PC world we live in. "Count Your Blessings Woman", "Roll Over and Play Dead" or "Let Him Have It" come to mind. That is not my opinion but it could be hers. I also think she tries to keep the music of some of her late friends alive like Wynn Stewart, Don Gibson, Buck Owens and Carl Belew. And, Ray Price is one of her hero's and his recordings of Harlan's songs helped them move to Nashville. I always try to get her to do Ray's "I'd Rather be Sorry", it has been a few years now. There are some wonderful recordings in those Decca LP's from 1966 to 1972 that have the right combination of her singing, the arrangement and accompaniment and Owen Bradley's touch and I would love to hear her do some of them. Once in a while if she is doing the Midnite Jamboree she'll throw one in! Let's not overlook that she only gets one song per weekend if she even gets the call.

    Jan Fan: Nice to have you on board. I read here a long time before I got the nerve to comment too. It has been a great experience finding and conversing with others who love the Opry as I do. Not trying to say "me too, me too" but over the past twenty years or so I have also exchanged letters and emails with Jan a few times a year. She has always returned my letters or emails, sometimes with a very lengthy response. I appreciate and respect the conversations and opinions that many of these folks share with us so I pick and choose what and when I talk about them.

    Fred: You comments about meeting Ray Price many years ago are interesting. The way you portray him is what I would have expected so when I went see him for the first time back around 1990 I was shocked that he even signed autographs after the show. He was pretty dry and said very little but was note rude to anyone and I was just thankful to get to meet him and have an LP signed. When I saw him last in October 2011 he did not meet and greet after the show but he had just come out of the hospital and I think his performance that night and at the Opry the night before was enough drain on him for a hew days. I believe I heard it said that Bill Monroe always talked about himself and his music because he was uncomfortable talking to strangers and doing interviews. I always thought that Ray might be the same way. Again, I'm only stating my little experiences and not judging anyone's encounters.

    As I am writing and thinking about the fans and how they(we) can be sometimes I'm reminded of the last time my brother and I saw Mel Tillis. We had seen him a few times before but he had not met the fans after the show. We waited patiently for our turn in line. The lady in front of us was the type that just wanted to talk to and be close to a good looking star. When she moved on we presented our Kapp Lp's and Mel started talking about the outfits they used to wear and how his band still dressed impeccably. He then began talking about he and Ray Price being the only one to still carry a big band. We had a good conversation going and Mel was enjoying voicing his opinion to two guys he could tell appreciated it. All the sudden, her comes the lady who had been in line in front of us,back for more elbow rubbing with a star. You could tell Mel was a little disturbed but he tried to be nice. We shook hands, thanked him, winked and moved on. Still a nice memory though.

    Amazing what can stir our memories and thoughts. I would have never guessed this post would go this far. Great experiences and comments from everyone.

    Knightsville, IN