Thursday, May 9, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 5/10 & 5/11

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the schedules for the 2 shows this weekend. If there are those who think that the Grand Ole Opry is somewhat similar to last week's show, you might be right. Much like last week's final segment that featured Bill Anderson and Charlie Daniels as his only guest, it is the same thing again this week. And this week's 3rd segment is once again hosted by George Hamilton IV, which also is a repeat from last Saturday. Other than that, Saturday's show will feature Opry member Ralph Stanley, who was scheduled to appear at the Opry earlier this year but cancelled out, and guest artists Old Crow Medicine Show, who have made several Opry appearances. As I have mentioned before, Old Crow is pretty good and fun to listen to and watch. Also on Saturday, Joel Crouse will be making his Opry debut. Another new face in Nashville and country music.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Anita Renfroe, who is a very popular Christian comedian. Jonathan Jackson and Maggie Rose will be making repeat Opry appearances and there is another Opry newcomer on this week as Sara Haze, a new young female artist who will be making her first appearance on the Opry.

Friday May 10:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Sara Haze; Jonathan Jackson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Maggie Rose; Anita Renfroe
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds; Exile

Saturday May 11:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Presss
7:30: The Whites (host); Joel Crouse; Ralph Stanley
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Daniels Band

That comes out to only 9 acts for Saturday night, with 7 Opry members, while Friday night there are 13 on the schedule, of whom 8 are members.

Sunday is Mother's Day, and I hope all of the Moms have a great day. But it got be thinking to some of the great traditional songs that were featured at the Opry on the Saturday before Mother's Day and the first one that came to my mind was the great Hank Snow song, "Mother." I think Hank did this song each year and it was always well received. Jimmy Dean would guest on the Opry and do "I.O.U.", which was another of the classic Mother's Day songs. And before finishing with Hank Snow, I should mention that as I type this today, it would have been Hank's 99th birthday.

Now to Travis Tritt and a couple of thoughts. Travis, of course, is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He has not appeared on the Opry since Porter Wagoner passed away in 2007. I, among others, were starting to get concerned that maybe Travis forgot where the Opry House was but last week, he was there performing at George Jones's funeral service. And I will say that he did an outstanding job with his presentation of "Why Me, Lord?". I was told by one person that the reason Travis has not been at the Opry is because he hasn't been asked. I find that hard to believe, much like Garth Brook's statement that he will do the Opry anytime Pete Fisher calls. That statement by Garth got me thinking that maybe Pete lost Garth's phone number, or Garth switch cell phone carriers and forgot to give his new number to Pete as Garth hasn't been at the Opry either. Anyways, back to Travis. While a funeral is not the place to ask about future Opry appearances, I do hope that Pete Fisher, who spoke at George's funeral, was able to take a few moments and exchange greetings with Travis. And perhaps Pete was able to say to Travis, "hey, we've missed you around here. What about coming back for a few shows?" Personally, I am at the point where I don't care if Travis does the Opry again or not. The Opry is doing fine without him and he seems to be doing fine without the Opry. But he is a member and is still active. As such, it would be nice if he would come around once in a while.

Speaking of another Opry member who really cut her appearances down over the past several years, Lorrie Morgan is scheduled again for the Tuesday Night Opry. Including tonight's Opry Country Classics show, that would be her 6th Opry appearance of the year, which would be the highest number of Opry appearances for her since 2010, when she was on 7 times. It is good that Lorrie seems to be coming back to the Opry as she does add class and beauty to the show. And as she has done on several of her appearances, she will be appearing with Pam Tillis, who also seems to have rediscovered the Opry. Here is the complete line-up for Tuesday May 14:

7:00: Diamond Rio; Chris Janson
7:30: Henry Cho; Collin Raye
8:15: The Whites; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Lorrie Morgan; Pam Tillis

This week's look back at Grand Ole Opry line-ups from the past takes us to Saturday May 11, 1991, 22 years ago. Nothing really special took place that night, but it is still good to look at the past.

1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); Bill Carlisle
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jimmy C Newman; Ray Pillow; Jack Greene; The Whites
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stonewall Jackson; Justin Tubb; Jean Shepard; Stu Phillips
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; George Hamilton IV; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Teddy Wilburn

2nd show
9:30: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Clinton Gregory
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); The Whites
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Carlisle
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jim Ed Brown
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Roy Drusky; Teddy Wilburn; Stu Phillips
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV

I hope everyone enjoys another weekend at the Opry.


  1. Perhaps poor Garth and Travis have lost the Opry's phone number and can't call to say they would like to be there. But I'm sure that Pete Fisher would say to either of them, "We don't want you." In related news, I am Miss America.

  2. I wonder if Charlie Daniels will get some of award or honor this week? :) Seems like the last couple of times he has been presented with something.

  3. A couple of updates to the schedule. Keith Anderson has been added to the first segment on Friday Night, and Sara Haze, who is already scheduled for Friday Night has been added to the first segment on Saturday night. I guess none of the other 57 Opry members were available, or Pete didn't want to call them.

  4. I think we all need to be careful in bashing Pete, Travis, or Garth, or anybody else.
    None of us know who has been called and asked to be on the show. Maybe Pete calls every week, maybe Pete calls never, or somewhere in between.
    Until somebody can offer some hard evidence, I'm reluctant to bash anybody.

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    If we got good gossipy reporting on the Opry by the Nashville media -- such as one would expect in any other Nashville-sized city with a high-interest institution such as the Opry -- maybe we wouldn't have to speculate.

    Don't know the reason for Nashville's reticence. Maybe the old snooty "Athens of the South" attitude still prevails, and the Opry is beneath the media's notice? (Except for the occasional Peter Cooper stuff, which tends to be commemorative.)

    In the absence of such reportage, I'd say the Opry and its people -- public figures -- are fair game for the kind of judgments and speculations indulged here. It's not as if we're bashing or invading the privacy of somebody's Uncle Zeke or Aunt Tillie.

    They're big boys and girls. They can take it. Or, if they can't, they can retire from the mean old limelight. (Fat chance.)

  6. Nat, I follow you, and I don't mean to sound unpleasant about it (especially to you!), but if Garth Brooks announced that he wants to do the Opry and Pete Fisher won't let him, I think that would be news. And if that's true and Garth won't say it, he deserves every bit of criticism we give him.

    Fred, on several occasions, I emailed Peter Cooper and asked him about stories at the Opry. I am a fan, yes, but I also have a lot of experience in journalism and made it a point to frame my questions in that way. Nothing. He's too busy being invited to dinner at people's houses, I suspect.

  7. Nat, I understand your thoughts and what you are saying. I was just pointing out what Garth has said in the past, and in the case of Travis, what one very reliable person told me. I realize that Pete doesn't really call most of the artists himself, that everything is pretty much done through booking agents and by Pete's secretary/administrative assistants.

    But the fact is that Travis hasn't done the Opry since 2007 and I, and I am sure others, just wonder why. It could be any number of reasons, which could include not wanting to, not being asked, not caring for Pete, or it just doesn't fit into his schedule. Or maybe Porter Wagoner was his connection to the Opry, and after Porter's passing, he just doesn't want to do it. I do know he does not live in Nashville and doesn't get to town that much.

    I think if there was ever an opportunity for Travis to do the Opry, it could have been on Marty Stuart's 20th anniversary in December. But then again, I am not sure he was asked or what his real relationship is with Marty.

    As far as Garth, I know he says he cares about the Opry and that he has said how the Opry is important to his career, and he has come when asked. He was asked to induct Carrie Underwood as a member, and he did that, and he did come when asked for the Opry's 75th and 80th anniversaries.

    As far as Pete Fisher, it all depends on who you are asking. Personally, I don't have a problem with him, altough I do disagee with some of his decisions. Many of his decisions have been based on direction from the upper management at Gaylord, but I do think he cares about the Opry and if the Opry were to stop, I don't think he wants to be the person associated with that. It is a tough job, trying to balance a line-up and keep the audience happy and coming back. My biggest issue is I wish he would schedule more of the legends and hold the Opry members responsible to uphold their membership commitments.

  8. What would be fun is have some of the stars show up at the Opry unexpected.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Wow, I sure did enjoy the George Hamilton IV segment last night, with Old Crow Medicine Show. Crow, to me, is simply fabulous, their music a perfect example of country that is "modern" but can still honestly call itself country. May their tribe increase!

    Neat of George to have them do an encore, which acknowledged both Crow and the crowd's enthusiastic embrace of them.

    George himself was great. He has had voice problems going back at least as far as TNN days, but somehow with him it makes no difference ... like with E.T. Part of it is his great songs, part his likeable personality. George V's harmonizing helps too.

    To top off a wonderful half hour ... Earl White's rousing fiddle and the square dancers.

    Kudos, Opry!

  10. Fred, I agree. I saw Old Crow Medicine Show at the Opry in December and they were awesome. They are coming for a full show up here in Ohio in August and I will be there.

    George sounded good and the last 2 weeks he has opened up his segment with his up-tempo style of "Abilene", which I enjoy. And I enjoy George V being a part of things.

    The best half hour of the night. And, no, I was not impressed with the 2 newcomers last night.

  11. I totally understand that something isn't right somewhere when an artist doesn't perform on the 'Opry for years on end when he or she is quick to claim 'Opry membership, and keeps telling the press how much the 'Opry means to them.
    Somebody is at fault.
    My only point is that sometimes people will fault the artist, while other times folks will blast Pete Fisher.
    Some of you are a LOT closer to the situation than I am and have more insight into who is to blame here than I ever will, but I simply don't know who to blame.
    What a great blog, and what a civil group of commenters.
    Fayfare, your comment above makes perfect sense to me and adds insight. Thanks!

  12. Fred, Bismarck:

    Just a perspective:

    My dear wife enjoys various cooking shows on TV, and she hailed me a few nights ago to see Garth Brooks cooking beside Trisha on her cooking show.

    Comment: If Garth can find time for cooking shows ...

    I will say about Garth that when he was in Bismarck 9-10 years ago he gave as many concerts as needed to satisfy everybody who wanted tickets (hating scalping as he does), at an incredibly low price, and also gave us a pretty good demonstration of his vaunted humility.

    I was working for the newspaper at the time, and the mayor of our fair city told me later that Garth not only stopped to introduce himself to a janitor working at his venue (which the mayor was showing him thru) ... he remembered the janitor's name an hour or so later on his way out!

    The other thing I'll say is that I find it hard to believe that Garth needs an invitation from Pete Fisher to play the Opry. Or, if he did, that Pete would fail to extend it. For whatever that says.

    Nat, you are right on, this is a wonderful blog, both for what we learn from each other and for its civility! For which all praise to Brother Byron, who sets the tone.

  13. Fred;

    I think Garth is beyond figuring out. He seems so genuine at times, and other times I have no idea what he's up to.
    Either way, the 'Opry could sure use him to fill the house!