Sunday, June 30, 2013

July Opry Highlights

Back from a brief hiatus and ready to go with the July Grand Ole Opry highlights of important and historical events that have taken place during the month, along with a few dates of Opry members.

July 15, 1913: Cowboy Copas was born in Adams County, Ohio. Although he went by the name of Cowboy and many thought he was born out West, his mother named him Lloyd Estel. Cowboy Copas joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1946 and would remain a member until his death in 1963.

July 27, 1925: Former Grand Ole Opry member Annie Lou Dill was born. Along with her husband Danny, they were known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music" and were a part of the Opry from 1946 until the middle 1950s. They were popular into the 1960s, when they divorced and ended their act. She passed away in January 1982.

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers, in one form or another, would remain a part of the Opry for the next 62 years.

July 7, 1927: Charles Loudermilk, better known as Charlie Louvin, was born near Section, Alabama.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the legends in bluegrass music, Jesse still performs regularly on the Opry at the age of 84.

July 7, 1930: The late Opry member Doyle Wilburn was born in Hardy, Arkansas.

July 14, 1933: One of the great personalities in the history of the Opry, Del Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina.

July 4, 1934: Over 8,000 people showed up for an all-day Opry sponsored show in West Tennessee. The show featured Opry stars Uncle Dave Macon, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, the Gully Jumpers and the Crook Brothers. As a result of the success of the show, George D. Hay starts the Artists Service Bureau that would become the booking agency for Opry members. In the future, this would become controversial and would eventually lead to Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright leaving the Opry.

July 4, 1937: Grand Ole Opry member Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. One of the smoothest voices at the Opry, Ray is still sounding great at the age of 76.

July 19, 1937: George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George has been an Opry member for 53 years and is known as the "International Ambassador of Country Music" for his world-wide travels to promote the music. George continues to travel and still makes regular appearances on the Opry. In addition, I might add that George is about the nicest man anyone would ever meet.

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would only stay at War Memorial for several years as Opry people were not the type of folks they wanted at the War Memorial. The Opry moved here from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people but was a very poor facility. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry for the first time, began to charge for admission, which was 25 cents. War Memorial still stands and is in use today, and the Opry returned there in 2010 for a few shows while the Opry House was being renovated following the flood.

July 6, 1940: Jeannie Seely was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. "Miss Country Soul" will be 73 and can still belt out a great ballad and does a very nice job hosting Opry segments.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the Opry after Whitey had a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency. Whitey would remain on the Opry but perform on a different segment. Rod remained on Opry member until he passed away in September 1958. Years later, Minnie Pearl would lead the effort to have Rod elected to the Hall. Rod was not only a gifted comedian but a fine actor who had a difficult personal life, which many feel led to his early death.

July 24, 1948: Roy Acuff announced he was running for Governor of Tennessee after he felt that the current Governor had made some poor comments regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy didn't really stand much of a chance and lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that would listen to him sing and play but would leave once the speeches started. Despite losing the election, Roy would remain a life long Republican and would be a friend to many Presidents.

July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would become a regular in 1952 but was gone pretty quickly. Lefty just said it didn't work out and that the Opry just wasn't the dream he thought it would be.

July 9, 1952: Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. Their marriage would only last several years but it did produce one daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known to her fans as Carlene Carter. Carl would go on to marry fellow country star Goldie Hill, while June would eventually settle down with Johnny Cash. Both Carl and June would eventually leave the Opry.

July 18, 1954: Grand Ole Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. It is hard to believe that Ricky will be 59 years old. It seems like just a few short years ago that he, along  with Lorrie Morgan, Vince Gill, Patty Loveless and Marty Stuart were considered the future stars of the Opry.

July 7, 1956: Johnny Cash joined the Grand Ole Opry. He would remain a member just until 1958 when he relocated to California. Even though he gave up his Opry membership, Johnny would continue to perform on the Opry whenever he was in Nashville. It was during one such performance in 1965 that he kicked out the Opry stage lights during a performance. He was then told by Opry management that he was no longer welcomed on the show and not to come back. He would stay away for a few years but by the late 1960s was once again guesting on the Opry. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff asked Johnny if he would once again become a member of the Opry, but Johnny declined due to his heavy touring schedule. And on that night in 1965 when Johnny was kicked off the Opry, when he left the Opry House, he drove off in June Carter's car, which he immediately wrecked. The police officer that responded to the accident was June's husband. June later said that it was not a very comfortable night at her house when she got home. At the time, even though they were both married to others, Johnny and June had a relationship.

July 24, 1957: Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida. The Grand Ole Opry member is the daughter of another Opry member, Mel Tillis.

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 52nd year as an Opry member. Bill made his first Opry appearance in 1958 and would continue to guest on the show for the next several years. Ott Devine was the Opry manager that asked Bill to join the cast and this came after Ott saw Bill perform a concert in Panama City, Florida, and left impressed. He told Bill after that show to expect a call from him when he returned to Nashville, and the call came.

July 8, 1964: Dottie West became a member of the Opry, a membership that she would hold until her death in September 1991. She died in a car accident on her way to the Opry for a Friday night show.

July 31, 1964: Former Opry member Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash just outside of Nashville. Jim was just 39 when he passed away. Thanks to some forward thinking by Jim, country music fans were able to enjoy new music from him for many years after he died.

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and broken ribs. Also injured in the accident were band members Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would return to the Opry stage in August. After the accident, June decided to no longer tour with Roy.

July 26, 1966: Opry member Martina McBride was born in Sharon, Kansas.

July 29, 1972: Barbara Mandrell joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Although currently retired from the music business, Barbara will be celebrating her 41st year as an Opry member, as she was allowed to keep her Opry membership after she retired. Barbara remembered the night she became an Opry member. "It was in July when Bud Wendell asked me to join the Grand Ole Opry. I was very honored and I was introduced on the Roy Acuff segment. At the time, while I was acquainted with Mr. Acuff, I can't say we were friends. By coming to the Opry we became dear friends and now he's so special to me." In the years before Roy passed away and Barbara was scheduled to appear on the Opry, she would always insist on being on Roy's segment.

July 21, 1973: Jeanne Pruett joined the Opry. Like Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne is retired from performing and was allowed to keep her Opry membership. This will be her 40th year as an Opry member and while she no longer performs on the show, she will on occasion show up backstage to visit with her friends. Her last Opry appearance was in 2001. Before becoming successful herself, she was a songwriter for Marty Robbins Enterprise and after joining the Opry, she would normally appear on the final segment with Marty. She was the last singing artist to join the Opry before it left the Ryman Auditorium and move to the new Grand Ole Opry House. It should be noted that the last Opry member to join the cast while it was still at the Ryman Auditorium was Jerry Clower.

July 7, 1975: Grand Ole Opry member George Morgan died in Nashville after suffering a heart attack. He had been an Opry member since 1948, when he was added to the cast to replace the departing Eddy Arnold. George would leave the Opry in 1956 to star in a television show, but returned to the show in 1959. In May 1975, he suffered a heart attack at his Nashville home. He returned to the Opry in June but needed open heart surgery, which took place in July. There were complications that led to his death. He would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July 2, 1982: Country Music Hall of Fame member and former Opry member DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was one of the first members of the Opry but was fired from the show in 1941 by George D. Hay. There were various reasons and excuses given for his firing, but over the years it became apparent that race was the major issue. DeFord was very bitter about his firing and would remain so for many years. He resisted invitations to return to the show for guest appearances but finally on February 23, 1974, he returned to the Opry as part of the annual "Old Timer's Night." Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl made sure he was treated with the respect he deserved and many said his performance was the highlight of the night. He performed "Pan American" and "Fox Chase." He would make several more Opry appearances, the final one being April 3, 1982, during that year's reunion show.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the owners of the Opry. At the time, the Gaylords owned the television show "Hee Haw." When they purchased the Opry, they also bought the entire Opryland complex and everything associated with it. The price was rumored to be between $250 and $300 million. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and would go from a privately held company to a publically traded one and it's primary focus would change from broadcasting and entertainment to resort and hotel management. The company is now known as Ryman Hospitalities and as hard to believe as it is, this will be the 30th year of ownership of the Opry for this group.

July 3, 1996: Alison Krauss becomes a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 17th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined the Opry, she was the youngest member of the cast. Garth Brooks officially inducted her that night and she was the first bluegrass act to join the show in 19 years.

July 3, 2001: Opry member Johnny Russell died in Nashville after a long illness. Johnny joined the Opry on July 6, 1985. After he joined the Opry, he began to follow the tradition of Marty Robbins and would appear on, or host the final segment on Saturday night. Not only was he a great Opry member, but he was a fine songwriter and an even better person as I had the opportunity to share a lunch table with him one afternoon at Opryland and he was a joy to meet and talk to.

July 21, 2009: Opry members Alison Krauss, Brad Paisley and Charley Pride play a concert in the East Room of the White House, which was attended by President Barack Obama and other Washington dignitaries.

There you have it for this month.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 6/28 & 6/29

The Grand Ole Opry closes out the month of June with the usual Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. 1 show each night. The Friday Night Opry will feature former Opry member BJ Thomas. BJ gave up his Opry membership shortly after becoming an Opry member, but he still will make an occasional appearance on the show. Also on Friday night will be bluegrass favorite Sam Bush along with Ashley Monroe. This week's Opry newcomer will be the American folk-rock group, Delta Rae, out of North Carolina. And finally, Friday's show will feature the ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers. This group makes an annual Opry appearance, usually with Trace Adkins. However this year, they will be featured on the segment hosted by Jeannie Seely.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature a return appearance by Carolina Chocolate Drops, who will also be signing in the Opry Shop after the show. Non-Opry favorite Crystal Gayle and frequent guest Kristen Kelly are also scheduled, along with a return appearance by Tate Sevens.

Friday June 28:
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Craig Campbell; Mike Snider
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Delta Rae; BJ Thomas
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Sam Bush; Ashley Monroe
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Jerrod Niemann; ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers

(for those counting at home, that is only 5 Opry members scheduled on this show)

Saturday June 29:
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Kristen Kelly; Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites
8:15: Larry Gatlin (host); Jean Shepard; Carolina Chocolate Drops; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Tate Stevens; Crystal Gayle

The internet and facebook have all been full of the news regarding Jimmy Dickens. As mentioned previously, I hope things go well and he will be back at the Opry soon. He is missed and certainly the last link to an era.

Enjoy the weekend and the Opry and I will be back to more posting later in the weekend.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Jimmy Dickens HealthUpdate

This from Nashville this morning:

Grand Ole Opry icon Jimmy Dickens, who has been absent from his beloved Opry stage for most of 2013, is set to undergo three weeks of short-term radiation treatments for a pre-cancerous condition on his vocal cords beginning next week. The Opry member's doctors expect him to make a full recovery. "I can't begin to express my sincere gratitude for the thoughts and prayers that are being sent my way," Dickens said. "My family and I appreciate the support, and I can't wait to return home to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in one of my favorite rhinestone suits somebody soon."

The country legend most recently surprised Opry audiences with an appearance on April 12. His most recent scheduled Opry appearance came on December 22, 2012.

Get well soon Jimmy!!!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 6/21 & 6/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, along with the upcoming Tuesday and Wednesday shows.

As far as the shows for this weekend, there is really nothing special to say about them. The Friday Night Opry will feature guest appearances by Elizabeth Cook, Mandy Barnett, Chuck Wicks, Exile and Joey + Rory, along with a host of Opry veterans. The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night will feature a guest appearance by Moe Bandy, along with Andy Griggs, Striking Matches, Sarah Darling and Jimmy Wayne.

Friday June 21:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Chuck Wicks
8:45: Larry Gatlin (host); Joey + Rory; Exile

Saturday June 22:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Andy Griggs; Mike Snider
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Striking Matches
8:15: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Sarah Darling; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy Wayne; Moe Bandy

As far as the Tuesday Night Opry, June 25, Opry member Dierks Bentley will be making one of his rare Opry appearances, along with Opry member Terri Clark. Here is the line-up for that show:

7:00: Terri Clark; Del McCoury Band
7:30: John Conlee; Ricky Skaggs
8:15: Dailey & Vincent; Kacey Musgraves
8:45: Dierks Bentley

And finally, we have the Wednesday Night Opry on June 26 with the following artists:

7:00: Keith Anderson; Larry Gatlin
7:30: Sara Haze; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Bill Anderson; Matthew West
8:45: Ricky Skaggs

For this week's look back at past Grand Ole Opry shows, I have the line-up from June 21, 1958, 55 years ago this weekend. As usual, there was 1 show that Saturday night.

7:30: Nabisco
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
June Webb: As Long As I Live
Justin Tubb: If You'll Be My Love
Roy Acuff: Won't It Be Wonderful
Howdy Forrester: Indian Creek

7:45: Sessions Peanut Butter
Marty Robbins (host): Stairway of Love
Carl Butler: Blues Come Around
Jordanaires: Working on a Building
Marty Robbins: Just Married
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs (host): Salty Dog Blues
Don Gibson: Oh Lonesome Me
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I'll Get even With You
Jean Shepard: Jealous Heart
Flatt and Scruggs: Big Black Train
Possum Hunters: Tennessee Wagoner
Carlisles: Oh Boy
Del Wood: Ragging The Keys
Don Gibson: I Can't Stop Loving You
Flatt and Scruggs: Dear Old Dixie

8:30: Prince Albert
Cowboy Copas (host): Won't You Ride in My Little Red Wagon
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Everly Brothers: All I Do Is Dream
Tommy Jackson: Bill Cheatham
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs
Chet Atkins: Armen's Theme
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Everyly Brothers: Wake Up Little Susie
Stringbean: Eight More Miles To Louisville
Cowboy Copas: Filipino Baby
Tommy Jackson: Sally Ann

9:00: Jefferson Island
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): Alone With You
Ferlin Husky: I Feel An Old Heartache
Carl Butler: I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome
Bill Monroe: Brand New Shoes
Faron Young: Everytime I'm Kissing You
Fruit Jars: Soldier's Joy
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Ferlin Husky: Simon Crum Routine
Faron Young: Sweet Dreams

9:30: Stephens
Ladells: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Big Wheels
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Blues Don't Mean A Thing
Don Gibson: Blue Blue Day
Cousin Jody: Television Set
Hank Snow: I'm Hurting All Over
Crook Brothers: Going To Town
Ladells: He's Got The World in His Hands
Wilma Lee and Stoney: He Taught Them Hot
Don Gibson: We Could
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket

10:00: Standard Brands
Roy Acuff (host): The One I Love Is Gone
June Webb: Making Believe
Flatt and Scruggs: Hundred Years
Oswald: Sugar Time
Fiddle Tune: Snow Flake Reel
Roy Acuff: Wreck on the Highway
Flatt and Scruggs: Six White Horses
Del Wood: 12th Street Rag
Roy Acuff: A Beautiful Home
Jimmy Riddle: To Be Announced

10:30: Delited
Carlisles: Theme
Marty Robbins (host): Singing The Blues
Justin Tubb: I Gotta Go Get My Baby
Carlisles: Dumb Bunny
Marty Robbins: Rose of Old Pawnee
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

10:45: De Con
Ferlin Husky (host): I Feel Better All Over
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Crook Brothers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Ferlin Husky: I Saw God
Fiddle Tune: Fire In The Mountain

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Hank Snow (host): I Wish I Was The Moon
Don Gibson: Oh Lonesome Me
Hawkshaw Hawkins: It's Easier Said Than Done
Stringbean: Hey Mr. Banjo
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain
Jean Shepard: I Love You Because
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Don Gibson: Heartbreak Avenue
Gully Jumpers: Devil's Dream
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

11:30: Jamison Bedding
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): Rosalie
Bill Monroe: Sally Joe
Cousin Jody: Don't Make Love in a Buggy
Faron Young: I Miss You Already
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin

11:45: Midnight
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper (host): Diamond Joe
Sam and Kirk: House of David Blues
Fruit Jars: Walking In My Sleep
Wilma Lee and Stony Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary Hill
Fiddle Tune: Ragtime Annie

Excuse a few misspellings, but I copied the line-up and song list exactly as it was spelled on the program. A great line-up from that night featuring the Everly Brothers, who only did the Prince Albert portion. And Don Gibson was pretty busy that night. How about the Jordanaires and Carlisles singing the theme songs for several of the sponsors? And already, in 1958, Hank Snow was firmly established in his time slots, with the 9:30 slot eventually going to 8:30 when the show split into 2. Also, Sam and Kirk McGee relegated to the late segment, which Kirk would complain about in the late 1970s as being too late for the farmers to listen. And if I counted right, there were 12 future Hall of Famers on that night. Now most weeks we don't get 12 total acts.

Now moving it up a few years, here is the line-up from June 12, 1980. This show was 22 years after the 1958 show and 33 years ago.

1st show
6:30: Justin Tubb (host); Del Wood
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Ernie Ashworth
7:00: Billy Walker (host); David Houston; Vic Willis Trio; Lulu Roman
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Boxcar Willie; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Stu Phillips; Carlisles; Wilma Lee Cooper
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Ray Pillow; The Four Guys; Roy Drusky; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kelly Foxton

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Four Guys; Ernie Ashworth; Del Wood
10:00: Billy Walker (host); David Houston
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Vic Willis Trio
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Connie Smith; Boxcar Willie
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); Justin Tubb; Crook Brothers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Carlisles; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Kirk McGee; Kelly Foxton
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Stu Phillips; Wilma Lee Cooper

From the 1958 show, only 7 acts were on the 1980 show. And a number of Opry members from 1958 were no longer associated with the Opry.

Finally, let's go to June 22, 1991. This was 11 years after the 1980 show and 22 years ago this Saturday night.

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
7:00: Jack Greene (host); 4 Guys; Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Billy Walker (host); Jan Howard; Teddy Wilburn; Sally Mountain Show
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; David Houston; Roy Drusky; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Ernie Ashworth; Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle; Jean Shepard

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Teddy Wilburn
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Stu Phillips
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Sally Mountain Show
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Skeeter Davis; Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Stonewall Jackson; Roy Drusky; Justin Tubb; Jan Howard
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Connie Smith; Ernie Ashworth; David Houston; Bill Carlisle

To show how much things change in 22 years, of those that appeared on the 1991 show, only 9 are still with the show today. And notice how The Four Guys went to "4 Guys" and no, I didn't make a mistake, it was the Stoney Mountain Cloggers appearing. Ben Smathers had passed in 1990, however his wife Margaret would continue to lead the family group, and they would continue on the Opry, usually every other week, until September 1993.

All in all, I think I would take the 1958 show over the others.

I do hope all of you enjoy looking at these older Opry line-ups as much as I enjoy posting them. To me, it is fun to look back and also to remember and enjoy some memories of these great performers that in some cases, are no longer with us.

I did want to mention that it has been a tough week in the country music community. We had the passing of Slim Whitman, who really was a fine country music singer. I know that he made millions off the TV album that he did and it was unfortunate that because of it, he became the target of some jokes. I don't know how he felt about it, but I always that it undercut him as a performer. But, as he said, he made a lot of money off of it. But Slim at a great and long career. We also had the death of famed Nashville journalist Chet Flippo, who wrote about country music for decades and for various publications. The last night, there was the death of the husband of Jett Williams, Keith Adkinson, who was also her attorney that help her secure your part of the Hank Williams estate. And thoughts and prayers go to Ray Price, who had surgery yesterday and appears to be doing ok. He has been battling some tough health issues lately.

Finally, a person note. I am taking a vacation and will not be posting until next week. If something breaks, I will try to get a post on, but all in all, I think I deserve a week away. Take care and enjoy this week's Opry.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Tuesday Night Opry 6/18 & Wednesday Night Opry 6/19

Starting this week and as they did last summer, the Grand Ole Opry will be offering Wednesday night Opry shows in addition to the Tuesday night shows. The Wednesday night shows will be offered for the coming weeks and replace the Opry Country Classic shows. Having mid-week shows is nothing new for the Opry as they have been doing it on and off since the Grand Ole Opry House opened at Opryland back in 1974. At that time, the shows were usually in the middle of the afternoon and were very popular with the tourists and park visitors.

The line-ups for both shows this week is pretty good and offer a solid mix of veterans and new artists.

Tuesday June 18:
7:00: Greg Bate; Jeannie Seely
7:30: The Henningsens; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson; The Black Lillies
8:45: Larry Gatlin; Charlie Daniels Band

Wednesday June 19:
7:00: Kristen Kelly; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: The Grascals; Restless Heart
8:15: The Whites; Dustin Lynch
8:45: Janelle Arthur; Larry Gatlin

As mentioned previously, Riders In The Sky joined the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday June 19, 1982. This will be their 31st year as Opry members.

One upon a time, it was called "Country and Western Music" but the Western part has been largely forgotten over the years. But through the efforts of groups such as Riders In The Sky, western music remains alive and well. The Riders In The Sky formed in 1977 and while groups such as the Sons Of The Pioneers were still performing, there was no new western music being created or new groups being formed to carry on that tradition. The group was formed by Douglas Green, Fred LaBour and Bill Collins. Collins dropped out of the group later that year and was replaced by Paul Chrisman. As the group took hold, so did their nicknames that they would come to be known by: Deputy Ranger Doug, Idol of American Youth; Too Slim; and King of the Cowboy Fiddlers. Over time, the group would add a fourth member, Joey Miskulin, The Cowpolka King. The band name came from LaBour after he'd seen a reissue album from the Sons Of The Pioneers named "Riders In The Sky."

The Riders have been very active in their careers. They have recorded over a dozen albums, hosted a show on TNN, had their own Saturday morning children's show on CBS-TV, did a radio show on PBS, and have recorded music soundtracks. In 1993, they were inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame. And all of that was done between concert appearances and Grand Ole Opry shows. Yes, despite this busy schedule of activities, the Riders have always found time to do the Opry.

Finally, here is the line-up from June 19, 1982, the night Riders In The Sky joined the Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Walking On New Grass
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Riders In The Sky: How The Yodel Was Born/Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Jack Leonard: Back On My Mind Again
Ernest Tubb: Rainbow At Midnight

7:30: Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jean Shepard: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You/Slipping Away
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Grandpa Jones: Four Stoned Walls/What'll I do With The Baby-O

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Lonzo & Oscar: All The Gold In California
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Connie Smith: I Just Had You On My Mind/Once A Day
Roy Acuff: Stream Line Cannonball

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
4 Guys: I Think About Your Loving All The Time
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It To Me Again
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Hank Snow: I Have You & That's Enough For Me

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): Have You Ever Been Lonely
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Del Wood: Just Because/Bill Bailey/Beer Barrel Polka
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'/Ol' Chunk Of Coal
Jack Leonard: Lone Star Beer And Bob Wills Music
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): The Banjo Is The Instrument For Me
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late/Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: There's A Grave In The Wave Of The Ocean

10:15: Sunbeam
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Jack Greene: Yours For The Taking/There Goes My Everything

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Down In Union County
Riders In The Sky: (?)/Turkey In The Straw/Chicken Reel/Devil's Dream
Roy Acuff: In The Center Of The Grand Ole Opry Stage/I Saw The Light

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Connie Smith: Lovin' You Baby
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Right Or Wrong
Jean Shepard: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Wilburn Brothers: Release Me
Lonzo & Oscar/Eldridge Brothers: Little Cabin On The Hill
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me Of Me

11:30: Bama
4 Guys (host): I Think About Your Loving All The Time
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Bill/Sheila/Bill Carlisle Jr.: In The Pines
Ray Pillow: All You Have To Do Is Come Back Home/Remember Me
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

Congratulations to the Riders In The Sky for 31 years of loyal Opry membership

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 6/14 & 6/15

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, which will feature Patty Loveless as the Opry honors her for 25 years of Opry membership. Patty joined the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night June 11, 1988. (on an interesting side note, Ricky Van Shelton joined the Opry the night before Patty, Friday June 10). Just for the heck of it, I went back and did a little addition and in those 25 years, Patty has made 116 Opry appearances. That comes out to just under 5 per year. The year she joined she made 10 appearances, and that was followed by 15 in 1989. From then on it was downhill, with several years of no appearances. On a personal note, and I have said this before, I wish Patty was at the Opry more often. She is one of my favorite female singers and I own a number of her albums. She has a great country voice and is always well received at the Opry.

Patty will be on both shows this weekend and joining her both nights will be her good friend and duet partner, Vince Gill. He will be hosting both of the segments featuring Patty. Also appearing will be guest artists Pure Prairie League. They have obviously been around a long, long time.

Joining them on Friday night will be Opry member Joe Diffie and the Little General Cloggers will be making their annual appearance. Saturday night's show will feature 50 year Opry member Loretta Lynn, along with this week's newcomer Joanna Smith. The Saturday show is pretty thin at this point with just 9 artists schedule, split into 3 segments.

Friday June 14:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Sarah Darling; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Little General Cloggers; Joe Diffie
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Jenn Bostic
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Pure Prairie League; Patty Loveless

Saturday June 15:
7:00: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dancers
8:15: Vince Gill (host); Joanna Smith; Pure Prairie League; Patty Loveless; Loretta Lynn

I would assume they will add another act or two on Saturday night.

As mentioned, Patty Loveless joined the Grand Ole Opry on June 11, 1988. Patty grew up in the coal country of Kentucky and as a child remembers listening to the Opry with her mother. Early on, Porter Wagoner (who employed her brother) and Dolly Parton took an interest in her. "My first visit to the Opry was when I was 14 years old; it was at the Ryman. I went as the guest of Dolly and Porter. It was the very first time I really got to visit backstage, and I felt like I was just in hillbilly heaven."

Shortly after that she was signed up on a tour with the Wilburn Brothers who were so impressed with her that they signed her to their road show, following in the footsteps of Loretta Lynn. (for those who watch the RFD network, the Wilburn Brothers show is on their schedule and Patty Ramey is on many of the later shows). Her solo career broke out in the mid 1980s and she had numerous Top 10 hits. She has won awards from the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music. As her hit making days ended, she turned to her love of bluegrass music and has recorded several albums highlighting that sound. A strong case can be made that some day Patty may eventually be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In honor of Patty Loveless and her 25 year as an Opry member, here is the Opry line-up from Saturday June 11, 1988, the night Patty joined the Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Grandpa Jones (host); Stop That Ticklin' Me
4 Guys: Some Memories Just Won't Die
Ramona Jones: Hey Boys, Grab Your Partner, Come on Out Tonight

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host); Son of the South
Lorrie Morgan: Silver Wings & Golden Rings
Bill Anderson: Still

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me & My Big Loud Mouth
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Del Reeves: The Only Girl I Can't Forget
Charlie Louvin: I Love You Best of All
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am or Let Me Go
Jimmy Dickens: I Leaned Over Backwards For You

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Ray Pillow: Invitation to the Blues
David Houston: Have A Little Faith
Patty Loveless: If My Heart Had Windows/A Little Bit In Love
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand
Right Combination: Old Joe Clark

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: I Tear Dropped By/Second Fiddle
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/Statue of A Fool
Roy Drusky: Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy/One Day At A Time
Larry McNeely: Amazing Grace
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Billy Walker: Wild Texas Rose
Holly Dunn: That's What Your Love Does To Me/Daddy's Hands
Hank Snow: Nevertheless

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
4 Guys: What'll You Do About Me
Jeannie Seely: The Divorce Song
Wilma Lee Cooper: Loving You
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Bill Anderson & Roy Acuff: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music

10:00: Little Debbie
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'all Come
Patty Loveless: A Little Bit In Love/If My Heart Had Windows
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Del Reeves: Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
Randy Pollard: Soppin' The Gravy Brilliancy

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host); Are You From Dixie
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Alisa Jones: Golden Slippers

10:45: B. C. Powder
Jimmy Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Goard
Charlie Walker: Fraulein
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Bummin' Around
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing It Now
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Charlie Louvin: Loving Arms
Holly Dunn: That's What Your Love Does To Me/Daddy's Hands
Hank Snow: The Prisoner's Song

11:30: Creamette
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Roy Drusky: Always
Johnny Russell: No One Will Ever Know
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

During the 1st show, the Crook Brothers did not play as Herman Crook had passed away earlier in the week. Amazing Grace was played as a tribute to Herman Crook. The Crook Brothers name was used during the 2nd show but the following week, it was the Opry Square Dance Band.

Before closing out this post I do want to note a couple of other Opry members that will be reaching Opry milestones over the next several days. As mentioned above, Ricky Van Shelton will also be a 25 year Opry member, as he joined the Opry on Friday June 10, 1988. Ricky has retired from the business and has not made any public appearances for a number of years. On June 12, Terri Clark reached 9 years as an Opry member and on June 13, Connie Smith reached 48 years as an Opry member. Finally on June 19, Riders In The Sky will celebrate 31 years. I only mention these because it would be nice if the Opry does also. Nothing against Patty Loveless, but Connie Smith and Riders In The Sky make many more appearances than she does, and while not a "milestone" year that 25 is, 48 and 31 are pretty good achievements. Both Connie and the Riders are scheduled for Friday night. Hopefully, something will be said. As for here, Riders In The Sky will be featured in a post over the weekend.

Once again, congratulations to Patty Loveless.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Tuesday Night Opry 6/11

The following is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry on June 11th. Overall, it looks like another solid show with Rascal Flatts and Dailey & Vincent among the headliners.

7:00: Josh Thompson; Connie Smith
7:30: Dailey & Vincent; Diamond Rio
8:15: Riders In The Sky; Sara Haze
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Just a couple of Opry notes and thoughts:

The Opry had a great week last week with a number of sold-out shows along with some solid line-ups. I was able to listen off and on over the weekend. Friday Night Carrie Underwood was honored for 5 years of Opry membership. She received the big cake backstage prior to the shows, both of wish were sold-out. Saturday night, it was all Hall of Famers hosting. Roy Clark sounded a little rough and he has had voice issues over the past several years. But his guitar playing is still 1st rate and he is a fine host. Mel Tillis was fantastic all weekend. Like Roy, his voice started to falter a bit as the weekend went on, but he does such a fine job hosting. And Charley Pride will always be Charley Pride. What I mean by that is you will get a first rate performance and you never know what he will say when hosting. Overall, the weekend was a good mix of legends and Hall of Famers, established stars, the hot stars of today, along with several new faces. It is that kind of variety that keeps the Opry vibrant.

As far as upcoming shows, this upcoming weekend Patty Loveless will be celebrating 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Joining her this weekend will be a couple of Hall of Fame members in Vince Gill and Loretta Lynn, along with a few others.

Carrie Underwood was committed to Opry shows on Friday and Saturday July 5th and 6th. In anticipation of what will probably be sold out shows and a high demand for tickets, the Opry has already scheduled 2 shows on each of those nights. While I wish there were 2 shows each night, I am glad that when the line-up and ticket demand is worth it, the Opry will schedule a 2nd. Joining her on those nights will be another of the hot acts in country music today. The Band Perry.

Another upcoming date, although nothing has been confirmed by the Opry, is the 50th anniversary of Opry member Jim Ed Brown. Of course, when Jim Ed joined the Opry it was as The Browns, with sisters Maxine and Bonnie. It looks like the date will be August 10, as Jim Ed is already booked to host the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree that night. It would be very nice if the Opry was able to arrange for Maxine and Bonnie to join Jim Ed that night and make it very special. And it would also be nice if the Opry would mention it on their website under upcoming shows. While certainly not a draw in the sense of Carrie Underwood doing the Opry, it would still be nice to see the Opry build up this special event for someone who has been a regular performer at the Opry for the past 50 years. I mean, if the Opry can banner headline Carrie for 5 years, they should be able to step up to the plate for Jim Ed and 50 years.

Finally, the Opry's 88th birthday bash is set for the weekend of October 5th, with a show on Friday night, the birthday concert on Saturday afternoon and 2 shows on Saturday night. Steve Wariner is already set for the Saturday birthday concert and that should be a good draw. Nobody else has been announced as of yet, but hopefully the Opry will be able to line up some quality talent. Those of us who have attended the past several years have commented on the lack of Opry members coming out for the birthday bash, and the thin line-ups. They Opry usually will go with 2 or 3 big name superstars, and then thin it out for the others. Over the past couple of years we have had Jason Aldean, Taylor Swift, Ronnie Dunn, Kenny Rogers, Dolly Parton and the Opry induction of Rascal Flatts among others. Just my opinion, but the birthday bash does need some big names coming out, but they also need to have as many Opry members as possible scheduled for the shows.

Updates on all of these events will continue to come as the Opry announces them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 6/7 & 6/8

The CMA Music Festival is underway in Nashville and as usually happens during the festivities, the Grand Ole Opry has some big names on the schedule. It started with the Tuesday Night Opry featuring Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts among others, and continues this weekend with 2 shows on Friday night, a Saturday matinee at the Ryman Auditorium, and then the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night.

The Friday Night Opry will feature a mini-concert by Opry member Carrie Underwood, who will be celebrating her 5th year as a member of the Opry. In honor of the occasion, the Opry is giving her the final half hour on each of the shows on Friday night. Joining her on Friday will be Opry members Josh Turner, Mel Tillis and Charley Pride, along with guest artists Lauren Alaina and Casey James, both of whom have appeared on the Opry before.

5 years now seems the magic number to get recognition at the Opry, as the Opry recently honored Charlie Daniels for the same milestone. Since joining the Opry, Carrie Underwood has actually appeared, making close to 10 appearances each year. And since becoming a member, she has found the time to appear at the Opry during CMA week. The fans obviously love Carrie as the 1st show on Friday quickly sold out and a 2nd show was added.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, it would appear that the Opry's "A" team of hosts are in town, as Roy Clark, Mel Tillis, Charley Pride and Bill Anderson will all be hosting segments. Each of the 4 are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. Bill Anderson is a frequent Opry host, and we do see Mel and Charley a number of times through the year, but Roy usually makes the Opry only once or twice each year. On Saturday, they will be joined by HLN anchor Robin Meade, who has a wonderful voice and has appeared on the Opry previously. Also, Scotty McCreery is back on the Opry, as is Maggie Rose. This week's newcomer is Tate Stevens, who won the 2nd season of  "The X Factor." He just put out his 1st major label album and this will be his 1st appearance on the Opry.

Finally, there is the Opry matinee at the Ryman Auditorium on Saturday afternoon. That show will feature the Oak Ridge Boys, Larry Gatlin and Joey + Rory. As with all of the shows over the weekend, it is pretty solid for a matinee.

Friday June 7:

1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Lauren Alaina; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Casey James; Charley Pride
8:00: Mel Tillis (host); The Whites; Josh Turner
8:30: Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); Lauren Alaina; The Whites
10:00: Charley Pride (host); Jan Howard; Josh Turner
10:30: Mel Tillis (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Casey James
11:00: Carrie Underwood

Saturday June 8:

3:00: Jim Ed Brown; Oak Ridge Boys
3:30: Chris Janson; Mark Wills
4:00: Jesse McReynolds; Kristen Kelly
4:30: Joey + Rory; Larry Gatlin

Grand Ole Opry
7:00: Roy Clark (host); Maggie Rose; George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Mel Tillis (host); Tate Stevens; Connie Smith
8:15: Charley Pride (host); Jean Shepard; Robin Meade; Opry Square Dancers
8:45" Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Scotty McCreery

I will say that all 4 shows offer a great mix of legends and veterans, young artists and established stars. I think each show has something that will please everyone.

For this week's look back in Opry history, I have 2 line-ups to present. The 1st one is from Saturday June 9, 1945, 68 years ago. In many ways it is similar to the one that I posted last week which was from 1944. But I think it is interesting to look back into the Opry's history.

8:00: Purina
Bill Monroe: Kitty Clyde
Eddy Arnold: You Don't Love Me, But I'll Always Care
Curly Fox: Black Mountain Rag
Cackle Sisters: She Taught Me How To Yodel
Bill Monroe: Weary Traveler
Rod Brasfield: Jokes
Speedy McNatt: Dill Pickle Rag
Uncle Dave Macon and Doris: Give Me the Gal With the Red Dress On
Texas Ruby: Traveling Blues
Bill Monroe: Were You There?
Curly Fox and Texas Ruby: Open Up Them Pearly Gates
Eddy Arnold: I Hung My Head and Cried

8:30: Crazy Water
Paul Howard: I'm Worried About My Gal
Poe Sisters: The Best of Friends Must Part
Crook Brothers: John Henry
Lou Childre: When Lou Sings In the Valley
Clyde Moody: Home In San Antone
Possum Hunters: Billy Wilson
Whitey Carson: Roger Young
Dan Bailey: A Soldier's Grave
Gully Jumpers: Rickett's Hornpipe
Paul Howard: Hear Dem Bells
Clyde Moody: You Caused it All

9:00: Royal Crown
Golden West Cowboys: Beaver Creek
Curly Williams: At Mail Call Today
Ernest Tubb: You'll Nearly Lose Your Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: The Girl I Left Behind Me
Golden West Cowboys: Audience Song
Curly Fox and Texas Ruby: Hand Out the Front Door Key
Curly Williams: Georgia Steel Guitar
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May
Golden West Cowboys: Yodel Polka
Golden West Cowboys: Rocky Mountain Goat

9:30: Prince Albert
Roy Acuff: You Are My Sunshine
Old Hickory Quartette: My Tennessee Rose
Whitey Ford, The Duke of Paducah: Jokes
Tommy Magness: Wake Up, Susan
Rachel and Oswald: Foggy Mountain Top
Minnie Pearl: Jokes
Roy Acuff: We'll Understand it Better, Bye and Bye
Old Hickory Quartett: Red River Valley
Square Dance: Soldier's Joy

10:00: Wallrite
Jim Shumate: Lady of the Lake
Sally Ann: Put Me in Your Pocket
Quartette: Mother's Only Sleeping
Bill and Lester: My Old Dixie Home
String Beans: My Little Brown Jug

10:15: Weatherhouse
Curly Williams: How Was I to Know
Uncle Dave Macon: All I Got's Gone
Tommy Scott: Jokes
Happy Valley Boys: The Happy Sunnyside of Life
Possum Hunters: Forked Deer
Uncle Dave Macon: Jonah and the Whale

10:30: Cherokee Mills
Roy Acuff: There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder
Jug Band: Uncle Noah's Ark
Clyde Moody: Each Night at Nine
Roy Acuff: At Mail Call Today
Roy Acuff: This World Is Not My Home

10:45: Southern Agriculturist
Eddy Arnold: Love Gone Cold
Crook Brothers: Ole Hen Cackled
Whitey Carson: Roving Cowboys
Gully Jumpers: Arlington Breakdown
Eddy Arnold: Somebody's Breaking My Heart

11:00: Roy Acuff Song Book
Roy Acuff: Battle of Armegeddon
Roy Acuff: Radio Station S-A-V-E-D
Lou Childre: Cie Lito Lindo
Rachel and Oswald: Just Tell Them That You Saw Me
Roy Acuff: Hold To God's Unchanging Hand

11:15: Ernest Tubb Songbook
Ernest Tubb: You'll Want Me Back, But I Won't Care
Leon and Johnny: I Loved You Once
Poe Sisters: In A Little Valley Church Yard
Ernest Tubb: With Tears in My Eyes

11:30: Saf-Kill
Golden West Cowboys: I Want to Live and Love
Texas Ruby: Bring Back to Me My Wonderful Boy
Golden West Cowboys: Twelfth Street Rag
Curly Fox: Whoa, Mule, Whoa
Golden West Cowboys: If I Ever Make You Cry

11:45: Wildroot
Paul Howard: I'm Sending You Red Roses
Clyde Moody: You're On My Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Going Home to Jule
Paul Howard: There's A Gold Star In Her Window
Clyde Moody: Sparkling Blue Eyes

The 2nd line-up I wanted to past is from Saturday June 9, 1984. On that night, Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 29th year as an Opry member. I have commented before about Lorrie and her Opry appearances. All I will add on this note is that I wished she was at the Opry more often. Here is the line-up from that night:

1st show
6:30: Stonewall Jackson (host); Connie Smith
6:45: Del Reeves (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Billy Grammer; Skeeter Davis; Hank Locklin; Jean Shepard
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Lorrie Morgan; Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers; Billy Walker
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The Whites; Jeanne Pruett
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Dottie West; 4 Guys; Roy Drusky; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); 4 Guys; Jeannie Seely; Del Reeves; Wilma Lee Cooper
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow
10:15: Billy Walker (host); Hank Locklin; Skeeter Davis
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Roy Thackerson
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); Jeanne Pruett; Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Dottie West; The Whites; Jerry Douglas
11:30: Stonewall Jackson (host); Bill Carlisle; Lorrie Morgan

During the 1st show Lorrie sang Candy Kisses and Stand By Your Man, in honor of her father George Morgan and Tammy Wynette, while on the 2nd show she did What I've Got In Mind and Crazy. Congratulations to Lorrie Morgan on her Opry anniversary.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Tuesday Night Opry 6/4 & A Look Back At Herman Crook

With the CMA Music Festival getting underway in Nashville, there are some pretty strong Grand Ole Opry shows this week. The Tuesday Night Opry is no exception as there are 2 shows scheduled, with tickets very hard to come by for both shows.

The Opry has loaded up the line-up with Opry members Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts at the top of the list. If that is not enough, Kellie Pickler, who recently made a name for herself on "Dancing With the Stars" is scheduled, as is American Idol runner-up Kree Harrison.

Tuesday Night Opry, June 4:

1st show
7:00: Kellie Pickler; Diamond Rio
7:30: Bill Anderson; Lennon & Maisy
8:00: Ricky Skaggs; Rascal Flatts
8:30: Kree Harrison; Keith Urban

2nd show
9:30: Kellie Pickler; Diamond Rio
10:00: Bill Anderson; Lennon & Maisy
10:30: Ricky Skaggs; Rascal Flatts
11:00: Kree Harrison; Keith Urban

I do want to take a moment to remember one of the early stars of the Grand Ole Opry, as June 4, 1988 was the final Grand Ole Opry show for Herman Crook and the Crook Brothers.

The early days of the Opry were dominated by the string bands. These groups included the Possum Hunters, the Gully Jumpers, Sam and Kirk McGee, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and the Crook Brothers. Over time, these string bands were reduced and merged together, with many of the Gully Jumpers and Possum Hunters eventually becoming part of the Crook Brtohers.

The Crook Brothers first appeared on the WSM Barn Dance on July 24, 1926. For the next 62 years, they would appear on the Opry almost every Saturday night. The original group featured the twin harmonicas of brothers Matthew and Herman Crook, who came from the hill country south of Nashville. They appeared at various local functions and in 1925 they played on Nashville's first radio station, WDAD. But that was part-time work as they continued with their full time jobs as "twist rollers" with the American Tobacco Company. Soon after their WDAD debut, they were playing on stations WSM and WLAC. In In 1928 the band, consisting of Herman and Matthew, along with Tom Givans on banjo, George Miles on guitar and Hick Burnett on guitar, recorded four instrumental numbers for Ralph Peer and the Victor Recording company. These would be their only recordings until a joint album with the McGee Brothers in 1962.

In 1929 at a fiddlers contest, Dr. Humphrey Bate introduced the Crooks to banjo playing Lewis Crook, who was no relation to Matthew and Herman. Lewis then joined the Crook Brothers band. In 1930, Matthew left the group to join the police department. The band continued with Herman and Lewis remaining the only constant members. In the late 1950s the Crook Brothers were combined with the remaining members of Dr. Bate's Possum Hunters and accompanied the square dancers on the Opry. Herman Crook would also occasionally play the harmonica on the show as well. The group's long run at the Opry ended with the death of Herman on June 10, 1988.

To remember Herman Crook, here is the line-up from his final Opry shows, Saturday June 4, 1988:

1st show:
6:30: Jack Greene (host); 4 Guys
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Jan Howard; Charlie Louvin
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Hank Locklin; Jeanne Pruett; Michael Johnson
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Stu Phillips; Del Wood; Charlie Walker

2nd show:
9:30: 4 Guys (host); Bill Carlisle; Lorrie Morgan; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Skeeter Davis
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jack Greene
10:30: Roy Drusky (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Del Reeves (host); Jeanne Pruett: Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Hank Locklin
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Connie Smith; Stu Phillips; Johnny Russell

With the death of Herman Crook, the Crook Brother name was no longer used for the square dance bands. In fact, it was just called the Opry Square Dance Band. Lewis Crook still played on occasion but eventually it was down to just Earl White and Charlie Collins. Now, it is just Earl White and the Opry Staff Band. And I am sure when Earl passes away or retires, or is told he is no longer needed, that Opry tradition will come to an end. It is too bad as the square dancers are the last link back to the start of the Opry. My hope is that the tradition will continue.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Opry Highlights

In the history of the Grand Ole Opry, June has been one of the more active months. Here is a look back at historical and important events that have taken place in Grand Ole Opry history during the month of June.

June 17, 1910: Clyde Julian Foley, better known as Red Foley, was born in Blue Lick, Kentucky. Red joined the Grand Ole Opry in April 1946, replacing Roy Acuff as the host of "The Prince Albert Show." He stayed at the Opry until 1954, when he left to go to Springfield, Missouri as the host of the Ozark Jubilee. He was one of the early inductees into  the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 14, 1914: Lester Flatt was born in Overton County, Tennessee. Lester would become famous as part of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and then later, teaming up with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt & Scruggs. After a successful run, Earl and Lester separated over the direction of their music. Earl favored a more progressive sound while Lester wanted to continue to play traditional bluegrass music. When Lester and Earl separated, most of the Foggy Mountain Boys stayed loyal to Lester and formed the nucleus of his new group, The Nashville Grass. He remained an Opry member until his death, and while doing the Opry he usually hosted the Martha White portion of the show.

June 17, 1916: David Akeman, better known as Stringbean, was born in Anniville, Kentucky. Stringbean had been a steady performer and musician in country music and at the Opry, but it was his role on Hee Haw that made Stringbean famous to a nationwide audience. Stringbean died in November 1973 when he, along with his wife Estelle, were murdered at his home after returning home from an Opry appearance. In an interesting note, when he first started playing the Opry as a solo act, he was known as "Stringbeans", which over time was shortened to just Stringbean.

June 28, 1924: George Morgan was born in Waverly, Tennessee. George spent several years in Ohio, and for a period of time he called Barberton, Ohio his home. He was a star on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree and came to Nashville in 1948 as the replacement for Eddy Arnold. In an interesting story, when George first came to Nashville we wasn't sure where the Ryman Auditorium was located. He approached a man standing on the curb on Fifth Avenue. He asked the man, "Can you tell me where the Grand Ole Opryhouse is?" The man laughed and said, "It's right behind you." That man was Eddy Arnold. George would remain an Opry member until his death in 1975 and would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. In March 1974, George hosted the final segment of the Friday Night Opry at the Ryman. And I think as everyone knows, George was the father of current Opry member Lorrie Morgan.

June 19, 1926: DeFord Bailey made his Grand Ole Opry debut. DeFord would be a regular performer on the Opry until he was fired by Opry founded George D. Hay in 1941. His song, "Pan American Blues" would often be the opening number on the Opry's early broadcasts. After he was fired from the Opry, DeFord remained bitter toward WSM and the show and he rejected many invitations to return and make guest appearances. Finally on February 23, 1974, he returned to the Opry for their annual Old-Timer's Night. Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl introduced him and he received a great ovation from the crowd. He would return several times to the Opry after that and made his final appearance in April 1982, several months before his death on July 2, 1982. He would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 2, 1927: Former Grand Ole Opry member Carl Butler was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Carl and his wife Pearl had one of the biggest hits in country music history, "Don't Let Me Cross Over." Carl and Pearl were members of the Opry for several years and were instrumental in Dolly Parton's career, helping to bring her to Nashville. Dolly never forgot their kindness and in Carl and Pearl's later years when they had some financial problems, she reportedly helped them out, allowing them to keep their home and farm. Carl passed away on September 4, 1992, 4 years after Pearl had died.

June 23, 1929: Valarie June Carter was born. She would later become a member of the Grand Ole Opry as part of Mother Maybelle and the Carter Sisters. June married fellow Opry member Carl Smith and they were the parents of Carlene Carter. June would eventually Johnny Cash. While June was not much of a singer, in fact of all the Carter Sisters, Maybelle felt that June had the worst voice, she was a very fine comedian, often teaming up with Rod Brasfield and Jimmy Dickens.

June 12, 1936: Dr. Humphrey Bate of the Possum Hunters died at the age of 61. After Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Dr. Bate is considered the 2nd original member of what is now the Grand Ole Opry. In fact, many historians feel that he may have actually been the first rural performer featured on WSM. He was an important part of the early days of the Opry and his contributions are often overlooked today.

June 13, 1936: Because of the size of the crowds, the Opry moves to the Dixie Tabernacle, located on Fatherland Street in East Nashville. The Tabernacle, while sounding impressive, was actually a very primitive facility with wooden benches, sawdust floors and no dressing rooms. It was basically an old barn that you had to open the sides in the summer to keep the air flowing through. But it did seat 3,500 people and contributed to the growth of the Opry.

June 5, 1937: Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys join the Opry. Pee Wee was one of the first professional entertainers to join the show and he helped to bring a more professional and polished look to the show. Pee Wee would have numerous disagreements with Opry founder George D. Hay, who felt that Pee Wee's group was not country enough and playing instruments that had no business on the Opry. Pee would stay with the Opry for a number of years before leaving the show and moving to Louisville, Kentucky to work in television, something that he tried to get WSM interested in. He would become famous for the "Tennessee Waltz" and would be an early inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame. After leaving the Opry and continuing to live in Louisville, Pee Wee would continue to appear on the Opry, most often during the annual reunion shows. His autobiography, "Hell-Bent for Music" is an excellent read and a book that I would highly recommend.

June 25, 1940: Republic Pictures releases the movie "Grand Ole Opry' which featured George D. Hay, Roy Acuff and his group, along with Uncle Dave Macon. It was a basic movie for the times, as the Opry stars helped with a group of Ozark residents to try to take back state government from a group of crooks. The movie premiered in Nashville on June 28. As this movie is long out of print, I had never seen it, but several months ago I was presented the chance to see the movie, which I did. While it is certainly not Academy Award material, it was still a fine movie to watch and a great opportunity to see Roy Acuff during the early part of his career.

June 5, 1943: The Opry makes another move, this time to the Ryman Auditorium where it would stay until March 1974. Over time, the Ryman could acquire the nickname, "Mother Church of Country Music" and even today, many consider it the true home of the Opry and the building where the Opry achieved its greatest growth. It was the Ryman where Bluegrass music was heard for the first time. Since 1999, the Opry has returned for a winter run at the old building, which has been renovated into a beautiful facility.

June 6, 1944: Grant Turner started work at WSM as an announcer. Of course, this was "D-Day." Over time, Grant would become known as the voice of the Opry and is probably the most famous Opry announcer in the Opry's history. He would remain at the Opry until he passed away on October 28, 1991, just hours after announcing the Friday Night Opry. He had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1981.

June 17, 1944: The Poe Sisters. Ruth and Nelle, joined the Grand Ole Opry. Their idols were the Delmore Brothers and in fact, George D. Hay would often refer to these sisters as the "female Delmore Brothers." The Poe Sisters performed regionally in the Northeast before coming to the Opry. Their time at the Opry was very short as after Ruth married in 1945, Nelle left the Opry and moved back to Connecticut. After being gone a couple of months, Nelle returned to Nashville and they were back on the Opry. However, in August 1946 they left the Opry for good and soon after that, they were out of the music business. An interesting fact is that during the time they were on the Opry, Ruth played a mandolin that she borrowed from Bill Monroe. Upon leaving the Opry, she returned the instrument to Bill.

June 11, 1949: Hank Williams makes his Grand Ole Opry debut. The performance that night is still talked about today, mostly by Jimmy Dickens who is one of the few still alive that witnessed that performance. Hank sang "Lovesick Blues" and was called back for 6 encores. Jimmy has said many times that Hank's performance that night was the greatest Opry appearance he has ever seen.

June 1, 1957: The Everly Brothers become members of the Grand Ole Opry. It was part of an effort by Opry management to attract a younger audience as Opry attendance was dropping like a rock with the start of rock and roll music. In fact, there were many who wondered if the Opry would survive or not. However, the Everly Brothers were destined for bigger and better things and their stay at the Opry was very short. In 2001, they were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 13, 1959: Roy Drusky joined the Opry. Roy came to the Opry from Atlanta and would remain an Opry member until his death in September 2004. In my opinion, Roy had one of the smoothest voices in country music and he did an outstanding job each and every time he did a ballad number. Roy was really underrated as a singer.

June 27, 1959: Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn Morgan, known professionally as Lorrie Morgan, was born in Nashville, Tennessee.

June 14, 1961: Patsy Cline was seriously injured in an automobile accident in Nashville. It would take her 8 months to recover from the accident, which left a scar on her forehead. Because of that, Patsy would wear a wig just about every time she performed after the accident.

June 8, 1964: Altone Delmore died at the age of 55 in Huntsville, Alabama. The Delmore Brothers joined the Opry in 1933 and their influence is still felt in duet acts today. They would later join up with Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis to form the "Browns Ferry Four." The quartet was noted for their gospel recordings, which can still be purchased in Nashville today. The Delmores, who like other acts left the Opry after a dispute with George D. Hay, were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

June 12, 1965: Tex Ritter became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. When Tex joined, he was at the tail end of his great western movie career and many questioned why he would want to join the Opry, and why the Opry would have him. But Tex surprised everyone by becoming one of the Opry's most loyal and popular members. He also co-hosted a late night radio show on WSM with Ralph Emery. Tex, who was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964, was also one of the early leaders in the founding of the Country Music Association. Tex passed away on January 2, 1974.

June 13, 1965: Connie Smith and Bob Luman became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Connie's 48th year as an Opry member, although she did leave the show for a period of time in the late 1960s, rejoining the show in 1971. Connie is considered one of the top female voices in the history of country music and last year was elected to the Hall of Fame. Connie remembered the night that she joined the Opry: "I joined the same night as Bob Luman. And I had totally no control over my voice at all. I was scared to death; it just meant too much to me. I had heard about people's knees knocking and I thought it was a fake. But mine actually did while I was out there singing. I was that shook. And when I came off the stage, I busted out crying. It was just my dreams come true." Bob Luman was someone who was as close to a rock and roll performer as anyone else at the Opry. He was a rockabilly singer from Texas, who came to the Opry from the Louisiana Hayride. His big it that got his career going was "Let's Think About Living." Bob would remain an Opry member until he passed away in December 1978. What is interesting about both Connie Smith and Bob Luman is that June 13, 1965 was actually a Sunday. On another list, Connie Smith's Opry induction date is listed as September 18, 1965. Again, as with much of the history of the Grand Ole Opry, facts are sometimes hard to come by.

June 20, 1965: Ira Louvin, the older brother of Charlie Louvin, was killed in a car accident. One of the greatest duets in the history of country music, Charlie and Ira were elected to the Hall of Fame in 2001. Ira and Charlie had broken up prior to Ira's accident, so while Charlie was a member of the Opry at the time, Ira was not.

June 1, 1967: Stu Phillips joined the Grand Ole Opry. Stu, who is celebrating his 46th year as an Opry member, is from Canada. At the time he joined, Hank Snow was the only other member from Canada, although since then Terri Clark has joined the cast. While Stu never had that career hit record, he would be a loyal member of the Opry and still performs on the show, although not very often.

June 30, 1970: Ground was broken for Opryland. Roy Acuff and Brother Oswald handled the ground breaking and it would take several years for the park to be completed. Roy was able to watch the construction of the park from his home, as he lived across the Cumberland River from the complex being built. The park was finished before the Opry House, which would not be completed until March 1974. Since then, Opryland has closed, a decision still felt in Nashville today.

June 17, 1978: Marty Robbins drove his new custom-made Panther Deville automobile onto the stage of the Opry. In a moment of good humor, Roy Acuff found a security guard who gave Marty a parking ticket.

June 19, 1982: Riders In The Sky joined the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 31st year as Opry members, and they remain the only cast members to specialize in Western music. Besides being a member of Riders In The Sky, Doug Green is also a member of The Time Jumpers.

June 9, 1984: Lorrie Morgan joined the Opry. This will be her 29th year as an Opry member. She first appeared on the Opry at the age of 13, when her father George Morgan introduced her and she sang "Paper Roses." Lorrie enjoyed a string of hits during her career. Like many others, Lorrie made a lot of Opry appearances when she first joined, but after the hits started coming, her Opry appearances went down quickly. She is still an Opry member today, averaging about 10 shows per year.

June 18, 1984: Former Grand Ole Opry member Paul Howard passed away in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was 75 and has performed on the Opry with his group, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers. Paul joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1942. Grady Martin and Hank Garland were members of his band that specialized in Western music. Paul stayed on the Opry through the 1940s and would return for the annual reunion shows.

June 20, 1986: Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, died at the age of 85. He joined the Opry in 1942 and would remain an Opry member until 1959. Like others, he would return and make guest appearances. Whitey was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1986, right after he passed away. When the Opry's "Prince Albert Show" started, Whitey was the featured comedian, along with Minnie Pearl. However, he had a contract dispute with the sponsor and was taken off that portion of the Opry, replaced by Rod Brasfield.

June 10, 1988: Herman Crook died in a Nashville hospital at the age of 89. Herman was a harmonica player and a part of the Crook Brothers, the last true string band to be featured on the Opry. Herman was the last living member from the original Opry cast of 1926. Over the years, as the various string bands were merged, the Crook Brothers would have various members, but Herman was always there. For the majority of their final years on the Opry, the Crook Brothers would back the square dancers, traditionally appearing on Roy Acuff's early segment and then during the 10:45 segment on the 2nd show. After Herman's death, the Crook Brothers name was no longer used and the string band, led by Earl White, was just referred to as the Opry Square Dance Band. Sadly, Earl is the last one left.

June 10, 1988: Ricky Van Shelton joined the Grand Ole Opry. Ricky was introduced as a new member by Roy Acuff and was at the top of the charts when he joined the show. Ricky retired from the business several years ago and has not been back at the Opry since. Even as an Opry member, his appearances were fairly infrequent. I did check Ricky's website for any updated information and there is nothing on his site. Technically, this will be his 25th year as an Opry member.

June 11, 1988: One day after Ricky Van Shelton joined the Opry, Patty Loveless became an Opry member. This will also be her 25th year as an Opry member and she is being honored at an upcoming show featuring Vince Gill and Loretta Lynn. Patty is a cousin of Loretta Lynn, and like Loretta, Patty was under contract with the Wilburn Brothers. She was also a part of Porter Wagoner's show for a period of time and always talked about what an influence and help Porter was during the early part of her career. And it was Porter who introduced Patty the night she joined the show. I honestly feel that Patty has one of the sweetest voices in country music and I do wish she would do the Opry more often.

June 24, 1989: Garth Brooks makes his first appearance at the Opry. He would appear a few more times, eventually becoming a member.

June 2, 1990: Mike Snider joins the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 23rd year as a member. Mike joined based on his comedy skills as a member of the cast of Hee Haw. He was inducted as an Opry member by Minnie Pearl. Over the years, he has gotten away from a lot of the comedy that he was famous for and has focused on his string band, keeping that tradition alive at the Opry.

June 7, 1991: Alan Jackson joined the Opry. This will be Alan's 22nd year as an Opry member. To say that Alan has been a disappointment as an Opry member would be an understatement. He was a part of the group that joined the Opry during a time when it asked nothing in return from those joining. As a result, Alan rarely appears on the Opry. That is too bad because when he is there, he receives a great response and seems to enjoy himself, as I saw when I visited the show in March.

June 15, 1991: Minnie Pearl made her last appearance associated with the Opry. It was at an Opry sponsored show in Joliet, Illinois. 2 days later, on June 17, she suffered the stroke that forced her to retire.

June 3, 1994: The Ryman Auditorium reopens for the first time since the building was renovated. The last time the Ryman was in regular use was for the Opry, which left in March 1974. For the 20 years after that, the auditorium basically sat empty and untouched, except for a few special events and tours. Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion radio program was the first event to take place in the newly renovated building.

June 3, 1994: Former Opry member Wally Fowler passed away at the age of 77. Wally came to Nashville in 1948 with his Oak Ridge Quartet. Wally would also become famous for his all night gospel sings at the Ryman. He was part of the Opry until 1950 and they Oak Ridge Quartet were regulars on the Prince Albert portion of the show. Over time, the Oak Ridge Quartet would become the Oak Ridge Boys, who are current Opry members.

June 4, 1994: Former Opry member Zeke Clements died at the age of 82. Zeke first came to the Grand Ole Opry in the 1930s with Bronco Busters, led by Texas Ruby. Zeke was also the voice of Bashful in Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."

June 27, 1994: Sarah Wilson of Sarie and Sallie, former Opry members, died at the age of 97. They appeared on the Grand Ole Opry from 1934-1939. Their comedy routines were noted for gossiping about other Grand Ole Opry members and talking about down home remedies. Edna Wilson and her sister Margaret Waters were their real names.

June 10, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry introduced a new Opry backdrop. The new state of the art lighting replaced the traditional red barn that had been the backdrop in various forms, since the Opry moved to the Opry House. It was reported at the time that the old backdrop had been donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame, but as of this date, is not on display at the Hall.

June 17, 2000: The Opry begins streaming its shows on the internet, giving those around the world the opportunity to listen live to the Opry, and for many of us, giving us our first clear signal of the show on WSM.

June 14, 2003: While Trace Adkins was performing on the Opry, Jimmy Dickens came out with a ladder, and asked Trace if her would like to become a member of the Opry. Trace of course said yes, and would be inducted by Ronnie Milsap, who he idolized as a performer.

June 12, 2004: Terri Clark joined the Opry. She was the first female Canadian artist to join the show. This will be her 9th year as a member.

June 9, 2007: Mel Tillis is introduced by his daughter Pam as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Mel had been a part of the Opry previously as part of Porter Wagoner's outfit. This will be his 6th year as an Opry member, although many feel that he was asked to become a member previously, had accepted, but then backed out before actually joining.

June 23, 2009: Montgomery Gentry joined the cast of the Opry. This will be their 4th year as Opry members. They were brought to the show on the recommendation of Charlie Daniels, who had joined the show the previous year. Whenever they are at the Opry, they do bring a lot of enthusiasm to the show.

There you have it for June. Like I said, it has been a busy month.