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


  1. Fred, Bismarck:

    I understand Byron's question mark beside the fiddle numbers attributed to Riders on the second 1992 show.

    I also wonder whether Roy's second number was a song or a stage direction for a gathering of the cast for "I Saw the Light"!

    What a night at the Opry, which included Hank, Roy, E.T. and Grandpa -- for starters! E.T. was in his final months as a performer; the curtain would come down just five months later, following an appearance in Berlin, Ohio.

    The Riders have been splendid on so many fronts, including in their support of the Opry. Bless 'em!

  2. Fred, I can still just about kill myself for not attending E.T.'s final show in Berlin. It was only 20 minutes from my house. Of course, at the time who knew it would be his final show.

    The Acuff comment got me thinking. I did a Google search for that song title and came up with nothing. I'll have to check my notes again.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    Byron, my excellent friend Merv Rawes, of New Philadelphia, was in the crowd at Berlin that night. He said E.T. was so sick he could sing only about 4 numbers. The crowd knew E.T. and the issues, and understood, rewarding him with applause and love.

  4. Great information as always, and I like the wording: "loyal" membership. The Riders truly have been loyal.

    I've read that ET would sit on the bus taking in all the oxygen he could before going onstage. He was going to die with his boots on, so to speak.

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    Exactly right, Michael. And I've gotta say, the two times I saw E.T. in person, in Mandan (1978) and New Salem (1981), he gave no clue that he was not 100 percent -- full sets both places, on the stage for hours and hours. You would never have known what it cost him in preparation to be able to do that. What a trouper! (You know it killed him to be barely able to come on in such as Berlin.)

  6. You'll never waste a dollar spending it on a Riders In The Sky show. I've been a fan since they came on the scene and have seen them in concert numerous times....once at the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. I don't think there's another act that appeals to such a broad audience....the adults like the songs, the harmonies and the outstanding musicianship, the young people like the wacky humor and the little kids love the costumes and the music from Toy Story. Very few shows left where the ENTIRE family can sit together and have a good time. They manage to work about 150 nights a year in some pretty far flung places (I know...on my last tour we seemed to be either a week ahead of them or a week behind in some towns I had never heard of) and still manage to play the Opry as much as anyone. I saw them on a Friday night in Gainesville, Florida, last year and they were on the Opry at the Ryman the next night after an all-night ride. In a day when most of the membership can't bother to drive across town to do the show it's highly impressive.

    I don't know how I feel about all the weekday shows. I really feel like they're diluting the brand by spreading the shows out the entire week. At a time when they often seem to have trouble filling the Opry House once on Saturday it just seems like it's taking a bit of the show's uniqueness away. At what point is the whole thing spread TOO thin? I don't know. It also seems like the Tuesday night show is the most important one of the week and if that's when they can get the talent to show up and what they have to do to sell tickets then that's what they have to do. But those weekday matinees weren't broadcast and it was the Saturday night show that was THE Grand Ole Opry. My $.02.

  7. Barry, I have to agree with you. Back when the Opry was doing the matinee shows, it was Opry members and the Opry regulars doing most of the shows. Roy Acuff appeared on almost all of them, and Minnie Pearl did many of these mid-week shows. Looking at the older line-ups that I have, you see the 4 Guys, Ernie Ashworth, Jan Howard, Jimmy C Newman and many others. Many of the non-Opry members who appeared were performers from the park or members of the various bands of the Opry members.

    Now it seems like the Tuesday and Wednesday night shows feature more non-Opry members, and some bigger names, with reduced appearances by the Opry regulars, most of whom seem relegated to the Friday and Saturday night shows.

    I like the mid-week shows, but to me the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry will always be the "big" show of the week. It just seems like the current management doesn't think the same way.

  8. I thought Jeannie Seely was simply fantastic tonight. She has grown on me over the years.
    I kind of wondered who might take someday Tater's place as the every show comedian/curmudgeon/entertainer, and I'm thrilled Jeannie seems up to the job.