Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 8/2 & 8/3

One thing that you can say about the Grand Ole Opry is that some weeks are better than others. Last weekend, the Opry line-up was one of the better ones as Lorrie Morgan, Pam Tillis, Vince Gill and Larry Gatlin, among many others, performed. Next weekend, Carrie Underwood and Bobby Bare are scheduled, along with Jim Ed Brown, who will be celebrating 50 years as an Opry member.

While this weekend's line-ups are not terribly bad, they are somewhat of a let down from last week. The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, along with Holly Williams and frequent Opry guest Mark Wills. Saturday's show will have Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Jeff & Sheri Easter, Mindy Smith, along with very frequent Opry guest Jimmy Wayne. And not to forget one of my favorites and a very underrated entertainer, Johnny Counterfit is scheduled. Both nights feature the usual Opry regulars.

Friday August 2:
7:00: John Conlee (host); James Otto; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Andy Griggs; Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jimmy C Newman; Holly Williams
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Mark Wills

Saturday August 3:
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Andy Gibson; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); James Wesley; Jeff & Sheri Easter
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Johnny Counterfit; Mindy Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy Wayne

Not sure where all of the Opry's members are this weekend, but there are only 7 scheduled on Friday night and just 5 on Saturday night. 5 out of 65?

I can across an email that frequent Opry guest Kristen Kelly will be performing in Chicago on Friday August 9 as the Chicago White Sox will celebrate Country Music Night during their home game against the Minnesota Twins. Kristen will sing the national anthem following her performance in front of the "Grand Ole Opry's microphone stand." A post game fireworks display will be accompanied by video performances from various artists on "Grand Ole Opry stage." Not quite sure what all that means. Are they going to show a remote from the Grand Ole Opry or just show various media clips? Also, I just wonder why a non-Opry member singing in front of the Opry microphone stand. Could they not come up with an actual Opry member? Just curious. Whether an Opry member or not, I am glad to see the Opry spreading their brand and promoting the show to a potential new audience.


  1. Byron, the Chicago White Sox (the team I root for) has held Country Music Night every year for some time. The Cubs used to have Country Music Night but they no longer do. The event was moved to the South Side. Instead there is a major country music concert held at Wrigley Field in July ... last week Jason Aldean was there. The local country station will be there & the morning duo of Lisa Dent & Ray Stevens announced that they would be there & Lisa will throw out the first pitch. Maybe as the event gets closer they will say more about the Grand Ole Opry stage because not until I read your post & Eddie Stubbs announcement of this right before Kristen Kelly's performance earlier tonight, I knew nothing about this. Nothing about the Grand Ole Opry has been mentioned on the radio and I am not at all surprised by that.

    I would go to this event if my team was doing better in the standings & if there was an actual Opry member appearing but Kristen Kelly? I live approximately 1-1/2 hrs northwest of Sox Park - it takes me half that amount of time to get to southern Wisconsin, so I will pass on it & I'll be listening to the Friday night Opry that night & be happily doing so.

    As far as the Opry shows this weekend - I am a fan of Jim Lauderdale & Holly Williams. Glad to see Jean Shepard will be there as well.

    Welcome news to hear Randy Travis has been discharged from the hospital & is entering a physical therapy facility to continue his recovery from the stroke he had. Though he has a ways to go, this certainly is a step in the right direction ...

    Glad to hear that Little Jimmy Dickens has completed his treatments - hopefully he will back on the Opry stage soon but I'm sure it will be a while.

    I have heard the entire new album "Bakersfield" by Vince Gill & Paul Franklin which features 10 songs - 5 Buck Owens tunes & 5 Merle Haggard tunes. Folks, this album gets 5 guitar picks out of a 4 guitar pick rating by me. I am a tough critic when it comes to country music. This album is just great & so is the album cover. It's a "duet" album of sorts - Vince Gill's great voice & Paul Franklin's fabulous steel guitar work - they play off of one another. Dawn Sears harmonizes with Vince. It is selling for $10 at my local Best Buy store & is worth the price of adding it to your country music collection. I listened to Eddie Stubbs' Intimate Evening program with Vince Gill & Paul Franklin Monday evening. They played most of the recorded songs & I believe this show is now in the WSM archives. Should you be interested in test driving it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


  2. Byron and Jeanene, great stuff as usual.

    About Kristen Kelly and the Opry show, I'm reminded of the programs you'll see on eBay for Grand Ole Opry shows that aren't, or the time Hank Snow showed up alone and learned that the show was allegedly going to include Hank Williams and Ernest Tubb and who knows who else. But she's fine and she'll do great, and I agree: if you can promote the brand in different locations, so much the better.

    Jeanene, related to that album (Byron, you'll get a kick out of this, too), I did a talk over a couple of days for some history teachers in Bakersfield a few years back. They asked if we wanted to go to dinner. Where? The Crystal Palace. I said, Oh, Buck Owens' place. They said, you know that? I said yes. They told me some of his original band was to perform. I said, wow, the Buckaroos. They said his son might be there, too. I said, Buddy Alan? They were in shock. So the director of the museum where we were all meeting took me to meet some of the people at the Crystal Palace, Buddy did a concert, and the next day, the museum director took me into the storage area and showed me the stuff Buck and Merle and the others had given the museum--guitars, stage outfits, etc. They have done exhibits and lent them out. Oh, my eyes were popping!

  3. Jeanene, thanks for the info on the White Sox and their country music show. (You sound like a Sox fan so I won't rub it in about my Tribe beating the Sox 3 in a row including 2 walk-off homers). And, I do 100% agree with you regarding your comments on "Bakersfield." It is a great CD and like you I have added it to my collection. I have to admit that I don't purchase much new material, prefering the older classic sounds, but this is a winner.

    Mike, thanks for the Crystal Palace story. Glad that you are not totally isolated from country music out west. I believe my wife and I will be making our first trip out west next spring and the Crystal Palace is on the list. I am sure it is not the same as when Buck was alive, but it will still be a thrill.

    And I remember reading the Hank Snow story in his book. In Alaska if I remember right. Think about that for a minute. In the 1950s, getting to Alaska was not the easiest trip. Yet Hank was booked up there in some little mining town (if I remember right). Just adds to the fact that he's "been everywhere."

  4. Seems to me we've progressed to a "anybody except members" booking policy.

  5. Byron, yes, I am a White Sox fan & my team is just plain awful this year. While I am disappointed that Jake Peavy had to change the color of his Sox, going from white to red in a trade the other day, I do understand why. And I really do thank you for not rubbing it in that your team not only swept my team with your team winning their game today, they hit us over the head with the broom as well with those 2 walk-off homers - lol - I play a mind game with myself & think back to 2005 when the Sox won the World Series & I hold onto that thought & hope for a better season next year because it just cannot get any worse next year.

    I really hope that you & your wife get to California next spring to see the Crystal Palace that would be so great. Dwight Yoakam, Brad Paisley & others just love the Crystal Palace & I have read how many country music artists show up there on or around Buck's birthday & get on stage & celebrate Buck. Buck Owens made some great country music back in the day & HE had Don Rich & his vocals helped make Buck's "sound" and Merle made some great country music because first he is a fabulous songwriter & HE had Bonnie Owens - her background vocals helped make Merle's "sound" so who could ask for more than that? Listening to Eddie Stubbs' show the other night & listening to Vince talk about why they chose the songs they did, it was quite apparent that it was a labor of love for Vince & Paul to team up on an album to pay tribute to two artists who have made a huge impact on country music & have given their fans major bodies of work to enjoy forever.

    Michael, how wonderful that you were able to visit the Crystal Palace & I am sure your eyes were popping when looking at all the guitars & stage outfits - that sure was in the hey-day of sparkles, especially Buck Owens & his Buckaroos, not so much Merle Haggard. I sure would love to visit the Crystal Palace some time. I am sure my eyes would be popping right out of their sockets as I have always loved looking at all the sparkling stage wear & instruments as the musicians played.

    Byron, I have come across the following information:

    Kristen Kelly to Help the Chicago White Sox and the Grand Ole Opry Celebrate Country Music

    The Chicago White Sox are planning to serve up some Grand Ole Opry with its baseball as the team hosts “Country Music Night,” presented by Pepsi on Friday, August 9 during a 7:10 p.m. home game against the Minnesota Twins.

    The White Sox will be celebrating country music throughout the game in partnership with Chicago’s most listened to country station – US 99.5, and Chicago’s own Joe’s Bar.

    Arista Nashville recording artist and frequent Opry guest Kristen Kelly will take the field for a pre-game acoustic set and national anthem performance in front of the Opry’s signature microphone stand. Game activities will include multiple other artist performances and country music giveaways, and a post-game fireworks show is set to be synchronized with video performances recorded live on the Grand Ole Opry stage.

    The fun continues following the fireworks with Kelly taking the stage at Joe’s Bar for a full show. All fans 21 and over are set to receive free admission to the performance when showing that day’s game ticket.

    Game tickets are specially priced for country music fans along with their family and friends, with lower level tickets starting as low as $10.

    Joe's Bar has won the ACM Venue of the Year a couple of times - it's down in the heart of the city - not in the Loop - I have never been there but just about anyone who is anyone in country music has played that place. Gary Allan played there recently. You name the artist, they've most likely played there & they rave about the place. Lady Antebellum has played there a couple of times & Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert before she really broke out big & since - Rascal Flatts - the A listers ...

    Enjoy your weekend everyone ....


  6. wow, did they give enough (too much) time to James Otto - hope that's not the way the rest of the show will go :-)

  7. well, Jeannie Seeley talked too much again; not impressed with either guest, Andy Griggs and then Buddy Miller and
    Jim Lauderdale

  8. Jim Ed Brown was good (although don't really care for his new song); Jimmy "C" was GREAT; Holly Williams is NO Hank or Jr (even though Jim Ed introduced her as Hank's daughter); what is it with the LONG songs tonight - that last one she did just went on and on. . . .

  9. Last comments/review for tonight - they saved the BEST for last; Riders were fantastic as always; Jean Shepherd did well and Mark Wills was the perfect guest - great songs, not stretched beyond the limit, and in good sound and form.
    Pure speculation for tomorrow night - as stated in the original post about this weekend, not exactly a staggering line-up.

  10. SATURDAY NIGHT GRAND OLE OPRY - so sad. Highlights were Bill Anderson, Michael Cleveland, Connie Smith and Riders in the Sky. Jim Ed did the same new song - in style - getting old. Turned it off when Jimmy Wayne came on. Only thing to say about the others - sad, boring, long, etc.

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    I heard most of Jeannie Seely's segment and all of Jim Ed's. The big disappointment to me was the short shrift given Johnny Counterfit, when the other guests (James Wesley, the Easters and Mindy Smith) made me gnash my teeth. I'm with Anonymous, above: " ... sad, boring, long."

    Counterfit, on the other hand, is a real talent and entertainer; if you're lucky enough to get him on your stage, you should keep him out there for as long as you can.

    I have no quarrel with Jim Ed singing his latest song every week. Opry people have always done it that way.

    I agree with other posters of late who complain that Jeannie Seely talks too much. With her unlovely croak, she ought to keep speaking to a minimum, probably should not be hosting at all. (Fortunately, she sounds better when she sings. But "Dark Town Strutter's Ball"? Gimme a break!)

  12. Jeanene: thanks for the update on country night in Chicago. And as a long time suffering Indians fan, I understand what you are going through this year.

    No mention by anyone of Tommy Cash singing "Six White Horses"? Nice for Johnny Counterfit to have him on and to have invited him.

    As far as the other comments, and I have said this before, I am just not impressed with Jimmy Wayne. He has done nothing since his first CD and the act is getting a little old. But like a few others, he seems to be the "flavor of the month" as he is called when there is a gap in the Opry line-up, which anymore seems like every week.

    Like Jim, I will be anxious to see what the Opry does for Jim Ed this weekend. He is the 1st to hit the 50th in a year and with all the attention to Charlie Daniels and Carrie Underwood for 5, Marty Stuart for 20 and Patty Loveless for 25, they should be able to come up with something special for an Opry member who is actually there most weeks.

  13. Fred, Bismarck:

    Re. the 50th, I think we heard a strong affirmative signal last night, when the announcer, in introducing Jim Ed, mentioned the anniversary coming up next week.

  14. Hi - I am doing some research for a book and wonder if you have a lineup for late August 1971 at the Opry. Any information you can give, or if you could tell me how to find this information, would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.