Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 8/23 & 8/24

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Before going into the line-ups in detail, I want to comment on something the Opry is doing this weekend that I don't like. On Friday night, the entire last segment is Trace Adkins and on Saturday night, the last segment is only Martina McBride. Granted that Trace Adkins will be celebrating his 10th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and Martina is one of the Opry's bigger stars (although like a few others, she doesn't come around much), but to me the Opry is a show with a number of artists who bring variety to a show. When you highlight one artist for an entire segment, it is almost like the other acts are opening acts for that artist. My idea has always been that if you are going to have an artist in a segment by themselves, add a fifth segment to the show. The Opry did that with Reba McEntire a number of years ago, but not since. I just think it gives those buying tickets more value and also keeps the Opry's traditional line-ups in place.

As mentioned above, on the Friday Night Opry Trace Adkins will be honored for 10 years of Opry membership. This is a growing trend at the Opry where they are honoring artists for 5, 10, 20, 25 and 30 years of membership (providing the artists show up and want to be recognized), along with various years over 30, which at this point seems to be 40 and 50. I am ok with that as it does a couple of things. First, it gives the Opry a reason to promote a show and put more fans in the house. And
secondly, it gives the artist, who might not otherwise come to the Opry, a reason to actually show up. I am fine with this as long as the Opry does it to everyone, not just a select few. I know a few have turned it down (Alan Jackson for his 20th), but most of the others have come. It's just another nice touch by Pete Fisher and the Opry's management.

Joining Trace on Friday night will be Opry members Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs and the Opry's newest 50 year member Jim Ed Brown. Guest artists include Sam Palladio and Clare Bowen from the "Nashville" television show, along with Sturgill Simpson who will be making his 1st Opry appearance.

In addition to Martina McBride, Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature the return to the Opry stage by Jesse McReynolds, who seems to be doing much better and is ready to return after having a health issue. Ricky Skaggs will be back on Saturday night, along with guest artist Joanna Smith, another of country music's young talents.

Friday August 23
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Sturgill Simpson
7:30: The Whites (host); Will Hoge
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Sam Palladio; Clare Bowen
8:45: Trace Adkins

Saturday August 24
7:00: John Conlee (host); Joanna Smith; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Martina McBride

6 of the 10 acts on Friday night are Opry members, while 9 of the 10 on Saturday night belong.

As far as the Tuesday Night Opry, it is pretty solid for this week.

7:00: Diamond Rio; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Sara Haze; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:15: Charlie Worsham; Del McCoury Band
8:45: Easton Corbin; Montgomery Gentry

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I want to highlight 2 line-ups. The first is from Saturday August 22, 1987, the night that Roy Clark joined the Opry. This will be his 26th year as an Opry member. I have mentioned it before that when Roy was asked to join the Opry, he initially declined due to his heavy touring and television schedule. But the Opry told him that would not be an issue so he joined the Opry with that understanding. With the granting of Opry membership to Roy, it was the beginning of the era of Opry members joining the show with no commitment as to any future Opry appearances, a practice that continued until Pete Fisher became the Opry's General Manager and he has since asked for a commitment of 10 appearances per year from his new members. I always thought Roy was good for the Opry and he tended to schedule his Opry appearances around his Hee Haw tapings. As he has aged and cut back on his touring, I thought we would see more of him at the Opry, but as history shows, his appearances have stayed around 2 or 3 per year. Here is the Opry running order from Saturday August 22, 1987, the night Roy Clark joined the Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
4 Guys (host): Mama Rocked Us to Sleep with Country Music
Lorrie Morgan: Lone Star State of Mind
4 Guys: God Bless the USA

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Louvin (host): Let Her Go; God Bless Her
Del Wood: 12th Street Rag
Charlie Louvin & Jennifer O'Brien: Everytime You Leave

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight
Jeannie Seely: It's My Fault
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory/Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda
Wade B. Landrey: Orange Blossom Special

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jan Howard: Wayfaring Stranger/Heartaches by the Numbers
Roy Clark: Thank God and Greyhound Your Gone/I Remember When Country was Country/Under the Double Eagle

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me & My Big Loud Mouth
Tom T Hall: Ravishing Ruby
Tom T Hall & Lambchop: Old McDonald Had A Farm
Tom T Hall: I Love
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down From God
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Gray Eagle
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): I'm Movin' On
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Roy Drusky: Dear Heart
Stonewall Jackson: Smoke Along the Tracks
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Hank Snow: The Prisoner Song

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Jeannie Seely: It's My Fault
4 Guys: Fox on the Run
Tom T Hall: Faster Horses/Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Louvin (host): Kiss Me Again If You're Going Away
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date with You/Silver Threads and Golden Needles
Charlie Louvin: (?)

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Roy Clark: Come Live With Me/(?)/ If I Had To Do It All Over Again

10:30: Pet Milk
Ray Pillow (host): You're One Memory That I'd Like to Make Again
Lorrie Morgan: Silver Threads and Golden Needles
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget

10:45: Heil-Quaker
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am (Or Let Me Go)
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Soldiers Joy
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Forever +1; Forever +2
Jean Shepard: The Old Rugged Cross
Ernie Ashworth: The DJ Cried
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Dreamed About Mama Last Night
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Hank Snow: The Rainbow's End

11:30: B. C. Powder
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Roy Drusky: As Long As I Live/It's No Secret
Johnny Russell: No One Will Ever Know
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal

For the 2nd line-up, it was on Saturday August 24, 1991, 22 years ago this Saturday night that Dottie West performed for the final time on the Opry. Dottie West joined the Opry in 1964 and had an outstanding career in country music. Many feel that she should be in the Hall of Fame. But, the following Friday night, August 30, 1991, she was involved in the auto accident on her way to the Opry that would prove to be fatal. To remember Dottie West, here is the Opry line-up from Saturday August 24, 1991, her final night at the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Ernie Ashworth: Shamrock Motel
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Ole Slewfoot

6:45: Hall of Fame
Jim & Jesse (host): Dream of Me
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Jim & Jesse: A Flower in the Desert

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Girl of the Billboard
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag
Jean Shepard: If You Can Live With It
Dottie West: I Can't Help It
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
Del Reeves: Good Time Charlies

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
McCarters: No Where to Go But Up/If I Could Stop Loving You
Clinton Gregory: If It Weren't for Country Music/Satisfy Me & I'll Satisfy You
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues/Muddy Water
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/Louisiana Man
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: I Can't Help It

8:30: Opryland USA
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Johnson Mountain Boys: Maybe You'll Change Your Mind
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Ole Slewfoot
Connie Smith: The Key's In the Mailbox
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag/Sentimental Journey/Gotta Travel On
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging

10:00: Little Debbie
Del Reeves (host): Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
Skeeter Davis: He Says the Same Things to Me
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Wilma Lee Cooper: Gathering Flowers From the Hillside
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistal Packin Mama
Jean Shepard: Days of Wine and Roses
Jimmy C Newman: Down on the Bayou

10:45: B.C. Powder
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Clinton Gregory: Satisfy Me & I'll Satisfy You/Nobody's Darling But Mine
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Golden Slippers
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Giesha Girl
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
McCarters: Everytime You Leave
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

11:30: Creamette
George Hamilton IV (host): Early Morning Rain
Stonewall Jackson: Side Steppin' the Blues
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know
Johnson Mountain Boys: Duncan & Brady/Springtime in Glory
George Hamilton IV: Life's Railway to Heaven

On a final note, we are just 6 weeks away from the Opry's 88th birthday bash and except for Steve Wariner being scheduled for the birthday concert, nothing has been announced as of yet. The past few years, the Opry has been late with the announcement and this year seems no different. They always manage to make a big splash with a couple of big names and I am sure they are close to nailing it down. Maybe this week we will find out.

Have a great Opry weekend!!


  1. Byron, I'm with you all the way. I'll toss this out. I've had the idea that one thing the Opry could do as a boost is to go back to a 2:30 show on Saturday night and have a 30-minute "concert" as the final segment--a big name member or guest, or maybe a theme. I think it would attract sponsors and interest and maybe attendance.

    A note or two about those lineups, beyond that they were chock-full. Note that on the TV portion in 1991, Jimmy C. Newman hosted two guests. Also, a week after Roy Clark joined, Archie Campbell died. I always thought it was odd or ironic, considering their Hee Haw connection.

  2. Charles Esten has been added to the Friday Night Opry and is the final act scheduled in the 7:30 segment. That makes 3 artists from "Nashville" that are on the show and I am sure they will be using some of the performances on future episodes of the show. Look for this to continue as Steve Buchanan, the Opry Group President is also the Executive Producer of "Nashville" and with all of the Opry reference on the television show, that seems the Opry's only TV exposure at this time.

    1. I've been listening to the Opry this evening (Friday 8/23) and find it really 'interesting' how many people from "Nashville" are on the show this evening, and how much of a commercial for "Nashville" the Opry is tonight. Connie Smith and Jim Ed Brown were allowed one song each, while these actors are given the stage for multiple songs, which is quite sad.

      I've read and been impressed with your blog for a while. While I'm 38, I appreciate older and traditional country music and love the history and legends of the Opry - have visited many times, and listen online. Thanks for the insights!


  3. I also forgot to add that The Whites got bumped off on Friday night and now Riders In The Sky will be hosting the segment at 7:30. I think that might show where The Whites rank on the hosting ladder compared to the Riders.

  4. Another addition to the Opry schedule. Wade Hayes has been added to the 7:30 segment on Saturday night, along with the previously announced Jeannie Seely, Jimmy C Newman and Jesse McReynolds. I like Wade and he has battled some serious health issues. But what this means as far as Jimmy C and Jesse, 2 of the Opry's legends, is that instead of each being able to do 2 numbers, they will be down to 1 each.

    Or considering that Jesse has been absent from the Opry for over a month, maybe the Opry is hedging their bet in case Jesse cannot make it this weekend. I think we all remembered that last time Jesse had to cancel at the last minute and we got almost 20 minutes of Henry Cho.

  5. Well, here goes the cranking old guy's thoughts about last night. Sad thing is I'm only 47!

    It must be the way my ears are tuned but some of these new folks have the most lovely on key voices that have ever been. Yes, a little sarcasm! Okay, I know ET admitted he was often off and Roy Acuff didn't have a pretty or pleasing voice. Maybe the same thing goes for those folks of today, for what they are trying to do their voice and singing ability is part of the selling. I know Roy Acuff was just a mountain singer and ET always said that part of his appeal was the guy setting at the bar listening to the jukebox felt he could sing better than he could. I have been listening to the archives of the week night shows and there are occasionally some new or young folks that can really sing and have good voices but they are few and far between in my opinion. I must say that Sturgill Simpson sounded somewhere between Waylon and Hank Jr. last night and didn't sound too bad. I know all of the proceeding is subjective and just my sour opinion but maybe some others can offer contradictions of interest.

    Trace Adkins ran nearly 45 minutes without interruption including the video grams and Pete Fisher. He did do a lot of music and give the crowd their money's worth. Rules are made to be broken, not that I know it is a rule, but it seem obvious that it is preached at least to the elders that "we must stay on a schedule". Except when we decide different. I do think it is great that Trace gave so much to the crowd last night. I must admit that even though I recorded it I did not time Jim Ed's portions two weeks back but I do recall that it was a typical portion which included commercials. Anyone know of he ran as long? My problem is when someone like Bobby Osborne gets a roaring applause and the crowd wants more, only if folks like Jean Shepard are hosting will he get more than his allotted time. Be consistent and be fair. Such is life! I suppose that staff overtime pay is in play here if the show runs over, anybody know about that? We all know that Marty Robbins and Johnny Russell stayed on stage for a long time on Saturday nights but in those days it was not at the expense of others and everyone got there share of air time.

    And one more thing. I suppose it makes sense that Fisher would feel more comfortable with someone like Trace. Again, before anyone takes it wrong, I agree that he did a very nice job with Jim Ed. He just seems more comfortable with today's performers. I do think the comment about Trace's manhood was a little over the top. I know he is physically much larger than Fisher but I thought that was a little much!

    Nice to hear what Janice had to say and I agree that the Nashville show seems to be taking over the Opry like spreading mold! I guess if all this is what it take to keep the show alive and relevant then so be it. I don't have to listen but I do and I still enjoy much of it.

    Knightsville, IN

  6. so who was that introducing Martina McBride ???

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    I listened to Ricky Skaggs' segment Saturday and enjoyed the music. But there wasn't enough of it to justify a half hour! The intervals were filled with the usual witless palaver -- which, occurring as it does week after week, must be part of the game plan, a schedule padder, to fill time cheaply.

    I don't care if the subject is cancer survivors or something else that is not germane to what we all turned out for on a Saturday night ... fie on it!

    I made myself smile to think of what a terse, no-nonsense fellow like Bill Monroe would make of this development. I'm thinking either he would ask to be relieved of hosting duty ... or his half-hour segments would last about 12 minutes!

  8. I listened to the segment Sturgill Simpson was on because I had seen him open for Dwight Yoakam a couple months ago and I'd love for Sturgill to do well in the music business. I like that he got two songs. I didn't get why Marty got three songs and Connie and Jim Ed only got one a piece. Was it because Marty hasn't been on for the last couple of months or was it because Pete Fisher wanted it done like that?