Friday, August 16, 2013

Old Crow Medicine Show-Newest Grand Ole Opry Members-Updated

Tonight during their concert in Cleveland, Ohio, Marty Stuart surprised Old Crow Medicine Show and invited them to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Their induction will take place on Tuesday September 17. Wow!! I have already heard from a few folks already. This really is a surprise and in my opinion, and admitting that I am a fan, an outstanding choice.

To give just a little history regarding Old Crow Medicine Show, they formed in 1998 in Harrisonburg, Virginia. While they are described as similar to an old-time string band, their music is actually all over the place, from bluegrass to folk. They have a high energy presence on stage. They were discovered nationally by Doc Watson, the great bluegrass pioneer, in 2000 and since then they have recorded a number of singles and albums. Their most famous song, and what has been adopted as their theme song, is "Wagon Wheel", which Darius Rucker has had great success with. The Old Crow version has sold over 2 million copies and was certified platinum earlier this year. They play a lot of festivals and are very popular with the younger Americana fans and have done a lot of touring with Mumford & Sons, who are one of the biggest acts in American music today. In 2002 they appeared on the televised portion of the Opry on CMT and that was their first national television appearance. They have also been heavily promoted by Marty Stuart.

Old Crow Medicine Show has appeared as guest artists on the Opry since the early 2000's. I saw them on the Opry in December during Marty Stuart's 20th anniversary show as an Opry member and they bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the stage. They were one of the highlights of the night and not only do they play and entertain well, they have fun doing it and involved the audience.

As I mentioned last night, I was very surprised at this news and I think it is a good move by the Opry. Their last several new members have included Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Blake Shelton, so this is definitely a throw-back in the type of music that has been on the Opry. And I think Old Crow Medicine Show is the type of act that will make semi-regular appearances on the Opry and will fulfill the 10 shows per year requirement.

Some have mentioned the fact that if the Opry was going to go in more of a bluegrass direction with their next member that Dailey & Vincent or Rhonda Vincent should have been considered. I do agree with those thoughts. Dailey & Vincent have had great success in the world of bluegrass. They have won many awards and again have been nominated for various IBMA awards that will be given out in September at their annual show. In my thoughts, that would have been a perfect time to extend an invitation to them to join the show. As far as Rhonda Vincent, that is still a mystery. She wants to be an Opry member, plays the Opry on a regular basis, is well received and liked, yet no invitation seems to be coming. Many have thought that perhaps her association with Martha White, a former Opry sponsor, has something to do with it. That I don't know. But Rhonda has said that the Opry has treated her well and she has nothing bad to say about the Opry.

I also thought that the Opry's next member would be a female. Just looking at the numbers, the Opry is low on females, especially the younger ones. What they have among the younger females do not appear on the Opry on a regular basis and the last half dozen or so new members have been males. I still think we will see a new female member at some point, just not sure when.

What Old Crow Medicine Show does bring to the Opry is a connection to another new group of potential fans of the Opry. While not as big of superstars as Blake, Keith or Darius, they do have a huge following in their circles. Whether that will bring more ticket sales to the Opry remains to be seen, but I think it opens up a new potential market for the Opry. And I always find it interesting when and where these invitations take place. I always thought when the invitations are given at the Opry it creates a very special Opry moment. But it is interesting to see the Opry take these special moments on the road. They have done it in the past with Keith Urban and Craig Morgan coming to mind. Nothing wrong with that I just find it interesting how they decide to do the invites.

Again, I am fine with Old Crow Medicine Show becoming members of the Opry. I think their music in general fits the style of the Opry and only time will tell if this was the right decision or not. I wish them luck and congratulations.


  1. I am blown away. They are an awesome choice. I've seen them at the Opry and in concert. As always, here's hoping they will play the Opry as often as they can.

  2. Absolutely great choice. Extremely excited about this.

  3. I like them Byron, but I am shocked as shocked can be. You never know what management is thinking I guess. I look at Rhonda Vincent, Gene Watson, Crystal Gayle, The Grascals, Mandy Barnett, Elizabeth Cook, Daily & Vincent & others and think how much I believe they would be great Opry members. To me those (and others) have "payed their dues" more than OCMS. But I will not complain because I do enjoy the music of OCMS much more than some that have became members under Fischer. Maybe we'll see a 2nd invitation during October or November.

  4. I think it's great, I was at the concert and when Marty walked out I poked my friend and said, "is that Marty Stuart?" he made the announcement and then they did a song together. pretty cool. And OCMS put on a great show, energy, skill, and fun.

  5. We have never seen OCMS; maybe heard them once on the Grand Ole Opry and I find this surprising since we listen most weeks, have been to the GOO many times. Will be interested to read the "Fayfare Summary" of their performances etc. As David B said, there are many others who came to mind before OCMS.

  6. David, I'm with you, but I also think they're a fine choice. I do wonder what Rhonda Vincent has done to offend the management.

  7. It is a mystery to me why Mandy Barnett and Rhonda Vincent are not opry members. Does anyone have an idea why they apparently keep being overlooked to become members of the opry?

  8. Fred, Bismarck:

    Like others, I am blown away by this choice, not least of all because Pete Fisher chose Old Crow over yet another radio act. Do we thank Pete, the influence of Marty Stuart or both?

    Whatever, I do not inspect gift horses. For originality, for energy, for appeal to the younger set while always being country at their roots, Old Crow is, to me, an act I want to see and hear miles ahead of any of the others mentioned here.

    This is an injection of that variety -- variety that is still country -- whose absence many of us have lamented in the modern Opry.

  9. Bruce, there has been speculation in the past that Rhonda Vincent's sponsorship with Martha White has been an issue. Nothing official has ever been said, but that seems to be the word on the street. But it should also be pointed out that Rhonda has said in the past that she enjoys doing the Opry whenever they call and that the folks at the Opry treat her right each time she is there.

    As far as Mandy Barnett, I know she appears on the Opry more than most of the Opry's members but while she is a great talent (and what a voice), she just does not have the career to become an Opry member. I think she is one of those people who the Opry will use to fill out a line-up which seems to be fine with her.

  10. So happy for "Old Crow" on their invitation to become the next Opry members. While I have never seen them in concert, I listen in every time they are on the Opry & they are high energy, play great music & ALWAYS bring the house down!

    I love when the Opry goes "off stage" for these invitations - there's been quite a few now besides OCMS - Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Dr. Ralph Stanley & Craig Morgan that quickly come to mind. They are never expecting it, which makes the invitation all the sweeter.

    Fred, Bismark: In my opinion, influence & then the ok by management. I remember Joe Diffie being interviewed right after his invitation where he stated Marty put in a good word for him. And if I am not mistaken Garth Brooks put in a good word for Martina McBride but Byron, I will defer to you if I am incorrect. This is what I recall though.

    Congratulations once again to Old Crow Medicine Show ....


  11. For those interested, here is the announced Opry line-up from Saturday January 13, 2001, the first night that Old Crow Medicine Show appeared as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry and they were indeed introduced by Marty Stuart.

    1st show
    6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Helen Cornelius; Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Jan Howard; The Whites
    7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Holly Dunn; Jim & Jesse; Clay Davidson; BR5-49; Billy Walker; Andy Griggs; Vince Gill
    8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Elizabeth Cook; Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Del Reeves; Mike Snider; Jack Greene

    2nd show
    9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; The Whites; Vince Gill
    10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Holly Dunn; Wilma Lee Cooper; Clay Davidson
    10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Elizabeth Cook; Charlie Louvin; Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Sqauredance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
    11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jimmy C Newman; BR5-49
    11:30: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Walker; Ray Pillow; Andy Griggs

    Any complaints about this show?

  12. Wow. 24 members, more than three times as many in tonight's two hours. My only complaint would be there still were too many guests, so that several legends got only one slot. But I guess back then, Fisher felt more stuck with them.

    I'd also like to add that I think OCMG is just fine.

  13. re Jan 13, 2001 - OMGosh - the good ole days !!!

  14. Fred, Bismarck:

    What a lineup indeed! They were still doing things the oldfashioned way -- lots of acts, bring 'em on and get 'em off, fast-paced, not so much brainless palaver.

    (I listened for only 35 minutes last night, and heard THREE exhortations of the how-y'll-doin'?, is-everybody-having-a-good-time? variety. These are especially offensive coming from visiting acts, who are not after all the host but guests like the audience itself.)