Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 9/13 & 9/14

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, I just have a couple of thoughts and opinions to throw out there.

First, there has been a lot of comment, both on and off the blog, regarding Jimmy Dickens and his performance last Friday night. It would seem to many that we was a little confused, was in poor voice, and had somebody directing him on what to say and when it was time to leave. Like others, I really don't know what to make of it. He did not appear on Saturday night, although it appeared that they left a slot open for him, and based on this week's schedule, he is not going to appear. We all know Jimmy has had a tough year with his health and it may be that his age has finally caught up with him. I continue to give him credit for trying. As I have mentioned before, I hate to see any entertainer decline, but like many sport stars, they love it so much they want to keep going. I just hope when the time comes that it is Jimmy's decision when to retire and not someone else's.

Secondly, on Tuesday night Old Crow Medicine Show will become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. While certainly a surprise, I still think it is a good choice and I hope that they will be good, loyal Opry members. They bring a different sound to the Opry and their string band sound is more traditional in it's roots than what we hear on the radio today. On various websites and facebook pages, many are blasting Pete Fisher and the Opry's management for giving the invitation to Old Crow. Even more surprising, and it should not be, many of those complaining are admitting that they have not heard of Old Crow or have listened to any of their music. Personally, I own a couple of their records and I enjoy them. For those who do not like this decision, I say give them a chance.

My only complaint on their induction is that it is taking place on a Tuesday night. I would prefer to see the Opry do all of their inductions on Saturday, which is the traditional night for the Opry. Back in the day, Saturday was "the show". The Friday Night Opry was considered as less important and there were no mid-week shows. Heck for many years, many of the Opry's main members did not do the Friday Night Opry. By having some of their major stars or events on Tuesday night instead of Saturday, I think the Opry's management just continues to deemphasize the Saturday night show.

Finally, we are now just about 3 weeks away from the birthday weekend, as I write this all we have to show for it so far is Kathy Mattea on Friday night and Tate Stevens on Saturday. Obviously, that is not going to cut it. This is the latest I can remember the Opry holding off on any birthday announcement. Either they have something really big planned and are going to make the huge announcement, or they truly are having a problem this year. The birthday weekend, or the old DJ Convention that it used to be called, was the biggest Opry show of the year. Now, it just seems like another Saturday night. I am not ready to give up on the birthday weekend yet, but I am beginning to wonder.

As far as the Opry this weekend, the shows do not look too bad. The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artists T.G. Sheppard, Mandy Barnett and The Grascals, all of whom have done the Opry numerous times. Marshall Chapman will be making her 2nd Opry appearance, after first appearing on the Opry last month. Also appearing on Friday night will be Opry member Steve Wariner, who will be promoting his new CD, and Connie Smith, who for the 2nd week in a row will be hosting a segment.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature guest Crystal Gayle, who many think would make a great Opry member. She will be joined by guest artists Chuck Wicks, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and Sara Haze. Steve Wariner will follow up his appearance on Friday night with a Saturday Opry show, along with Opry member George Hamilton IV.

Friday September 13:
7:00: The Whites (host); Jamie O'Neal; Aaron Lewis
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Kalisa Ewing; T.G. Sheppard
8:15: Steve Wariner (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Marshall Chapman
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Mandy Barnett; The Grascals

Saturday September 14:
7:00: The Whites (host); Greg Bates; Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper
8:15: Steve Wariner (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sara Haze; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Chuck Wicks; Crystal Gayle

For those keeping track, that is just 5 Opry members on Friday night and 7 Opry members on Saturday night, 3 of whom will be in the 1st segment.

As mentioned, on Tuesday September 17, Old Crow Medicine Show will become the newest members of the Opry. Here is the line-up for that show:

7:00: Diamond Rio; Eric Pasley
7:30: Dustin Lynch; Dierks Bentley
8:15: Del McCoury Band; Hunter Hayes
8:45: Old Crow Medicine Show

No idea who will do the actual induction. The only name standing out from Tuesday night is Dierks Bentley, but I would think the Opry could do better. Marty Stuart is the one that stands out as he has been one of Old Crow's biggest boosters. While not scheduled at the Opry, he is free that night so he is a possibility. But it looks like none of the Opry's veterans will be there to welcome Old Crow to the Opry.

As far as this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I go to Saturday September 18, 1965. While it is listed in the Grand Ole Opry's Picture History Book that Connie Smith joined the Opry on June 13, 1965, from what I can determine, it was actually the September 18th date that Connie made her 1st appearance as an Opry member. (What is interesting is that June 15th, the date given by the Opry is actually a Sunday and nobody joined the Opry on Sunday's). Connie has had an interesting history at the Opry. Within a few years of joining the Opry, she was let go for not appearing the required 26 weeks. She came back in the 1971, and Opry management reportedly had to give her a warning for giving religious testimony while performing on the show. Either way, today Connie is one of the Opry's more loyal and popular members. And of course, she has that wonderful voice.

Here is the Opry line-up and show running order from Saturday September 18, 1965:

7:30: Luzianne
Leroy Van Dyke (host): Auctioneer
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Connie Smith: Then and Only Then
The Auctioneers" Remington Ride
Leroy Van Dyke: Just A State of Mind
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale That the Crow Told Me
Connie Smith: The Hinges on the Door
The Auctioneers: Old Joe Clark
Leroy Van Dyke: It's All About Your Baby Blues

8:00: Martha White
Roy Drusky (host): Strangers
Jim & Jesse: Memphis
Merle Kilgore: Tiger Woman
Allen Shelton: Bending the Strings
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Crook Brothers: (?) Instrumental
Jim & Jesse: I Wish You Knew
Merle Kilgore: Ring of Fire
Jerry Whitehurst: Java
Roy Drusky: White Lightening Express

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Gathering Flowers From the Hillside/Freight Train Blues
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Onie Wheeler: Hang My Britches Up
Brother Oswald: Worry, Worry Blues
Roy Acuff: The Great Judgement Morning
Jimmy Riddle & Howdy Forrester: Jessup Polka

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Lots of Luck
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
Loretta Lynn & Teddy Wilburn: The Race is On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Ernest Tubb: A Memory (That's All You'll Ever Be To Me)
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
Jack Greene: Ever Since My Baby Went Away
Loretta Lynn: The Home You're Tearing Down
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: Our Hearts are Holding Hands

9:30: Kelloggs
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Pinball Anonymous
Hank Locklin: Wild Side of Life
Marion Worth: (?)
Hank Snow: Tears in the Trade Winds
The Blue Boys: I Hear Little Rock Calling
Willis Brothers: A Satisfied Mind
Hank Snow: My Memories of You

10:00: Schick
Leroy Van Dyke (host): Walk on By
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
The Auctioneers: Sweet Georgia Brown
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Leroy Van Dyke: It's All Over Now, Baby Blue

10:15: Mary Carter
Roy Acuff (host): Tennessee Central #9
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Harold Weakley: Where No One Stands Alone
Jimmy Riddle & Onie Wheeler: Fox Chase

10:30: Harveys
Jim & Jesse (host): I Like the Old Time Working of the Lord
Connie Smith: If I Talk to Him
Jim & Jesse: Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Allen Shelton: Cripple Creek

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): Filipino Baby
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Cal Smith: Oklahoma Hills
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Harold Morrison: I'm A Bluebird
Loretta Lynn: Blue Kentucky Girl
Hank Snow: The Queen of Draw Polka Town
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
Loretta Lynn: When Lonely Hits Your Heart
Chubby Wise: Lee Highways Blues

11:30: Lava
Hank Locklin (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Willis Brothers: A 6 ft by 4
Marion Worth: I'm Picking Up the Pieces of Your Heart
Archie Campbell: Most Richly Blessed
Hank Locklin: Flying South
Merle Kilgore: Wolverton Mountain
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Marion Worth: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy

Enjoy this weekend's Opry!!!!!


  1. It's interesting how I read over that 1965 lineup and thought, it looks thin. I counted 15 members but a lot of band members--The Smoky Mountain Boys, of course, but also Harold Morrison and Jack Greene, with Jerry Whitehurst from the Opry staff band getting a shot. Compared with today ....

    I didn't hear last Saturday night's show and so I don't know what to say about what did or didn't happen with The Potato. I do know that at the end, Jack Greene had to be led on and off the stage, due apparently to his declining vision. Maybe the Alzheimer's, which he had had for a while, had an effect before he finally had to quit, but he always seemed to nail his songs.

    As for the Old Crow Medicine Show, the issue for me is always whether the new act shows a proper respect for the Opry, meaning they show up and do their duty. I'm not a huge Carrie Underwood fan--I can take her or leave her--but I respect the fact that she clearly respects the Opry, so, no criticism here. I think the world of Brad Paisley's talent, but I'm getting fed up with him not showing up regularly (and to show it isn't limited to the youth, hello, Dolly Parton).

  2. Even before reading Michael's comment above, I was going to ask about Brad Paisley. I'm a huge fan of his, and have made two trips from Ohio to the Opry in the past 6 months with hopes that since he was off tour those weeks that he would be added to the schedule, but no luck. Previously, Brad was a frequent visitor and huge supporter of the Opry, and I'm wondering if there is any insight into what is keeping him away?

    The artists that I keep wondering why they aren't members yet are Joey + Rory. They are county music, and would be a great addition to the Opry membership, but I can't understand why they haven't been asked yet.


  3. The Grascals were GREAT tonight - should be members !!!! Didn't hear The Whites two guests; Connie's guest, Kalisa could have stayed home. Rest of the evening was really good. Love Steve Wariner.

  4. I have given up making any sense of who is a member and who isn't.
    Heard Mandy Barnett again tonight on the 'Opry and continue to wonder how somebody like her can be asked time and time and time again to appear, yet never be asked to join.
    I simply give up ever trying to make any sense out of so many different artists and their situation with the 'Opry.

  5. I have no personal knowledge on why Brad Paisley doesn't do the Opry much. I would assume that he would say that his career has taken off so much and he is so busy touring and doing other things that he has simply outgrown the Opry. But at the same time, he will say how important the Opry has been to his career and how honored he is to be an Opry member.

    He is not the only one. There are others who played the Opry dozens and dozens of times before they became members, or before they had hit records and once their careers took off, their Opry appearances dropped. Lorrie Morgan could be considered a poster child for that group. She joined in 1984 and made 79 shows that year. In 1985, she appeared 120 times, and then 116 in 1986. By 1991 she was down to 5. Josh Turner is another who did the Opry many times prior to joining and once joining, his appearances dropped. Dolly Parton, Reba....the list goes on.

    I am sure the lack of television has attributed to that. Back in the TNN/CMT/GAC Opry days, the televised portion of the Opry was one of the few areas that offered national exposure to the artists and the Opry always used the scheduling of the televised portion as a carrot to get some of the bigger names to show up.

    I was thinking that Old Crow Medicine Show will probably be different just in the fact that they have not played the Opry that many times prior to becoming members. If they just maintain what they have been doing, they will end up around the 10 mark. And quite honestly, if each of the Opry's members would show up the 10 times per year being asked for, the Opry would be an awesome show each week.

    Regarding the scheduling of non-members more frequently than members, such as The Grascals, Mandy Barnett and Jimmy Wayne, I am sure there are financial reasons for doing this as members do receive some benefits for joining. And I think Pete Fisher has a "go-to" list when he needs to fill out a line-up. It is just too bad that there seem to be no Opry members on that list.

  6. Byron, Bill Cody had Steve Wariner in-studio a few days ago. He played a few cuts off of Steve's new album "It Ain't All Bad" - I really liked what I heard. I am a big fan of Steve & his music. He is a VERY cool guy - I met him close to 20 years ago, got in a picture with him that he later autographed, which is framed & sitting close-by. I asked him if he would tell the crowd of how he got hired by Dottie West - he actually thanked me for asking about her & went on for quite some time about how he met her & became a band member. I could tell the love he had for her - both Steve & Larry Gatlin tell all sorts of Dottie West stories. Anyway, towards the end of the interview, Bill asked Steve about the Opry's upcoming birthday celebration. Not much was said other than Steve is going to be the "backdrop" to it all with no mention about other Opry members or guests. I went to a couple of Opry/WSM birthday parties - I have a beautiful 75th birthday party "on the rocks" type glass that I bought at the Opry gift shop that I have on display. I don't get to Nashville as much as I once did (attending eight straight years of Fan Fair) but I am hoping to get down there before the end of the year as I would like to get to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Bakersfield exhibit which closes on December 31st.

    I am happy for Old Crow's induction Tuesday - unfortunately, I will not be able to listen to the show. I haven't missed an induction in 20 years until now. Though by Wednesday the video of the induction, will be posted on various sites. I have attended three inductions - Trace Adkins, Josh Turner & Carrie Underwood (which wasn't exactly my idea, since I am not a major fan of hers, let's just say this trip involved a then teen-ager!! ha!) They are fun, unassuming, laid back, nothing gets out of hand. Personally, I would like to see whoever is inducted should be able to do 15-30 minutes of their music but that's not the case.

    Byron, as far as who may induct Old Crow - like you I thought Marty Stuart would induct them but according to his website he will be out on the road - but close enough to Nashville that he would be able to take a quick flight in, perform the induction & fly back out - but here's a thought I had - since Old Crow is a string band - who REALLY better to do the induction aside from Marty - Mike Snider, however, he's not on the line-up either, so it will be interesting to see who gets the honor of inducting Old Crow. Sorry to read all those who are blasting Pete Fisher & Opry management for choosing Old Crow. I fully understand it, we all want to see our favorites become members - so many won't & we scratch our heads at the ones who have never been invited - i.e. Gene Watson & Mandy Barnett. I just think be happy for those who become members. For those who want to get to know who Old Crow is & the type of music they play, just pick up an album by them or listen online to some of their music - YouTube videos are out there -many different avenues to take if someone really wants to get to know their music vs. someone who wants to gripe about something. I know we can all agree, they just need to show up after the induction - for whatever the reason(s) that remains the mystery.

    Listened to the Opry last night - I really think Connie Smith does a great job of hosting duties. She seems very comfortable on stage & takes the time to speak to her guests as she did with Kalisa Ewing, much like Jim Ed Brown, that's a nice thing to do. Love listening to everyone, especially, Connie Steve, T.G. & The Grascals??? WOW, they were GREAT as always - a very good show. Maybe somewhere down the road they will become members.

    Enjoy your weekend everyone,


  7. GREAT show Saturday night; Bill Anderson "rocked the house" with his tribute song to Roy Acuff - have always loved that song. Jesse McReynolds' song was great; wish he could have done another. I still don't understand why the newbies/guests get two songs and the Opry members who are not hosts only get one. If the show were at the original timeframe they could; but it will never go back to that; they get more of our $$$$ for less show. Sharon White really needs to TONE IT DOWN, what was with the shouting; Cheryl isn't quite as bad but it almost seems like they are "trying too hard".

  8. I had to be out, but I gather then that Bill did "I Wonder If God Likes Country Music." There's a clip on You Tube from TNN's Opry Live with Mr. Acuff doing it with him. I've thought in recent years that perhaps he should do it with The Potato.

  9. This is a little early to post since we still have no details on the Grand Ole Opry Anniversary shows; however, if you will be "in town", keep in mind that Disney on Ice is at the Bridgestone so that impacts parking BIG TIME for the Thursday Country Classic at the Ryman, Hall of Fame, and places on Broadway. Also, Vanderbilt plays on Saturday and the Titans play at home on Sunday.

  10. I didn't hear Saturday's Opry either, so I assume also that Whispering Bill sang "I Wonder If God Likes Country Music". That would be cool if Jimmy Dickens would perform it with him, as Tater is the oldest country artist still performing. I don't know who Bill sang it with last night, but I have seen him do it with John Conlee singing the Acuff part. That is kind of strange, since John is a decade younger than Bill! Perhaps Bill should take over the "old man's" part, and a younger singer can sing Bill's part?

  11. Bill's bass player did the song with him and did an excellent job; sorry but with Jimmy Dickens voice the way it is, can't get that one in my head

  12. One thing I will say regarding downtown parking. I usually will park up the hill, north of the Ryman up toward the Library. Sometimes you can find a spot for as low as $5 and no more than $10. And you can easily get out and back toward 65, headed toward the Opryland area. Some of the lots charge up to $25 the closer you get to the Arena and the Ryman. I will say the free parking at Opry Mills is one of the advantages of the Opry House.

  13. Fred, Bismarck:

    Anon, the old guy's voice being shot is even part of the lyric, so Jim -- and any number of other Opry oldtimers -- could do it!

  14. Based on that theory, I know who'd be perfect: me!

  15. It was great the way Bill Anderson set up the song Saturday night. Seems like that is the most Roy Acuff has been talked about on the Opry since the stamp unvieling several years ago. James Freeze does a nice job even though it is not as authentic as the older person doing it. I was also surprised at the crowds approval. It usually goes over well but not as much as this past weekend.

    I can't remember the last time Jesse did Blue Ridge Mountain Sunset. It was really nice to hear him do it but it was one of those times that I set there all choked hearing Jim singing with him. That was one of the later songs they recorded before Jim became ill. I love Jesse but boy they were good together. And I can still hear Porter following them up saying "Jim, your the finest tenor singer they(Porter's word)is"

    Knightsville, IN

  16. I think the reason Bill's song went over so well is because each person there could fill in their own name, be it George Jones, Jack Greene or whoever they choose to see in their mind.

    Powerful song, that's for sure. Paints a great picture.

    I have heard that years ago, when Roy got done singing the song, Bill and Roy got a standing ovation. Roy's sight was terrible, and when Bill told him "They're standing Roy," his response was "They ain't leavin' are they?"

  17. Nat, Ol' Whisper said that the ritual was, he would go to Mr. Acuff's dressing room and ask if they could do "our" song. Mr. Acuff always would say that Bill should do one of his own. Bill would reply that it was a great song and they both could enjoy it, or something like that. I've said this here before, but Bill tells an incredibly moving story about it. He was to be on Mr. Acuff's segment one Saturday night and Hal Durham told him to be ready to host, that Mr. Acuff had been in and out of the hospital and wouldn't make it that night. Bill was offstage to go on at 8:00 when he heard a commotion, turned, and here came Mr. Acuff, with his band members virtually carrying him. So Bill would be on his segment after all. When he got onstage he told him he wanted to do their song and went into it, realizing it probably would be the last time they would do it. And it was. It was Mr. Acuff's last Saturday night at the Opry.

  18. Michael;

    What a wonderful story!
    Thanks for sharing it.
    Is the story I heard and repeated above true?

  19. Nat, I wouldn't be in the least bit surprised if that story is true. It sounds like something Mr. Acuff would have said.

    I should add, Bill included a picture in his book of the performance and that usually, Mr. Acuff would hold his hand up when he would sing, "Will he make my fingers nimble, like they used to be?" and that that night, he was too sick and tired even to do that, and he did the song sitting on a stool.

  20. Jimmy Dickens made it on the Tuesday Night Opry tonight. Sorry to say, so did Hunter Hayes!!

    1. I have to agree with you on both of those counts! It was so good to hear Little Jimmy, and it brought tears to my eyes to hear him.
      Enjoying Old Crow Medicine Show too. I decided to not search out their videos on YouTube, but to listen tonight for the Opry effect. I can understand why they are a good fit with the Opry after listening to them.


  21. Janice, I agree. Old Crow Medicine Show is nailing it tonight. What energy. You can feel it through the radio.

  22. Yes, Marty Stuart did show up to do the official induction of Old Crow Medicine Show, along with Dierks Bentley. While I know many of you have your differences with Pete Fisher, he did his usual good job in doing the introduction.

  23. I wasn't able to listen. Did The Potato perform and if so, what did he do? How did he sound? A photo came up on Facebook of him with Old Crow, and he looked good.

    1. Tater didn't sing, but he spoke. His voice sounded stressed. He talked about the appreciation for the fans for their prayers and support during his health battle.

  24. I will say this about last night: "When was the last time you heard anyone mention George D. Hay, Uncle Dave Macon, Roy Acuff, The Fruit Jar Drinkers and String Bands on the stage of the Opry?" It really was a great segment with Old Crow and I hope that they will visit the Opry often.

  25. Wow. I really am sorry I missed it.

    Trivially speaking, one member of the Crook Brothers still performs on the Opry. Earl White was the last fiddler for the group.

  26. As always Mike, you are correct!!!

  27. If you type in "A message from Little Jimmy Dickens" you will find a You Tube video of Eddie talking with Jimmy at the edge of the stage on the Tuesday Opry. Although Jimmy sounds rough I thought he looked very good considering what he has been dealing with.

  28. Byron, I wish I WERE correct that often!