Before getting into this week's Opry line-ups, which are pretty good, next week is the Grand Ole Opry's 88th birthday bash and at this point, it continues to look pretty disappointing. Nothing has been added or posted to the upcoming schedule in the past week. At this point, all that is announced is TG Sheppard for the Classics Show on Thursday night, Kathy Mattea on Friday night and Tate Stevens, Casey James and Sarah Darling for Saturday night, along with Steve Wariner for the birthday concert. What makes me really wonder is the fact that there has been very little buzz from the Opry regarding the birthday weekend. By this point each year, we have a very good idea who the big names are going to be and what to look forward to. Either they are still trying to figure things out and get commitments from people, or this is all we are going to get. I know that besides myself, there are people checking each day to see if anything new has been added. We can still hope. Either way, I still plan on going and keeping my streak alive.
As far as the Opry shows this weekend, the line-ups are very solid with some good quality talent on both nights. One of the newest Opry members, Darius Rucker will be on the Friday night Opry and he will be joined by Opry members Marty Stuart, Joe Diffie, Craig Morgan, Mel Tillis and Ralph Stanley, who continues on his farewell tour as he has announced that this will be his final year of touring. As far as guest artists on Friday night, the name that sticks out is former Opry member Leroy Van Dyke. Leroy was an Opry member in the early 1960's and he still continues to visit the Opry each year. He still looks and sounds great and I am looking forward to hearing him again.
Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will feature guest artists John Anderson and The Black Lillies, along with another night of Mel Tillis and Opry member Ricky Skaggs. I am somewhat surprised that Mel is not hosting a segment either night, as he usually will when he is on the Opry and I think he does a nice job hosting. He would be a nice break over Jeannie Seely, who is hosting both nights.
Friday September 27:
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Lauren Alaina; Connie Smith
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Joe Diffie; Amos Lee
8:15: Craig Morgan (host); Leroy Van Dyke; Mel Tillis
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Ralph Stanley; Darius Rucker
Saturday September 28:
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; John Anderson
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; The Black Lillies; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mel Tillis
Baillie & the Boys, who had their string of hits, will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree after the Opry, and as you have noticed, there doesn't appear to be a slot set aside for Jimmy Dickens this week. Of the 12 artists on each show, 9 are Opry members.
Next week we go into the month of October and each year the month has featured the Grand Ole Opry birthday bash, before that known as the DJ convention. Starting on Sunday with my Opry October historical notes, I will be posting on an almost daily basis, many of the line-ups from past Opry Birthday shows, which in the early days were highlighted by the annual Disc Jockey conventions. I think many of you will enjoy seeing how in the days of the DJ festivities, just about every Opry member would be there as the conventions were considered one of the most important events on the calendar. It was a chance to meet their friends in Nashville that they would see while out on the road, and to promote records and their careers. I hope you will enjoy those looks back.