Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Grand Ole Opry 12/13 & 12/14

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 3 shows this weekend, and in my opinion, all are pretty strong shows as the Opry continues toward the end of the year. There is a mixture of young and old, traditional country and modern, bluegrass and rock. Yes, I said rock as one of the great musical legends from the 1970's and 1980's, Peter Frampton will be at the Opry this weekend. Apparently, Ricky Skaggs was somehow involved in getting him invited to the Opry and we all know that Pete Fisher does like to expand what is being offered on the Opry's stage. While this may seem like an idea out of nowhere, Peter actually lives in Nashville and has been involved with the Nashville music community for a number of years. He even has a "star" on Nashville's Walk of Fame. And with so many others, I would expect that he will be well received at the Opry.

Joining Peter on Saturday night will be Opry member Emmylou Harris, who will be making one of her rare Opry appearances. It is no surprise that Emmylou picks the Ryman for the majority of her appearances as she feels much more comfortable in that building then the Opry House. She will be joined by Rodney Crowell, and no doubt featuring songs from their new album. Also appearing on Saturday night, and this week's star from "Nashville" will be Clare Bowen. She has played the Opry previously, although not as often as some of her co-stars.

The Friday Night Opry will feature another Opry appearance by Carrie Underwood, fresh off her fantastic performance in "Sound of Music." Again, as I have said before, Carrie sets a great example to many of the younger Opry members by actually appearing and supporting the show. If she can find the time to do the Opry, I would think that many of the others could also. She will be joined by The Willis Clan, who lately has been making the Opry their second home. Opry member Joe Diffie will also be appearing, as will frequent Opry guest Mark Wills. And let's not forget Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill, who will be appearing both nights.

Friday December 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Henningsens; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mark Wills; Kree Harrison & Janelle Arthur
8:15: John Conlee (host); Joe Diffie
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Willis Clan; Carrie Underwood

Saturday December 14
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Mindy Smith
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Peter Frampton; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Emmylou Harris (host); Rodney Crowell; Clare Bowen

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Clare Bowen
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Mindy Smith
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Peter Frampton; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Emmylou Harris (host); Rodney Crowell; Vince Gill

That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night, with 8 members on the 1st Saturday show and 7 on the 2nd.

Now for this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history. It was on Friday December 15, 1978 that Opry member Bob Luman made his final Opry appearance. When Bob joined the Opry in June 1965, he brought a "rockabilly" sound to the show of which not everyone thought was a good idea. Roy Acuff, among others, was very vocal about it. But the Opry fans loved Bob and always gave him a good ovation.

Bob was born on April 15, 1937 in Texas, which is where he grew up. After attending an Elvis Presley concert in 1955, he decided that was the music he wanted to play. He won a Future Farmers of America Talent contest that led to an invitation to perform on the Louisiana Hayride, to replace Johnny Cash, who had left the show. He was signed by Imperial Records in 1957 with his band at the time consisting of James Burton, James Kirkland and Bruce White, all classic musicians. He moved on to California and became a regular on Town Hall Party. It was there that Ricky Nelson heard Bob's band and hired them away from Bob.

Bob moved to Capital Records and then on to Warner Brothers. The Everly Brothers suggested a song for Bob, "Let's Think About Living", which became his top career single, charting at #7 on the pop charts and #9 on the country charts. However, right after recording the song he entered the Army and was unable to follow up on the success of the record.

In 1964 he moved to Nashville and shortly after, joined the Grand Ole Opry in what became a long-lasting but not always comfortable association with the program. Roy Acuff once remarked, "That boy can't decide if he's colored or white." (That was one of the nicer things Roy said).

Between 1964 and his death in 1978, he placed 38 singles on the country charts, most for Hickory, Epic and Polydor Records, but only 4 made the Top 10, the highest being "Lonely Women Make Good Lovers." Sadly, Bob passed away in 1978 at the age of 41, much too young.

While I do not have the Opry line-up from Bob's final show on Friday December 15, I do have the Opry line-up from Bob Luman's final Saturday night Grand Ole Opry appearance, which was on December 2, 1978, several weeks prior. Here is that line-up:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
David Houston: Best Friends Make The Worst Enemies
Charlie Walker: Lucille

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): A Used-To-Be
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Cimarron
Bill Monroe: The Old Cross Road Is Waiting

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Wilma Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Wilburn Brothers: Mama's Shoe Box
Charlie Louvin: Hey Daddy
Tonya: You Make Everyday Feel Like Sunday/Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Feed You Now

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central #9/Sunshine Special
Jan Howard: I'll Remember The Good
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Herman Crook: Amazing Grace
Roy Acuff: Cabin In Gloryland

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): Are You From Dixie
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now
Bob Luman: Let Me Make The Bright Lights Shine For You/The Pay Phone Call
Jim & Jesse: Ashes Of Love
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: Mount Laurel

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Ray Pillow: Texas
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Hank Snow: Ramblin' Rose

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling
Charlie Walker: T For Texas
David Houston: Best Friends Make The Worst Enemies
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Vic Willis & Curtis Young: Shenandoah
Stu Phillips: Come Sundown
Bill Monroe: Cryin' Holy Unto The Lord

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Wilburn Brothers: What A Way To Go
Charlie Louvin: When I Was Your Man
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Billy Grammer: Faded Love
Jan Howard: It's A Heartache
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Roy Acuff: Jesus Will Outshine Them All

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Old Dan Tucker
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With The Way That We're Doing It Now
Grandpa Jones: Falling Leaves

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bob Luman (host): Good Hearted Woman
Del Wood: Keep On The Firing Line
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: (?)
Bob Luman: A Satisfied Mind

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Rhumba Boogie
Ray Pillow: Dreams Of A Dreamer/Another Day, Another Dollar
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Jim & Jesse: The Voice Of My Darling
Kirk McGee: Chittlin Cooking Time in Cheatham County
Hank Snow: Hobo Bill's Last Ride

11:30: Acme
4 Guys (host): Let Your Love Flow/Catfish John
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane/I Was On My Way To The Show
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin/Waterloo

On a final note, Garth Brooks announced this week that he is going on a 3 year world tour starting in 2014. Do you think anywhere in that tour he will find time to stop at the Opry? Actually if I was a betting man, I would say yes and my best guess would be October 2015. Why you ask? Because that is Garth's 25th year as an Opry member and the Opry's 90th birthday. I would think the odds are in favor of us seeing Garth then.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thanks Byron. I'm looking forward to listening to Ricky and Emmylou this weekend, but I've developed a problem reaching WSM online. Maybe a knowledgeable fayfarer can help me out.

    This is how I've always done it:

    Go to, click on 'tune in.' This brings up a new page on which I scroll down and click on 'click here to listen to a live on-line stream.'

    Now this procedure, instead of giving me the live programming, brings up a third page, 'WSM Live Stream' ... on which nothing happens, no matter where I click. It seems to me they've changed the ball game ... or is the problem me?

    I've tried approaching the problem from the WSM website, but end up on the same deadend 'WSM Live Stream' page.

    Any help would surely be appreciated.

  2. Fred, I tried replying earlier and I think it didn't go through. Anyway, put this in your browser: That may work.

  3. With Tater's bday next Thursday, I wonder if there will be any mention of it. I would love to think the John Conlee/Joe Diffie slot might have a little wiggle room, but I don't really see them bringing him out during an 8 o'clock segment. Cody is certainly aware of it, as he brought it up twice at the George Jones tribute.

  4. Fred: Chances are you just need to download the media player that WSM is using. A couple of years ago they changed their streaming service and they've probably upgraded again. The link that Michael provided should get you what you need.

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    Thank you, Michael and Barry; between you, you fixed me up. Turns out I only had to follow directions and download the latest Adobe Flash Player -- which immediately gave me Wayon doing "Ain't Livin' Long." A little more company than I needed at 7 a.m., but I wasn't quibbling!

    Nice to have such knowledgeable backup! Thanks, fellows.

  6. Carrie Underwood has been getting roasted by the critics for her performance in the Sound of Music.
    Apparently she's not as good an actress as Julie Andrews (Imagine that!) A great response by the 'Opry crowd will be just what she needs to pep her up. Go crazy, fans! This is OUR Carrie they're pickin' on, and she's faithful to the 'Opry. Now is the time for us to be faithful to her..
    ps. the sound of the "new" WSM online is fantastic.

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    Just heard from my daughter, who used to be in radio, that Ray Price has begun hospice care for his pancreatic cancer.

  8. FYI. Peter Frampton appeared on Ricky Skaggs's 2010 album, "Mosaic," and also performed with him last month when Ricky Skaggs was served as the 2013 Artist-in-Residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  9. Fred, Ray Price's Facebook page included a message from him to his fans, about how he has had a great life and thanks them for everything--I hate to have to put it this way, but a very graceful exit.

  10. It looks like Peter Frampton is only doing the 1st show on Saturday night. I guess the "rockers" are not used to doing 2 shows a night. Also, the slot is till open on Friday. There is some speculation that Jimmy Dickens might make an appearance since his 93th birthday is on the 19th. Will have to see about that one. I can't image just Joe Diffie as the only guest for that segment.

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Gee, instead of Ricky and Peter Frampton, and Emmylou and Rodney Crowell, wouldn't it be nice to see and hear Ricky and Emmylou together again? (A thought inspired by my seasonal spinning of Emmylou's "Light of the Stable" album.) Of course, one can't rule out such a reasonable thing actually happening. Surprise us, please!

  12. It's Joe Diffie's 20th anniversary of being an Opry member according to his Twitter. Did Tater induct him back in 1993??


  13. Joe Diffie is a month late celebrating his 20th anniversary as he joined the Opry on November 27, 1993. He was inducted by Porter Wagoner during the televised portion on TNN that night.

    Oh, and it would appear that Brad Paisley is the special unannounced guest at the Opry tonight.

  14. Actually, Porter Wagoner did the honors.

  15. For those who listened to the Friday Night Opry it was a fantastic show. Listening on the web, it sounded like the crowd was loud and really into it. They recognized Joe Diffie for 20 years of Opry membership, with Pete Fisher doing the honors. Joe ended up being the only guest that segment. Ricky Skaggs did "Christmas Time's 'A Coming", as is usual for him in December and Vince Gill also closed with a Christmas number. In fact, all of the artists were great.

    That brings me to Carrie Underwood. She closed her portion of the show with "How Great Thou Art" and it was s stirring rendition of the gospel number, perhaps one of the best I have ever heard. Vince was right when he said that this was a special Opry moment and that it was a special night at the Opry.

  16. Brad Paisley showed up Friday night to help Carrie sing her son "Remind me."
    Carrie helped Joe Diffie sing John Deere Green. Said she was a ten year old again.
    Opry moments at their finest.
    And, the crowd did their best to welcome Carrie back to her true home, the Grand Old 'Opry.
    "Welcome back to Nashville, Carrie, we love you" (to steal a quote from Brad Paisley)
    I LOVE the 'Opry.

  17. For those who listened last night, Peter Frampton was nothing short of incredible. I think he received 3 standing ovations. As for the rest of the show, it again was one of the best. Ricky Skaggs made a couple of comments to Jean Shepard about her fall last week and Jean turned it into a joke, saying several people had requested that she sing, "Please Help Me I'm Falling." Jesse McReynolds made it back after missing his last couple of shows and he acknowledged that it felt good to be back. Jim Ed Brown and Connie Smith were both very good, as was Mindy Smith, who in my mind sounds a lot like Emmylou. And speaking of Emmylou, she had a busy day yesterday, as in addition to the Opry she was involved in the pet adoption day in Nashville, riding in the parade and then performing among other songs, "Detroit City" with Bobby Bare.

    I know a few others have commented on the WSM stream. Last night was again frustrating. I don't know who else had issues, but it seemed to reach the real problem stage right after Peter Frampton finished and when the Square Dancers were performing. The issues continued on with Ricky's final number and carried on from there. (Not to forget, but Ricky did dedicate his opening song to Ray Price.)
    I listen on my tablet, but I have also had the issues on my I-Pod. You would think they could get this fixed.

  18. I was able to hear most of the first show before a Christmas party intervened. I didn't have streaming issues at all. I have a Mac--does that make a difference? We Mac users tend to know we are superior, but still ....

    Jean was funny, indeed, and for Jesse not only to be back but to do a classical number was terrific. Jimmy C. was in fine fettle, and I think Connie has been on a "Cincinnati, Ohio" kick lately. It was nice to hear that from Ricky. About that time, Ray Price's son posted that his father is, for lack of a better way to put it, sinking fast.

  19. I listen on my phone and thought it was my connection problem with at&t when i never could get on to hear the 2nd show. I only tuned in for the first show.

  20. Just read that former Opry Member Ray Price has passed away. What a class act he was.

    1. @David B - I am on FB with Ray Price's wife, Janie - she & her son both have posted that while Ray is fading fast he is still alive & that Bill Mack will make the official announcement of Ray's passing when the time comes, which I would think would be before the end of tonight. I was raised on Ray's music. He will be leaving behind a major body of work that will go on forever. Many of these veteran country singers are timeless .... unless he won't be on the air, I am thinking Eddie Stubbs will have an entire evening this week celebrating & honoring the life & music of Ray Price.


  21. Emmylou (with Rodney Crowelll) also dedicated "Invitation to the Blues" to Ray Price.

  22. Listening to WSM and as of about 1pm ET Ray was still with us.

    Knightsville, IN

  23. Byron, as you know, I was at the show Saturday night and Frampton was incredible. The place was electric when he was on stage. So glad I went down on the spur of the moment to see the show. Glad he sang his two biggest songs and kudos to Ricky Skaggs and his band for doing an awesome job in playing for Frampton. He did receive 3 standing ovations. What you kind of miss on the radio and can only see if your there in person was his work on the guitar visually. Awesome. BTW, I don't know if it was mentioned, but Frampton did play the second show after all and repeated the same songs and again got standing O's although by then I was on my way back to Indiana.