Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/28 & 3/1

There is lots happening at the Grand Ole Opry this weekend and the biggest news is the 50th anniversary of Jesse McReynolds as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jesse, along with his late brother Jim, joined the Opry on March 2, 1964.

Jesse McReynolds will be recognized for his 50 years of Opry membership on Saturday night. Joining Jesse on Saturday night will be Opry members Rascal Flatts, along with Lorrie Morgan and Ralph Stanley, both of whom will also be appearing Friday night. It is nice to see Ralph back on the Opry. Earlier this week, he celebrated his 87th birthday and is still touring and making music. And what is an Opry show without an act making their Opry debut or someone from "Nashville." The new act is Old Dominion, while Charles Esten is the "Nashville" star.

In addition to Lorrie and Ralph, the Friday Night Opry will feature a guest appearance by Sara Evans. Sara usually plays the Opry once each year and this time around she is supporting a new CD. Also appearing on Friday night, and making his first Opry appearance will be Mac MCAnally, who is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Finally, I want to note that on March 2, The Whites will be celebrating 30 years of Opry membership. They are scheduled both nights and at this point, I don't know if there is anything planned for them. There is an opening on the Friday night schedule, which perhaps could be for them, another act, or leaving it open for Jimmy Dickens. We shall see.

Friday February 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Henningsens; Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: The Whites (host); Ralph Stanley
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mac McAnally
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Sara Evans

Saturday March 1
7:00: The Whites (host); Sarah Darling; Ralph Stanley
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Old Dominion; Jesse McReynolds
8:15: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jimmy C Newman; Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Rascal Flatts

Interesting that of the veterans, Jimmy C Newman gets both nights this week. And, if you haven't noticed, the Opry has continued the trend of going with just one guest in the final segment, when it is a bigger named artist.

Jim & Jesse grew up near Coeburn, Virginia. In 1952 they made their debut on Capital Records. Among their hits was the Top 20 country hit "Diesel on My Tail," along with "The Flame of Love," "Cotton Mill Man," and "Paradise," "Better Times A-Coming," "Ballad of Thunder Road," "Freight Train," and "North Wind." In 1993 Jim and Jesse were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Assocation's Hall of Honor. After the death of Jim, Jesse has continued to be very active in both recording and road appearances with his Virginia Boys.

The first night that Jim & Jesse performed on the Opry as members was Saturday March 7, 1964, which was also the first night that Ernie Ashworth was introduced as a new member of the Opry. Here is the line-up from that night, Saturday March 7, 1964:

7:30: Luzianne
Jimmy Newman (host); Wilburn Brothers; Marion Worth; Stringbean; Del Wood; Merle Kilgore
8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host); Skeeter Davis; Glaser Brothers; Ernest Ashworth; Ray Pillow; Crook Brothers
8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host); June Stearns; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Archie Campbell; Hank Williams Jr; Oswald
9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Jim & Jesse; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Cousin Jody
9:30: Kellogg's
Leroy Van Dyke (host); Carter Family; The Browns; Willis Brothers; Dottie West
10:00: Schick
Wilburn Brotherss (host); Jimmy Newman; Stringbean
10:15: SSS Tonic
Flatt & Scruggs (host); Marion Worth; Del Wood
10:30: Harvey's
Roy Acuff (host); Skeeter Davis; Ernest Ashworth
10:45: Ford
Ernest Tubb (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Crook Brothers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Leroy Van Dyke (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Glaser Brothers; Hank Williams Jr; Sam McGee; Fruit Jar Drinkers
11:30: Gretch Guitars
Marty Robbins (host); The Browns; Willis Brothers; Jim & Jesse; Cousin Jody; Don Winters

Congratulations to Jesse McReynolds for 50 years of Opry membership!!

The second Opry anniversary that I would like to mention is the 30th anniversary of The Whites becoming members of the Grand Ole Opry. They joined the cast on Friday March 2, 1984.

Buck, Sharon and Cheryl White came to the Opry courtesy of Texas. Early in his career, Buck played piano for Hank Snow and Ernest Tubb, among others. Buck and his wife Pat performed as part of the Down Home Folks, with the children a part of the Down Home Kids. After becoming known in bluegrass, they decided to move to Nashville, which they did in 1971. They made some recordings during that period, and eventually hooked up with Emmylou Harris. Through Emmylou, they met Ricky Skaggs, who would eventually marry Sharon. By the early 1980s, they had a string of country hits and in 1984 they joined the Opry. While their hit making days are behind them, they continue to be a popular act on the show.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday March 3, 1984, the 1st Saturday night performance by The Whites, as Opry members:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Will You Be Lovin' Another Man
Jeannie Seely: When Your Heart's Been Stepped On
Bill Monroe: Shenendoah Breakdown

6:45: Rudy's
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Ol' Gal A'Waitin'
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back To Little Rock
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Grandpa Jones: I'll Meet You In The Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Charlie Louvin & Deb Grovers: Something To Brag About
Lonzo & Oscar: I'm My Own Grandpa
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore
Porter Wagoner: The Cowboy Hat/Tennessee Saturday Night

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
The Whites: The Cowboy Lives Forever/You Put The Blue In Me
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Liberty
Bill Anderson: From Rock N' Roll To Rock Of Ages

8:00: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Minnie Pearl: Maple On The Hill
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Connie Smith: I'm Only In It For The Love/Sing, Sing, Sing

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
4 Guys: Wings Of A Dove
Tom T Hall: Sneaky Snake/I Love
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
4 Guys: Marie, The Dawn Is Breaking
Jeannie Seely: When Your Heart's Been Stepped On
Billy Walker: Cross The Brazos At Waco
The Whites: Give Me Back That Old Familiar Feeling/Alabama Jubilee
Porter Wagoner: Alive & Well

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue-Eyed Darling
Charlie Walker: My Window Faces The South
Jan Howard: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Bill Monroe: It's Me Again, Lord

10:15: Sunbeam
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Skeeter Davis: The Rose
Stonewall Jackson: Angry Words
Grandpa Jones & George McCormick: Wait A Little Longer, Please Jesus

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting In The Air
Connie Smith: That's The Way Love Goes
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bill Anderson (host): Country DJ
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin'
Bill Anderson: Still

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jean Shepard: If You've Got The Money, I've Got The Time/The Wonders You Perform
Justin Tubb: Pull The Covers Over Me
Charlie Louvin: Love Has To Die (All By Itself)
Hank Snow: Nobody's Child

11:30: Hardee's
Jack Greene (host): Midnight Tennessee Woman
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me/Oh, What A Party
Tom T Hall: Your Man Loves You Honey/Old Dogs, Children & Watermelon Wine
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

Congratulations to The Whites!!

Finally, the next Opry induction date I want to mention is Saturday February 29, 1992, which was the date that Travis Tritt joined the Opry. Travis came onto the country music scene in 1988 when he signed with Warner Bros. Records, coming to Nashville from Georgia. In 1990 he was named Billboard's top new male artist after his album "Country Club" produced three Top 5 singles. From that point, he had a string of steady hits through the 1990s, including several hit duets with Marty Stuart.

When he joined the Opry he said, "All my life I've dreamed about this. At one point I didn't know if I would ever be invited to be on the Opry because I have a side that's a little more contemporary. But I'm a country artist. I've always been and it's a privilege to be here." While Travis said that then, I wonder how he feels now. His last Opry appearance was in 2007 and in 2012 when the Opry wanted to recognize Travis for 20 years of Opry membership, Travis didn't make time for an appearance.

Here is the Opry line-up from Saturday February 29, 1992, the night Travis Tritt became a member of the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Grand Ole Opry Tours
Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis; David Houston
6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Del Reeves (host); Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Mike Snider; Jean Shepard; Ray Pillow
7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host); Trisha Yearwood; Travis Tritt
8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; 4 Guys; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Opryland USA
Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Stonewall Jackson; Boxcar Willie; Roy Drusky

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Louvin; Jeannie Seely; Travis Tritt
10:00: Little Debbie
Jim Ed Brown (host); Trisha Yearwood
10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host); Mike Snider
10:30: Pet
Boxcar Willie (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
10:45: BC Powder
Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Bill Carlisle; Justin Tubb; Del Reeves
11:30: Creamette
4 Guys (host); Roy Drusky; The Whites; Connie Smith

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/21 & 2/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and the Grand Ole Opry. After the problems that the Opry had last weekend, I was interested to see what they would come up with this weekend.

The Friday Night Opry will feature guest artist Kellie Pickler. She will also be signing copies of her new album prior to the show that night. Also appearing will be Opry member Pam Tillis, who will be hosting a segment featuring her dad, Mel Tillis. (Seems like it should be the other way around; Mel should be introducing Pam). Also appearing will be Diamond Rio. And making her first Opry appearance this weekend will be Lucy Hale. She was the recent winner of the reality show, American Juniors. She also stars in Pretty Little Liars, which is on ABC Family.

The Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night is interesting. For one thing, John Conlee will be hosting the entire first hour (2 segments). You telling me the Opry could not come up with four members capable of hosting? But wait, Jean Shepard is one of John's guests. I would think she could have been capable of handling the role. The only concern they might have is she missed last week and perhaps they wanted to make sure she would be there. Either way, it sets a poor example, but it is not the first time the Opry has combined segments. Pam Tillis is back again, along with guest artists Mark Wills, Maggie Rose, Chris Janson and The Willis Clan, all frequent Opry guests. Also appearing will be Chaley Rose, and yes, she is a star on Nashville. What would an Opry show be without someone from the televison show?

Friday February 21
7:00: Diamond Rio (host); Jim Ed Brown; Kellie Pickler
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds; Lucy Hale
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Joel Crouse
8:45: Pam Tillis (host); Chuck Wicks; Mel Tillis

Saturday February 22
7:00: John Conlee (host); Maggie Rose; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jean Shepard; Mark Wills
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; Chris Janson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Pam Tillis (host); Chaley Rose; The Willis Clan

8 Opry members on Friday night and just 6 on Saturday.

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I go to Saturday February 23, 1974. The Opry was only 3 weeks away from moving to the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. And it was on this night that the Opry had it's first "offical" Old-Timer's Night. The Opry decided that it would be nice to invite back some of the Opry's former members to perform on the Ryman stage for a final time before moving to the new building. What made this night so special was that it marked the return of DeFord Bailey to the Opry for the first time since being fired in 1941.

DeFord Bailey was one of the original stars of the Opry. He made his first Opry appearance on June 19, 1926 and would continue to be a regular and very popular performer until he was dismissed. DeFord was "discovered" by Dr. Humphrey Bate, who brought him to the attention of George D. Hay who was thrilled by his harmonica playing and immediately made him part of the Opry's cast.

But in 1941, and in one of the more controversial incidents in Opry history, he was fired by Hay. Here is the quote from Judge Hay regarding the firing. "DeFord Bailey was a little crippled colored boy who was a bright feature on our show for about fifteen years. Like some members of his race and other races, DeFord was lazy. He knew about a dozen numbers, which he put on the air and recorded for a major company, but he refused to learn any more, even though his reward was great. We gave him a whole year's notice to learn some more tunes, but he would not. When we were forced to give him his final notice, DeFord said, without malice, 'I knowed it wuz comin', Judge, I knowed it wuz comin.' ' "

Later events would suggest that DeFord did not accept the firing in the manner that Judge Hay suggested. After the firing, DeFord set up shop at a shoeshine stand at Twelfth Avenue South and Edgehill in Nashville and remained there until he passed away in 1982.

What was interesting is that in 1978 he was approached to be part of a NBC television special "Fifty Years of Country Music." The producers of the show wanted to book DeFord and have him re-create the moment when he played "Pan American Blues" on the "WSM Barn Dance" and Judge Hay followed with his comment naming the show "The Grand Ole Opry." DeFord refused saying, "No, I don't wanna work with 'em again." What makes that comment interesting was that DeFord was already making annual appearances at the Opry as part of the Old-Timer's Night reunions.

Even after DeFord left the Opry, there were Opry members who still checked up on DeFord and visited with him. They included Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Bill Monroe and Herman Crook.

Here is the line-up from Saturday February 23, 1974, which marked the return of DeFord Bailey to the Opry stage.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Willis Brothers (host): Big Daddy
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop/Give Me 40 Acres

6:45: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Jimmy Newman: Potato Song
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want To Go Home

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Acuff (host): Whoa, Mule, Whoa
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Pee Wee King: Bonaparte's Retreat/Slowpoke
Redd Stewart: Tennessee Waltz
Sid Harkreader: Mockingbird Breakdown/How Beautiful Heaven Must Be
DeFord Bailey: Pan American/Fox Chase
Roy Acuff: I Saw The Light

7:30: Standard Candy
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
David Houston: I Love You; I Love You; I Love You
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter/Scarlet Ribbons/The 3 Bells
David Houston: Good Things
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Salty Dog Blues
Grandpa Jones w/Ramona Jones: Heading South With Nashville On My Mind
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me On Sundays/What Are Those Things
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not Be Moved
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That The Crow Told Me
Lester Flatt: Is Anybody Going North To Cincinnati
Grandpa Jones: You Don't Love Me Like You Used To Do
Lester Flatt: Train 45

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everythere
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Walker: Wanting My Woman Again
Fruit Far Drinkers: Katy Hill
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way To Say Goodbye
Jean Shepard: At The Time
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

2nd show
9:30: Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Clyde Moody: I Know What It Means To Be Lonesome
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule/Listen To The Mockingbird

10:00: Fender
David Houston (host): Living In A House Full Of Love
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife; She's My Woman
David Houston: Almost Persuaded

10:15: Union 76
Jimmy Newman (host): Jambalaya
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Couldn't Care Less
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Jimmy Newman: Cry, Cry Darling

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Grandpa Jones: Ol' Rattler Left Us Years Ago
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Lester Flatt: Homestead On The Farm

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Soldier's Joy
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hello Love
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee.Just Because
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down/Wanting My Woman Again
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl/Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Ronnie Robbins: Broke Down And Alone
Marty Robbins: I'm Wanting To/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Love Me/I Couldn't Believe It Was True/Driftwood On The River/I'll Step Aside/El Paso

The 2nd line-up I want to post is from Saturday February 23, 1963 (51 years ago), as it was on this Saturday night that Patsy Cline made her final Grand Ole Opry appearance. Patsy joined the Opry on January 9, 1960. Even though she was an Opry member for just a little over 3 years, she had a big impact on the show. I have posted this before but I know there are new readers who might appreciate seeing this.

7:30: Kellogg's
Faron Young (host): Yellow Bandana
Willis Brothers: San Antonio Rose
Marion Worth: Shake Me; I Rattle
Harold Morrison: Beaver Creek
Faron Young: How Much I Must Have Loved You
Del Wood: 12th St. Rag
Merle Kilgore: I Am
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy
Faron Young: Hello Walls

8:00: Martha White
Ray Price (host): Heartaches By The Numbers
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Doing My Time
Hawshaw Hawkins: Silver Threads And Golden Needles
Patsy Cline: Leavin' On Your Mind
Ray Price: Walk Me To The Door
Crook Brothers: Love Somebody
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied
Ray Price: Crazy Arms

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Mississippi
Cowboy Copas: Alabam
Lefty Frizzell: (?)
Archie Campbell: Comedy
George Morgan: Almost
Curly Fox: (?)
Melba Montgomery: (?)
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands With The Devil
George Morgan: Rainbow In My Heart

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Roy Acuff (host): New River Train
June Stearns: Call Me Up
Bill Monroe: How Will I Explain About You
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Roy Acuff: Sweeter Than The Flowers
Oswald: Southern Moon
Bill Monroe: Were You There
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldiers Joy
Roy Acuff: Stay A Little Longer
Howdy Forrester & Jimmy Riddle: Cowbell Polka

9:30: Pet Milk
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Glaser Brothers: Lover's Farewell
Sonny James: (?)
Cousin Jody: Lady Cop
Hank Snow: Begger To A King
Margie Bowes: Think It Over
Sonny James: (?)
Glaser Brothers: I Wish I Had Never Seen Sunshine
Hank Snow: These Hands

Faron Young (host): Safely In Love
Marion Worth: Tennessee Teardrops
Curly Fox: (?)
Faron Young: Alone With You

10:15: Luzianne
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): Darkness On The Face Of The Earth
George Morgan: Allegheny Rose
Del Wood: Blue Eagle
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Twenty Miles From Shore

10:30: Harvey's
Ray Price (host): (?)
Cowboy Copas: Filipino Baby
Patsy Cline: Bill Bailey
Ray Price: (?)

10:45: Sustaining
Roy Acuff (host): I Don't Know Why
Willis Brothers: Footprints In The Snow
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Crook Brothers: Soldiers Joy
Ray Price: So Many Times

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Big Wheel
Bill Monroe: A Good Woman's Love
Billy Walker: Thank You For Calling
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Higher Power
Hank Snow: Yellow Roses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Glaser Brothers: Odds & Ends
Sam & Kirk McGee: Freight Train Blues
Bill Monroe: Big Sandy Breakdown
Hank Snow: Wreck Of The Old 97

11:30: SSS Tonic
Marty Robbins (host): Ruby Ann
Margie Bowes: Within Your Crowd
Sonny James: (?)
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman
Don Winters: Too Many Times
Margie Bowes: I Really Don't Want To Know
Sonny James: (?)
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Opry Fires Tim Atwood and Hoot Hester

News from the Grand Ole Opry is that they have apparently decided to make some changes and have let go piano player Tim Atwood and fiddle player Hoot Hester. Tim was with the Opry for 38 years and Hoot has also been around awhile.

And in the Opry's usual manner, they apparently did it with a simple phone call. No explanation, no personal meeting.

This is not the first time that this has been done. One of Pete Fisher's first moves after becoming the Opry's General Manager was to let a bunch of the staff bands members go.

Tim and Hoot will still be able to perform on the Opry if invited by any of the artists to do back-up for them. They were both great musicians and will be missed.

Is the Opry trying to safe a dollar or just moving in a different direction. How much difference a new piano player makes, I don't know.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/14 & 2/15

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend. The highlight will be another attempt to recognize Opry member Hal Ketchum for 20 years as an Opry member. After having to cancel his last scheduled appearance due to the winter weather, Hal is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night. Hopefully he makes it.

Joining Hal on Friday night will be guest artists Kristen Kelly, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Sundy Best and The Isaacs, all frequent Opry guests. Speaking of frequent Opry guests, how about Striking Matches, who are again scheduled for Saturday night. Also scheduled is another appearance by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, from southwest Ohio. They have been building up a following and have been impressive in the other Opry appearances.

There are a couple of Opry members scheduled this weekend that we have not seen in a while. Jesse McReynolds has had a few health issues and it is nice to see him set for Saturday night. The Opry is scheduled to honor Jesse for 50 years of Opry membership on March 1. Also joining Jesse will be veteran Opry member Stu Phillips. Nice to see Stu back on the Opry schedule.

Friday February 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Kristen Kelly; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Sundy Best; Hal Ketchum
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Katie Armiger; The Isaacs

Saturday February 15
7:00: Connie Smith (host); JT Hodges; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sara Haze
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Striking Matches; Hal Ketchum

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, I have a couple of line-ups to share. The first one is from 34 years ago, Saturday February 16, 1980. There was nothing special that happened on the Opry that night. It is just a line-up that represented the Opry well from that era.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Jimmy Dickens: A Hell Of A Night In Dixie

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host) & Helen Cornelius: Lyin' In Love With You
Justin Tubb: Cold Brown Bottle
Helen Cornelius: To Daddy
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music Has Gone to Town/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Skeeter Davis: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Angels
Vic Willis: Colorado
Porter Wagoner: Everything I Always Wanted/Ole Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Down In Union County
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Boxcar Willie: Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/Orange Blossom Special/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sally Goodin
Roy Acuff: Amazing Grace/I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): One More Sexy Lady
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Stripper
Jim & Jesse: Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Roy Drusky: Welcome Home
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Couldn't Believe It Was True
Bill Anderson: Love Me and I'll Be Your Best Friend

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love In My Heart
Osborne Brothers: Listening to the Rain
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Stu Phillips: Come Sundown
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: Hasn't It Been Good Together

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Ernie Ashworth: I Can't Help It
Jimmy Dickens: Out Behind the Barn
Skeeter Davis: The Old Rugged Cross/The King is Coming
Vic Willis: Ride 'em Cowboy
Dickie Betts: Ramblin' Man
Porter Wagoner: Ole Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): The Reverend Mr. Black
David Houston: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong With the Way That We're Doing It Now
Bill Anderson: Make My Night Time

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Roy Acuff: I'll Reap My Harvest In Heaven/I'll Fly Away

10:30: Trailblazer
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Charlie Louvin: Love Don't Care
Osborne Brothers & Mac Wiseman: Shackles and Chains

10:45: Beechnut
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas
Boxcar Willie: Train Melody
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Charlie Walker: Crazy Arms

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Merry Go Round of Love
Connie Smith: When I Need Jesus, He's There
Jimmy C Newman: Texa Cajun
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Jim & Jesse: A Memory of You
Kirk McGee: Victory Rag/Freight Train
Hank Snow & Kelly Foxton: My First Night Alone

Roy Drusky (host): Welcome Home
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Ray Stevens: Misty/The Shriner's Convention/Everything is Beautiful/The Streak

The 2nd line-up is from Saturday February 16, 1991, 11 years later. In just 11 years, notice the difference in the sponsors and some of the acts and song selection.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock/Evil On Your Mind
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host): A Way to Free Myself
Charlie Louvin: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
Jean Shepard: A Tear Dropped By
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Mike Snider: Carl's Breakdown
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Becky Hobbs: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up/Turtles and Rabbits
Jimmy C Newman: Thibodeaux and His Cajun Band/La Cajun Band

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: The Key's in the Mailbox/Satisfied
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart/One Day At A Time
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Lafayette
Roy Acuff: That's The Man I'm Looking For

8:30: Pop's Right
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
John Conlee: Doghouse
Dottie West: All I Ever Need is You
Jim Ed Brown: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jimmy C Newman (host): Lafayette
Charlie Louvin: Buried Alive
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Legend of the Dogwood Tree
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Cajun Stripper

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): You Love Takes Good Care of Me
Mel McDaniel: Tennessee Saturday Night/Stand Up
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours/Satin Sheets
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:30: Pet
Roy Drusky (host): Mississippi
Jean Shepard: Are You Teasing Me
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know

10:45: B.C. Powder
John Conlee (host): I'm Only In It For The Love
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Greenback Dollar
John Conlee: Lifetime Guarantee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Skeeter Davis: He Will Be There
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
The Whites: There's Another Soldier Down/Swing Down Chariot
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Don't Bother to Knock
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby/Love Is No Excuse
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally
Jim Ed Brown: Scarlet Ribbons

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 2/7 & 2/8

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend. There are a couple of interesting names on the list and then some that you kinda wonder about.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Dierks Bentley. He will be joined by guest artists The Henningsens and Henry Cho, both of whom are no strangers at the Opry. Also appearing will be Josh Wilson, who is another in the line of fine Christian entertainers that they like to have on the Opry. It is also nice to see Opry member Steve Wariner scheduled not only on Friday night, but Saturday night also.

Joining Steve on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will be The Boxcars, one of the better bluegrass groups out there. They were up for best bluegrass album at the recent Grammy Awards. Also scheduled is a group that I have not heard from in a long time, The Forrester Sisters. They had a string of hit records in the 1980s and 90s, but to be honest, I didn't know they were still out performing. And finally, we have Aubrey Peeples, and yes she is associated with "Nashville."

Friday February 7
7:00: John Conlee (host); The Henningsens; The Whites
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jim Ed Brown; Josh Wilson
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Henry Cho
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Dierks Bentley

Saturday February 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Greg Bates; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Forrester Sisters; Sarah Darling
8:15: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Aubrey Peeples; Opry Square Dancers
8:45; Steve Warinier (host); Connie Smith; The Boxcars

For this week's look back in Grand Ole Opry history, I have 2 dates to share. The first is Saturday February 7, 1976, as it was on this night 38 years ago that Ronnie Milsap became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ronnie moved to Nashville in 1973 and hit it big. The following year, he had 3 #1 hits and was soon invited out to the Opry. Here is what Ronnie had to say about coming to the Opry. "Before I joined the Opry in 1976, Jeanne Pruett was always getting me to come out here and guest. Eventually, she said 'I think you need to join the Grand Ole Opry' and I said, 'We'll, how to you do that?' All of a sudden one night I was over her and Mr. Roy Acuff came up to me in the hall and said, 'Hey, Ronnie, you want to be a member of the Opry?' I said, 'Yes, sir.' He said, 'Okay, then, you're going to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.'" I guess you could say they did things pretty simple back then. Ronnie has always been well received at the Opry. It would just be nice if he was there more often.

Here is the Opry line-up from February 7, 1976:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line/The World Each Day
Billy Grammer: That's Life/God Will Take Care of You

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Curly Headed Baby
Skeeter Davis: Love Will Keep Us Together
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Tramp on the Street

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Barbara Mandrell: Standing Room Only
Roy Drusky: Sunrise
Ernie Ashworth: Wichita Woman
Barbara Mandrell: Steel Guitar Rag
Roy Drusky: One Day at A Time
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/Indian Creek

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Don Gibson: Sweet Dreams
Marion Worth: You Win Again
Justin Tubb: Looking Back to See
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Gray Eagle
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me

8:00: Martha White
Osborne Brothers (host): Smokey Mountain Smoke
Grandpa Jones: Ball-Headed End of the Broom
Connie Smith: Til I Kissed Ya
Charlie Louvin & Pam Dickenson: Don't It Seem to Rain A Lot In Our Lives
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Stu Phillips: A Castle/A Cabin
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: Day Dreams
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Brush Arbour: White Line
Hank Snow: The Next Voice You Hear

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Willis Brothers: Bob
Don Gibson: I Can't Stop Loving You
Skeeter Davis: One Tin Soldier
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Don Gibson: Blue, Blue Day
Roy Drusky: Bouquet of Roses

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Sunshine
Barbara Mandrell: Satisfied
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Traveling the Highway Home
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Heartbreak Street
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird/I Saw the Light

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
Osborne Brothers: Smokey Mountain Smoke
Billy Grammer: That's Life
Grandpa Jones: Make Me A Pallet Down on the Floor

10:45: Beech-Nut
Hank Locklin (host): The Sweetest Mistake I Ever Made
Connie Smith: Til I Kissed Ya
Crook Brothers/Smokey Mountain Cloggers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Ernie Ashworth: Wichita Woman
Kirk McGee: My Darling Rose Malone
Hank Snow: Mary Ann Regrets

11:30: Elm Hill
Charlie Louvin (host): I Just Want Out
Jeanne Pruett: Break My Mind/Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: Lovesick Blues/Just In Case/Day Dreams
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Charlie Louvin & Pam Dickerson: If I Could Only Win Your Love

The 2nd show I want to highlight this week if from Saturday February 11, 1967. It was on this date that future Opry members The 4 Guys made their first appearance on the Opry. The 4 Guys came to Nashville from Wheeling, West Virginia. Sam Wellington, Glen Bates, Brent Burkett and Gary Buck had been working on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. On that first night, they sang "Shenandoah." They were so well received that they would become the first vocal group in the history of the Opry to join without recording a hit record. At one time, it was written, they held the Opry record for 33 consecutive "encore" appearances. The 4 Guys would join the Opry in April 1967 and would remain members until they were fired from the Opry in April 2000. Pete Fisher had informed the group that since there were no longer any original members in the group that they were being dropped from the Opry.

Here is the line-up from the 1st night that the 4 Guys performed on the Opry.

7:30: Luzianne
Jim Ed Brown (host) & Maxine Brown: I Heard the Bluebird Sing
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Justin Tubb: But Wait, There's More
Pete Drake: I'm Just A Guitar
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Bob Luman: Come On and Sing
Jim Ed & Maxine Brown: Looking Back to See

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once For Me
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Ray Pillow: I Like That Sorta Thing
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Wilburn Brothers: Just To Be Where You Are
Crook Brothers: Old Hen Cackle
Billy "Crash" Craddock: There Oughta Be A Law
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Wilburn Brothers: All We Have For You, Mom

8:30: Stephens
Billy Walker (host): Things
Bill Carlisle: What Kinda Deal Is This
Bobby Bare: Shame On Me
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires
Curly Fox: The Old Grey Mule
Bill Carlisle: The Great Snoman
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco

9:00: Pet Milk
Charlie Louvin (host): I Don't Love You Anymore
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease, Heart
Margie Bowes: There Goes My Everything
Bluegrass Country Kin: Black Mountain Rag
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Want It
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Instrumental
Harold Weakley: Almost Persuaded
Ernie Ashworth: Pass Me Not
Charlie Louvin: Off and On

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Cousin Jody: I Miss Him So
Jimmy Dickens: A Country Music Lover
Carter Family: Bye, Bye
Hank Snow: A Legend In My Time
4 Guys: Shenendoah
Carter Family: Once Around the Briar Patch
Hank Snow: Hula Love

10:00: Schick
Jim Ed Brown (host) & Maxine Brown: Where Does the Good Times Go
Dottie West: It's My Way to Survive
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Dottie West: All the World Is Lonely Now

10:15: Pure
Bob Luman (host): Leet's Think About Living
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One on Tonight
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore

10:30: Buckley's
Bobby Bare: I Saw the Light
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Ray Pillow: Two Minus One Leaves Blue
Bobby Bare: Streets of Baltimore

10:45: Kent
Bill Carlisle (host): Shanghai Rooster
Justin Tubb: But Wait, There's More
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Billy Walker: Bare With Me A Little Longer
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Instrumental
Hank Snow: Confused With the Blues
Sam McGee: Under the Double Eagle
Jimmy Dickens: You Destroyed Me
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Hank Snow: Man Behind The Gun

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Running Gun
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Curly Fox: Won't 'Cha Come Home, Bill Bailey
Don Winters: Annie Lou
Cousin Jody: Run, Please, Run
Bluegrass Country Kin: Ol' Slewfoot
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight/Begging to You/El Paso

In was announced today that the Opry will have a big weekend on Friday March 14th and Saturday March 15th, which is the 40th anniversary of the Grand Ole Opry House. Scheduled for Saturday night will be Opry members Blake Shelton, Clint Black, Josh Turner and Diamond Rio, along with guest artist Miranda Lambert. I am sure there will be more scheduled. Hopefully they will include some of the legends in the celebration.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

"Steve Buchanan: The protector of all things Opry"

This morning when I received my daily email from the Nashville Tennessean, that was the headline that greeted me. I read the article and wanted to think about it for a little while before offering a response on a topic that I am sure is creating a lot of interest and talk.

First, to give credit where credit is due, the article was written by Cindy Watts and she did a nice job with it. I recommend that if you have not read it, please do. Secondly, I do want to point out that I have met and talked to Steve Buchanan twice. Once in the Ryman gift shop, several years back, and once backstage at the Opry. Both were very short conversations, nothing special, lasting less than a minute. I have met Pete Fisher a couple of times and like my conversations with Steve, they were very short.

Now in reading the article, it is a great public relations piece if you are Steve Buchanan. Based on the article, a reader would think that there would be no Ryman Auditorium, no renovated Opry House and no Opry itself, if not for Steve and his team.

Just to be clear on a couple of points, yes Steve was in charge when the Ryman Auditorium was renovated and it is an outstanding facility, And I agree it might be the best concert hall in the country. But, the plans were in place to renovate the building long before Steve took charge. Bud Wendell was the man behind it, and while he does give credit to Bud, it should be noted that the only reason Steve was involved was because Bud Wendell put him in that position.

Steve Buchanan, Pete Fisher and the entire Opry management deserve all the credit in the world for the job that they did after the flood of the Opry House. I know they worked hard to save the historical items and keeping the Opry going. If there was ever a time to shut down the Opry, as many of us have thought Gaylord would do at some point, it would have been then. Colin Reed gave the financial support to rebuild the Opry House and they did a great job, especially in the backstage area. I personally would have like to have seen more items out front, where the average fan can see it without paying $20 for a backstage tour, but it is what it is. We cannot change it.

Now, for a couple of quotes from the article:

*"Since accepting that first job, the bulk of Buchanan's decades-long career has been driven by one thing: keeping the Grand Ole Opry healthy."

*"It was critical that we change how people thought about the Opry. Any business that's been around 80-plus years has to continually be working to embrace a new fan base."

I don't doubt that Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher want to keep the Opry healthy and doing well. But, the way they are going about it has just been bad. Let's add it up: 1) Huge increase in ticket prices. 2) Cutting the number of shows. 3) Cutting the length of the shows 4) Cutting the number of artists per show. 5) Cutting the veteran acts on the show, with an emphasis on new country artists. 6) Making Opry membership less important as more non-Opry acts perform on most shows then actual Opry members. 7) Decreasing the importance of the Opry Birthday Celebration. 8) Not having a television deal. 9) Showing disrespect toward the veteran Opry members to the point that if they speak out, they lose appearance slots.

Yes, they have changed the way people think about the Opry. The older fan base, which supported the show each week, has left. Many who do come are turned off that on many nights, the Opry has turned into more of a rock concert then a country music show.  They continue to market the younger fans, who do come when there is a special act that they want to see. Yes, they will sell out when Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban or Blake Shelton is there, but other nights, plenty of tickets can be had. And oh, because so many of these new fans are coming just to see a particular act, when a star act cancels out, the Opry has a public relations issue to deal with.

Now for the "Nashville" show. It would seem that Steve Buchanan has tied the Opry's future into this show. I will ask the question, how many of the fans who watch the show now think that Juliette Barnes is an actual Opry member? And it was nice that Brad Paisley found time to "induct" her on the televison show!! Each week, the Opry seems to have at least one or two members of the Nashville cast on the Opry. Heck, most of them are on more than a majority of the Opry's members. The next question is what is Steve Buchanan going to do when Nashville gets cancelled, which might happen as soon as this Spring? I guess he goes to Plan B.

Despite everything, we still go to the Opry and support the show. I know a few who are almost at the point of no return. I'm not there and will continue to go as I do love the Opry. It is still a great show.

I think I have run out of steam and will leave it at that. Please take the time to read the article and I would like to hear what others think.