Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 4/18 & 4/19

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend and they are definitely an upgrade over the shows from last weekend. There are actually enough Opry members scheduled to have 4 segments on each show.

Lorrie Morgan returns to the Opry stage this weekend and will be hosting segments on both nights. Also appearing both nights will be Opry members Ralph Stanley, who will be joined by his son, Ralph Stanley II, Bill Anderson and John Conlee. Joining them on Friday night will be guest artists The Band Perry and Brandy Clark.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will also feature guest artists Aaron Tippin and Jim Lauderdale, both frequent Opry guests. Also scheduled is this week's "Nashville" star, Chaley Rose. And making their Grand Ole Opry debut will be NEEDTOBREATHE (yes, all caps). They are described as an "American alternative rock band from Seneca, South Carolina." Sounds like something right up the Opry's ally.

Friday April 18
7:00: John Conlee (host); Sara Haze; Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Brandy Clark
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Band Perry

Saturday April 19
7:00: John Conlee (host); Frankie Ballard; Ralph Stanley & Ralph Stanley II
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Chaley Rose; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jim Lauderdale; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; NEEDTOBREATHE

Before posting the past Opry line-ups like I normally do, I have the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, April 22. There is only 1 Opry member scheduled, Del McCoury, while there are 4 stars from "Nashville" all bunched up in the first half of the show. Makes me wonder if they are going to do some filming for the television show.

7:00: The Henningsens; Chris Carmack; Jonathan Jackson; Sam Palladio; Charles Esten
8:30: Tracy Lawrence; Del McCoury Band; Easton Corbin

Now for this week's look back at past Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I want to start off by posting the Opry line-up from 5 years ago and 10 years ago so everyone can compare where the show has gone over the past decade. When you look back a decade ago, you can really see the difference.

First, here is the Opry line-up from 5 years ago:

Friday April 17
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Dean Brody
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darius Rucker
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Sons Of The Pioneers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites

Saturday April 18
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Steve Warnier (host); Rascal Flatts

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Steve Wariner (host); Rascal Flatts

Now here is the Opry line-up from 10 years ago:

Friday April 18
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Tammy Cochran
8:00: John Conlee (host); Stonewall Jackson; Osborne Brothers; Jeff Bates
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Vince Gill
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Ronnie Bowman; Riders In The Sky; Brad Paisley
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; Dierks Bentley; Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday April 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jeannie Seely; John Conlee
7:00: Brad Paisley; Trick Pony; Craig Morgan; Vince Gill; George Jones; Vestal Goodman; The Whites
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Josh Turner; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Holly Dunn; Riders In The Sky; Hal Ketchum

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Jimmy C Newman; Vince Gill
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers; Craig Morgan
10:30: Brad Paisley (host); The Whites; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Holly Dunn; Jack Greene; Trick Pony
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Josh Turner; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Finally, for this week's special line-up, I go to Saturday April 17, 1971 as it was on that date that Connie Smith returned to the Opry. Connie had joined the Opry in 1965 but she left the show in 1967 to raise her family as she stepped away from the business. After being away from the Opry for 4 years, she returned to the show, where she has remained since.

Here is the line-up from Saturday April 17, 1971, the night Connie Smith returned to the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria/Sweet Caroline
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

6:45: Rudy's
Ray Pillow (host): She Learned to Be A Waitress(From Sitting Home Waiting On Me)
Del Wood: Psychadelic Mockingbird
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Ray Pillow: You Don't Care What Happens to Me

7:00: Luzianne
Billy Grammer (host): Mountain Dew
Earl Scruggs Revue: Fireball Mail
Justin Tubb: I'm Going Back to Louisiana
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: If I've Gotta Have Your Lovin'
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Earl Scruggs Revue: The Girl From the North Country
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Alabama Jubilee

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Stringbean: Eight More Miles to Louisville
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Roy Acuff: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Skeeter Davis: Amazing Grace
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Hank Locklin: She's As Close AS I Can Get
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man
Floyd Tillman: Slipping Around
Ernest Tubb: One Sweet Hello
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Connie Smith: Once A Day

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Vanishing Breed
Bob Luman: Mona Lisa
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Lost Indian
Hank Snow: So Goes My Heart
Harold Weakley: Crazy Arms
Boby Luman: Sing the Blues to Daddy
Hank Snow: Tammy

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Locking Back to See
4 Guys: One Pair of Hands
Justin Tubb: Free-Born Man
Del Wood: Wesley's Tune
Jim Ed Brown: Angel's Sunday
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

10:00: Fender
Hank Locklin (host): Please Help Me I'm Falling
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get

10:15: Union 76
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Honey, Be My Honey Bee
Billy Grammer (host): What A Friend

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): I Saw the Light
Ray Pillow: The Waitress
Floyd Tillman: Daisey May
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
Leon Boulanger: San Antonio Rose
Crook Brothers: Sally Ann
Ernest Tubb: Another Story

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Hank Snow: Tangled Mind
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Sam McGee: Wheels
Hank Snow: Mississippi River Blues

11:30: Elm Hill
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me On Sundays
Bob Luman: Sing the Blues to Daddy
Diane McCall: Help Me Make it Through the Night
Charlie Louvin: Love Has to Die All by Itself
Bob Luman: I Got A Woman
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever/Something to Brag About

As a reminder, Tuesday April 22 is the announcement for the Country Music Hall of Fame 2014 inductees. I haven't received the link as of yet, but I am sure it will be streamed on the web. Most years I have come pretty close to predicting who will be elected, but I really believe that even with some clues, it is pretty wide open this year. What we do know for sure is that Dottie West was not one of the finalists. I guess I have to make my prediction, which will really be just a guess. So, I will go with Ricky Skaggs in the modern category, Ronnie Milsap in the veterans (assuming he ends up there) and Hank Cochran in the songwriting category. But, I wouldn't be surprised if there was someone out of the blue who gets voted in. Would love to hear what others are thinking.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend and Happy Easter to all!!!!


  1. Fred, Bismarck:

    Boss lineup from 1971! It figured that, with both E.T. and Hank Snow on the bill, a couple of Jimmie Rodgers' songs would get sung. Neat,also, that Floyd Tillman was on E.T.'s first-show segment. They could have done a duet on "Slipping Around"!

  2. Fred, when ET was starting out, he sounded like Jimmie Rodgers and then after a tonsillectomy he sounded the way he did. He said once he wanted to sue the doctor originally, but he owed him a debt for forcing him to have his own style, and he said that he then stopped singing Jimmie Rodgers songs. But I'm glad he'd go back and do that now and then.

    The lineups are stunning to compare. Just stunning.

    Happy Easter to you all, and thank you, Byron, for this blog.

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    Yes, Michael; E.T. said he couldn't yodel anymore. Listening to a few pre-surgery recordings, I think most people would agree not much was lost!

    I know (from reading) that our great mutual hero Hank Snow used to be the Yodeling Ranger, but I don't think I've ever heard a sample. Have you? (Bear Family has a box set of his Canadian career, but I haven't sprung for that one.) I know he doesn't yodel on any of the great American Victor recordings of J.R. music that I have, which causes me to wonder what made HIM give it up.

    If there's anything on the subject in his autobiography, I can't remember it. Michael or Byron?

  4. Just some general observations and such:

    1. A rock band on the Opry? Not unprecendented, but these day, not special either. Seems some rock act is on the show every other week. Of course, they're from South Carolina and, therefore, a NATURAL for the Opry audience, right? I mean those southerners all sound alike to me. (That was sarcasm.)

    2. Not impressed with the Tuesday night lineup for next week. At all. Even if I wasn't going to be on the other side of the country that night I don't think I'd be tempted to tune in.

    3.. Nice to see almost forgotten names little Bobby Lewis and Joe and Rose Lee Maphis on the 1971 lineups. Joe Maphis was one of the most stunningly fast guitar players I've ever seen. It's a shame more people don't know his name or his music. The last time I was in Nashville, his double-neck Mosrite guitar was back on display. When I was working for Opryland in the mid 90's, Rose Lee was working in the costume shop there as a seamstress. I've got a recording in my collection of the "Old Timer's Reunion" at the 1975 Fan Fair that features Joe and Rose Lee, along with Minnie Pearl, The Fruit Jar Drinkers, The Bailes Brothers, Roy Acuff, Sid Harkreader, Alcyone Beasley, The Duke of Paducah and several others. It's one of my treasures.

    3. Look at how many songs we now consider "classics" were done on the 1971 show. "Tammy" was one of my favorite instrumentals to hear Hank Snow do. It fit his very precise style of guitar playing perfectly. I had to smile a little seeing Del Wood and "Psychedelic Mockingbird" together. Somehow, "Del Wood" and "psychedelic" just don't go together! She was such a kind, quiet and "proper" lady!

    4. It seems that I've got a very early Ernest Tubb recording in my archives somewhere or I listened to one when doing research at the Hall of Fame. The earliest thing I'm certain I have is the original recording of "Walking the Floor Over You". I've got a bunch of old 78's by Ernest Tubb, Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe, Grandpa Jones, Flatt and Scruggs and some others that we found in a shed when my grandfather passed away. A couple of them I've framed with autographed photos I had. I really wish I had a way to actually play them but I've done some research and I have duplicate recordings of several of those 78's on other collections or historical re-releases. His voice was always different but on those early recordings his voice was pitched much higher. It's still painful to hear some his later records. The cigarettes were not kind to him.

    5. I've stopped trying to second guess the Hall of Fame voters but your picks are as good as any. I really hate the categories because I would still put Ronnie Milsap in the modern era class and open up the veterans category to artists from the 60's and earlier. I would think Hank Cochran would be the sentimental favorite (of course, I thought the same thing about Buddy Killen last year!) but for sheer volume I would still go with Dallas Frazier, Bob McDill or Wayland Holyfield. Besides, all three are still living and the since the Hall of Fame induction is now a private party it seems like anyone rude enough to pass on is considered a colossal party pooper. At least that's the impression I get.

  5. I admit that I do not watch "Nashville" on television. Just not my type of show. But when I turned the channel right before 11 to watch the local news, they were advertising that next week's episode on Wednesday night would be a "live" concert by the Nashville stars. Makes me wonder if maybe they are going to film the Tuesday Night Opry (the portion with those artists from the show), and use it for the concert show on Wednesday night. That would make sense on why there were all bunched together in one segment lasting just more than an hour and that would give them 24 hours to edit it. Also of note, the "Nashville" stars are going on the road and doing some road dates. Wonder if they will take an Opry backdrop with them, considering they are all on the Opry so much?

  6. Fred, I have heard him and he's imitating Jimmie Rodgers. He said that his voice dropped a bit and he stopped yodeling, so he went from The Yodeling Ranger to The Singing Ranger. But I've wondered: he had a lot of lung trouble over the years, and I wonder if that contributed.

    Barry, there's a You Tube video of Mr. Snow doing "Tammy" on Billy Walker's old TV show.

  7. Always appreciate Barry's comments.

    I agree on Bobby Lewis. He his a nice man and has made a couple of new CD's in the last couple years for Heart of Texas. I think we have about all of his LP's in our collection. And I remember Rose Lee Maphis being at one of the Golden Voice Awards the year it was in downtown Nashville. That was the year Jimmy Dean came to the event.

    I too loved to hear Hank Snow do Tammy. I always enjoyed those nights he had time to do and instrumental on guitar then have Kayton and Tommy each do one as well.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. I Think The Hall Of Fame Is Pretty Wide Open This Year Any One Of These Could Go In Ronnie Milsap The Oak Ridge Boys And The Browns (Veterans Category Assuming Both Ronnie And The Oaks End Up There This Year) And Ricky Skaggs Randy Travis And Alan Jackson (Modern Category)

  9. Byron, I am finding this very strange that not even the Country Music Hall of Fame website has posted that the 2014 newest inductees will be announced or that it will be live streamed on Tuesday anywhere on its site. The homepage is all about the huge addition to the museum & Vince Gill's/Keith Urban's annual All For The Hall concert in May. I hope it is streamed live - sure is exciting to watch/hear who is being inducted as the audience as it is happening.

    As I read everyone's Hall of Fame choices/opinion's I like & agree with them all. Sorry to learn that Dottie West was not among the finalists. Just tossing my picks in the mix - Ricky Skaggs, The Browns & either Hank Cochran however, knowing that Connie Smith has recorded a ton of his songs, I think about 71/72 of his songs she has recorded, makes me think possibly it could be Dallas Frazier. And I agree, usually there is one artist being inducted that comes out of left field - but as always, I'm thrilled for everyone who is elected as it is such a very small fraternity - :-)

    Also a comment on not seeing the Tuesday/Thursday Opry line-ups on your blog. I always hit your blog first to see the line-up as the Opry website is just awful. And as always, thank you for all of the wonderful information you post. The Opry surely isn't what it used to be.

    On a personal note Byron, I attended the White Sox/Indians game last weekend. Great game, my team did not win, but we did take the series. I had to laugh when I knew that we won more games this past weekend than we won all of last season against your team - not funny really, shows one that the Sox have a ways to go yet. I still root for my team though!!! :-)

    And I am sure that you have all heard the very sad news that Bill Anderson's son-in-law, aged 49, passed away yesterday - he had been ill for quite some time with brain cancer.

    To all who observe ~ Happy Easter ~


  10. Jeanene, I can't say I am happy that your White Sox beat my Indians, but remember it is a long season!!!! I know we are headed up to Cleveland on Saturday to see them play Toronto.

    Now back to Opry news. With the death of Bill Anderson's son-in-law, he has cancelled his Opry appearances for this weekend. Hopefully he and his family are doing the best that they can through this situation.

    On Friday night, the Opry moved Riders In The Sky into the hosting spot and have added Jim Ed Brown, while on Saturday night Jeannie Seely will host. This is actually a pretty big move for the Opry, and a good move, as it seems like in the past several months when a veteran has cancelled, they haven't replaced them with anyone. Glad to see this move on their part.

  11. The CMA announced today that they will be streaming the announcement live at 11:00 am EDT, which is 10:00 am Nashville time.

    1. Thanks for the update regarding the HoF announcement/live streaming, Byron - I should have gone to the CMA site vs CMHoF site ~ when I think HoF, I automatically think that site. Will be watching & then posting my comment after the live streaming ends.

      And Byron, only I know just how long the season WILL BE for my team ... their bullpen stinks. Games in the last few days the Sox could & should have won, they did not. They went through the 7th inning stretch twice during one game a few days ago - 14 inning game only to lose. Personally I think it's a fluke that we did take all the games we did from your team & I am not trying to be negative here, just a realist (I never wear those rose colored glasses that John Conlee is always singing about as those are always perched on my head.) Your team will most likely win many more games from us than the other way around this season.


  12. Who was the newby that sang the when i hold you in my arms and played the killer harmonica.....made the reference to jerry lee lewis??????

    1. @Restless Nights - while I did not hear the enter Opry show last night, Chris Janson, who was in the line-up, is the new artist on the block, a very good one, is asked to appear on the Opry stage quite a bit & I agree, he does play one killer harmonica. The song he sings is "Holding Her" which he co-wrote with James Otto & the song is a personal one as it tells the story of how Chris Janson met his wife & how she changed his life for the good/better ~ can't think of too many wives who would not want a song written for/about them on the same subject matter ~ hope this helps.

      Have a nice Easter weekend ~



  14. I'm with the Opry till the end but tonight I feel we must be honest, at least those of us that treasure the traditions and history of the Opry. We've turned a corner onto a one way street with no place to turn around.

    After hearing NEEDTOBREATH I realize that the Opry management has found a way to bring any kind of music to the Opry stage and promote it to fill the seats with those who appreciate it almost on a show by show basis. Therefore, the charm and intrigue of going to the show to see a multifaceted radio show no longer has to be the destination of the ticket holder they are trying to get. As soon as they can let time take care of certain acts they can promote the shows through social media and the internet and book any act of any music they wish and draw the specific crowd for that act. Along the way they can do what I and others here have suggested we are headed for, a show with one or two main acts and maybe a couple openers which can be scheduled and promoted weeks in advance like any other venue in the land, not the Grand Ole Opry.

    NEEDTOBREATH made their debut, got three songs and a standing ovation. If the crowds now being brought into the Opry have that much appreciation for this type of music then the crowds they continue to target will have less demand for any of the more traditional type of music that has been the history of the Opry. Some may point to Jimmy Dickens, Jim Ed, Jean and a few others still performing on the Opry as an argument against my theory but these things take time and in general we are still a country and society who respects our elders. And, maybe Stonewall's challenge to management brought enough light to the situation that they would not want to bring anymore attention to the push to minimize the veterans time on the Opry, But soon the total change will be able to take place and those of us who enjoy the Opry of old will be left to our tapes and memories.

    Keep in mind I'm not saying that NEEDTOBREATH is not a good or credible act, they like so many others appearing on the Opry of late are just not what I always thought the Opry represented. I'm trying to make myself accept this so I stop getting angry when I listen to the Opry. A couple weeks ago I missed Jimmy Dickens live because I got aggravated and turned the radio down. I'm trying to get past that kind of thing.

    So, ending on a high note, it was nice to hear tater again tonight, six in row I think. I am grateful that for whatever reason folks like him can still make appearances on the Opry.

    Knightsville, IN

  15. There is only 1 Opry member scheduled, Del McCoury, while there are 4 stars from "Nashville" all bunched up in the first half of the show. Makes me wonder if they are going to do some filming for the television show.

    I think the turnaround time between tonight and tomorrow would be too fast. According to this article and more, the "Nashville" special concert airing tomorrow was taped at the Ryman on 3/29, with additional scenes from their version of the Bluebird Cafe to be included in the broadcast. This is actually a missed opportunity to showcase the Opry on national network TV.

    This Billboard article talks about the overall boost in popularity of Nashville venues like the Bluebird thanks to the show. That would explain Steve Buchanan's ongoing cross promotion with the show, and I do think, legitimately, that it hasn't hurt to have the Opry featured on the show. Do we know if the Opry has experienced any kind of regular boost outside of the sold-out nights when a superstar performs?

  16. Windmills, as far as the last question you asked, what I heard was that the Opry had a very good year in 2013, from an attendance and a financial standpoint.

  17. A good year for 2013 kind of supports my last rant then. Even though the Opry is going in a different direction artistically than some of us wish, it looks like they are filling seats and making least for the short term. Lets hope it isn't the get rich quick scheme we have discussed before and it will last. Although that may mean it gets to the point that some of us just can't hardly stand to listen!

    Knihgtsville, IN

  18. Thank you, Mr. Fay, for answering my question. I'm glad the Opry is reaping the benefits of its association with the Nashville cast. I would also go as far as saying that, because the Nashville TV show features a much wider variety (and often, a much superior quality) of country music than mainstream country radio today, it's an association that fits the mission of the Opry. The songs that often get the best showcases on the TV show are ones with more of a traditional or Americana feel to them.

    In rereading my earlier post I realized that I had misread Mr. Fay's speculation about footage from Tuesday night's show possibly being included in this season of Nashville. I thought he meant the concert special. But anyway, season finale filming had also concluded before Tuesday night's show so I don't think any footage from Tuesday night will be televised on ABC. The question now turns to whether Nashville will be renewed. Although its same day ratings are not very strong, Nashville picks up a a significant number of viewers in DVR viewing, and the income demographic of its audience is appealing to advertisers. Add in all the cross promotional opportunities for ABC with CMA Fest and the CMA Awards, and I think a third season renewal is likely.

    Speaking to Jim's point: NEEDTOBREATHE is a Christian industry-based act that melds folk/roots sounds into their rock music. I see them as an acceptable fit *if* the lineup is suitably diverse and is rooted in the music that the Opry's most tried and true members sing. That's the key, and I do share your concerns about the treatment of the Opry's veteran and most loyal members.

    The Opry and its membership must be what mainstream country radio today is not: the place to go to learn about the true breadth of country music, from its string band and traditional roots to the more arena-oriented sounds of today, mixing in gospel, folk, and bluegrass. The acoustic/string band sound is kind of all the rage in pop music these days. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing for the Opry to take advantage of that and reach out to the fanbases of certain acts, especially since so much of today's country music is more oriented towards electric instruments and rocking it out. At some point, country may cycle back to a sound that isn't as messy and loud, and at that point, I think we'll see Opry performances adjusted accordingly.