Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 5/16 & 5/17

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend. With no superstar such as Carrie Underwood scheduled for Saturday night, it is back to just the 1 show.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Marty Stuart, who hasn't been around the Opry as much as he should be. I know he is busy filming his television show and doing personal dates, but as much as he claims his love and appreciation for the Opry, you would expect him to be around more often. Joining Marty will be guest artists, and almost Opry regulars, Restless Heart, Mark Wills and Striking Matches. Also scheduled is Charlie Natatani. Charlie has been making annual appearances at the Opry for as long as I can remember and it is good to see him on the schedule.

One artist who I really enjoy, and scheduled for both nights, is Sam Bush. Sam is considered one of the originators of the "Newgrass" style of bluegrass, and he has performed reguarly at the Opry. I know some traditionalists do not care for his style, but he has always been appreciative of the bluegrass legends such as Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt, and he was a favorite of Grandpa Jones.

Joining Sam on Saturday night will be guest artists Deana Carter, Lauren Alaina, regular guest Chris Janson, and the great Gene Watson. It is hard to believe that Gene is now 70 and still sounds as great as always. His career has included over 20 top 10 hits and he has had 75 singles on the charts. Amazing career.

Friday May 16
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Restless Heart; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Nagatani; Mark Wills
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Janelle Arthur; Striking Matches
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Sam Bush

Saturday May 17
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Chris Janson
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Deana Carter
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jimmy C Newman; Sam Bush; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: The Whites (host); Lauren Alaina; Gene Watson

Looks like they are leaving a spot open again for Jimmy Dickens. And if you are at the Opry on Friday night, Marty Stuart will be signing in the Opry Shop after the show. A great chance to meet Marty.

Now, as what has become a regular feature, here is a look at the Opry line-ups from 5 and 10 years ago this weekend:

(5 years ago)
Friday May 15, 2009
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Ashton Shepherd
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Keith Anderson
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Gary Mule Deer; Gene Watson

Saturday May 16, 2009
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; David Nail
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim ed Brown; Jewel
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Charlie Daniels Band

(10 years ago)
Friday May 14, 2004
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Brian McComas
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Charlie Walker; Jimmy C Newman; Pinmonkey
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; T. Graham Brown
9:00: John Conlee (host); Heather Davis; Eddy Raven
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Helen Cornelius; Andy Griggs

Saturday May 15, 2004
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); Gretchen Wilson; Brad Botter; Lee Ann Womack; Terri Clark
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jean Shepard; Jeff Bates; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Billy Walker; George Hamilton IV; Mountain Heart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jeff Bates
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Osborne Brothers; Lee Ann Womack
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; Terri Clark; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Billy Walker; Gretchen Wilson
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Brad Cotter; Mountain Heart

Finally, here is the Opry line-up from Saturday May 18, 1991, 23 years ago. As with the comparison of this week's line-up, and the 5 and 10 year ago shows, you can see the difference over the years.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Del Reeves: The Race is On
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name/Sugarfoot Rag

6:45: Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Kitty Klyde
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock/Evil on Your Mind
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Monroe (host): Will You Be Lovin' Another Man
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Skeeter Davis: I'm Saving My Love
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget/Please Don't Leave Me Anymore
Riders In The Sky: Cool Water
Bill Monroe: Just A Little Talk With Jesus
Blake Williams: Shuckin' the Corn

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Mel McDaniel: Shoe Shine Man/Mother's Bible/Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Texa-Cajun

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
4 Guys: We're Only Hear For A Little While/How Married Are You Mary Ann
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me/I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Opry Staff Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: (?)

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Jack Greene: Midnight Tennessee Woman
Roy Drusky: Somewhere My Love
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Hank Snow: It Kind of Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot

Mel McDaniel: Stand Up
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Wild Blue Country: (?)/ Auctioneer
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Del Reeves: The Only Girl I Can't Forget
Charlie Walker: Deep Water
Grandpa Jones: Nashville on My Mind

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Riders In The Sky: There's A Blue Sky Way Out Yonder/Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Jim Ed Brown (host): Lying in Love With You
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

10:45: B C Powder
Bill Monroe (host): In Despair
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Blackberry Blossom
Bill Monroe: Take Courage UnTomorrow

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Silver Rails Keep Me Free
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Jean Shepard: Above and Beyond
4 Guys: Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited too Long
Hank Snow: Ol' Shep

11:30: Creamette
Jack Greene (host): Satisfaction
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away too Long
Charlie Louvin: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have to Go

Enjoy the Opry this weekend and enjoy the memories!!


  1. And what great memories they are. Suddenly, the lineups from 10 years ago are looking good. To quote an old song, ain't that a shame?

  2. Jean Shepard is off the schedule for Friday Night. No replacement.

  3. The news came through this morning that "Nashville" will continued to be filmed in Nashville for the upcoming season. I guess that means we will continue to see many of those stars on the Opry.

  4. Listening to Little Jim right now (8:22 PM, 5-17-14).
    Sounds GREAT, better than I've heard him in a LONG time.
    The 'Opry is a whole lot "specialer" when he's on the show.

  5. Great photo of Connie dancing with the square dancers on The Opry's Instagram page.

  6. I listened to most of the Opry last night and a couple of observations. First, Jimmy Dickens did sound pretty good but I was worried a couple of times that he was forgetting his jokes and the words to "Mountain Dew." Also, it seemed that when he sang "Mountain Dew", the instrumentation was pretty loud, making it hard to hear Jimmy at times. It might have been my tablet, but that was how I was hearing it.

    Secondly, I think I have heard enough of Chris Janson. He seems like a nice young man and he is exciting, but last night he seemed to go a little overboard. I like to hear the younger talent as they bring something to the show, but he is on so much and either covers someone else's hit, or sings the same couple of songs that he knows. I think he is the 2014 version of Jimmy Wayne.

    Third, I would make the statement that there is no excuse why Gene Watson is not a member of the Opry, but it would be pointless and we know it is never going to happen. He turns 71 this year, which is one reason why he won't be asked, but he still nails it. Last night was another great example of the talent that this man has. At least he answers the phone when the Opry calls.

    Finally, the shift in the scheduling of acts at the Opry continues. "Nashville" and the cross promotion that it does with the Opry is bringing in many new fans to the show, and a younger crowd that is more lively and noisy. The Opry management is playing into that energy in some of the booking that they have been doing. For those who listen on the radio, I think it comes through pretty well. At the Opry itself, it is more alive then in the past.

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agree on enough -- too much -- of Chris Janson. Had to listen to him again on Sat. en route to Jimmy Dickens.

    The guy is a braying, overbearing ass who substitutes personality -- not an attractive one -- for music. Just analyze the words to his signature song about how much he loves his wife & child, etc., ad nauseum (after bragging about all the strangers he has slept with).

    There is no content there, no originality of expression OR sentiment. I cannot even give him Byron's bye of "nice." He is, rather, typical of practitioners of the "new" country music, which is really rock in all its decadence.

    Name one other 'American' music -- jazz, say -- that has dropped not only its original subject matter but its original instrumentation; added things like strings and vibes and 'voices' -- and still had the audacity to call itself by its original name. That's what we country fans have been subjected to.

    To the extent the Opry 'succeeds' with its new strategy, I think it has used up its usefulness to the rest of us.

  8. Fred, if the changes in country music had stopped with C.B. Atkins and the Nashville Sound, or Owen Bradley (with Patsy Cline) and Don Law (with Ray Price) adding strings, fine. I don't even object to drums as vehemently as Herman Crook and Grandpa Jones did. But my comment to these people who claim to be country is from the kind of person who needs to take over the Opry, Michael Corleone: Don't insult my intelligence. There's untraditional stuff, and that's fine, but whatever Chris Janson was doing, it was not country.

    As for Gene Watson, the pipes are pretty good at 70. I remember about 25 years ago he was doing Farewell Party on TV and my mother commented that if he turned any redder on that last note, they'd think he was a beet. That's quite a note to hit, and he can still go get it.

    As for Connie Smith, she is indeed the Rolls Royce of country singers, as Mr. Stubbs put it, but she'll also always be, as I think Grant Turner first called her, cute and country.

  9. Missed the Opry Saturday night. We were in Shipshewana, Indiana at a Country's Family Reunion show with Bill Anderson, Jim Ed and Helen and Barbara Fairchild. They had trouble with the monitors at the start of the show and Bill, Helen and Barbara were telling jokes and trying to sing a couple songs with just Bill playing guitar while they tried to fix it. Jim Ed just backed up and set down. After a while Jim Ed walked up to Bill and said "why don't you play guitar for me and I'll sing, I could sing all night". He sang "I Love You Because and Pop A Top. Really took control of the moment! He obviously loves to sing and perform! They took a break and they fixed the sound and the rest of the evening was great. They performed and talked for about two hours.

    Jim Ed is working on a new 15 song CD and said that Bonnie helped him on one of the songs. He also said that he and Bonnie might do some show dates together and they were trying to get Maxine to come along. He said she has declined but that she can't hardly take not being a part of things so she will likely go along. Let's hope this comes to pass.

    When Bill was introducing the band which included his Po Folks and Jimmy Capps, he introduced Kensy West, the young lady on fiddle, He said that she had made appearances on the Nashville TV show and ask how many on the crowd watched the show. Of about 500 only a couple dozed raised their hands, Bill said "maybe that's why the ratings are falling". Keep in mind that the average age of the crowd was probably about 55.

    Chris Janson, agree we've had enough. As much as we may appreciate Chet and Owen I think the root of what we see today may lay at their feet. They took us way up town starting about 1960 making country a national music, not just regional. Big money began to come with the popularity and with that greed form outside the country field. Pretty soon everyone wants in and we are trying to sell as many units as possible to everyone under 40. Steel, fiddles, meaningful lyrics and pleasing melodies were raped and put down as old fashion and out of style(do I hear Jim Ed's new song). Now we have mostly meaningless noise being forced on us and applauded by the likes of Blake Shelton while at the same time putting down the victim as old, worn out and useless. Ray Price was a bigger man than me to forgive Shelton! Chris Janson: Perfect poster child for this new noise.

    Will have to listen to Jimmy Dickens when the show is posted. Again, the Opy band is geared towards these new loud acts that have to sing loud and move around to hold your attention. For the older performer, the loud band and sound system makes them sound prehistoric and way out of place. Lucky for those who still can bring their own band. I even have trouble hearing Jesse and Bobby talk. And what about those drums? We've covered this before. Maybe it is our link to the past, sounds like someone beating on a washtub and they have the most sensitive mic right next to it. One other thing I have noticed is the volume of the crowd changing like they switch on a special mic out in the crowd to enhance the loudness then turn it back when someone on stage speaks. They don't even make an attempt to fade in and out. Anyone else notice this.

    Knightsville, IN

  10. Jim, thanks for the great report. It shows what great performers these veterans are and how they appreciate and understand their audience. Most of the "superstars' of today would have probably thrown a temper tantrum and refused to even come out on stage if the monitors or sound system was not working right. Bill Anderson and Jim Ed Brown understand that things do not always go right but that the audience has paid good money to see them. That probably goes back to their days on the circuit of doing county fairs and other venues where they had to improvise many nights.

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Fine insights, everybody! And it's a pleasure to hear of some of our old favorites still reflecting credit on themselves and our music out there on the circuit.

    Sounds like a great show, Jim.

    I think we've had a lot of Chris Jansons inflicted on us over the years because they're told, or understand, "Listen, you want to get airplay? Then you're country." Historically, country radio has been that graveyard that takes anybody. (Unless some marketer has decided an artist is "old hat." Then he's dropped like a bad habit, even if he's a George Jones or Merle Haggard.)

    So, just about everybody who sings songs with words you can make out becomes "country" -- and gets invited to places like the Grand Ole Opry.

  12. This isn't country, but it's a good example of what Jim was talking about. The Kronos Quartet appeared at our performing arts center in Las Vegas. All of them wore those earpieces. At one point, they started to play and had to stop. David Harrington, the lead violinist, then told the audience that there was a technical problem and, obviously filling the time, did a great explanation of what the earpieces are, why they wear them, and how they affect the music. When he was done, the problem was fixed. Perfect!

    I was reminded of a night on a TNN telecast that Mr. Acuff was talking and one of the sound men--I'm sure it was Vic Gabany--walked by and muttered something about how they had switched the order. Mr. Acuff stopped, looked over toward Hairl Hensley, and said something like, "Well, they're changing things around, so let me see where we're going." Live broadcasting. It's a wonder.

  13. I've got another tell of professionalism in a bad situation.

    August 13, 2005 at the Little Nashville Opry in Nashville, Indiana, Ray Price and band were on stage. They started into Release Me and about 30 seconds into the song the power went out. They never missed a beat, kept on performing and the crowd applauded. The power came back for about 10 seconds and went off again. You could hear the storm outside as they continued to perform. They kept going and finished the song. We heard about 25% of it through the PA! Never seen anything like it.

    Knightsville, IN