Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Grand Ole Opry 5/23 & 5/24

Grand Ole Opry and holiday weekends sometimes do not go together as many of the artists are out on the road doing dates, but for this Memorial Day weekend, the Opry has come up with a couple of shows that, while not necessarily outstanding, are pretty decent.

There are a couple of names that have caught my eye on the schedule and one of them is scheduled for the Friday Night Opry. Opry member Stonewall Jackson is scheduled for his first appearance this year. (one friend of mine wrote me an email and asked if Pete Fisher was on vacation this weekend, and if that was why Stonewall was doing the Opry?). Joining Stonewall on Friday night will be the great guitarist Doyle Dykes. He has played the Opry for many years and usually gets a couple of slots a year. Also scheduled is Elizabeth Cook and from "Nashville" Charles Esten.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry features another artist who I personally love and wish that we would see more of, and that is Suzy Bogguss. She has released a new CD, "Lucky", which features songs by Merle Haggard. I own it and it is fantastic. Joining Suzy, who will also be signing copies of her CD in the Opry gift shop, will be Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, who have made several recent appearances, along with Keni Thomas and Jason Crabb, who is also scheduled on Friday night. And, as has been the case for the past several weeks, there is a slot available on Saturday night for Jimmy Dickens, which seems to the be scheduling pattern.

Friday May 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Greg Bates; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Elizabeth Cook; Doyle Dykes
8:15: The Whites (host); Stonewall Jackson; Johnny Counterfit; Jason Crabb
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Charles Esten

Saturday May 24
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Keni Thomas
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Joe Mullins & His Radio Ramblers
8:15: The Whites (host); Jimmy C Newman; Suzy Bogguss; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jason Crabb

That comes out to 6 Opry members on Friday night and 7 on Saturday. And still no Mike Snider, which remains a mystery. I get more questions about Mike then any other Opry member. It is like he has disappeared. This is an Opry member who averaged almost 100 appearances per year and has yet to be on the Opry in 2014. Strange.

Looking back 5 years ago this weekend, here was the Grand Ole Opry line-up for the weekend of May 22 & 23, 2009:

Friday May 22
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Caitlin & Will
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Tracy Byrd
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; The Whites

Saturday May 23
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Dale Watson
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Emily West
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Hal Ketchum

And now, here is the line-ups from 10 years ago, the weekend of May 21 & 22, 2004:

Friday May 21
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Gene Watson
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Stu Phillips; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jedd Hughes
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Rebecca Lynn Howard;
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Morgane Hayes; Charlie Louvin; Pinmonkey
9:30: Charlie Walker (host); Connie Smith; Mandy Barnett

Saturday May 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Mountain Heart
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Rachel Proctor; Osborne Brothers; Suzy Bogguss
8:00: Charlie Walker (host); Jan Howard; Jedd Hughes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Taylor Ware; Billy Walker; Rebecca Lynn Howard

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Mountain Heart
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Osborne Brothers; Suzy Bogguss; Billy Walker; Rachel Proctor; Opry Square  Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Taylor Ware; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Rebecca Lynn Howard
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jedd Hughes; Jack Greene

And finally, here is the running order from Saturday May 25, 1991, 23 years ago this weekend:

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Danny Davis: My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You
Porter Wagoner: You Gotta Have A License/Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

6:45: Hall of Fame
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Jim Ed Brown: Four Walls

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Stu Phillips: (?)
Jean Shepard: Home in San Antone/Time Changes Everything/Deep Water/Roly Poly
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda/Cajun Stripper

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Teddy Wilburn: I've Loved You All Over the World
Margo & Holly Smith: Just the Beginnings/Chime Bells
Bill Monroe: Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord/Blue Moon of Kentucky

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
4 Guys: I'm Bound for Higher Ground/How Married Are You, Mary Ann
Roy Drusky: It's My Way of Loving You/One Day at a Time
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel

8:30: Pops Rite
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date With You/Silver Threads and Golden Needles/The End of the World
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/I Saw the Light
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
Stu Phillips: Here She Comes Again
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Country Music Has Gone to Town

10:00: Little Debbie
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Jan Howard: Wind Beneath My Wings
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Oswald: Willy, Don't You Ramble No More
Roy Acuff: The Things I Might Have Been

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): The Old Tennessee River
Jimmy C Newman; Pistol Packin' Mama
Bill Monroe: Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong

10:45: B.C. Powder
Charlie Walker (host): A Way to Free Myself
The Whites: What About You
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Goard
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jimmy Dickens (host): Be and My Big Loud Mouth
Teddy Wilburn: Somebody's Back in Town
Roy Drusky: Go Bring My Children Home
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Ray Pillow: If I Didn't Have You In My World
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

11:30: Creamette
4 Guys (host): We're Only Here For A Little While
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel/Something to Brag About
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World/Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy, Down in My Heart
4 Guys: If I Didn't Care/Tied Up

As an additional note, Wilma Lee Cooper was scheduled for Porter's segment during the first show but cancelled.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend and I hope everyone has a safe Memorial Day.


  1. Last weekend, Bill Anderson mention that he in the band would be in Canada this coming weekend.

    Knightsville. IN

  2. However it happened, I am glad that Stonewall is performing this weekend. Maybe it will not be long until some of the others who haven't performed lately will be on the program: Mike Snider and Stu Phillips are two names that come to mind.

  3. Bruce, I would love to see Stu Phillips back on the Opry soon but I know he has battled some health issues over the past several years.

  4. Fred, Bismarck:

    Tickled to see Johnny Counterfit (as I guess he chooses to spell his name) on Friday's bill. Wish they had booked him for Saturday while they were at it. He's one of the few acts that will make me tune in to the Opry anymore, a true talent who also provides some badly needed variety. (Remember comedy on the Opry?)

  5. Just finished listening to Stonewall Jackson on the Friday Night Opry. He sounded great and very happy to be back on the Opry. Did "That's Why I'm Walkin'" What was strange at the end of the song, if I heard him right, he thanked Mr. Fisher for inviting him.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    That's what I heard, too, along with (earlier) "God bless the Grand Ole Opry." Spoken like a man who would like to be invited back.

    I agree Stonewall sounded great, and it was surely nice to hear him again.

  7. As an Opry member, I can't believe that it took Pete Fisher 5 months into 2014 to "invite" Stonewall to the Opry. Even the veterans get asked a few more times then that. But then again.........

  8. Fred, Bismarck:

    I've got an emotional investment in Stonewall, as he burst on the scene in my most impressionable -- teenage -- years. So I do identify with him, and give him credit for the great songs he's given us, including one of his first, "Life to Go" -- and, of course, the one he sang tonight. Just too bad HE couldn't have had two songs, instead of that gawdawful Jason Crabbe.

    Some people seem to try to make a musical living by being a little closer to God than the rest of us, and I reject it as the hustle it is.

    I do love country gospel -- a la Carl Story, Bill Monroe and so many others -- but not without the country ingredient, especially on a stage like the Opry.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Reviewing my notes, I think Stonewall's words were "I love the Grand Ol' Opry" (rather than "God bless," etc.) Along with the previously reported thanks to "Mr. Fisher."

    If Stonewall is getting more mellow, I hope Fisher is too. We, and the Opry, need more of Stonewall.

  10. I didn't get to listen, but I do seem to recall that Stonewall was having some health problems. It may be that, given their previous issues, Stonewall does feel that he should be invited. I have wondered how other members viewed what he did. They should have been grateful and in awe.

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agreed, Michael. I'd think Jean Shepard's long-anticipated book would be full of the subject -- but when are we going to see that? (I hope she isn't going to weasel out and arrange for her bombs to be dropped only after she's gone.) What did Charlie Louvin have to say in his book about the Stonewall affair?

  12. Fred, Jean's book is out this month and is available on Larry Black's website, which I think is affiliated with Larry's Country Diner. Haven't seen it yet, but they are taking pre-orders. Like you, I really hope she keeps to promise to tell all. I can't remember specifically what Charlie said about Stonewall in his book as I don't have it handy, but I do know that he did not have kind words for the current management of the Opry and the treatment of the veterans in general.

  13. From ANONYMOUS IN PA: Listened to tonight's Grand Ole Opry except for the John Conlee segment (really wanted to hear Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers but had to turn off due to a storm). Jeannie Seeley talked too much again; Keni Thomas was OK; loved hearing Little Jimmy Dickens again, how many 93-year olds are performing on a live show and can still sound good; Suzy Boggus was great; Connie Smith outstanding as always;

  14. will Gene Watson never be invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. What a shame as he has carried the true country music tradition all these years..
    It is funny how quick they offer the membership to big artists that rarely even appear on the show, Carrie Underwood a major exception to that rule and Oakridge Boys have been good to play opry when in town.

  15. Fred, Bismarck:

    Anon, that would be adding another gray head, and the only place Pete Fisher wants to see another of those is on the end of a pike.

    It's funny: Rock music reveres its classics, such as Dylan, the Stones and numerous others. Fisher must have had mean grandparents, or something.