Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 4/17 & 4/18

My thanks to those who follow the blog in allowing me a week off. I spent the week in Gatlinburg, Tennessee and in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. And I have to confess that I did not listen to any of the Opry last weekend.

While I was in the area last week, I did stop at the Pigeon Forge location of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. While the inventory was about half of what it was in September, there was still more merchandise at that location then at the Nashville shops I visited in March. The two ladies who were working did not have much to say and the shop was slow, which is actually typical for the area. And as others have discovered, the Ernest Tubb website is now down. The last announcement on the site was that the Midnight Jamboree would resume in June. At this point, it might be wishful thinking. The main problem is WSM taking the Midnight Jamboree off the air due to non-payment of broadcast fees. What is ironic about this situation is that back when Justin Tubb ran the shops, it was WSM that had to pay them extra money for taking their air time because of the Opry running past midnight most Saturday nights, causing the Midnight Jamboree to start late. Apparently the air time at midnight was more expensive then later in the early hours of Sunday morning, which meant that the record shop was paying more than they should have been. Hopefully the situation will resolve itself as I do think there is a place in country music for the Midnight Jamboree.

I also want to offer, as have others, my prayers and thoughts to Marty Stuart and his family over the lost of his father the past week. I know that he had been in failing health over the past several years, which is a tough burden on anyone.

Now let's get to this weekend's Opry shows, starting with the Friday Night Opry. Opry member, and Country Music Hall of Famer, Mel Tillis will be appearing and hosting the final segment. He will be joined by Opry members Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson, Jan Howard, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky and Del McCoury Band, with the latter two also appearing on Saturday night. Guest artists for Friday include a return appearance by Milton Sparks. I was at the Opry in December when she made her Opry debut and she did a nice job. She is a comedian and storyteller. It is also nice to see Wade Hayes scheduled, along with Greg Bates and Lindsay Ell, both of whom have appeared on the Opry numerous times. And let's not forget future Opry member Chris Janson. He is also set for Saturday night, and yes, I still believe he will be an Opry member some day.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, in addition to Riders In The Sky, Del McCoury and Chris Janson, will feature Opry members Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Jesse McReynolds and Ray Pillow. It is nice to see Ray on the Opry's schedule and this will be his first Opry appearance of 2015. And as usual when he appears, he will be hosting.

Guest artists on Saturday night include a return visit by Ray Stevens, who appeared at the Opry in March. He is promoting his new book and CD. Someone who I always thought would make a good Opry member, Crystal Gayle is also scheduled. Sarah Darling is listed as is Chris August, who is a contempory Christian singer. And there is another appearance set for EmiSunshine, who seems to have made the Opry a second home since the first of the year.

Friday April 17
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Greg Bates; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Lindsay Ell; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Wade Hayes; Milton Sparks
8:45: Mel Tillis (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chris Janson

Saturday April 18
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; Del McCoury Band
7:30: The Whites (host); Chris August; Ray Stevens
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds; EmiSunshine; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Chris Janson; Crystal Gayle

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, April 16 & 17, 2010:

Friday April 16
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Ralph Stanley
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Daryle Singletary
8:15: Diamond Rio (host); Stonewall Jackson; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Dailey & Vincent

Saturday April 17
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Daryle Singletary
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Connie Smith
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Ralph Stanley; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jim Ed Brown; Dailey & Vincent; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Ralph Stanley; Daryle Singletary
10:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jean Shepard; Dailey & Vincent
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Charlie Louvin; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites

And from ten years ago, the weekend of April 15 & 16, 2005:

Friday April 15
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Trent Willmon
8:00: John Conlee (host); Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Hanna-McEuen
8:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jim Ed Brown; IIIrd Tyme Out
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Pinson; The Whites
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Mel McDaniel; Buddy Jewell

Saturday April 16
1st show
6:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Pinson
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Hanna-McEuen
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers; The Whites
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Trent Willmon; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Larry Gatlin

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Pinson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Larry Gatlin
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Billy Walker; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Hanna-McEuen
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Trent Willmon

For this week's featured line-up, it was 17 years ago this Saturday, April 18, 1998 that Diamond Rio became members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Diamond Rio, consisting of Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, Gene Johnson, Dan Truman, Dana Williams and Brian Prout, made their first Opry appearance in October 1991 and when they joined the Opry, they were the first group to join since The Whites in 1984. During their careers, they have won numerous awards from the Country Music Association and from the Academy of Country Music, and have had more than 20 Top 10 singles.

Diamond Rio were originally known as the Tennessee River Boys, a group that performed on a regular basis in the Opryland theme park. During the late 1980s, membership in the group changed as several members left and others joined. In 1991, their first single, "Meet in the Middle" went to No. 1 on the charts and their career took off from there. Their 2001 hit ballad "One More Day" became a key song of healing after the September 11 terrorist attacks. In 2004, they were awarded the Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award for their work on behalf of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. While their hit making days are behind them, they remain a popular road band and are always well received at the Opry.

Here is the running order of the Opry from Saturday April 18, 1998, the night that Diamond Rio joined the Opry's cast:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy C Newman (host): Diggy-Liggy Lo
Bill Carlisle: (?)
Jimmy C Newman: Jole Blon

6:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Jean Shepard (host): Love's Gonna Live Here
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Picking Up the Pieces
Jean Shepard: Tennessee Waltz

7:00: Shoney's
Vince Gill (host): The Cold Gray Light of Dawn
Ray Pillow: Someone Had to Teach You
Skeeter Davis; I Can't Stay Mad at You
George Hamilton IV: We Will Meet Again
Jack Greene: My World Ain't Turning Yet
Vince Gill: My Pretty Little Adriana/Whenever You Come Around

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me and My Big Loud Mouth
Chonda Pierce: Comedy
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Diamond Rio: Meet In the Middle/Tennessee
Jimmy Dickens: I'd Rather Sleep In Peace Than Know You're Gone

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Ida Red
Porter Wagoner: A Satisfied Mind
Porter Wagoner & Kristi Lynn: Dooley

8:30: Fan Fair
Johnny Russell (host): Folsom Prison Blues
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
Jeannie Seely: Making Believe
The Whites: Doing it By the Book
Johnny Russell: Wabash Cannonball

2nd show
9:30: Opry Book
Porter Wagoner (host): Freight Train Boogie
Oswald: Mansion on the Hill
Jack Greene: Satisfaction
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Jeanne Pruett: A Poor Man's Woman
Porter Wagoner & Kristi Lynn: If Teardrops Were Pennies/Head on Over to the Twist and Shout

10:00: Opry Book
Jimmy C Newman (host): Good Deal, Lucille
Jan Howard: I Wish I Could Love that Much Again
Kenny Sears: Orange Blossom Special
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

10:15: Banquet
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Vince Gill: Two Worlds Apart
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

10:30: Purnell's
4 Guys (host): The Grundy County Auction
Jean Shepard: When Two Worlds Collide
4 Guys: Shendandoah

10:45: Opry Book/Opry Cruise
Billy Walker (host): Don't Stop In My World
Roy Drusky: Waltz of the Angels
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Billy Walker: Blue Suede Shoes

11:00: Coca-Cola
Johnny Russell: Good Heated Woman
Ray Pillow: Cinderella
Stu Phillips: Only God
Diamond Rio: Dig A Little Deeper/Walking in Jerusalem Just Like John

11:30: Turbo Nutrition
Jeannie Seely (host): Speaking of the Devil
Charlie Walker: Right or Wrong/Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
The Whites: Swing Down, Chariot
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me

Finally, I want to mention a line-up featuring Connie Smith. Connie joined the Opry in 1965 and in September she will be celebrating 50 years as an Opry member. However, like several others, she has not been an Opry member that entire time. In the late 1960s, she left the Opry. Depending on the source of the information, she was either fired for not making the required number of appearances, or she stepped away for a while to raise her young children. Regardless, she was gone for about four years and it was on Saturday April 17, 1971 that she 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 and Rose Lee Maphis: If I've Gotta Have Your Lovin'
Billy Grammer: Just A Close Walk With Thee
Earl Scruggs Revue: The Girl From the North Country
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's a Sunday
Joe and 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
Bob Luman: Sing the Blues To Daddy
Hank Snow: Tammy

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking 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 Lov
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 and Rose Lee Maphis: Honey, Be My Honey Bee
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): I Saw the Light
Ray Pillow: The Waitress
Floyd Tillman: Daisy 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): Im 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

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!!!


  1. Cross Connie Smith off the list for Friday night.

  2. You danced all around my home land last week. I live just south of Raleigh, but grew up in western nc. We spent many Sunday afternoons in Gatlinburg, before it became such a tourist destination. As for the ET Record Shop, that is very sad. That's always my first stop after check in, whether I am in Nashville or Pigeon Forge. I also visited the shop in Fort Worth. I don't know if it's still there or not.

  3. The Ft. Worth location is no longer Ernest Tubb's but is still a country music record store

  4. Jean Shepard posted a message on her facebook page this evening , thanking her fans for their prayers and kind thoughts over the past several months. She said that she has had some health issues but is back home and feeling better. She is also looking forward to a live show scheduled in Minnesota in June. Hopefully we will see her back on the Opry.