Thursday, July 23, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 7/24 & 7/25

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the four shows this weekend. Yes, there will be two shows each on Friday and Saturday night. Why you ask? Because Grand Ole Opry member Carrie Underwood will be appearing both nights. I, along with others, have mentioned before how Carrie supports the Opry and has always found the time to fulfill her commitment to the show. She sets an example for a few of the other newer Opry members.

Joining Carrie both nights will be Opry members Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Connie Smith and Ricky Skaggs. In fact, these four will be the only segment hosts for this weekend. Joining them on Friday night will be Mike Snider and Jesse McReynolds, while Bobby Osborne will join them on Saturday night. Those are the only Opry members scheduled this weekend.

As far as guest artists, Friday night will feature Carly Pearce, Kristian Bush, Jackie Lee and Point of Grace. All have appeared on the Opry previously. Saturday night will have Ashley Clark, Logan Brill, Exile and Charlie Worsham guesting. Charlie is one of the great young talents in country music. Logan Brill is one of the new young females trying to make her mark in country music and Ashley Clark is described as a singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

What it all adds up to is 11 artists for Friday night and just 10 for Saturday night, with the same artists performing on both shows each of the individual nights.

Friday July 24
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kristian Bush
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jackie Lee; Point of Grace
8:30: Connie Smith (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kristian Bush
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jackie Lee; Point of Grace

Saturday July 25
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ashley Clark; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: The Whites (host); Logan Brill; Exile
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Charlie Worsham; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Connie Smith (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ashley Clark; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: The Whites (host); Charlie Worsham; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Logan Brill; Exile

Do you notice who is missing this weekend? Yes, that is right. Vince Gill is not at the Opry this weekend. I guess he is allowed time off from the Opry after all the time he has put in. But Vince fans should not worry. He will be back.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of July 23 & 24, 2010. Both nights were held at the Ryman Auditorium as the renovation continued at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Friday July 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Randy Montana
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Cherryholmes
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Chuck Mead
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith

Saturday July 24
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Chuck Mead
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Heidi Newfield
8:15: Marty Stuart (host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; Patty Loveless

And from ten years ago, the weekend of July 22 & 23, 2005

Friday July 22
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Blue Highway; Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Ryan Shupe & The Rubber Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Susan Haynes
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; John Conlee; George Canyon
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Joe Diffie

Saturday July 23
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; BeauSoleil
7:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Asleep At The Wheel; Susan Haynes; Lee Greenwood
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; John Conlee; Sam Bush

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Susan Haynes
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Asleep At The Wheel
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Osborne Brothers; Mel McDaniel; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); John Conlee; Jean Shepard; Lee Greenwood
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); BeauSoleil; Sam Bush

For this week's look back into Opry history, I have two line-ups to offer. The first is from Saturday July 24, 1971 when future Country Music Hall of Fame member Patsy Montana made her first ever appearance on the Opry.

Ruby Rose Blevins, who became known as Patsy Montana, was born on October 30, 1908. She was known as a singer, songwriter and actress, with her signature song being, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart." The song was released in 1935 became the first million selling song by a country female artist. In the 1930s, Patsy, along with the group called The Prairie Ramblers, were regulars in the WLS National Barn Dance. She remained with the show into the 1950s after which she went into semi-retirement. She attempted a comeback in the early 1960s with limited success. Patsy passed away on May 3, 1996, the same year that she was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday July 24, 1971, the night 44 years ago that Patsy Montana made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stu Phillips (host): That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
Merle Kilgore: Wolverton Mountain
Connie Eaton: Who's Sorry Now
Stu Phillips: Me and Bobby McGee
Merle Kilgore: Honky Tonk Man

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Murry Kellum: Joy to the World
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down From God
Murry Kellum: Long Tall Texan

7:00: Luzianne
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
4 Guys: Let the Sun Keep Shining
Stan Hitchcock: Free Born Men
Barbara Mandrell: Break My Mind
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is A Soul Man
4 Guys: You Can Tell the World About This
Stan Hitchcock: You Gave Me a Mountain
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Patsy Montana: A Cowboy's Sweetheart
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Willis Brothers: High Cost of Living
Patsy Montana: Little Rag Doll

8:00: Martha White
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Stoney Edwards: A $2 Toy
Wilma Burgess: Snowbird
Tex Ritter: Fall Away
Stringbean: Y' All Come
Stoney Edwards: Po Folks Stick Together
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Johnny Cash: A Boy Named Sue
Johnny Cash: Sunday Morning Coming Down
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: No Need to Worry
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: Jackson
Hank Snow: That's When The Hurting Sets In

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Stu Phillips (host): Let the Guitars Play
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Merle Kilgore: All For the Love Of A Girl
Patsy Montana: Sixteen Pounds
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Murry Kellum: Joy to the World
Merle Kilgore: Tiger Woman

10:00: Fender
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Johnny Cash: Man In Black
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: If I Were A Carpenter
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: Help Me Make It Through the Night
Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash: No Need to Worry
Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues

10:15: Union 76
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Stan Hitchcock: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Orange Blossom Special

10:30: Trailblazer
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Stringbean: Ruby
Billy Grammer: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

10:45: Beech-Nut
4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Maria
Connie Eaton: Who's Sorry Now
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
4 Guys: One Pair of Hands

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Barbara Mandrell: Treat Him Right
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Hank Snow: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Barbara Mandrell: Rocky Top
Sam McGee: Victory Rag
Hank Snow: So Goes My Heart

11:30: Elm Hill
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Wilma Burgess: Misty Blue
Stoney Edwards: Today I Started Loving You Again
Tex Ritter: Fall Away
Wilma Burgess: Tennessee Waltz

There were several interesting names that appeared on the Opry that night with Patsy, the most famous being Johnny Cash, along with his wife June Carter Cash. At the time, Johnny was at the peak of his popularity, which was evident by the number of songs that he performed and by being the only guest on Hank Snow's segment on the first show and Roy Acuff's on the second show.

Other interesting names that might not be as well known included Wilma Burgess, Stoney Edwards, Connie Eaton, Murry Kellum and Barbara Mandrell, not yet an Opry member. We know about Barbara, but what about the others.

Wilma Burgess was born on June 11, 1939 and passed away on August 26, 2003. Between 1965 and 1975, she had fifteen singles on the country charts, the most successful being "Misty Blue" which in 1966 went to #4. She was produced for most of her career by Owen Bradley, where she recorded for his Decca label until 1975. Her last recordings were made in 1982 after which she opened and performed at a bar in Nashville and helped in running the Jim Reeves Museum. She died at the age of 64 after suffering a heart attack. One interesting note is in 1965 she purchased the Nashville home that belonged to Patsy Cline and also Jim Reeves' touring bus, "Big Blue."

Connie Eaton was born in March 1950 and passed away from cancer on September 30, 1999. She was born in Nashville and recorded for Chart Records, which was owned by Lynn Anderson, and many in the press referred to her as the "next" Anderson. During her career, she released three albums and her biggest hit was "Lonely Men, Lonely Women" which went to #23 in 1975. By the late 1970s, she was out of the music business.

Murry Kellum had one hit record during his career, "Long Tall Texan", which was a hit for him in 1963. He also co-wrote the Alabama hit, "If You're Gonna Play in Texas You've Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band." He was also known as a very good guitarist. He passed away at the age of 47 in 1990, dying as the result of a plane crash.

Stoney Edwards was born December 24, 1929 under the name of Frenchie Edwards. He was one of seven children and while growing up he dreamed of performing on the Grand Ole Opry. In 1968, while working as a forklift operator in California, he was involved in an industrial accident that resulted in him spending the next several years in either a coma or near-coma. As he recovered, he started to devote himself to country music. In 1970, while performing in Oakland, California, he was spotted by a local attorney, Ray Sweeney, who knew in the wake of the success of Charley Pride that other labels were looking for black country singers. As a result of his efforts, Stoney was signed by Capital Records. Stoney released five albums for Capital, which included two Top 20 singles, "She's My Rock" and "Mississippi You're On My Mind." "She's My Rock' would later be recorded by Brenda Lee and George Jones. By the early 1980s, his health was declining and he would pass away from cancer in 1997.

The second line-up is from five years later, Saturday July 24, 1976. It was on this night that Grand Ole Opry member Bobby Lord made his final appearance as a member of the Opry.

Bobby Lord was born on January 6, 1934 in Sanford, Florida. As a teenage, he entered various talent contests in the Tampa area, where his family had moved. After graduating from Plant High School, he was offered the chance to host a television show, "The Bobby Lord Homefolks Show." In 1952 he won a nationwide talent contest sponsored by TV Guide. In 1953, upon the recommendation of Boudleaux Bryant who had heard one of Bobby's demo tapes, he was signed by Columbia Records. At the age of 19, he was their youngest recording artist. In 1955 he joined the Ozark Jubilee and when that show was cancelled in 1960, he moved to Nashville and was immediately offered membership to the Grand Ole Opry. During his time on the Opry, he also hosted "Opry Almanac" on WSM-TV and he also had a weekly syndicated show which included Jerry Whitehurst and Spider Wilson as band members. Bobby left Nashville in 1969 and went into semi-retirement from the music business. In the 1980s he hosted TNN's Country Sportsman. Bobby died on February 16, 2008 in Stuart, Florida. Although he gave up his Opry membership in 1976, he would continue to make a few appearances on the Opry, when ever he was up in the Nashville area.

From 39 years ago this weekend, here is the line-up from Bobby Lord's final show as an Opry member, July 24, 1976:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Life to Go
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Stonewall Jackson: Washed My Hands in Muddy Water/Waterloo

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Lorrie Morgan: Merry-Go-Round of Love
Johnny Carver: Afternoon Delight
Willis Brothers: For the Good Times

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Lucille
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: (?)
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Del Wood: Stars & Stripes/Caissons/Anchor's Away/U.S. Marines/America the Beautiful
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nobody's Darling But Min
Jimmy C Newman: A Fallen Star/Diggy Liggy Lo

7:30: Standard Candy
Bobby Lord (host): Live Your Life Out Loud
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Cumberland Gap
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Skeeter Davis: The Old Rugged Cross/The King is Coming
Billy Grammer: Under the Double Eagle
Bobby Lord: Hawkeye

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Life of Riley
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Justin Tubb: Sweetwater, Texas
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Lester Flatt: Father's Table Grace
Jeanne Pruett: Break My Mind
Justin Tubb: Yesterday Just Passed My Way Again

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Larry Gatlin: Broken Lady/Take Back, It's Over
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Jean Shepard: Ain't Love Good
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Louisiana Saturday Night
Willis Brothers: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Del Wood: Stars & Stripes/Caissons/Anchors Away/US Marines/America the Beautiful
Johnny Carver: Afternoon Delight
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Bill Carlisle: Business Man

10:00: Fender
Jerry Clower (host): Marcel Stops the Train
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Curly Headed Baby
Jerry Clower: Comedy

10:15: Union 76
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Skeeter Davis: Come on Over
Oswald: Sailing On
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host)
Paul Warren: Black-Eyed Susie
Lorrie Morgan: Stand By Your Man
Justin Tubb: Looking Back to See
Lester Flatt: Great Big Woman & A Little Biddy Bottle of Wine
Kenny Ingram: Flint Hill Special

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Larry Gatlin: Broken Lady
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Peace in the Valley

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hello Love
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Hank Snow: That's When He Dropped the World in My Hands
Jeanne Pruett: It's Doesn't Hurt to Ask
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

11:30: Elm Hill
Bobby Lord (host): Rainbow Girl
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away/Ain't Love Good
Rex Allen: Green, Green Grass of Home/The Streets of Laredo
Bobby Lord: Y'All Come

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Byron, really interesting stuff. On the 1976 lineup, a couple of things. One, notice that Larry Gatlin was doing a guest shot--he became a member later that year. Two, Mr. Acuff wasn't there--hadn't he had a mild heart attack in 1976?

    Also, I was struck by how few members were present each night. I remember Grant Turner saying once that the best time to visit the Opry was in the winter when everybody was off the road and doing the Opry!

    By the way, this week's shows are the perfect example of where the current management has gone wrong. For the sake of argument, what if Carrie Underwood gets a bad cold in the next couple of days? What else is there on that show?

  2. Interesting that Johnny Cash got four songs for each segment on the 1971 lineup.

  3. For this weekend, YAWN; really not a Carrie Underwood fan. Unfortunately for us, she will probably be part of the big 90th anniversary weekend in October; and also unfortunate for us, believe we will end our "Opry Anniversary" trips this year. If we are near Nashville after that, we will just get tickets when we get there. It will be an end of a tradition for us but we no longer enjoy it as in past years.

  4. Anon, I'm not a big fan of her as an artist, either. But I honor her for her commitment to the Opry, which is more than I can say for so many entertainers I prefer who are simply hypocrites.

  5. I am sorry to read those comments about Carrie. No, I am not a huge fan of hers, but I have come to appreciate her music over the years. But I will say, as Mike did, that she does fulfill her commitment to the Opry (10 shows per year) and for that we should all be pleased. It would be great if others would follow her example. Just think if each Opry member would show up 10 times a year what a fantastic show it would be each week.

    As far as the 90th birthday bash, it might be Carrie. Who knows. What I do know is that a number of Opry members are already booked out of town that weekend and will not be there. As of last week the list includes John Conlee, Charlie Daniels, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Ronnie Milsap, Old Crow Medicine Show, Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith and Marty Stuart. Even with that, it has got to be better than last year which I think was way below par and might have been the worst yet (but I think we have said that for about the past four or five years in a row).

    Personally, I had high hopes for the 90th. But let's wait and see. There is still hope.

  6. Im very glad that Carrie decides to come do shows at the Opry during the height of concert tour season, and manages to reach Pete Fisher's unofficial rule of 10 appearances per year while being an extremely popular recording and touring artist. She is one of the few younger members that gives the Opry hope for a future. I hope she does make it to the 90th anniversary, and have a popular member celebrate rather than having guest artists there.

    Im very disappointed in John Conlee, who missed last years shows to tour, as well as Brad Paisley and Marty Stuart, who constantly promote the show and say how proud they are to be members, yet cant be available for the Opry's big birthday.

    However, Im sure we'll see Vince Gill and Larry Gatlin at the celebration, and I have a very good feeling that Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood will stop by for the celebration, as theyre on comebacks and dont have any more concerts scheduled yet.

  7. Carrie Underwood's four sold out shows this weekend will help keep the 'Opry alive.
    Old acts that we all revere don't draw crowds anymore.
    Sorry, that's just how it is.
    I salute Carrie for her clear love of the 'Opry.

    1. I completely agree with you about Underwood. Some may not like her (do they know her personally?) or her music but I have to say that I think she loves the Opry and honors the legends that have gone before her and paved the way for her and others. She is a mixture of Patsy, Crystal Gayle, Connie S. Barbara and a few others combined to make her the amazing performer and vocalist she is. Some of the females above were questioned about being country also. I, for one, am happy she is in the country genre as she respects and loves the genre and what she is doing. Personally, I do not think Underwood (I have met and talked with her a few times and was very impressed) feels the Opry is an obligation, I think she does the shows because she loves it, unlike some of her peers that wanted to become a member and never show up. Blake Shelton (He has been on the Opry 3 times since he was inducted)????? I guess he is too busy drinking and running his mouth to run to the Opry and help keep the Opry going. What a disgrace to the country genre he and his wife are now. They and others are why country has a tarnished reputation.

    2. My favorite Carrie moment occurred when she had just finished the Sound of Music. Of course all of the critics had panned her work. Apparently, in their mind, she's no Julie Andrews.
      Carrie came back to the 'Opry not long after that, and I swear I could feel the crowd showing her how much they appreciated her, and you could hear it in her voice when she sang.
      Standing ovation, and another 'Opry moment.

  8. For those of you who are interested.. Ashley Clark, although debuting as a new solo artist this year, has been on the music scene for years. He was a member of the Clark Family Experience with his 5 brothers back in 2000-2002. He also played fiddle for Carrie Underwood for her first two and a half years after Idol. He will be playing the Opry again August 28 for the fourth time this year. Check him out if you have the chance.. he is a great entertainer and a huge talent. I hope we will be hearing more from him.

  9. I was just listening to a beautiful (vinyl) album of Connie Eaton given to me by her brother years ago when I lived in Nashville. Connie had such a gorgeous voice. Her brother Mike Eaton was really talented too, but after I left Nashville, I never heard if he even stayed with his music. Does anyone know? I hope he did well at whatever he chose to do. I was so sad to learn of Connie's death so young.