Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 9/11& 9/12

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Solid line-ups with Friday being the better night, in my opinion.

The Friday Night Opry will feature a pair of Opry members hosting segments that normally do not host. Josh Turner gets a crack at the "big time" as he will be introducing Jesse McReynolds and Exile during the 2nd segment. And Charlie Daniels gets to close out the show, hosting and introducing Ryan Weaver and Tracy Lawrence. They will be joined in the hosting slot by Connie Smith and Bill Anderson, both of whom will return on Saturday night. Other Opry members set this weekend include Mike Snider and The Whites, who are scheduled for both nights, and Bobby Osborne who is down for Saturday.

Guesting this weekend will be the Annie Moses Band and Exile, who are scheduled for both nights, and joined on Friday by Maggie Rose. Saturday will have Keith Anderson, Jonathan Jackson, Seth Alley and The Secret Sisters, who are always outstanding on the Opry.

A couple of names that might not be familiar and making their Opry debuts are Ryan Weaver and Seth Alley. Ryan describes himself as an "all-American rockin' country music artist. He performed at the recent Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam, and he has been working with Charlie's manager. I am sure that led to his Opry invite. He is an Army veteran whose brother died in Iraq. I won't go into his entire biography, but it is listed on his website and is very interesting and moving.

Seth Alley records for Big Machine Records and he recently opened for Dwight Yoakam at the Ryman Auditorium. He is another one of those youngsters trying to make his way in the country music business.

Friday September 11
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Maggie Rose; Mike Snider
7:30: Josh Turner (host); Jesse McReynolds; Exile
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Annie Moses Band
8:45: Charlie Daniels (host); Ryan Weaver; Tracy Lawrence

Saturday September 12
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Keith Anderson; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Secret Sisters; Exile
8:15: The Whites (host); Jonathan Jackson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Seth Alley; Annie Moses Band

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, September 10 & 11, 2010. The shows both nights took place at Two Rivers Church, across from the Opry House.

Friday September 10
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sam Bush
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Mel Tillis (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jesse McReynolds; Jean Shepard
8:45: Mike Snider (host); T.G. Sheppard; Connie Smith

Saturday September 11
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Blaine Larsen
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Joey+Rory
8:15: The Whites (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of September 9 & 10, 2005:

Friday September 9
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Mike Snider
8:00: John Conlee (host); Charlie Louvin; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Greencards
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Dean Miller
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Legacy Five Quartet
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Diamond Rio

Saturday September 10
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Catherine Britt
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Jamey Johnson
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jeannie Seely; David Lee Murphy
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Lorrie Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Mountain Heart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; David Lee Murphy
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Mel McDaniel; Lorrie Morgan
10:30: John Conlee (host); Stu Phillips; Catherine Britt; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown w/Helen Cornelius; Jamey Johnson
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Mountain Heart

For this week's classic line-up, it was on Saturday September 13, 1969 that Earl Scruggs made his first solo appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Earl, along with Lester Flatt, became members of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955, after breaking away from Bill Monroe. Prior to their time joining the Opry, Bill worked hard to keep them off the show, however Martha White, who was the sponsor of the Flatt & Scruggs tour and television show, put pressure on Opry management to accept them as members. Flatt & Scruggs made their final appearance as Opry members on February 22, 1969 and shortly after that they broke up. Both continued as Opry members, with Lester Flatt taking over the Martha White segment while Earl reorganized into the Earl Scruggs Revue. Earl would remain as an Opry member for just a couple of years, leaving in March 1974.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday September 13, 1969, the night that the Earl Scruggs Revue made their Opry debut:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
George Hamilton IV (host): Canadian Pacific
4 Guys: My Special Angel
Leona Williams: Once More
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind

6:45: Rudy's
Stu Phillips (host): That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
Liz Anderson: Mama Spank
Bobby Lewis: 'Til Something Better Comes Along
Stu Phillips: Little Tin God

7:00: Luzianne
Billy Walker (host): Better Homes and Gardens
Skeeter & Vic Willis: Buying Popcorn
Stringbean: Little Pink
Diana Trask: Children
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Skeeter Willis: A Maiden's Prayer
Diana Trask: There Goes My Everything

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Ray Pillow: You Don't Care What Happens to Me
Martha Carson: Swing Down Chariot
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Billy Grammer: Peace on Earth Begins Today
Johnny Carver: Sweet Wine
Ray Pillow: Working Man Blues
Martha Carson: Let the Light Shine On me

8:00: Martha White
Charlie Walker (host): Truck Driving Man
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You
Lonzo & Oscar: Rocky Top
Merle Kilgore: Folsom Prison Blues
Charlie Walker: Moffitt, Oklahoma
Ernie Ashworth: Love, I Finally Found It
Lonzo & Oscar: Hertz, Rent A Chick
Merle Kilgore: Wolverton Mountain
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Earl Scruggs Revue: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Linda Martel: All I Have to Offer You Is Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Hen Cackle
Roy Acuff: Branded Wherever I Go
Randy Scruggs: If I Were A Carpenter
Linda Martel: Color Him Father

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
George Hamilton IV (host): Early Morning Rain
Willis Brothers: Buying Popcorn
4 Guys: Love of the Common People
Liz Anderson: Excedrin Headache #99
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Willis Brothers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
4 Guys: The Games People Play
Liz Anderson: If the Creeks Don't Rise
George Hamilton IV: Abilene

10:00: Fender
Billy Walker (host): Things
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Bobby Lewis: Love Me and Make It All Better
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Earl Scruggs Revue: Reuben
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Stu Phillips (host): Do What 'Cha Do Do Well
Leona Williams: Once More
Merle Kilgore: Ring of Fire
Stu Phillips: Little Tin God

10:45: Kent
Ray Pillow (host): Wonderful Day
Diana Trask: Children
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Ray Pillow: Take Your Hands off My Heart

11:00: Coca-Cola
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Ernie Ashworth: A New Heart
Martha Carson: This Old House
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is a Soul Man
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Martha Carson: Shout & Shine
Kirk McGee: Milk Cow Blues

11:30: Lava
Charlie Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Lonzo & Oscar; Lonesome Road Blues
Linda Martel: All I Have to Offer You Is Me
Johnny Carver: Proud Mary
Charlie Walker: Jambalaya
Lonzo & Oscar: Making Plans
Linda Martel: Color Him Father
Johnny Carver: That's You Hang Up Baby

There were quite a few guest artists on the Opry that night, a few that may have been forgotten over the years that might be of interest.

Martha Carson was actually a former Grand Ole Opry member who first came to the Opry in 1951 by way of Knoxville's "Midday Merry-Go-Round" on the strength of a Capital hit titled "Satisfied," a hand-clapping gospel song that established her bouncy, spirited performance style. She was quickly a favorite of Opry fans, so much so that what happened to her is an incomprehensible part of the history of the Grand Ole Opry. Martha was on the Opry steadily until her first child was born in 1957 and then she took a sabbatical, which also included a year of working in New York. Martha was quoted as saying "I got a leave of absence from the Opry. I didn't quit and I wasn't fired. When I came back to Nashville, Opry manager Ott Devine said they had no openings. I never did go back. I never even got to be a guest." She may have been quoted as saying that, but she did come back and make a few guest appearances. (Interesting that on the appearance she made on this particular night, she did not sing "Satisfied." Martha would continue to make records and appearances well into the 1970s. She passed away in December 2004 at the age of 83.

Diana Trask came to Nashville from Australia. The prime of her career took place in the 1970s. During her career, she had 18 songs on the charts, with the highest being "Lean It All on Me" which went to #13 in 1974. Her last chart recordings were in 1981 and at last word she was back in Australia.

Another female singer from that night was Linda Martel. She was born Thelma Bynem in 1941 and she does hold a place in Opry history. In 1969, she became the first African-American female to perform on the Opry. From what I can tell, she released only one country album, "Color Me Country" in 1970. All together, she made 11 more appearances on the Opry and then disappeared. And I mean really disappeared as it seems nobody knows what has happened to her.

Finally, I wanted to mention Liz Anderson, mother of Lynn Anderson, and a fine country singer in her own right. Liz was born in January 1930. In the 1960s, she was noted as being one of the first country music female entertainers to write and record her own music. Among her songs that she wrote, the list includes Merle Haggard's "All My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers." During the course of her career, she wrote and published over 250 songs, of which over 25 ended up on the country charts. Her songs were recorded by just about everyone in country music including Bobby Bare, Merle Haggard, Roy Drusky, Faron Young, Charley Pride, Ernest Tubb, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Skeeter Davis, and the list goes on and on. In 2006, Lynn Anderson released "Cowgirls" which was an album of songs written by her mother. Liz passed away in 2011.

There you have it. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.


  1. Byron, I found a recent article about Thelma Bynem, who made a public appearance back in June. Since the Opry, she has changed her name to Linda Martell:

  2. Liz Anderson did some really solid albums for RCA in the mid to late 60's. There were a few corny songs in the mix but overall some very solid performances. You may remember the album "Game of Triangles" she did with Bobby Bare and Norma Jean I believe in 1967.

    As with many artist and song writers some of the best stuff never made hit status!

    A couple more notable songs include "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" by Merle, "Just Between the Two of Us" by Bonnie and Merle which I think was there biggest duet, and "I Cried all the Way to the Bank" by Norma Jean.

    She is another influential artist/writer in country music who will unfortunately be forgotten with time.

    Knightsville, IN

  3. Some changes in the Opry line-up for this week. Connie Smith is out for Friday night. The Whites will be hosting the first segment and Mo Pitney has been added in their place during Bill Anderson's spot. On Saturday night, The Whites and Connie Smith have switched spots.

  4. So that now makes FIVE Opry members on Friday night and FIVE on Saturday night (if you count the square dancers). It will be interesting to see how Josh and Charlie do as hosts, as much as it is good to see them there. It is starting to get out-of-control on "guests" - they outnumber the members !! If they won't stop putting so many guests on, maybe they need to add time to the shows for more Opry members. It would make it more pallative for the cost of a ticket; at least when you go to any other concert, the performer you have paid to see will be there !!

  5. I don't mind guests if they sing authentic country music.
    Authentic country music is somewhat like pornography (as defined by Justice Potter Stewart), "I know it when I see it."
    With authentic country music, "I know it when I hear it."
    And lately, a whole bunch of guests are NOT singing authentic country music.
    Bring on guests if they understand what the 'Opry is all about.

  6. I go to a concert to hear the performers I know and their music, and an occasional (new) opening act or two is OK before the headliner, but, this weekend at the Opry there are MORE "guests" than members - unacceptable as far as I am concerned.

  7. One more vent about this - the opening acts at shows do LESS than the headliner, so why aren't the guests on the Opry doing one song while the Legends/Members of the Opry do two -- understanding that the host does usually get to do an opening and a closing number. I am there because of the Legends/Members. Isn't that how it was done "back in the day" at the old Ryman - example, Ernest Tubb would bring out Loretta Lynn to do a song on his segment,

  8. It seems to me that only Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds are allowed to be the 2nd guest on the 3rd saturday segment. This week, Bobby & Jesse are doing different segments, and so the spot is empty. They have a good number of Opry legends who would be capable of doing a song for the segment, such as Jan howard, Ray Pillow, Stu Phillips, possibly Jean Shepard, and of course, Stonewall Jackson.

    I can understand that the Opry adds some of these guest artists because a lot of the members don't have a lot of dedication to the show, but they have about a half dozen members who rarely are asked to appear, and spend the year waiting by the phone for a call from Pete Fisher to come in and appear.

    And in response to the previous comment from anonymous, I agree that the legends should be allowed more than 1 song. I would understand if the Opry wanted to cut down on having legends sing so they can feature a big name guest singer, but that's not the case. They give a bunch of musicians who aren't country and aren't very popular bigger spots and more time to perform, but let the legends, who are country and are popular, are allowed just 1 song before getting kicked out.

    In my opinion (and similarly to many of your opinions) most of the newcomer guests really aren't country. They're usually rock singers who just decide to put a twang in their voice and say, "I'm country because I've got a twang." The people who are actually true country singers don't really have a twang, they just simply have country in their heart and soul.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Kyle has it right. Many of the newer artists, including most of the Opry's guests, are "country" so they can get played on the radio. They really want to be pop singers, but not adult contemporary, so the only other choices on AM radio are country and hard rock. (There is no real pop anymore.) They're obviously not hard rock ... so they're "country."

    Radio cooperates. That serves them, but not country music or us long-suffering fans.

  10. Agree with Fred and Kyle!

    And many of the ones that fall in that category are applauded because they sound like they are in pain or sick with voice problems so they are making such a big sacrifice letting us get the hear or see them. Just because you can yell at the top of your voice does not mean you can sing or that it is pleasing to hear.

    Good taste has gone out the window!

    Knightsville, IN

  11. and as others have mentioned here, the Opry (Pete Fisher) is in line with the recording companies which is why there are so many of those country want-a-be's are on the show and getting the double song slot in lieu of the legends (members).

  12. So, It is my understanding that record companies pay a fee to radio stations to play the songs they want to be played on the radio. It seems likely to me that the Opry is getting a kickback from the record Company to put these new artists on the opry..

    On another note, I attended a Tuesday Night Opry in 2008. 2 of the acts on the list were Jewel, and Darius Rucker. I was quite upset, as I did not drive to Nashville, and purchase a ticket, to see Non-Country performers. This was also Darius's Debut. Jewel was first of the 2, and sounded terrible. I did not have high hopes for Darius at all. I was wrong. He came out, sang three really solid country songs, very appropriate for the situation, and honestly made a fan out of me. I hear these Young new groups play the opry, and I think back to that night in 2008... Do they not know where they are and what they are doing? Do they not care? or are they being told by management to do what they do? either way, it does not bode well for the future, in my opinion...

  13. Pretty much anytime you see a newcomer or unknown artist on the Opry, it is because of at least one of the following:

    >The artist has been on the ABC show "Nashville." I would have to check for sure, as I am not a fan of the ABC show, but I think anyone who has ever sang a song on "Nashville" has been on the Opry. And considering that Steve Buchanan is one of the producers of the ABC show, you can see how that connection works.

    >A recording company is involved either through a cross-promotion with the Opry or through some other type of financial arrangement. Ryman Hospitalities, the owner of the Grand Ole Opry, is a "for profit" company and will look at any possible ways to increase the value of the brand

    >The artist has been featured on one of the popular talent shows that are on television including "American Idol," America's Got Talent," or "The Voice" among others. With Opry members Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley featured on several of those shows, you can see the connection there. And, those talent shows have cross-promotions at work involving the Opry.

    >The newcomer is associated with an established artist and the artist will use his "pull" to get the newcomer on the show. The most recent example of this is from Friday night when Ryan Weaver was on the segment hosted by Charlie Daniels. Ryan was a part of Charlie's most recent Volunteer Jam and Charlie's manager is helping to get Ryan's career established.

    None of these are anything new. Roy Acuff got his son Roy Acuff, Jr. on the Opry; George Morgan got Lorrie Morgan on, Loretta Lynn got on because she was liked and promoted by other Opry members (Ernest Tubb and The Wilburn Brothers), ad heck, Charlie Pride got relatives on. When you had and Opry that ran from 6:30-Midnight, these new artists did not stand out as much as there were 25 other artists performing. Now with just a 2 hour show and only 10-12 artists on any given night, these newcomers stand out and take up many of the slots.

  14. Sorry for the spelling errors. My spell check was not doing the job, but I think you get the drift of what I was writing.

  15. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Seems like a good summary of the current state of affairs. It's all about the $$$. Guess that is the world we live in.