Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 9/25 & 9/26

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this week, there is some sad news to pass along. I found out today that Ruth Grammer, the widow of Grand Ole Opry member Billy Grammer, passed away on September 6. Ruth and Billy were married in 1944, and were married until Billy's death in August 2011. From what I have heard, Ruth was as well liked and admired as Billy was. Though not active in the music community, I still wanted to pass that news along. 

As far as the Opry this weekend, the Opry management managed to round up 5 Opry members for the Friday Night Opry, while Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will have 6 members performing. Friday night will feature Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Terri Clark, Riders In The Sky and Mel Tillis. Jeannie, Mel and The Riders will stay over for Saturday night, and they will be joined by Bobby Osborne, Ray Pillow and Jesse McReynolds. What is interesting and somewhat stands out for me is that Terri Clark will be hosting a segment on Friday night, making Mike Snider, who you would expect to host, the only Opry member performing on Friday night who will not be hosting. 

As far as guest artists this weekend, Friday night will feature a rare Opry appearance by Tanya Tucker. EmiSunshine will also be performing, as will somewhat regular Opry guests Greg Bates, Chuck Wicks, Wade Hayes and Kristian Bush. Of that group, I always enjoy hearing Wade. Kristian will stay around for Saturday night and will be joined by the legendary Ray Stevens, along with Sara Haze, Point of Grace and Charlie Worsham, who will also be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. And not to forget, but Saturday will also mark the annual Opry appearance of the winner of the Grandmaster Fiddle competition.  

Friday September 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Greg Bates; Mike Snider
7:30: Terri Clark (host); Chuck Wicks
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Wade Hayes; Kristian Bush
8:45: Mel Tillis (host); EmiSunshine; Tanya Tucker

Saturday September 26
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sara Haze; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Grandmaster Fiddle Champion; Kristian Bush
8:15: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds; Point of Grace; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mel Tillis (host); Charlie Worsham; Ray Stevens

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, September 24 & 25, 2010. Both shows were held at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday September 24
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Isaacs
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Wayne
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeannie Seely; Gene Watson

Saturday September 25
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Randy Kohrs
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Janie Fricke
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Jo Dee Messina

The following Tuesday night, September 28, 2010, the newly renovated Grand Ole Opry House reopened. Bill Anderson was the first artist to perform, which had special meaning as he was the last artist to sing on the Opry stage the night prior to the flood. It was an impressive line-up of Opry members and it was also the night that Trace Adkins asked Blake Shelton if he would like to become an Opry member, which was no surprise as it had been hinted for weeks that it might happen. Blake's official induction would take place later in October.

Now here is the posted line-up from ten years ago, the weekend of September 23 & 24, 2005:

Friday September 23
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; The Whites; Bobby Pinson
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Trick Pony
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Mark Wills
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Gene Watson
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Mel McDaniel; T Graham Brown

Saturday September 24
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Susan Haynes
7:00: Vince Gill (host); Mark Wills; Kathy Mattea; Gretchen Wilson; J.D. Crowe & The New South
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Bobby Pinson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Connie Smith; Gene Watson

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Kathy Mattea
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Susan Haynes; Mark Wills
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Billy Walker; J.D. Crowe & The New South; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Gene Watson
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Bobby Pinson

Finally, it was on Saturday September 26, 1953 that future Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis made her Opry debut.

Skeeter Davis, born Mary Frances Penick, came to Nashville from Dry Ridge, Kentucky. In the late 1940s, she teamed with Betty Jack Davis to form the Davis Sisters. They were signed to RCA Records in 1951. In 1953, they recorded "I Forget More Than You'll Ever Know" which spent eight weeks at the #1 spot on the country charts. On August 1, 1953, while the song was still climbing the charts, the Davis Sisters were involved in a car accident that killed Betty Jack. It was after this accident and her Opry appearance that Skeeter made the decision to retire from the music business. However, in 1958 Skeeter decided to make a comeback and she began touring with Ernest Tubb, performing as his featured female vocalist. She was soon back in the recording studio and starting in 1960, had numerous Top 10 hits, the biggest being "The End of the World."

Skeeter joined the Grand Ole Opry on August 4, 1959 and except for her suspension in 1973, she would remain an Opry member until her death on September 19, 2004. Her last Opry appearance was on December 20, 2000, after which ill health forced her into retirement.

Here is the Opry running order from Saturday September 26, 1953, the night Skeeter Davis made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

7:30: Prince Albert
Ray Price (host): Who Stole That Train
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Darrell Glenn: Crying In The Chapel
Square Dancers: Katy Hill
Ray Price: In The Garden
Old Hickory Singers: Floating Down To Cotton Town
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Darrell Glenn: Hang Up That Telephone
String Beans: Uncle Pen
Ray Price: The Wrong Side of Town

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): When The World Has Turned You Down
Bill Monroe and Jimmy Martin: Cabin Of Love
Hank Snow: Golden Rocket
June Carter: Rub A Dub Dub
Possum Hunters: Sleepy Lou
Ernest Tubb: The Long Way
Carter Family: Red River Blues
Bill Monroe: Rocky Road Blues
Hank Snow: Message From The Trade Winds
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May
Fiddle Tune: Old Hen Cackled

8:30: Royal Crown Cola
Webb Pierce (host): I'm Walking The Dog
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Martha Carson: Satisfied
Lonzo and Oscar: I'm Moving On #2
Del Wood: 12th Street Rag
Skeeter Davis: I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know
Webb Pierce: It's Been So Long
Lonzo and Oscar: Hole In the Bottom of the Sea
Fiddle Tune: Down Yonder

9:00: Martha White
Carl Smith (host): Hey Joe
Jimmy Dickens: Thick and Thin
Marty Robbins: Sing Me Something Sentimental
Anita Carter: I'm Fading Fast With The Time
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Crook Brothers: Bile Dem Cabbage Down
Carl Smith: Darling I'm I the One
Chet Atkins: Dill Pickle Rag
Jimmy Dickens: Side Meat and Cabbage
Fiddle Tune: Arkansas Traveler

9:30: Warren Paint
Johnny and Jack (host): Private Property
Lew Childre: Hang Out The Front Doorkey
Kitty Wells: I Don't Claim to Be An Angel
Johnny and Jack: Don't Say Goodbye If You Love Me
Paul Warren: Turkey In The Straw

9:45: American Ace
Cowboy Copas (host): Tennessee Senorita
Ray Price: Talk to Your Heart
String Beans: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Cowboy Copas: Feelin' Low
Dale Potter: Cattle Call

10:00: Wallrite
Webb Pierce (host): That's Me Without You
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Martha Carson: I'm Walking and Talking With My Lord
Webb Pierce: Wondering
Don Slayman: Fisher's Horn Pipe

10:15: Dr. Le Gear
Hank Snow (host): Ladies Man
Annie Lou and Danny: I'd Rather Die Young Than Grow Old Without You
Bill Monroe: Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Hank Snow: A Fool Such As I
Tommy Vaden: Rickett's Hornpipe

10:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): I'm With The Crowd But So Alone
Jimmy Dickens: I'll Dance at Your Wedding
Jordanaires: My Rock
Duke Of Paducah: Comedy
June Carter: Juke Box Blues
Marty Robbins: Every Precious Memory
Ernest Tubb: Somebody Loves You
Chet Atkins: Sweet Georgia Brown
Jimmy Dickens: Making Love To A Stranger

11:00: O-Cell-O
Ray Price (host): Don't Let the Stars Get In Your Eyes
Johnny and Jack: South In New Orleans
Paul Warren: Black Mountain Song
Kitty Wells: Hey Joe
Ray Price: Weary Blues

11:15 Hester Battery
Carl Smith (host): My Trademark
String Beans: John Henry
Gully Jumpers: Old Joe
Carl Smith: This Side of Heaven

11:30: W.E. Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Music Making Mama
Lew Childre: Put On Your Old Grey Bonnet
Lonzo and Oscar: Pretty Little Indian Maid
Crook Brothers: Fire On The Mountain
Hank Snow: Golden River

11:45: Grand Ole Opry
Cowboy Copas (host): Gone and Left Me Blues
Sam and Kirk McGee: Riding Old Paint
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire On The Mountain
Cowboy Copas: Will You Forget
Dale Potter: Fiddle Sticks

Another interesting name who appeared on the Opry that night was Darrell Glenn, a name that I am sure many are not familiar with.

Darrell was born in December 1935. He began his musical career in Knoxville, Tennessee and did his early recording in Ft. Worth, Texas. His most famous hit was "Crying In The Chapel" which he recorded in 1953. If the title sounds familiar it is because Elvis Presley covered the song a decade later and had a monster hit with it. That song would be Darrell's only real success and soon after his Opry appearance he faded from the scene. He passed away in 1990.

On a final note, next week will be the Grand Ole Opry's 90th birthday celebration. What started off as a pretty thin line-up has turned out much better as Little Big Town, Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio, Montgomery Gentry, Carrie Underwood, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Trace Adkins and Joe Diffie are some of the Opry members who will be performing next weekend. There is the Opry Country Classics show on Thursday night with Spotlight Artist Crystal Gayle, and there will be the usual Opry Plaza Party featuring member of the cast of "Nashville." The Opry Birthday Concert on Saturday will feature the Oak Ridge Boys. 

As usual, I will be in Nashville next week attending the Classics show on Thursday and all 4 Opry shows, 2 on Friday night and 2 on Saturday. It should be a great weekend and I am looking forward to seeing many of those who read the blog. 

Until then, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. Sorry to hear about Ruth Grammer passing. I have a couple of cards from Billy that were actually Billy's words written by Ruth since Billy could not see well enough to write in later days. They had address labels that had their picture on it that looked like a anniversary portrait!

    She may not have been active in the music business but watching her around others at a couple of Golden Voice Awards she appeared to be very well liked as you stated Byron.

    Did they take tour groups to Nashville and the Opry? Maybe from southern Illinois several times a year. The name Grammer Tours is ringing in my head!

    Knightsville, IN

  2. Interesting note about Mike Snider not hosting. It seems to be a trend recently he only hosts when noone else is available. He did make a comment week before last that he doesnt care for the hosting business which seems odd since he is a comedian and got his real fame by being a performer at opryland. He can be over the top sometimes but he does make me laugh and brings some of the humor to the show when he hosts I wish he did it more.

  3. I sense that Mike gets tired of reading the script he's handed when introducing somebody he knows nothing about --> like stars of the show Nashville maybe ? :)
    He's a great host, especially when he's introducing one of his pals.

  4. Randy Travis was at the Opry tonight. He was introduced and walked out on stage assisted by Tanya Tucker.

  5. Tanya sounded great I might add.
    Wish she would get interested in appearing regularly.
    What a great thing for her personally at this point in her life.

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  7. I tried to post a picture of Randy last night at the Opry, but was unable to do so. (shows my technical skills!). Anyways, I have the 2 pictures on my Facebook page and the Opry has also posted the pictures on theirs.

    What got me thinking is that this is the 2nd time this year that Randy has visited the Opry, once in June and now this weekend. He obviously is still struggling and probably will not perform again, but it was nice that he came out on stage and acknowledged the applause of the crowd.

    As I wrote, this is Randy's 2nd time visiting the Opry which come to think about it, is a few more times then a few of the Opry's healthy members.

    1. Byron, you read my mind!

      I hope it's a sign that he's doing better.

      Sorry to read the news about Ruth Grammer. I know Billy gave the invocation the night the "new" Opry House opened, so the Grammers obviously mattered to the folks around there then.

  8. Without Question Both Randy And Tanya Should be in the Hall Of Fame Along with Ricky Skaggs And others But With talk of Alan Jackson and the next generation hot on their heels and going in soon the Next few Years are going to be their only hope of being inducted

  9. Maybe it's just me (or the band playing too loudly over the radio), but it seems that whenever Ray Pillow performs on the Opry, he doesn't really get as much applause for his performance as other members do. I think he does a great job on the Opry, but the audience doesn't seem to really respond to him for some reason.

    Also, it's great that Randy was on the Opry this week. It means a lot that he came onstage, even though he's recovering from his stroke, and lives in Texas. If he can make 2 appearances with those obstacles in his life, the healthy members living in Nashville have no excuse for being absent.

    FInally, it was nice to hear Emisunshine perform "Wreck On The Highway," even though she gave the wrong name of the person who made it a hit (although the Louvin Brothers recorded that song, it was on a Roy Acuff tribute album they did). That song hasn't been performed in quite a long while, if not the 23 years since Roy has been gone.

  10. Kyle, as someone who has been at the Opry when Ray Pillow has performed and hosted, you are right. He does not get as much applause and recognition as many of the other veteran members. I think most of it is because very few of the modern fans know who Ray Pillow is, much as they do not know who Stu Phillips is. Ray really didn't have any major hits in his career and has not recorded anything new for over 30 years. (And I am a Ray Pillow and Stu Phillips fan).

  11. Ray did put out an album in 2004 called "Country Class." It includes "Oklahoma Gal," a song he does pretty often on the Opry. Another one is "Those Less Fortunate than I," a song with a bit of a political message and it was also recorded by Darryl Worley. Ray has long been one of my favorites and few years ago I drove over 400 miles to hear him sing 3 songs as a guest artist at Dollywood. Because he hasn't appeared on the Opry regularly in recent years, even the fans of traditional country don't recognize his name. Those who watch "Country's Family Reunion" have had an opportunity get reacquainted with him in some of the recent endeavors.

  12. Danny I think that 2004 album featured many of the staff band musicians. If Ray ever gets invited to do the Midnite Jamboree we would make the trip form Indiana just see and meet him. He is about the only remaining Opry veteran we have never met. We almost had it line up a couple years ago during an Opry visit but Ray forgot and when I got home I had an email apologizing and he said he got so many things thrown at him on stage that he forgot.

    It is too bad that some of the veterans that are left did not have enough chart success to be remembered at this late date. Many of them were and are solid performers but for various reasons just never became big stars. But, I ask this question, where would the 50's, 60's and 70's music be on the Opry if they were not still there performing.

    Knightsville, In