Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 10/16 & 10/17

Well, I thought it could not get much worse then the line-up from last Saturday night, but Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher and the rest of the Opry's management have topped it. On Saturday night, there are only 3 Opry members scheduled (which might be a record for the lowest number of Opry members on a Saturday night show) and the Opry will have just 2 segments!! Once again, I ask the question, "Out of 63 Opry members, can anyone explain how only 3 would commit to do the Opry on a Saturday night?" To me, it is just unbelievable. 

If that isn't enough, let's look at a few of the guests that are appearing on Saturday night:

Rose Hemingway is described as an American actress, performer and singer, known for performing in musical theater productions. She has appeared in numerous plays around the country. Her Facebook page has not been updated since August, so I can't tell you much from that. Now, what I can tell you is that she, along with Kim Clark, who is also scheduled on Saturday night, appeared in the Dallas Theater production of "Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical." So why are they scheduled to be on the Opry? Easy answer to that one: The production was produced by Opry Entertainment, with Steve Buchanan and Sally Williams listed as producers. Nothing like a little cross promotion. 

Josh Wilson is a contemporary Christian artist who is out promoting, "That Was Then, This Is Now." He has had some limited success on the charts. Also appearing will be Jackie Lee, Gary Mule Deer, from "Nashville" Jonathan Jackson, and The Grascals, who have been guests on the Opry on a frequent basis. I am actually fine with The Grascals. 

As far as Opry members on Saturday night, the two hosts are Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith, with Jesse McReynolds as the other Opry member. On an additional note, even though there are just 2 segments, I think this is the first time each segment host has been a female. 

I don't mean to sound so negative about Saturday's line-up, but there are folks paying $75 a ticket and are expecting to see Opry members performing on the show. Especially some of the Opry's newer members and bigger names. I just don't think the overall quality of the performers justifies a $75 price. 

As far as Friday night, certainly a better show. Opry members include Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Connie Smith, Riders In The Sky (your 4 hosts) and Bobby Osborne. It is nice to see Lee Greenwood back at the Opry, and a return appearance by Flatt Lonesome. 

Friday October 16
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jenn Bostic
7:30: The Whites (host); Canaan Smith; Flatt Lonesome
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Nathan Chapman
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Lee Greenwood

Saturday October 17
Jeannie Seely (host)
Jackie Lee
The Grascals
Kim Clark 
Rose Hemingway

Connie Smith (host)
Jesse McReynolds
Johnathan Jackson
Opry Square Dancers
Gary Mule Deer
Josh Wilson

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of October 15 & 16, 2010:

Friday October 15
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; John Anderson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds; Joey+Rory
8:45: Mike Snider (host); The Judds

Saturday October 16
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Holly Williams
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; James Wesley
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Eamonn McCrystal; Randy Travis

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Stonewall Jackson; James Wesley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne

Now from ten years ago this weekend, October 14 & 15, 2005. This was also the Grand Ole Opry's 80th birthday weekend: 

Friday October 14
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Robbie Fulks
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; John Michael Montgomery
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Alison Krauss

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Grammer; Jack Greene; Alison Krauss
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; John Michael Montgomery
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Robbie Fulks

Saturday October 15
1st show
6:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Connie Smith: Once A Day/Fight On
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Jambalaya
Jimmy Dickens: I Leaned Over Backwards for You/Mountain Dew

7:00: Tootsie's/Standard Candy
Travis Tritt: What's the Use
Steve Wariner: Baby, I'm Yours/Two Teardrops
Diamond Rio: What A Beautiful Mess I'm In/In God We Trust
Travis Tritt: 10 Feet Tall; Bullet Proof/Where Corn Don't Grow
Jimmy Dickens & Garth Brooks: My The Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Bill Anderson & Garth Brooks: Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Garth Brooks: Green, Green Grass of Home
Jimmy Dickens/Bill Anderson/Porter Wagoner/Garth Brooks: Y'All Come
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Steve Wariner: Some Fools Never Learn
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Jeannie Seely: Sentimental Journey
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Cherokee Shuffle
Porter Wagoner & Pam Gadd: Golden Ring

8:30: Tennessee Pride
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Josh Turner: Long Black Train/(?)
Ralph Stanley: I'm A Man of Constant Sorrow/O Death
Bill Anderson: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music

2nd show
9:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host); Family Reunion
Connie Smith: If I Talk to Him/You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Steve Wariner: Two Teardrops/Baby, I'm Yours

Porter Wagoner: Eli Stubbs & The Funky Grass Band
Billy Grammer: Plickin, Pluckin, Pluggin Along
Little Big Town: Bring It On Home
Travis Tritt: What's The Use/Where Corn Don't Grow

10:30: Johnny Walker Tours
Diamond Rio (host): That's How Your Love Makes Me Feel Inside
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigre
Ralph Stanley: Nine Pound Hammer
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Here & There
Diamond Rio: In God We Trust

11:00: Opry Visa
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Garth Brooks & Steve Wariner: Long Neck Bottle
Garth Brooks: The Dance
Jimmy Dickens & Garth Brooks: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Bill Anderson & Garth Brooks: Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Garth Brooks: Green, Green Grass of Home
Jimmy Dickens/Bill Anderson/Porter Wagoner/Garth Brooks: Y'All Come
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry

11:30: Gaylord
Jeannie Seely (host): Anytime
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Josh Turner: Your Man/Long Black Train
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me

Isn't it amazing what the birthday weekend was like just 10 years ago? What a difference between the 80th and 90th. 

Finally, as the look continues back at past Grand Ole Opry birthday shows, how about Saturday October 17, 1970. That was the Opry's 45th birthday celebration and considering it was 45 years ago, here is that line-up: 

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): But You Know I Love You/Wild Weekend
Charlie Walker: God Save the Queen (of the Honky Tonks)
Wilma Lee Cooper: Teardrops Falling in the Snow
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Jimmy C Newman: I'm Holding Your Memories
Willis Brothers: There Goes the Farm
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me on Sundays/What Are These Things
George Morgan: I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way
Del Wood: Music, Music, Music
Bill Monroe: Rawhide

6:45: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Jack Greene: The Whole World Comes to Me
Jeannie Seely: Please Be My Love
4 Guys: Get Together/Let the Sunshine In

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Glaser Brothers: California Girl and the Tennessee Square
Billy Walker: She Goes Walking Through My Mind
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Jim & Jesse: Diesel on My Tail
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Mule Skinner Blues
Mel Tillis: Too Lonely Too Long
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Justin Tubb: Ballad of Forty Dollars
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
Wagonmasters: John Henry

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Osborne Brothers: My Old Kentucky Home
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is a Soul Man
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Lester Flatt: Nine Pound Hammer
Roland White: Turkey in the Straw

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Bobby Lord: Wake Me Up Early in the Morning
Earl Scruggs Revue: Green Back Dollar
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Wilburn Brothers: Sing Your Heart Out Country Boy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Ernest Tubb & Loretta Lynn: We're Not Kids Anymore

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Mule Skinner Blues
Jimmy C Newman: I'm Holding Your Memories
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Justin Tubb: Looking Out My Back Door
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): I Love Your Drops
George Morgan: I Wouldn't Have You Any Other Way
Wilma Lee Cooper: Tramp on the Street
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Believe You're Met My Baby/Don't Laugh/My Baby's Gone/When I Stop Dreaming
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Charlie Walker: God Save the Queen (of the Honky Tonks)
Bill Anderson: Where Have All our Heroes Gone

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Billy Grammer: What A Friend
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): Little Maggie
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Jim & Jesse: I've Got A Freight Train In My Mind
Lester Flatt: I've Been Walking

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilburn Brothers: Sing Your Heart Out, Country Boy
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Monroe (host): Train 45/Little Maggie/I'm Breaking In A Brand New Pair of Shoes/Nine Pound Hammer/Molly & Tenbrooks/My Little Georgia Rose
Dottie West: Willy's Winter Love
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Mel Tillis: Heart Over Mind/Old Faithful
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Bill Monroe: I Hear A Sweet Voice Calling

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Singing the Blues

Del Reeves: Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On/The Matador & I Walk the Line/Hound Dog
4 Guys:Get Together/Let The Sunshine In
Bobby Lord: You & Me Against the World
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Marty Robbins: Begging to You/Don't Worry/I Walk Alone

As you can see, it was quite a night at the Opry. The first show started at 6:00, 
a half hour early to fit all the acts in, and the second show ended at 1:05 a.m. 

The only Opry members who did not make it that night were Archie Campbell, Bill Carlisle, George Hamilton IV, Grandpa Jones, Cousin Jody, Lonzo & Oscar, Ray Pillow, Hank Snow, Bobby Bare, Stringbean and Marion Worth. Additionally, Roy Drusky and Stonewall Jackson both failed to appear, Stoney Cooper was ill and did not perform with Wilma Lee, Hank Locklin, The Glaser Brothers and Billy Walker were scheduled for both shows but only appeared on the first, and Earl Scruggs also only appeared on the first show as he was not scheduled for the second, while Marty Robbins was only set for the final segment of the night. 

Finally, you will notice Mel Tillis on both shows. This was the period of time that it would appear that Mel was actually an Opry member, although the Opry does not recognize that fact in its history. 

I will leave everyone with one more Opry line-up. October 17, 1992 was the Grand Ole Opry's 67th birthday celebration. It was also the final Saturday night that Roy Acuff appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Roy would make one more Opry appearance the next Friday night, which would be his final appearance on the Opry stage. From 23 years ago, here is the running order from Saturday October 17, 1992. (And yes, I was there that night).

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
Bill Monroe: Ozark Rag

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Cindy
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Peel Me A Nanner
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

7:00: Shoney's
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Shelly West: Standing in Sorrow's Way/You're The Reason God Made Oklahoma
John Conlee: Hit the Ground Running/Miss Emily's Picture
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then/Sing, Sing, Sing
Bill Anderson & Roy Acuff: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music
Bill Anderson: Still
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Dan Kelly: Turkey Buzzard

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
4 Guys: Big River
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Wilma Lee Cooper: Singing Waterfall
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Mike Snider: Green Sleeves
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Porter Wagoner: Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): Life's Highway
Roy Drusky: All For the Love of A Girl
Jimmy Campbell: The Old Tennessee River

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host): Don't 'Cha Cry Melinda
Jean Shepard: Someone's Gotta Cry
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Grandpa Jones: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

10:45: BC Powder
George Hamilton IV (host): Life's Railway to Heaven
Shelly West: Jose Quervo
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Black Mountain Rag
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Connie Smith: Once A Day
John Conlee: Before My Time/Rose Colored Glasses
Hank Snow: On That Hawaiian Shore With You

11:30: Creamette
Jim Ed Brown (host): Morning
Jan Howard: Together When We Tried
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Johnny Russell: Why Me Lord
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells

Much has been written about that final Saturday night for Roy Acuff, specifically in Bill Anderson's book. He describes the evening much better than I ever could. The emotion was strong as you could anticipate that you were witnessing history. As I wrote, for those of us who were there that night, the memory will always be with us. 

Boy, you look at these older line-ups and remember what the Opry once was and sometimes you just have to wonder. Where has it all gone? 

The best you can, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. What follows is not a defense, because I do not defend the indefensible. Two thoughts:

    1. The Opry's management has been deemphasizing membership anyway, and is promoting the Opry as a country music show with a history, so who's on it from the Opry itself matters less to them.

    2. The members know it, and see no reason to try to be there.

    By the way, Bill Anderson reported having cataract surgery and that he'll be having the other eye done next week.

  2. Seems to me the better show will be over at the Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Or the Station Inn. Or the TPAC. Or the Franklin Theatre. Or.....

    1. No Midnight Jamboree anymore due to lack of funds.

  3. From Anonymous in Kingman: As the Opry continues its slow decline to possible oblivion, I am certainly glad to have had the chance to see it once way back in '84 (don't remember the exact date). But there were four standout performances that night. Songs from legends Bill Carlisle, Grandpa Jones, Connie Smith and Porter Wagoner.

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