Thursday, October 8, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 10/9 & 10/10

How about a Friday Night Opry with only 5 Opry members? Better yet, how about a Grand Ole Opry with just 4 members? Or even better yet, how about an entire half hour Opry segment with just Exile?

That is what we have this weekend at the Grand Ole Opry. While I can live with the Friday Night Opry, which will feature Opry members Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, John Conlee, Mike Snider and Jesse McReynolds, I cannot accept Saturday's Grand Ole Opry with just Mike Snider, The Whites, John Conlee and Bobby Osborne as Opry members performing. And I can't accept an entire half hour of Exile. 

Is this what the Opry has come to? Ok, I have come to accept that on some shows, an entire segment will be devoted to a single act. Acts such as Rascal Flatts, Reba, Little Big Town; or even Brad, Darius or Blake. But not Exile.

Now, this is nothing against Exile in particular. They have actually had a very nice career. The band started in the early 70's as a back-up rock band. Then they began to have some chart success and a few hits. By the late 70's and through the 80's, they migrated into a country act. By the early 1990's, their chart success was basically over. "Kiss You All Over," which went to #1 in 1978, was their first big success. And in the course of their career, they had 10 more #1 records. "Even Now," which in 1991 went to #16, was their last chart success. So, you can say that they have not been very relevant for the last 25 years. 

What bothers me more than anything else is wondering if this is the best the Opry can do on a Saturday night? Besides those Opry members I have listed, the guest artists include Jackie Lee, William Michael Morgan and Craig Wayne Boyd. Add semi-Opry regulars Mark Wills and Elizabeth Cook, who I do enjoy, you have Saturday's entire show. Wow!! You have to wonder where the other 61 Opry members are. 

Now on Friday Night, besides Marty and Connie and the rest of the Opry bunch, Clay Walker, one of the bigger country acts of 1990's will be performing. Add Amber Digby, who is the real country deal, and a return of Flatt Lonesome, and you have the makings of a very nice night. 

Friday October 9
7:00: John Conlee (host); Amber Digby; James Otto
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy Wayne; Darryl Worley
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; Clay Walker
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); Sarah Potenza; Flatt Lonesome

Saturday October 10
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jackie Lee; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: The Whites (host); William Michael Morgan; Mark Wills
8:15: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Wayne Boyd; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Exile

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, October 8 & 9, 2010. This was also the weekend of the Opry's 85th birthday celebration. 

Friday October 8
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Craig Campbell
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy Wayne
8:45: Roy Clark (host); Stu Phillips; Joe Diffie

Saturday October 9
1st show
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Sunny Sweeney; Jack Greene; Trace Adkins
8:00: Roy Clark (host); Taylor Swift; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Dolly Parton

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Ray Pillow; Del McCoury Band
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jan Howard; T. Bubba Bechtol; Trace Adkins
10:30: Roy Clark (host); Taylor Swift; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dolly Parton

Now from ten years ago this weekend, October 7 & 8, 2005:

Friday October 7
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Dale Watson
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; Trent Willmon
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; Matt Jenkins
9:00: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Ingram
9:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; T. Graham Brown

Saturday October 8
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Catherine Britt
7:00: John Conlee (host); Darryl Worley; Carolyn Dawn Johnson; Jamey Johnson; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Hanna-McEuen

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jamey Johnson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Catherine Britt; Del McCoury Band
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Carolyn Dawn Johnson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jean Shepard; Darryl Worley
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Hanna-McEuen

Looking back at some of the older Grand Ole Opry line-ups, it was on Saturday October 10, 1987 that the Grand Ole Opry celebrated it's 62nd anniversary. As with most of the birthday shows of that era, it was a loaded line-up featuring many of the Opry's members. Here is the running order from that night, 28 years ago Saturday. 

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime At At Time/Looking at the World Through a Windshield
4 Guys: Once More
Del Reeves: I Wished That I Had Loved Her That Way

6:45: Rudy's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Lorrie Morgan: There's No Love In Tennessee
Jimmy C Newman: Pistol Packin' Mama

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Fools
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Louvin & Jennifer O'Brien: Everytime You Leave
George Hamilton IV: Someday My Ship Will Sail
Jan Howard: Somebody's Always Saying Goodbye
Jim Ed Brown: I Don't Want to Have to Marry You

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stonewall Jackson: Closer to the Vine
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Glen Campbell: The Hand That Rocks the Cradle/I Remember You
Roy Acuff & Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff & Glen Campbell: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): My Rose of Old Kentucky/Blue Moon of Kentucky
Connie Smith: The Key's in the Mailbox
Riders In The Sky: Faded Love
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Lafayette
Bill Monroe: Lord, Let the Gates Swing Wide for Me

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Between Fire and Water
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date with You/Silver Threads & Golden Needles/The End of the World
Roy Drusky: The Moon Is Still Over Her Shoulder
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Jeannie Seely: That May Be All I Need to Know
Del Reeves: The Chair That Rocked Us All
The Whites: Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Bill Monroe: The Home Above

10:00: Little Debbie
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
4 Guys: Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Dreamed About Mama Last Night
Roy Acuff & Cast: Happy Birthday Grand Ole Opry
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:30: Pet Milk
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

10:45: Heil Quaker
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Charlie Walker: Deep Water
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Jack Greene; There Goes My Everyting

11:00 Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Why Do You Punish Me
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Charlie Louvin: True Love
Jan Howard: Release Me
Justin Tubb: Thanks, Troubadour, Thanks
Hank Snow: I Care No More

11:30: BC Powder
Roy Drusky (host): Too Old to Die Young
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Riders In The Sky: Back on Those Texas Plains
Roy Drusky & Riders In The Sky: Cool Water
Roy Drusky: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Even as loaded as this Opry birthday show was, there were still a few big names missing. People such as Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner, Grandpa Jones, Johnny Russell among others. And it was nice to see Glen Campbell make one of his rare Opry appearances during the birthday celebration. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. From Anonymous in PA: OMGosh, don't let me get started. . . on this week's line-up!! Actually, this is my first opportunity to post since the Anniversary weekend; just want to say again how great it was to finally meet you Byron, we so enjoyed our conversations/comparisons with you. We enjoyed the Anniversary shows, especially the Oak Ridge Boys' matinee - outstanding. Still do not see a need to order my tickets for next year, although husband may be on the fence, we'll see.

  2. There were about 25 members present that night in 1987.

    Frankly, I'd feel better about that lineup if I thought that some of the biggies not present--both old-timers and younger ones--had decided to pull an Acuff/Tubb/Pearl and find a way to get rid of the Opry's management. But I fear not.

  3. From Anonymous in Kingman: I know we'd all like to make it to the 100th anniversary of the Opry; so let us all hope and pray that the "Grand Ole Uproar" makes it to its 91st anniversary, then 92 and so forth.

  4. It makes me sad and almost sick to say it but this is why as much as I love the Opry I can't see spending the money for tickets, gas and room to go down there and find out that this Saturdays show is what I paid for. I'd rather spend similar money and drive several hours to see just one or two artist and know what I'm going to get.

    That said, I'm sure that feeling is meaningless to Opry management as long as the drones keep filling the seats. But, how long will it last. What was that thing PT Barnum or someone can fool some of the people all the time but not all of the people all the something like that. How many people are coming because of that TV show fad but won't ever come back. As much as we hate to see the TV actors on the Opry what do the fans of the show think when they come to town and don't see them? It's messed up!

    I have been thinking Exile might make a good new member. Maybe the Opry can become the place all old rock groups go to die....or retire instead of old country acts. They are good but on the Opry this much?

    Agree Friday is not bad. I just can't adjust to listening to the week night shows but overall they seem to be better. Usually get around to listening to them in the archives.

    Oh well, I'll keep tuning it on every weekend just like the past 40 years.

    Knightsville, IN

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    I like Michael's idea of a coup. Now, that would raise the Opry's profile! However, gratifying as it would be to see Gaylord run off ... then what would you have? An Opry run by and for the marginally country radio stars of today (and the rocking-chair rock acts mentioned by Jim)?

    I hate to say it (and reinforce my deplorable habit of negativity), but the last vestiges of real country music in the Opry's future may reside in our aging hearts.

  6. Did they rearrange the lineup. The way I see it now, John Conlee is hosting the last hour with Exile as the last guest!

    Knightsville, IN

  7. Update:

    The Opry did a slight change by having John Conlee host the entire last hour and they have added Shelly Skidmore. I am sure that will sell another or more seats.

    But this brings to light another issue and that is the simple fact that the Opry does not have enough veteran members to host a segment when the "stars" are out on the road. In the past year, they have lost Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy C Newman, Jim Ed Brown and George Hamilton IV. While Dickens and Newman did not do much hosting, if any, over their final years, they were both capable of doing so if needed. I supposed the Opry could have called Ray Pillow. Perhaps they did and he had other plans. The other veteran hosts can all be accounted for.

  8. Getting closer to those four half hour segments of on artist introduced by Mike or Eddie!

    Knightsville, IN

    1. "Getting closer to those four half hour segments of on artist introduced by Mike or Eddie!"

      I hope you're wrong, but am inclined to agree you're right.
      Starting today, I will certainly not buy any 'Opry ticket until I know exactly who will be appearing.