Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 11/13 & 11/14

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, a couple of pieces of news to pass along. First, word was received this afternoon that Roy Neal Acuff, the son of Roy Acuff, has passed away. Professionally known as Roy Acuff, Jr., he had a short career in country music, then worked behind the scenes, eventually leaving the music business altogether. On a second note, it was revealed last week that Jan Howard suffered a fracture in her back and was in a rehabilitation facility recovering. The post on her Facebook page led me to believe that she was doing well in her recovery. 

In better news, Bill Anderson will be returning to the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, appearing on all 3 shows. Bill had recent cataract surgery, then during his recovery he acquired a bacterial infection that resulted in him receiving 24 hour medication. He was cleared to return earlier this week. 

As far as the rest of the artists scheduled for this weekend's shows, the highlight will be on Saturday night as Ronnie Milsap returns to the Opry stage. Ronnie is currently on a farewell tour, but I have not heard any news as to whether or not this will be Ronnie's final Opry appearance, or if we can expect more from him. Joining Ronnie on Saturday night, in addition to Bill Anderson, will be Opry members Mike Snider, Connie Smith, both of whom will also be appearing on Friday night, John Conlee and Bobby Osborne. Interesting that Mike Snider will be hosting segments both nights. Among the guest artists scheduled are Jackie Lee, who is quickly becoming an Opry favorite, William Michael Morgan, Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, and Sara Haze, who will be appearing with Ben Caver. All I can tell you about Ben, besides the fact that he is making his first formal Opry appearance, is that he is from Alabama and is a singer/songwriter who has been in town for just over a decade. 

Joining Bill Anderson, Mike Snider and Connie Smith on Friday night will be Opry members Jessie McReynolds and Jeannie Seely. It is nice to see another appearance scheduled by Ray Stevens, who I am sure will be promoting his new television show. Jimmy Wayne will be making another guest appearance, along with Ray Scott, The Swon Brothers and The Steeldrivers, who will be closing out the show. Making her Opry debut will be Mindi Abair. This is another of those Opry bookings that you shake your head about, as Mindi is a jazz saxophone player. How she ended up at the Opry this weekend, I do not know.  

Friday November 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Scott
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Swon Brothers; Ray Stevens
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jimmy Wayne
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Mindi Abair; The Steeldrivers

Saturday November 14
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jackie Lee; Sara Haze & Ben Caver
7:30: Connie Smith (host); William Michael Morgan; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:00: John Conlee (host); Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Ronnie Milsap

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Ronnie Milsap
10:00: Connie Smith (host); Jackie Lee; Sara Haze & Ben Caver
10:30: John Conlee (host); William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys

Next Saturday night will be Jean Shepard's 60th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She will join Herman and Lewis Crook as those who were at the Opry for 60+ years. She was interviewed in The Tennessean earlier this week and she said that she does intend to be at the Opry next weekend and the Opry does have something special planned for her. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, November 12 & 13, 2010. The shows both nights were held at the Ryman Auditorium. 

Friday November 12
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Josh Kelley
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Morgan
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith

Saturday November 13
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Ricky Skaggs
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Gretchen Wilson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Craig Morgan

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Ricky Skaggs
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds; Gretchen Wilson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Craig Morgan

And from ten years ago, November 11 & 12, 2005:

Friday November 11
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Lane Brody; Jamey Johnson
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Hank Locklin; Mel McDaniel; Carolyn Dawn Johnson
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Luke Stricklin
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard; Mandy Barnett
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Chely Wright; Tracy Byrd

Saturday November 12
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Josh Turner
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Shelly Fairchild
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Alison Brown Band
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; T. Graham Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Andy Griggs; Terri Clark

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider; The Whites; Josh Turner
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); T. Graham Brown; Terri Clark
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Shelly Fairchild; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jean Shepard; Andy Griggs
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Billy Walker; Alison Brown Band

Looking back, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 16 years ago, Saturday November 13, 1999. This particular night featured a guest appearance by former Opry member Earl Scruggs, and a rare guest appearance by Andy Griffith, you performed with Earl. 

1st show
6:30: Opryland Hotel
Jean Shepard (host): Second Fiddle
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
BR5-49: White Picket Fences/Me and Opie Down By the Duck Pond
Jean Shepard: Secret Love
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

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky
Connie Smith: I Love Charlie Brown
Isaacs: I'm Gonna Move/Christmas Means Jesus
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Old Camp Meeting Time

7:30: Standard Candy
Johnny Russell (host): In A Mansion Stand My Love
Kelly Willis: What I Deserve
Earl Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Andy Griffith: Whoa, Mule
The Wilkinsons: Twenty-Six Cents/Don't Look at Me Like That

8:00: Martha White
Marty Stuart (host): Doin' My Time
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Going Home on the Morning Train
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours

Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Fire on the Mountain
Marty Stuart: Hillbilly Rock

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Vince Gill (host): Don't Come Cryin' to Me
Holly Dunn: We're Got the Love
The Whites: Help Me
T. Graham Brown: Hide and Seek/Turn the Water Into Wine
Vince Gill & Dawn Sears: My Kind of Woman/My Kind of Man

2nd show
9:30: Ray Stevens Show
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Wilma Lee Cooper: Shackles & Chains
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Marty Stuart & Earl Scruggs: Salty Dog Blues
Earl Scruggs: Flint Hill Special/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Porter Wagoner: Where the Soul of Men Never Dies

10:00: Lincoln-Mercury
Jean Shepard (host): A Phone Call Away
Osborne Brothers: I'll Be Alright Tomorrow/Rocky Top
Jean Shepard: I'm Not that Good at Goodbyes

10:15: Fluffo
Marty Stuart: The Whiskey Ain't Working Anymore
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Marty Stuart: The Long Black Veil

10:30: Mississippi Queen
Vince Gill (host): Don't Come Cryin' to Me
The Wilkinsons: Jimmy's Got A Girlfriend/Twenty Six Cents
Vince Gill & Dawn Sears: My Kind of Woman; My Kind of Man

10:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Holly Dunn (host): There Goes My Heart Again
Isaacs: Moses in the Burning Bush/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/Life's Railway to Heaven/Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Holly Dunn w/Sharon & Cheryl White: Daddy's Hands

11:00: Coca-Cola
The Whites (host): San Antonio Rose
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Jim & Luke McReynolds: Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes
Kelly Willis: Cradle of Love/Heaven's Just A Sin Away

11:30: Ryman Reunion Celebration
Johnny Russell (host): Folsom Prison Blues
Connie Smith: Cincinnati, Ohio/Once A Day
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
T. Graham Brown: (?)/Tell It Like It Used to Be/(?)

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!


  1. I'm sorry to hear about Roy Neill. If I am correct, his older sister, Thelma, is still alive? I remember that he did appear in the Opry audience for his father's centennial.

    Interesting to look at that 1999 lineup and see that the Opry was already changing for the worse, with a lot of guests. As for the jazz saxophonist, I wouldn't mind that sort of thing if it were a rarity. But each week, people are on there with no connection to country music as we know it.

  2. From anonymous in Kingman: I remember that Roy Neal recorded several duets with Sue Thompson back in 1969 - 1970 on the Hickory Records label. The song that comes to mind is their version of the Louvin Brothers tune, 'Are You Teasing Me?' Not sure of the chart performance.

  3. Correction from Anonymous in Kingman: I misspelled the middle name of Roy Acuff's son. It should be Neill.

  4. I love Jesse McReynolds, but hearing him without the Virginia Boys (and girl) is not nearly as entertaining.
    Come on Pete, spring for the whole family band.

  5. When are we going to get an artist that does some cajun music on the Opry?? I thought the Opry represented all genres of traditional country music, and I dobelieve I have not heard any cajun/ country since Jimmy C. Newman´s passing.

    1. Nittannee, I think it's kind of interesting that Cajun music always got a great reception on the Opry, but Jimmy C. was in the category of older members who could be on one show a week--less than, say, Connie Smith, but more than Jan Howard, who could be on possibly once a month or Stonewall Jackson, who rendered himself unacceptable. Who cares what the audiences want if the artist has gray hair?

  6. Jeannie Seely cancelled out tonight at the Opry. Connie Smith was moved to the first segment as the host and Bill Anderson is now hosting the final hour. I would assume that since only 4 Opry members are on tonight, and only 3 of the 4 considered as having hosting skills, this is what you get. This is one of the things that bothers me with today's Opry and management. An Opry member cancels and they do not call in a replacement. Instead they decide to run it short.

  7. Fred, Bismarck:

    And stick those $$$ in their pocket.

  8. Rant for Saturday morning: the gal with the saxophone was extremely talented last night but I cannot understand what she was doing on the Friday Night Opry instead of a good bluegrass group or an Americana artist or a good Texas artist. Please Mr Fisher I know you don't want to schedule what few veterans are left but please please keep country music on the Opry! I hope I'm not wasting my $100+ next weekend sitting in the cheapest seats I could find in the Ryman at the Fri & Sat night shows (oldtimeopry)

  9. Amen! If this happened once a month or so I could tolerate it because the Opry has always had a few folks come around outside of country music but for it to be almost every show is getting old. I hate to always bring up our changing society but the Opry seems to feel it has to be politically correct and allow anything these days so they can show they have an open mind and are not prejudice towards anyone or any music. Why can't the Opry still be the home of country music. Why does it have to be the home of all music. I'm not prejudice towards anyone or any music but that doesn't mean I want to go to a venue promoting country music, or NOT, and hear other kinds of music. I can turn the dial on my radio and do that if I really want.

    Just like much of our American history, we are slowly having our traditional country music swept under the rug so as not to disgrace or upset anyone with our twang, steel guitar, fiddles and banjo's and traditional value lyrics.

    Is there a Ricky Skaggs or Randy Travis out there that can turn back the tide and at least keep us from going over the cliff. If you think about it, what many of us here call country is reverting back to what it was in the 40's and 50's, a regional music only played a few hours a day, if at all, on radio. Kind of sad to think of it that way. I wonder if this is really what ET and others had in mind when they wanted to widen the country audience?

    I'm fine with progress but does it have to leave the past in the dust? Loose just a few more folks and I'm afraid that is where country music will be on the Opry.

    Sorry for the same old song and dance I know a few will disagree with.

    Oldtime Opry, that is my Saturday afternoon rant! :)

    Knightsville, IN

  10. Jim, I'll second your motion this way. When he invited James Brown to perform at the Opry, Porter Wagoner said he thought it would be good for the Opry. I agree, even if Jean Shepard and Justin Tubb didn't. I don't mind injecting some variety. Elvis Costello and Diana Krall did an appearance that struck me as heartfelt and lovely. Lest we forget, the Pointer Sisters performed there.

    But your point, I believe, is like mine: that's great as a breath of different air, much like the night Gary Morris sang an aria and Tom T. Hall said he thought it was the first time there had been grand opera on the Grand Ole Opry, and whatever you thought of it, it was better than rock and roll. The problem is that under the current management, the Opry is not or has forgotten that it is the center of country music, and instead is a variety show. They can claim that it's a throwback to the early days when there was even a zither player on the Opry--and by early days, I mean the beginning. But you have to have an identity before you can tinker with it, and the identity the Opry had is being lost, if it is not already lost.

  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Another consideration is the possible effect on the loyalty of the few country stalwarts, members, who still do the Opry even tho the show needs them a lot more than they need the show: the Ricky Skaggses, Marty Stuarts, Mel Tillises? (There really aren't that many of them.) Should they continue to knock themselves out, and take the hit in their wallets, playing the Opry on Saturday night when they're often in such poor company and management doesn't share their dedication?

  12. At least tonight some artist that were hosting got and extra song which was nice for a change. However, it was because of a lack of artist on the lineup. It was nice to hear Ronnie Milsap too.

    And I'm happy, my Opry weekend is complete for I know that some of the performers gave their all again tonight because I heard the pain and distress in their voice.

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Sorry for the bad spelling!

      Knightsville, IN

  13. Byron,

    Always interesting to compare notes. On the 1999 lineup I must have the scheduled lineup and did not hear all of the first show which is possible for it may not have been coming in. I show Skeeter Davis on the first portion and that is probably how Jean got two songs at closing. Then I show Jeanne Pruett on Porter's show instead of Connie who moved up from Marty's portion. Playing with Earl and Andy were Marty Stuart, Dana Cupp, Randy Scruggs and Mark Scruggs.

    On the second show I show that Del Reeves had been scheduled where Jeanne performed on Porter's first portion and also that Andy Griffith had been scheduled for that portion as well. Then I show that Connie and Jan swapped spots! According to my notes Jesse was not feeling well so Jim and Luke performed.

    I note these things not because I doubt your list, you have the songs so I know you are right but it is interesting to see how mixed up this night was but the show went off without a hitch and everyone got their money's worth unlike today when someone drops off the lineup.

    Thanks for again allowing me to make my records more complete.

    Jim Knightsville, IN

    1. Jim: Here is what was the "posted" Grand Ole Opry line-up for that 1999 date:
      1st show
      6:30: Jean Shepard; Bill Carlisle; BR5-49; Skeeter Davis
      7:00: Porter Wagoner; Osborne Brothers; Jeanne Pruett; The Isaacs
      7:30: Johnny Russell; Kelly Willis; The Wilkinsons; Earl Scruggs and Andy Griffith with special guests
      8:00: Marty Stuart; Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
      8:30: Vince Gill; Holly Dunn; The Whites; T Graham Brown

      2nd show
      9:30: Porter Wagoner; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Earl Scruggs and Andy Griffith with special guests
      10:00: Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers
      10:15: Marty Stuart; Connie Smith
      10:30: Vince Gill; The Wilkinsons
      10:45: Holly Dunn; The Isaacs; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
      11:00: The Whites; Billy Walker; Jim & Jesse; Kelly Willis
      11:30: Johnny Russell; Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; T. Graham Brown

      I also had noted that Jimmy C Newman, Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson and Jimmy Dickens were on some type of Opry sponsored cruise that weekend, which is why they were not at the Opry. And I do have Del Reeves as cancelling but I have no note as to why.

    2. Thanks for your additional notes on this lineup. I did not reference the cruise in my notes!

      Knightsville, IN

  14. The following has been discussed before, but I am interested in more response. Who can you see being asked to be a member of the Opry in the not so distant future? Moe Pitney? I have heard his music, and his genuine country sound is refreshing. Following in the vein of Charlie Daniels, who joined the Opry after the zenith of his career, what about Crystal Gayle being asked to join the Opry?

  15. Bruce;
    The list of folks who SHOULD be on the 'Opry is longer than the list of folks who should be released from the 'Opry.
    I've given up figuring who will be asked next, because it never makes a lick of sense to me who they pick (and why).
    I would like for them to ask Dailey and Vincent, Gene Watson, Ray Stevens, Rhonda Vincent, Moe Pitney, Mandy Barnett,Chris Stapleton (number one selling album in ANY music gendre as we speak) and Chris Jansen.
    I've probably left off a few I could easily accept.
    I could think of a dozen folks who should be shown the door to make room for them.
    Who will ACTUALLY be asked? Probably somebody on the fringes of country music with a large following. I'm honestly surprised they missed Taylor Swift when she lived in Nashville.
    I think you're on to something with Cyrstal Gayle, and it would be just fine with me if she got to enjoy many years on the 'Opry.

  16. For what it is worth, I have heard nothing as to any future Opry member. I would find it hard to believe that they would go an entire year without adding someone, much less the 90th. It is possible that Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher have reached out to at least someone to join and have been unsuccessful. And I am of the belief that they Opry should be adding not just a single member or two, but perhaps a group, especially when considering that there are so many guest artists that are on the Opry many more times then Opry members, specifically Chris Janson, Mandy Barnett, Crystal Gayle, Dailey & Vincent, Love & Theft, Exile, Restless Heart, Jimmy Wayne, Mark Wills, Mo Pitney, Darryl Worley...just to name few. Again, perhaps some have been asked and the Opry has been turned down.

  17. I agree completely with you Byron. Considering there are so many deserving acts that actually show up and support the Opry and the fact that the Opry regulars are dwindling down to almost nothing, it's time to inject some new members! For one thing, I seriously worry about bluegrass given the fact that Bobby & Jesse are the only consistent regulars, and they're not exactly spring chickens... like Cajun music could we actually see a show in the near future where there is no bluegrass on the Opry? And it's downright embarrassing when you hear guests artists like the Grascals, etc. talk about this is our 150, etc. appearance on the Opry when you count how many times Garth, Reba, Clint Black and so many other have been on total in their Opry memberships. Finally, I know we can all make our lists of who should be a member, but for goodness sake Pete, PLEASE make Mandy Barnett a member. That gal has been SO loyal to the Opry. No she hasn't had a huge hit because she sings hardcore Patsy Cline-country (quite amazingly, I might add) not bubble gum radio country... but if Ernie Ashworth, Margie Bowes, Marion Worth and Ray Pillow could be Opry members, Mandy Barnett has more than paid her dues! (oldtimeopry)

  18. Inviting Mandy Barnett to be a member of the Opry is a "no brainer." She is the personification of class, genuineness, and professionalism. Simply put, she is "the real deal."

  19. I offer a "fourth" on Mandy Barnett becoming an 'Opry member.
    In my mind it is a crime that she hasn't been asked yet.
    Just went to hear Dailey and Vincent in concert here in Bloomington, IN, and they (and their entire band) are AMAZING.
    Add them as well.

  20. Don't forget Rhonda Vincent, I see you mentioned her earlier Nat. We've discussed her before. It seems strange as many times as she has appeared on the Opry going all the way back into I think the early 90's when she was trying to make it in the country field.....and her hair was black and curly instead of blond :), that she has not been ask to be a member. There must be some politics involved. Byron, how easy is it for you to find out how many times she has been on the Opry as a single act? I can probably do it but it would require looking at thousands of pages!

    I couldn't go to the Dailey and Vincent show in Bloomington. I have never been disappointed in anything I have heard them do and even though they do their own thing, the certainly remember and respect what went before them. Glad you had a good time Nat.

    Mo Pitney could be the Opry's next Brad Paisley for better or worse. It seems he is at the stage Brad was when he first started appearing on the Opry late 90's. If it happens, I would hope he stays closer to his current style and song choices. Not taking anything from Brad, I know there are fans here. Did you see Larry's Dinner last week with Mo and his sister Holly? I love Mo but if she wants to I believes she could become the bigger star.

    I wonder how it would work if the Opry would bring in new members in categories like the HOF? Just a thought!

    Knightsville, IN

  21. Jim, just to follow up on Rhonda Vincent and past Opry appearances. So far in 2015-2; 2014-5; 2013-5; 2012-10.(2011 must be somewhere out in outer-space, but I could find it if needed). So it would appear that at least for the past few years, Rhonda has been around 5 appearances. I know it was more in the period from 2000-2010.

    As far as Mandy Barnett, 2015-12; 2014-15; 2013-22, and that is about where she has been at. And I agree that while Mandy has had no hit records, she has done an outstanding job as a female vocalist at the Opry, and females is another area that is really lacking in Opry membership.

  22. Word came this morning that Ramona Jones has passed away after suffering a heart attack.