With the holiday week upon us, the Grand Ole Opry didn't waste any time posting the schedule for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. The highlight will be on Friday night as Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin will be celebrating 39 years as members of the Grand Ole Opry.
In addition to The Gatlin Brothers, the Friday show will also feature Opry members Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Riders In The Sky, Ray Pillow and Bobby Osborne. The Gatlins, Jeannie, Bobby and The Riders will return on Saturday night, where they will be joined by Mike Snider. That comes out to 6 Opry members on Friday night and just 5 on Saturday.
Guesting this weekend, and appearing both nights, will be Jim Lauderdale, Craig Wayne Boyd and Mandy Barnett. The will be joined on Friday night by Wade Hayes and John Berry, while Ashley Clark, Fiddlin' Carson Peters Band and The Willis Clan will appear with them on Saturday night. That come out to a total of 11 each night.
I will note that on Friday night, there are only 3 segments, as the first one hosted by Jeannie Seely will last for an hour. Interesting in the fact that Ray Pillow is booked in a non-hosting spot and Ray has usually hosted when he makes an Opry appearance.
Friday December 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Wade Hayes; Jesse McReynolds; Jim Lauderdale; John Berry
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Ray Pillow; Craig Wayne Boyd
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
Saturday December 26
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ashley Clark; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Lauderdale; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Craig Wayne Boyd; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Fiddlin' Carson Peters Band; The Willis Clan
Now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of December 24 & 25, 2010:
Friday December 24
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds; Eddy Raven
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Jack Greene; James Intveld
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Johnny Counterfit; Dailey & Vincent
Saturday December 25
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Emily West
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jack Greene; Eddy Raven
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; Dailey & Vincent
And from ten years ago, the weekend of December 23 & 24, 2005:
Friday December 23
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys featuring John Prine; The Wrights
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites
8:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Jennifer Hanson
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T.G. Sheppard
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Elizabeth Cook; Restless Heart
Finally, it was 39 years ago this weekend, Saturday December 25, 1976 that Larry, Steve and Rudy, the Gatlin Brothers, became members of the Grand Ole Opry.
From the Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book:
"Few singing groups can sound quite so harmonious as family singing groups. The Gatlin Brothers have been at it, quite harmoniously for more than 40 years. A popular Opry attraction since their induction in 1976, the Gatlins have always loved to sing as a unit. They won their first talent contest at home in Texas in 1954 at a Hardin-Simmons University talent show in Abilene. Larry was six, Steve four and Rudy only two! They began performing gospel patterned after the Blackwood Brothers and the Statesmen on Slim Willets' radio and TV shows in Abilene that same year, dressed in cowboy outfits."
"During the mid-'70s, the Gatlins became consistent hit-makers at Monument Records. Initially, Larry was signed on his own, following his success as a songwriter, and he was soon working with Tammy Wynette. But the Gatlins wanted to perform their music together, so he wrote a song specifically for the three of them--in 15 minutes. 'Broken Lady' went to No. 1 and won the Gatlins a Grammy the same year that they joined the Opry cast, in 1976. 'I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love' climbed to the top of the charts in 1977, and 'All the Gold in California' followed two years later. Over the next 10 years, the Gatlins had nine more Top 10 hits, including 'Sure Feels Like Love' and the chart topping 'Houston (Means I'm One Day Closer to You.)'"
"Larry's songwriting career had begun when the Opry's Dottie West spotted him singing in Las Vegas in 1971, encouraged him to write, and even provided him a ticket to Nashville. Dottie would record two of Larry's songs; others were performed by Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson. In the '90s, Larry earned rave reviews for his work in the Broadway musical 'The Will Rogers Follies.' He released his autobiography , 'All the Gold in California: And Other People, Places & Things' in 1998. "
"The brothers returned in 2002 to an active touring schedule after a 10-year hiatus. In 2009, the trio released its first album of new, original material in 17 years, the critically acclaimed 'Pilgrimage.' The album, which Country Weekly called 'a history lesson with a heart,' basically serves as a musical retrospective of the group's three-decade music-business career and includes narrative storytelling segments about the songs. In 2009, Larry began hosting the Opry's new Thursday show, Opry Country Classics. He has also taken on something of a second career as a political and social commentator, appearing regularly on Fox Business Network's 'America's Nightly Scoreboard' and writing a column for FoxNews.com's Fox Forum. He appeared on CNN's 'Larry King Live' from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium a few days after the Nashville flood, even as he simultaneously hosted an Opry Country Classics show."
After Larry joined the Opry in 1976, he followed the path of most of the others from his generation who joined the Opry, and appeared at the Opry very little. He was too busy touring and making records, and then at the height of his career, personal issues set in, which in many ways led to the initial break up of the group. However, in the past decade, Larry and, and now Steve and Rudy, have really become fixtures at the Opry, and setting an example for others. And in addition to all of these increased Opry appearances, he is back touring, recording and doing media appearances. If I had just one complaint about Larry at the Opry, it is that he tends to stick to "Houston" and "All the Gold in California," while mixing in a new song once in a while. And for those who have not seen Larry live at the Opry, he is full of energy and lots of fun to watch. He regularly goes down into the audience and will joke with the audience, take their popcorn, pose for pictures and generally make fun of those coming in late. Much like Porter Wagoner used to do. He is really an asset to the Opry and I am very happy indeed that he is back.
Here is the running order from Saturday December 25, 1976, the night that The Gatlin Brothers became Opry members:
Bill Monroe (host): Love, Come Home
Ray Pillow: Slowly Coming Over Me
Marion Worth: Just A Little Lovin'
David "Lonzo" Hooten: If We Make It Through December
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Breakdown
Ernie Ashworth: The Shamrock Motel
Bill Monroe: Mule Skinner Blues/Ashland Breakdown
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Forgive and Forget Us
Charlie Louvin: Let's Put Our World Back Together/A Toast to Mama/Love Has to Die (All By Itself)/I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow/I Want A Happy Life
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Ernest Tubb (host): The Women Make A Fool Out of Me
Skeeter Davis: Desperado
Billy Grammer: My Life's Been A Pleasure
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Minnie Pearl: Comedy/I'm Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
Jimmy C Newman: Blue Lonely Winter
Stu Phillips: Have A Nice Day
7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up Jacob
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers: Broken Lady/Statues Without Hearts
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Jesus
8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Shuckin' the Corn
Jack Greene: You Don't Need A Cowboy
Jeannie Seely: Mama Never Told Me About Cowboys
Vic Willis: Christmas Carols by the Old Corral
Lester Flatt: Hot Corn, Cold Corn
Bob Luman: A Satisfied Mind
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Lester Flatt & Charlie Nixon: Dobro Instrumental
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Bill Carlisle & The Carlisles: I've Waited Too Long
Jim & Jesse: Then I'll Stop Going for You
Fruit Jar Drinkers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatam
Hank Snow: Christmas Roses
Ernest Tubb (host): I'll Get Along Somehow
Charlie Louvin: Sweet Texas
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Wayne Hammond: Welcome to My World
David "Lonzo" Hooten: Daddy Looked A Lot Like Santa
Billy Grammer: I Dreamed of An Old Love Affair
Ernest Tubb: Blue Christmas
Bill Monroe (host): A Beautiful Life
Ray Pillow: Gone At Last
Ernie Ashworth: My Love Will Never Change
Del Wood: My Country
10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Old Time Sunshine Song
Marion Worth: Just A Little Lovin'
Charlie Walker: Who'll Buy the Wine
Onie Wheeler: Old Roy
Lester Flatt (host): Why Do You Wander
Jack Greene: Birmingham
Jeannie Seely: American Trilogy
Jimmy C Newman: The Potato Song
Lester Flatt & Marty Stuart: Rawhide
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Justin Tubb: Sweetwater Texas
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers: Statues Without Hearts/Hallelujah
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: 8th of January
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Jesus
11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): The Long Eared Christmas Donkey
Bob Luman: Blue Christmas
Vic Willis: Cool Water
Fruit Jar Drinkers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Katy Hill
Kirk McGee: Always Be Kind to Daddy
Hank Snow: Silent Night
11:30: Baltz Bros.
Marty Robbins (host): Don't Worry
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bill Carlisle & The Carlisles: Have a Drink on Me
Marty Robbins: El Paso City/Love Me/Among My Souvenirs/Way Out There/El Paso
Congratulations again to Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers on 39 years of membership at the Grand Ole Opry!!!
This is the Opry's final line-up from 2015, the 90th year of the Grand Ole Opry. Next week starts another year, the 91st. It should be an exciting year with several anniversaries of note, including the 50th anniversary of Opry member Ray Pillow and the 25th Opry anniversary for Vince Gill. Others to mention includes 25 years for Clint Black and Alan Jackson, and depending on how to count her, 30 years for Reba. It will be interesting to see how the Opry approaches those three, considering they are not among the Opry's most loyal members. It will also be 30 years for Randy Travis. Finally, let's not forget Stonewall Jackson, as 2016 will mark 60 years since Stonewall originally joined the Opry.
So, how did the 90th end up? In the coming weeks I will be doing my annual year in review, but until then Merry Christmas to all and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!