Tuesday, June 30, 2015

July Opry Highlights

As we enter the month of July, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or in regards to Opry members, during the month of July.

July 15, 1913: Cowboy Copas was born in Adams County, Ohio. Although he went by the name of Cowboy, his actual name was Lloyd Estel. He joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1946 and would remain an Opry member until his death in 1963. As mentioned, Cowboy Copas was actually from Ohio, but in many publications, including several from the Opry, he is listed as being born in Oklahoma.

July 27, 1925: Former Opry member Annie Lou Dill was born. Along with her husband Danny, they were known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music." They were a part of the Opry from 1946 until the mid 1950s. They remained a popular duo into the 1960s, when they divorced and the duo ended. Annie passed away in January 1982.

July 24, 1926: The Crook Brothers made their first appearance on the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers, in one form or another, would remain a part of the Grand Ole Opry until the death of Herman Crook in June 1988. That covers a period of 62 years.

July 7, 1927: Charles Loudermilk, better known as Charlie Louvin, was born near Section, Alabama.

July 9, 1929: Grand Ole Opry member Jesse McReynolds was born in Coeburn, Virginia. One of the true legends of bluegrass music, Jesse and his brother Jim joined the Opry in 1964. Since the death of his brother, Jesse has continued as a solo act and most weekends he is still at the Opry.

July 7, 1930: Doyle Wilburn was born in Hardy, Arkansas. Along with his brother Teddy, the Wilburn Brothers were long time members of the Opry.

July 14, 1933: One of the great personalities in the history of the Opry, Del Reeves was born in Sparta, North Carolina.

July 4, 1934: Over 8,000 people showed up for an all-day Opry sponsored show in West Tennessee. The show featured Opry stars Uncle Dave Macon, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, the Gully Jumpers and the Crook Brothers. As a result of the success of this show, George D. Hay started the Artists Service Bureau, which would become the offical booking agency for the Opry's members. In the future, this would become controversial and would eventually lead to several acts leaving the Opry, including Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright.

July 4, 1937: Opry member Ray Pillow was born in Lynchburg, Virginia. Ray came to the Opry in 1966 and although his appearances are down, he remains a popular Opry member today.

July 19, 1937: George Hamilton IV was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. George was an Opry member for 54 years before passing away in September 2014.

July 11, 1939: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the War Memorial Auditorium in downtown Nashville. They would only stay for a few years as the Opry crowd was not the type that the operators wanted at War Memorial. The Opry moved to the Auditorium from the Dixie Tabernacle, which held more people, but was in horrible condition. Because of the lower capacity, which was listed as 2,200, the Opry decided to charge admission, which was 25 cents. War Memorial is still in use today and in fact in 2010, the Opry staged a few shows there while they moved around town after the flood.

July 6, 1940: "Miss Country Soul" Jeannie Seely was born in Titusville, Pennsylvania. Jeannie has been an Opry member since 1967 and even at the age of 75, she can still belt out a good ballad.

July 15, 1944: Country Music Hall of Fame member Rod Brasfield officially joined the Grand Ole Opry. Rod was hired to replace comedian Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, on the Prince Albert portion of the show after Whitey had a contract dispute with R.J. Reynolds and their advertising agency. Rod remained an Opry member until he passed away in September 1958. Years later, Minnie Pearl, who worked with Rod, would lead the effort to have him elected to the Hall of Fame. Rod was not only a gifted comedian, but a fine actor who had a very difficult personal life. One of his great movie roles was with Andy Griffith in "A Face in the Crowd."

July 24, 1948: Roy Acuff announced that he was running for Governor of Tennessee after he felt that the current Governor made some poor comments regarding country music. As a Republican in Tennessee in 1948, Roy didn't really have much of a chance and he lost the election by a wide margin. It was said that his campaign rallies drew large crowds that would listen to him, and others, sing and play but would leave once the speeches started.

July 21, 1951: Lefty Frizzell made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would become a member a year later but was gone pretty quick. Lefty said that it just didn't work out and that the Opry wasn't the dream he thought it would be.

July 5, 1952: Ralph Sloan and The Tennessee Travelers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This group was formed in 1949 and was originally called the Cedar Hill Square Dancers. In 1980, Ralph passed away and his brother Melvin took over and the dancers became known as the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Melvin has since retired and the group now is simply called the Opry Square Dancers.

July 9, 1952: Opry members Carl Smith and June Carter were married. Their marriage only lasted a few years but it did produce a daughter, Rebecca Carlene Smith, better known to her fans as Carlene Carter. Carl would go on to marry country singer Goldie Hill and June would eventually settle down with Johnny Cash.

July 18, 1954: Opry member Ricky Skaggs was born in Cordell, Kentucky. Hard to believe that Ricky will be 61 this year. It seems just a few short years ago that Ricky, along with Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Patty Loveless and Marty Stuart were considered the future of the Opry.

July 7, 1956: Johnny Cash made his first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry.

July 28, 1956: Johnny Cash became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Yep, it happened that fast. He would remain an Opry member only until 1958 when he left Nashville and moved to California. Even though he gave up his Opry membership, Johnny would continue to perform on the Opry whenever he was in Nashville, and especially when June Carter was around. It was during one such performance in 1965 that he kicked the Opry stage lights and was told not to come back. He stayed away for a few years but by the late 1960s he was back, making occasional appearances. Toward the end of his life, Roy Acuff had asked Johnny to become an Opry member again, but Johnny declined due to his heavy touring schedule.

July 24, 1957: Opry member Pam Tillis was born in Plant City, Florida. She is, of course, the daughter of fellow Opry member Mel Tillis.

July 12, 1961: Bill Anderson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 54th year as an Opry member. Bill made his first Opry appearance in 1958 and the Opry continued to invite him back. Ott Devine was the Opry manager that invited Bill to join the cast.

July 18, 1964: Future Grand Ole Opry member Connie Smith made her Grand Ole Opry debut. She joined the following year.

July 31, 1964: Former Opry member Jim Reeves, along with Dean Manuel, died in a plane crash just outside of Nashville. Jim was just 39. While he had given up his Opry membership, he was still a beloved figure at the Opry. Thanks to some forward thinking by Jim, there were many new recordings of Jim for fans to enjoy for many years after his death.

July 10, 1965: Roy Acuff was seriously injured in a car accident near Sparta, Tennessee. Roy suffered two pelvic fractures, a broken collarbone and broken ribs. Also injured in the accident were Shot Jackson and June Stearns. Roy would return to the Opry stage in August.

July 26, 1966: Opry member Martina McBride was born in Sharon, Kansas.

July 8, 1972: Barbara Mandrell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Although retired, this will be her 43rd year as an Opry member. Once in a while, Barbara visits backstage to visit friends and sometimes will even walk out on the stage and wave to the audience.

July 14, 1973: The Glaser Brothers made their final appearance as Grand Ole Opry members. After they left the cast, they would make only one more visit and that was on the night Hank Snow celebrated 40 years as a member of the Opry in January 1990.

July 21, 1973: Almost a year after Barbara Mandrell joined the cast, Jeanne Pruett became an Opry member. Like Barbara, Jeanne is now retired and she also will visit the Opry once in a while. This will be her 42nd year as an Opry member. 2001 was her last performance as an active member, although on her 40th Opry anniversary she did appear on stage. Jeanne was the last singing member to join the cast prior to the Opry's move to the new Grand Ole Opry House.

July 7, 1975: Opry member George Morgan died in a Nashville hospital after suffering a heart attack. He had been an Opry member since 1948. George did leave the Opry in 1956 to star in a television show, but returned in 1959. He had originally suffered his first heart attack in May but had returned to the Opry a month later, prior to leaving for heart surgery. There were complications that led to his death. He would later be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

July 24, 1976: Opry member Bobby Lord made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby came to the Opry in 1960 from the Ozark Jubilee. After leaving the Opry, Bobby went into semi-retirement and began working in real estate insurance. In the 1980s, he hosted a Sportsman show on TNN.

July 4, 1980: Future Diamond Rio member Dana Williams makes his first Opry appearance as a bass player for Jimmy C Newman.

July 5, 1980: John Conlee made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

July 2, 1982: Former Opry member, and Hall of Famer, DeFord Bailey died in Nashville at the age of 82. DeFord was on of the first members of the Opry, but was fired in 1941 by George D. Hay. Various reasons were given, but over the years it would appear that race was the major issue. He refused invitations to return to the Opry for guest appearances until February 23, 1974 when he returned for the annual Old-Timer's Night. He was well received and would make a few more Opry appearances before he passed away, with the final one coming on April 3, 1982.

July 1, 1983: Gaylord Broadcasting Company purchased the Grand Ole Opry, WSM radio and the entire Opryland complex from American General Corporation. Even though it was called Gaylord Broadcasting, it was actually Edward Gaylord and his wife Thelma who were the actual owners. At the time, the Gaylords owned the television show "Hee Haw" and other media outlets. The price was rumored to be between $250 and $300 million. Over time, Gaylord Broadcasting would become Gaylord Entertainment and go from a private company to a public company. The focus of the company would also change from broadcasting and entertainment to resort and hotel management. The company is now known as Ryman Hospitalities.

July 6, 1985: Johnny Russell became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Johnny would remain a very popular Opry member until he passed away on July 3, 2001 after a long illness. Johnny was always funny, but he was also a talented singer and songwriter who wrote some pretty serious songs. After joining the Opry, he would normally appear during the final segment on the 2nd show, trying to follow the pattern of Marty Robbins. Having had the opportunity to meet Johnny and share lunch with him, I can tell you he was a great person to meet.

July 3, 1996: Alison Krauss became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 19th year as an Opry member. At the time she joined, she was the Opry's youngest member and was inducted into the cast by Garth Brooks.

July 5, 2008: Ending a long tradition, the start time for Saturday's 1st Grand Ole Opry show was changed from 6:30 to 7:00, resulting in a 2 hour show. This followed a change that had already been made for the 2nd Saturday night which was reduced to 2 hours the previous January. And no, there was no reduction in ticket prices.

July 15, 2008: Future Opry member Darius Rucker made his Opry debut, singing " Don't Think I Don't Think About It."

July 8, 2011: Jimmy Dickens made a surprise appearance on the stage of the Opry to ask the Oak Ridge Boys if they would like to become the Opry's newest members. Of course they accepted.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Mid-Week Opry Shows 6/30 & 7/1

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, June 30:

7:00: Larry Gatlin; Will Hoge
7:30: Aaron Tippin; Audio Adrenaline
8:15: Bill Anderson; Lorrie Morgan
8:45: Kelsea Ballerini; Diamond Rio

Nice to see that 4 of the 8 artists scheduled are Opry members and I would say that the Bill Anderson/Lorrie Morgan half hour will be the best of the night.

And for Wednesday July 1:

7:00: The Whites; Holly Williams
7:30: Riders In The Sky; Ashley Monroe
8:15: John Conlee; The Willis Clan
8:45: Thompson Square; Ricky Skaggs

Much like the Tuesday show, Wednesday night will also have 4 Opry members, all different from the night before.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 6/26 & 6/27

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend:

Friday June 26
7:00: Connie Smith (host); The Farm; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Rhett Akins; Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Sundy Best
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Doyle Dykes featuring The Booth Brothers

Saturday June 27
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Shelley Skidmore; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Rhett Akins; Warren Haynes featuring Railroad Earth
8:15: The Whites (host); Exile; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Elizabeth Cook; Gene Watson

The interesting name this weekend is Warren Haynes. For those who do not know Warren, he comes from the Southern Rock tree of the Allman Brothers and is associated with a number of Jambands, such as the Grateful Dead. My wife is a big follower of Warren and his group, Gov't Mule. I, along with her, have seen Warren in concert several times and he does an awesome job. But he is just not someone I associate as being on the Opry. But then, the more I think about it, he is probably more country and bluegrass oriented then many of those who perform on the Opry today.

As far as the rest of the weekend line-up, while it is solid, I would say that it is not one of the best weekends of the year. As far as Opry members, both nights will feature Connie Smith, Mike Snider, The Whites and Bill Anderson, while on Friday they will be joined by Riders In The Sky, Diamond Rio and Bobby Osborne, while on Saturday it will be Jesse McReynolds appearing.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, June 25 & 26, 2010. Both nights took place at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday June 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Randy Kohrs
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jack Greene; Sunny Sweeney
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Stu Phillips; Jesse McReynolds; Joey+Rory
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Raul Malo

Saturday June 26
7:00: The Whites (host); Connie Smith; Sam Bush
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Sarah Jarosz
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Steel Magnolia; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Loretta Lynn

And from ten years ago, the weekend of June 24 & 25, 2005:

Friday June 24
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; Robbie Fulks
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Trent Willmon
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Cory & Jarrod Walker; Jon Randall
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; David Lee Murphy

Saturday June 25
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Kathleen Edwards
7:00: Brad Paisley (host); Diamond Rio; Nanci Griffith; Earl Scruggs
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Billy Yates; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; Reflections Ridge

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Brad Paisley
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Mel McDaniel; Earl Scruggs
10:30: Diamond Rio (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Yates; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; Reflection Ridge
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Billy Walker; Kathleen Edwards

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was on Saturday June 24, 1989 that Garth Brooks made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Later this year, Garth will celebrate his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry as he joined the cast on October 6, 1990. From all indications, Garth will be making an Opry appearance later this year to celebrate his anniversary.

On the night that Garth made his Opry debut, he was introduced on the 1st show by Johnny Russell. After that night, when Garth would come to the Opry he would ask to be scheduled on Johnny's segment as a connection and friendship had formed between the two of them. And on the night Garth became a member, it was Johnny who did the honors.

Here is the running order from Saturday June 24, 1989, the night Garth Brooks first appeared on the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Every Cross Your Mind
Jeannie Seely: Tell Me Again
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

6:45: Rudy's
Billy Walker (host): Ashes of Love/Blue Moon of Kentucky/That's All Right
Jean Shepard: Why Don't You Haul Off and Love Me
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco/Charlie's Shoes

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): There's A Whole Lot About A Woman A Man Don't Know
Ray Pillow: Til the Best Comes Along
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
The Whites: Blue Letters/Follow the Leader
Jack Greene: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

7:30: Standard Candy
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love
4 Guys: Turn Around, Look At Me/Cocktails
Garth Brooks: I'm Much Too Young to Feel This Damn Old/If Tomorrow Never Comes
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle/Elvira
Roy Drusky: Wings of A Dove/One Day At A Time
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
Oswald: Black Smoke's A Risin

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): The Call of the Wild
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me On Sundays
Jimmy C Newman: LaCajun Band
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Mike Snider: Ground Speed
Hank Snow: I Almost Lost My Mind

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jack Greene (host): Happy Tracks
4 Guys: I'm All Tied Up
Billy Walker: A Million and One
The Whites: Hangin' Around/Doing It By the Book
Jack Greene: The Last Letter

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Walker (host): A Way to Free Myself
Jean Shepard: A Home In San Antone/Time Changes Everything/Roly Poly
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Roy Acuff: Back in the Country/I'll Fly Away

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Garth Brooks: I'm Much Too Young to Feel this Damn Old/If Tomorrow Never Comes
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou

10:45: B.C. Powder
Roy Drusky (host): Too Old to Die Young
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Dance All Night
Roy Drusky: Mansion Over the Hilltop

11:00: Coca-Cola
Ray Pillow (host): Too Many Memories
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home/Why Doesn't He Just Leave Me Alone
Mike Snider: Look What They've Done to the Dominica Chicken
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight

11:30: Creamettes
Johnny Russell (host): Got No Reason Now For Going Home
Connie Smith: Walk Me to the Door/Why Don't You Love Me
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel/Buried Alive
Johnny Russell: Me and Bobbi McGee

The other item about that night was after Hank Snow completed his segment, he drove home and was going to come back to host the 11:00 segment on the 2nd show. The problem was that he was involved in a car accident and was not able to get back. As you saw, Ray Pillow ended up hosting the segment for Hank. You never can tell what will happen on any given night at the Opry

Back to the vacation. I just wanted to take a quick moment and post this weekend's shows.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Grand Ole Opry This Week

Good Evening To All:

I just wanted to let those who read the blog know that I will be on vacation for a few days and not sure if I will be able to post this week's Grand Ole Opry line-up in a timely manner. I will do my best, but just to cover the high points if I am a day or two late:

Scheduled for the Friday Night Opry this week are Opry members Diamond Rio, along with guest artists The Farm, Rhett Akins and Russell Moore and III Tyme Out.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will have Elizabeth Cook, Warren Haynes featuring Railroad Earth, Exile, Gene Watson and a return appearance by Rhett Akins. Interesting that no Opry members are listed on the scheduled to appear list, even though a number of Opry members will be appearing.

And just to recap last weekend at the Opry, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood made a surprise appearance on Friday night and sang a number of classic duets, including several made famous by Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius. It was nice to hear Garth and Trisha back on the Opry. For Garth, it was his first appearance on the Opry since May 2008 when he inducted Carrie Underwood as the Opry's newest member, while it was his first singing Opry appearance since October 2005 when he appeared during the Opry's 80th birthday bash. Way too long for someone who says that being an Opry member is one of the most important honors of his career.

Just to recap, here is the Opry line-up from his last appearance, Saturday October 15, 2005:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); Travis Tritt; Garth Brooks; Diamond Rio
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Josh Turner; Ralph Stanley

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Steve Wariner
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Grammer; Travis Tritt
10:30: Diamond Rio (host); Stu Phillips; Ralph Stanley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Garth Brooks
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Josh Turner

As someone who was there that weekend, it was obviously a very good night at the Opry. While Garth was on the televised portion during the first show, he shared the stage with Porter Wagoner, Bill Anderson and Jimmy Dickens.

Hopefully we will see more of Garth before 2015 is out.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mid-Week Opry Shows 6/23 & 6/24

Here are the line-ups for this week's mid-week Opry shows:

Tuesday June 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely; The Swon Brothers
7:30: Del McCoury Band; Corey Smith
8:15: Hunter Hayes; ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Very nice to see another appearance by one of the Opry's newest members, Rascal Flatts. Hunter Hayes makes another guest appearance and each year, the performance by the ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers is always a highlight.

Wednesday June 24
7:00: Craig Campbell; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Striking Matches; Tracy Lawrence
8:15: Michael Ray; Bill Anderson
8:45: EmiSunshine; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Grand Ole 6/19 & 6/20

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two weekend shows, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

In looking at Opry members scheduled this weekend, the highlight would be Hall of Fame member Vince Gill, who is hosting the final segment each night. I have previously mentioned that Vince has really picked up his Opry appearances so far in 2015. Counting this coming weekend, Vince will have made 13 Opry appearances, compared to 17 for all of 2014. And he has more scheduled. Joining Vince both nights as segment hosts will be Jeannie Seely and Riders In The Sky, who will be celebrating their 33rd year as Opry members.

The Friday Night Opry will feature members Connie Smith and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers. Much as Vince has picked up on his Opry appearances, so has Larry and his brothers. For Larry, this will mark his 30th appearance of 2015, and for Steve and Rudy, they will be making their 25th appearance. Considering that Steve and Rudy have been basically missing from the Opry for a decade, that is great to see. For Larry, who made 23 appearances in 2014, it is nice to see his increased participation in the show.

In addition to those already mentioned, Saturday night will also include Opry members Bobby Osborne, Jan Howard, Mike Snider and Ray Pillow, who will be hosting a segment.

As far as guest artists this weekend, both nights will feature frequent Opry guest Jimmy Wayne, while on Friday night he will be joined by Restless Heart, TG Sheppard, Lauren Alaina, Pure Prairie League and a return appearance by Carly Pearce. Vince Gill is a former member of Pure Prairie League so don't be surprised if Vince stays on stage and picks with them. Saturday night's guests include Mandy Barnett, Darryl Worley, Cedar Hill and another appearance by Ray Stevens.

Friday June 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Carly Pearce; Restless Heart
7:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Jimmy Wayne; Connie Smith
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); TG Sheppard; Lauren Alaina
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Pure Prairie League

Saturday June 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host);  Jimmy Wayne; Mike Snider
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Cedar Hill; Ray Stevens

Cedar Hill is a traditional  bluegrass band that has been around since 1967.  It's members consist of Frank Ray, Jim Bunch, Pete Brown, Patti LaFleur and Shannon Cox and they work out of Missouri and Arkansas. They record for Blue Circle Records. I personally have never seen or heard the group so I am looking forward to see what they bring to the Opry this weekend.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of June 18 & 19, 2010: The shows both nights took place at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday June 18
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Chuck Mead
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Doyle Dykes
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Leroy Parnell; Joey+Rory
8:45: Mike Snider (host); George Hamilton IV; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday June 19
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Daryle Singletary
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); The Whites; Restless Heart
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Robert David Hall; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jack Greene; Jo Dee Messina

And from ten years ago, the weekend of June 17 & 18, 2005:

Friday June 17
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; The Derailers
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Green; Little General Cloggers; Gene Watson
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Mel McDaniel; Chely Wright
9:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Osborne Brothers
9:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Daryle Singletary

Saturday June 18
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Shawn Camp
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Mel McDaniel; Sherrie Austin
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Matt Jenkins
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; T. Bubba Bechtol; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Radney Foster

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Sherrie Austin
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Mel McDaniel; Matt Jenkins
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Stu Phillips; T. Bubba Bechtol; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Radney Foster
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Ray Pillow; Charlie Nagatani; Shawn Camp

For this week's look back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was 33 years ago this weekend, June 19, 1982 that the Riders In The Sky became members of the   Grand Ole Opry.

From the Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book:

Though they carry on a comedic tradition that harkens back to Grand Ole Opry humorists of the 1930s like the Duke of Paducah, Riders In The Sky's four members are also masterful musicians who became the first Opry cast members to fully represent the cowboy stylings that helped to put the "Western" in "Country & Western." The group got their start in 1977, when guitarist Doug "Ranger Doug" Green, a one-time member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and country music journalist and historian, invited bassist Fred "Too Slim" Labour to join him for a gig at a Nashville nightclub. With Paul "Woody Paul" Chrisman on fiddle, the trio dubbed themselves Riders In The Sky. Their recorded debut, "Three on the Trail" (1979), showcased impeccable vocal and instrumental work in the mold of such Western music heroes, and Country Music Hall of Fame members, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and the Sons of the Pioneers, while their live shows added a strong dose of broad, quick-witted humor that had them poking gentle fun at one another and at aspects of the movie cowboy image. This combination led to their induction into the Opry's cast in 1982.

For the Riders, who became a quartet when they "promoted" longtime accordionist Joey "The Cowpolka King" Miskulin to full membership, the mission of keeping the cowboy style alive has led to exhaustive touring, a long-running radio show, and a long string of popular recordings, including two soundtrack companion CDs (Wood's Roundup featuring Riders In The Sky, for Toy Story 2, and Monsters Inc.:Scream Factory Favorites) that earned the group Grammy awards in 2001 and 2003. Along the way, Riders In The Sky have earned multiple awards, including six Western Music Association Entertainer of the Year trophies and membership in the organization's Hall of Fame, the Academy of Western Artists' Western Music Group of the Year award (five times), and a presence on both the Country Music Foundation's Walkway of Stars and the Walk of Western Stars in Newhall, California.

Today, the Riders continue to delight audiences at the Opry House and elsewhere, more than justifying Billboard jounalist Jim Bessman's characterization of them as one of "the most historically significant acts in the history of American music."

Congratulations to the Riders In The Sky for 33 years of Opry membership and here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday June 19, 1982, the night Riders In The Sky officially became members of the Opry.

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel Was Born/Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Jack Leonard: Back on My Mind Again
Ernest Tubb: Rainbow at Midnight

7:30: Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jean Shepard: Cryin' My Heart Out Over You/Slipping Away
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Grandpa Jones: Four Stoned Walls & A Ceiling/What'll I Do With the Baby-O

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Lonzo & Oscar: All the Gold in California
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Connie Smith: I Just Had You On My Mind/Once A Day
Roy Acuff: Stream Line Cannonball

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
4 Guys: I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it to Me Again
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away Too Long
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Hank Snow: I Have You & That's Enough For Me

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): Have You Ever Been Lonely
Ernie Ashworth: Memphis Memory
Del Wood: Just Because/Bill Bailey/Beer Barrel Polka
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin/Ol' Chunk of Coal
Jack Leonard: Lone Star Beer & Bob Wills Music
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): The Banjo Is the Instrument For Me
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late/Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: There's A Grave in the Wave of the Ocean

10:15: Sunbeam
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Jack Greene: Yours For the Taking/There Goes My Everything

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Down in Union County
Riders In The Sky: (?)/Turkey in the Straw/Chicken Reel/Devil's Dream
Roy Acuff: In the Center of the Opry Stage/I Saw the Light

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Second Hand Rose
Connie Smith: Lovin' You Baby
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Right or Wrong
Jean Shepard: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Wilburn Brothers: Release Me
Lonzo & Oscar/Eldridge Brothers: Little Cabin Home on the Hill
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

11:30: Bama
4 Guys (host): I Think About Your Loving All the Time
Bill Carlisle/Sheila & Bill Carlisle, Jr: Have A Drink on Me/In the Pines
Ray Pillow: All You Have to Do Is Comeback Home/Remember Me
4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree this Saturday night will be hosted by former Opry Staff Band member Tim Atwood. He has been working on various side projects with a number of country music artists. The taping starts at 10:00 for broadcast at Midnight on WSM. Next week the scheduled host is Connie Smith.

Congratulations to the Riders In The Sky and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Mid-Week Opry Shows

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for this week's Tuesday Night Opry, along with the Wednesday Night Opry, which begins this week for most of the summer. The Wednesday night show replaces the Opry Country Classics show, which will return in the fall.

Tuesday June 16
7:00: Terri Clark; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Keith Anderson; Nathan Chapman
8:15: Cam; The Steeldrivers
8:45: John Conlee; Chris Janson

Well, they did manage to round up two Opry members for this show. Cam gets a return appearance after her debut a few weeks back. And another show featuring Chris Janson

Wednesday June 17
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Greg Bates
7:30: Jeannie Seely; The Isaacs
8:15: Emily West; Marty Stuart
8:45: Trace Adkins

Nice to see Marty Stuart and Trace Adkins back at the Opry, even with a mid-week appearance. And Larry, Steve and Rudy continue their string of Opry appearances in 2015.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Jim Ed Brown

It is with personal sadness that I pass the news that Grand Ole Opry member, and recently elected Country Music Hall of Famer, Jim Ed Brown has passed away at the age of 81.

James Edward Brown was born on April 1, 1934 in Sparkman, Arkansas. He grew up on a 160-acre farm on which he helped run the family's sawmill business. While in high school he was President of the student body and captain of both the basketball and football teams. He entered Arkansas A&M College as a forestry major and then switched to Arkansas State Teachers College to study music and voice.

While still in high school, he and his older sister Maxine had a radio show on KCLA in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and became regular members of the Barnyard Frolic. Starting in 1954, they released five singles on the Fabor label, as Jim Ed and Maxine Brown, including "Looking Back to See." They became members of the Louisiana Hayride and in 1955 joined Red Foley as featured regulars on the Ozark Jubilee. Later that year, sister Bonnie joined them and they became known as The Browns. Their first Top 10 hit was "Here Today and Gone Tomorrow." in 1956 they signed with RCA and followed with two #1 songs, "I Take the Chance" and "I Heard the Bluebird Sing." After a two year stint in the service, Jim Ed rejoined his sisters and in 1959 they had the biggest hit or their careers, "The Three Bells." The record sold over a million copies and was the first #1 country song to cross over and hit #1 on the pop and rhythm and blues charts. They followed with hits "The Old Lamplighter" and "Scarlet Ribbons."

On August 12, 1963, they became members of the grand Ole Opry, but in 1967 Bonnie and Maxine decided that combining busy careers and caring for growing families was too much and they retired.

Jim Ed went solo and continued his success. In 1966 he reached #3 on the charts with "Pop A Top" and that was followed by "Southern Loving" "Sometimes Sunshine" and "Morning." In 1975 he began a six-season run as co-host of the syndicated weekly television series "Nashville on the Road" and he became known as the national spokesperson for Dollar General Stores. In 1976 he teamed with Helen Cornelius, which became one of country music's most successful duos. They released hits such as "Don't Bother to Knock," "Fools," and the #1 songs "I Don't Want to Have to Marry You," "Saying Hello, Saying I Love You, Saying Goodbye," "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," and "Lying in Love with You." In 1983 Jim Ed became host of TNN's "You Can Be A Star," and in 1994 he paired with his wife Becky as co-hosts of TNN's travel show "Going Our Way."

In August 2013, Jim Ed celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and was joined on the Opry that evening by sisters Maxine and Bonnie. Although The Browns broke up in 1967, they continued to make special appearances together, several of which took place on the Opry. In January 2015, he released a new album "In Style Again," to great reviews and, to cap his career, it was recently announced that Jim Ed Brown and The Browns had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

While Jim Ed was notified of his election to the Hall of Fame in March, the actual medallion ceremony does not take place until October. It was reported in the Tennessean this evening that when it was realized that Jim Ed was not going to survive, a special medallion ceremony took place in his hospital room where Bill Anderson presented the medallion to Jim Ed, placed it around his neck, and officially welcomed Jim Ed to the Country Music Hall of Fame. It was said that there were a lot of tears and laughter as Jim Ed was surprised.

On a personal note, Jim Ed was always one of my favorites. I had met him several times and he was always a gentleman. I was lucky enough to be backstage the night of Jim Ed's 50th anniversary as an Opry member, as he shared the evening with his sisters and his very good friend Bobby Bare. I guess if I had to pick a favorite Browns song, it would be "The Old Lamplighter." I just love the story and the harmonies on that song.

The past year has been tough at the Opry. First Jimmy C Newman, followed by George Hamilton IV, Earl White and Jimmy Dickens. Each loss has been felt at the Opry as will this one. May God welcome Jim Ed Brown and bless his family during this difficult time.  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 6/12 & 6/13

The CMA Music Festival is underway in Nashville and most of the country music artists are in town. There are free shows, the night time shows at the stadium, fan club breakfasts and lunches, autograph signings, legend shows and just about every other event you can think of. Over 80,000 fans are expected in town and a good number of them will be taking in the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. And as you would expect, both nights at the Opry offer very solid line-ups.

Scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night are Country Music Hall of Fame and Opry members Charley Pride, Mel Tillis and Vince Gill. Other Opry members joining them on Friday night include Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Mike Snider, The Whites, Bobby Osborne and Josh Turner. On Saturday night, they will be joined by Opry members Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds and Darius Rucker.

Guest artists set for Friday night include Love and Theft, Chuck Wicks and Mickey Gilley, while on Saturday night you have Clay Walker, Phil Vassar and Clare Bowen.

I am personally thrilled to see Mickey Gilley on the Opry this weekend. First, can you believe that he is 78 years old this year? It seems just a few years ago that Mickey was on the top of the charts. While not winning any CMA Awards, he has won several Academy of Country Music honors including Entertainer of the Year in 1976. In the course of his career, he has had 26 albums and 43 singles, 20 of which went to #1 on the charts. Sounds like a Hall of Fame career to me. Another act appearing this weekend is Clay Walker. Clay had a run of hits in the late 1990s and early 2000s and he has had several #1 records in his career.

Friday June 12
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Mike Snider; Love and Theft
7:30: Charley Pride (host); The Whites; Chuck Wicks
8:15: Mel Tillis (host); Mickey Gilley
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Josh Turner

Saturday June 13-Matinee
3:00: Charles Esten; JT Hodges
3:30: Kristian Bush; Mark Wills
4:00: Morgan Evans; Jamie Lynn Spears
4:30: Chris Janson; Connie Smith

Saturday June 13
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Clay Walker
7:30: Charley Pride (host); Phil Vasar; Mel Tillis
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Clare Bowen
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Darius Rucker

Not taking anything away from either night, but it looks like Friday has the edge this weekend. It will be interesting to see if anyone else is possibly added for Friday or Saturday night. There is a slot in the 3rd segment on Friday and the 1st segment on Saturday. The last segment with Vince and Darius will probably stay as it is.

The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree returned last weekend with a taping at 10:00 for the midnight airing. This week's host will be Country Music Hall of Fame member Mel Tillis. It should be a great night.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, June 11 & 12, 2010. Both nights, along with the Saturday matinee, took place at the Ryman Auditorium.

Friday June 11
7:00: John Conlee (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Mark Wills
8:15: Roy Clark (host); Charlie Louvin; Mike Snider; The Whites
8:45: Charley Pride (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith

Saturday June 12
3:00: The Whites; Mandy Barnett
3:30: Riders In The Sky; Joey+Rory
4:00: Jimmy C Newman; Pam Tillis
4:30: Jimmy Dickens; Mark Chesnutt

7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky
7:30: Roy Clark (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; John Conlee
8:15: Mel Tillis (host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Charley Pride (host); Mike Snider; Terri Clark

And from ten years ago, the weekend of June 10 & 11, 2005:

Friday June 10
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Darrell Scott
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Mark Wills
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Charley Pride
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Carrie Underwood
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Ray Scott; Hank Locklin; Trisha Yearwood

Saturday June 11
Opry at the Ryman
3:00: Porter Wagoner; Mandy Barnett
3:30: Jimmy Dickens; Old Crow Medicine Show
4:00: Osborne Brothers; Sherrie Austin
4:30: Mike Snider; Rebecca Lynn Howard

Grand Ole Opry 1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; John Arthur Martinez; Mike Snider
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Joe Diffie; Blaine Larsen; Keith Anderson; Charley Pride
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Paul Brandt Craig Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Keith Anderson; Hal Ketchum
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Craig Morgan
10:30: Alison Krauss (host); & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas; Jean Shepard; Charley Pride; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joe Diffie
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); John Arthur Martinez; Jim Ed Brown; Blaine Larsen

Finally, it was 50 years ago this weekend, Saturday June 12, 1965 that Tex Ritter became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The following is from the Opry History-Picture Book, 1972:

Few names have sparked the imagination or permeated the entertainment industry as has that of Tex Ritter. His career spanning every major entertainment medium.

Born in Murvaul, Panola County, Texas, Tex learned the rawhide arts of ranching, riding, and roping from practical experience. Influenced by his father's knowledge of the cowboy and the old time community singings, Tex Ritter was destined to sing the story of the American cowboy. In fact, Tex Ritter has become the embodiment of the American West and the singing cowboy. Few personalities in the history of the American stage have attained the heights that Tex enjoys.

Early in his career, Tex moved to New York City. Signing a recording contract first with Columbia, then Decca, Tex brought the West to the East, and took the New York entertainment scene by storm. Immediately Tex starred in his own radio shows which included: "The Lone Star Rangers," "Tex Ritter's Campfire," and "Cowboy Tom's Roundup." After starring in the Broadway production, "Green Grow The Lilacs," which was to become later the hit production, "Oklahoma," Tex moved to Hollywood. During his twelve years as a leading screen hero, he starred in seventy-eight films. In 1941 when Capital Records was created, Tex was one of the first to sign. He has appeared on numerous television shows and one of his most thrilling experiences came when he sang the title song and background music to the Academy Award winning movie, "High Noon."

Tex is married to one of his film leading ladies, the former Dorothy Fay. They have two sons. Like the western cowboy which he has made so famous, Tex Ritter has become a living legend in his own time.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday June 12, 1965, the night Tex Ritter became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Luzianne
Bobby Lord (host): A Room in the Corner of the House
Marion Worth: The Answer to the Question
Ernest Ashworth: Love Has Come My Way
Lonzo & Oscar: There's A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea
Bobby Lord: I'm Going Home Next Summer
Osborne Brothers: Fair & Tender Ladies
Bobby Lord: Hawkeye

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Freight Train Blues
Tex Ritter: Deck of Cards
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Tex Ritter: Boll Weevil

8:30: Stephens
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Border
Norma Jean: Go, Cat, Go
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Porter Wagoner: A Satisfied Mind
Mac Magaha & Buck Trent: Katy Hill
Speck Rhodes: The Little Shirt My Mother Made For Me
Norma Jean: Foggy Mountain Top
Del Wood: Cattle Call
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Feed You Now

9:00: Pet Milk
Sonny James (host): I'll Keep Holding On
The Browns: You Can't Grow Peaches on a Cherry Tree
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Johnny Cash: Orange Blossom Special
Johnny Cash & The Statler Brothers: Mr. Garfield
Statler Brothers: Go On Home, Billy Christian
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Sonny James: Young Love
Jim Ed Brown: I Heard From A Memory Last Night

9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Willis Brothers: A 6 Foot, 2 by 4
June Carter & The Statler Brothers: I Want You Again
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Margie Bowes: Big City
Curly Fox: Casey Jones
Willis Brothers: Private Lee
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer

10:00: Schick
Bobby Lord (host): Take the Bucket to the Well
Osborne Brothers: I Know What It Means to Be Lonesome
Del Wood: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning

10:15: Mary Carter
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
June Stearn: Once A Day
Stringbean: Moonshine in Them Old Kentucky Hills
Roy Acuff: Glorybound Train

10:30: Harvey's
Sonny James (host): You're The Only World I Know
Tex Ritter: Green Grow the Lilacs
Sonny James: What'll They Do to My Darling

10:45: Newport
Wilburn Brothers (host): I'm Gonna Tie One On Tonight
Marion Worth: Go On Home
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilburn Brothers: Steal Away

11:00: Coca-Cola
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
The Browns: Jackson
Norma Jean: Lonesome Number One
Johnny Cash: Understand Your Man
Johnny Cash & June Carter: Were You There/Amen
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Jim Ed Brown: Just to Satisfy You
Sam & Kirk McGee: If I Had My Life to Live Over
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): El Paso
Willis Brothers: Ghost Riders in the Sky
Curly Fox: Fifty Years Ago
Margie Bowes: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Don Winters: Chime Bells
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Margie Bowes: Jambalaya
Marty Robbins: Ribbon of Darkness/Singing the Blues/Lovesick Blues/Begging to You

Tex was born on January 12, 1905 and remained an Opry member until he passed away on January 2, 1974. In 1964 he became just the fifth person to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 1970 he entered the Republican primary to be the United States Senator from Tennessee, but was defeated. Tex loved the University of Southern California and was a big follower of the USC football team. While many were surprised that Tex would move to Tennessee and become a member of the Opry, he would eventually become one of the Opry's most loyal and popular members and his wife Dorothy would become the Opry's official greeter. And let's not forget that Tex also hosted the WSM overnight radio program with Ralph Emery.

Tex was a true American and Opry legend who brought the western sound to the Opry stage. A stage that he loved to perform on.

On a final note, please continue to keep Jim Ed Brown and his family in your prayers and thoughts.

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tuesday Night Opry/Start of CMA Music Fest

Traditionally one of the events that takes place toward the start of the annual CMA Music Fest in Nashville is the Tuesday Night Opry. The line-up for the two shows is generally pretty good and this year the highlight is the return to the Opry of Carrie Underwood. Carrie, who usually is pretty good at making her Opry appearances, has not been performing since the birth of her child.

While not up to the quality of past shows during CMA week, here is the line-up for this week's Tuesday Night Opry:

1st show
7:00: Scotty McCreery; Mickey Guyton
7:30: Bill Anderson; Mo Pitney
8:00: Billy Currington; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Easton Corbin; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Scotty McCreery; Mickey Guyton
10:00: Bill Anderson; Carrie Underwood
10:30: Billy Currington; Mo Pitney
11:00: Del McCoury Band; Easton Corbin

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grand Ole Opry 6/5 & 6/6

Before reviewing this weeks Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I wanted to share a message that was posted today on the Facebook page of Jim Ed Brown:

"Hello everyone! This is Kim, Jim Ed's daughter. This is a prayer request. They worked before so I am hopeful they will this time too. Dad's cancer has returned (not in his lungs) and he is undergoing chemotherapy. We are hopeful for a positive outcome, but it's a combination of hope and prayers that will get him through this. We all thank you in advance."

All I can add is that this is very troubling news, coming so quickly after the news that Jim Ed had made a full recovery and was cancer free. Obviously this explains his absence from the Opry. I am sure all of the followers and readers of the blog share my concern and offer our thoughts and prayers to Jim Ed and his family.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, there are a couple of milestones to mention. First, it was on Saturday June 2, 1990 that Mike Snider became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, so this weekend will be his 25th as an Opry member. Congratulations to Mike, who is scheduled for both shows this weekend. Secondly, for this keeping count, Saturday night will mark the 100th guest appearance for Chris Janson. Congratulations to Chris and as I have mentioned before, I think it is just a matter of time before Chris is asked to become an Opry member.

Looking at the rest of this weekend's line-ups, the Friday Night Opry will feature another Opry appearance by the newest members Little Big Town. This makes two Friday nights in a row and it's nice to see this popular group coming out to support the show. They will be joined by guest artists, and "Nashville" stars Chris Carmack and Charles Esten. Newcomer Mo Pitney, Shelly Skidmore and Exile round out the guest list. As far as Opry members, besides Mike Snider and Little Big Town, there is Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson, each of whom is also scheduled for Saturday night.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will also feature Opry member Ricky Skaggs, along with Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds. It has been a while since these three bluegrass legends have been on the same Opry show. Guest artists, besides Chris Janson, include Sara Haze, Ashley Clark and The Shires. For The Shires, this will be their Opry debut and they are described as an "English country pop duo consisting of singer-songwriters Ben Earle and Crissie Gudgin." As far as Ashley Clark, I had to double check but he has been on the Opry before.

Friday June 5
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mo Pitney; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Shelly Skidmore; Exile
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Chris Carmack; Charles Esten
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Little Big Town

Saturday June 6
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sara Haze; Mike Snider
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Ashley Clark; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Shires; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Chris Janson

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, June 4 & 5, 2010. The Friday Night Opry was at the Ryman Auditorium, while Saturday's Grand Ole Opry took place at Lipscomb University.

Friday June 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Terri Clark
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T.G. Sheppard
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Jason Crabb; The Whites
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Gene Watson

Saturday June 5
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sunny Sweeney
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Charlie Nagatani; Wade Hayes
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Opry  Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; T.G. Sheppard

And from ten years ago this weekend, June 3 & 4, 2005:

Friday June 3
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Lane Turner
8:00: John Conlee (host); George Hamilton IV; Riders In The Sky; Elizabeth Cook
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Daryle Singetary
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; T. Graham Brown
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Bering Strait

Saturday June 4
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Jason Aldean
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Susan Haynes; Charlie Walker; Jack Greene
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Little Big Town; T. Graham Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Jason Aldean
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Mel McDaniel; Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); George Hamilton IV; Susan Haynes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Little Big Town
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Walker; Jack Greene; T. Graham Brown

Finally, it was on Saturday June 4, 1988 that Herman Crook of the Crook Brothers made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

When he passed away on June 10, 1988 at the age of 89, even the New York Times printed a brief story:

"Herman Crook, a harmonica player who was the oldest member of the Grand Ole Opry, died today of a heart attack at Park View Medical Center. He was 89 years old. Mr. Crook was the last remaining charter member of the Grand Ole Opry, founded in 1925. He returned to the Opry last weekend after a nine-week absence because of health problems. Mr. Crook, orphaned early in life, was reared in Nashville by brothers and sisters, from whom he learned songs. In 1926, he led a country music string band on the Saturday Night Barn Dance and went to the Opry in 1927. The band is the only act left that represents the original tradition of the Opry; it plays for cloggers, who perform traditional mountain dancing. Mr. Crook was among the Opry musicians who participated in Nashville's first recording sessions in 1928. By the 1960's, the Opry had become a modern, highly professional program, and the traditional sound of Mr. Crook's group, called the Crook Brothers Band, became a less prominent part of the show. He is survived by his wife, Helen, five sons, two daughters, 19 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren."

It should also be mentioned that the following Saturday night June 11, Larry McNeely played "Amazing Grace" in memory of Herman, and it was mentioned that this was Herman's favorite song. June 11 was also the final time that the Crook Brothers were listed on an Opry program as after that date, the group playing for the square dancers was simply called the Opry Square Dance Band. Earl White, a member of the Crook Brothers Band, was the last surviving member of that group and he performed on the Opry until passing away last year.

Here is the Opry running order from Saturday June 4, 1988, the final night that Herman Crook, the last link to the start of the WSM Barn Dance and Grand Ole Opry, performed on the show. (it should be noted that Herman only performed on the first show.)

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Jack Greene: (host): Walking On New Grass
4 Guys: What'll You Do About Me
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure

6:45: Rudy's
Billy Walker (host): Down to My Last Cigarette
Jeannie Seely: (?)
Billy Walker: Wild Texas Rose

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Wilma Lee Cooper: No One Now
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry/You Are What Love Means to Me
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
Right Combination: Turkey in the Straw

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Michael Johnson: I Will Promise Forever to Whisper Your Name/The Moon is still Over Her Shoulders
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): The Corner of My Life
Del Reeves: The Great Chicago Fire
Jean Shepard: Someone's Gotta Cry
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Between Fire & Water
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye
Stu Phillips: Think I'll Go Somewhere And Cry Myself to Sleep
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Charlie Walker: Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross You Mind
Hank Snow: Old Shep

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
4 Guys (host): How Married Are You Mary Ann
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Lorrie Morgan: Crazy
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top/The Three Bells
4 Guys: Fox On the Run

10:00: Little Debbie
George Hamilton IV (host): I Saw the Light/I'll Fly Away
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
George Hamilton IV: A Farmer's Dream Plowed Under

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Jack Greene: I Need Somebody Bad Tonight

10:30: Pet Milk
Roy Drusky (host): Mississippi
Charlie Louvin: In the Pines
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell

10:45: B. C. Powder
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars In the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durham's Bull
Del Reeves: She's Still the Only Girl I Can't Forget

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Justin Tubb: Thanks Troubadour, Thanks
Hank Locklin: Send Me The Pillow You Dream On
Hank Snow: She Wears My Ring

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Deep Water
Connie Smith: Walk Me to the Door
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Johnny Russell: Kawliga
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!