Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lorrie Morgan Interview Regarding Opry Membership

A website, recently posted an interview that was done by Sam Alex with Lorrie Morgan. The article is titled, "Lorrie Morgan Opens Up About Opry Membership, Spanking Blake Shelton." The interview was posted earlier today and you can read the entire interview by going to the link posted above and scrolling down to locate it. 

Lorrie said a few interesting things about Opry membership that caught my eye. In the interview she claims that the Opry has brought back the old rule that all members need to play 24 times a year, and for those who don't follow the rule, they get a stern letter from the Opry. 

According to Lorrie. "They send out a letter that says you know, 'We are kind of demanding that you must be here so many times a year to continue your membership.' Because it's just not fair. People want to say, 'Hey, I'm a member of the Opry,' and not want to come back. The Opry takes dedication and it takes love. It takes love." She also says in the article that she tries to play the Opry at least twice a month. 

Interesting that she is saying the same thing about performers joining the Opry and not coming to play on the Opry that Roy Acuff was saying 40 years ago. 

Now as far as her comments, I have not heard of any such letter being sent or of the Opry insisting on 24 appearances per year. The standard that they have been going with since Pete Fisher took over as the Opry's general manager in 1999 has been 10 appearances. If the Opry is going to demand 24 appearances per year from their members, they are going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Of the 63 current Grand Ole Opry members, only 13 of them would have made the requirement: Bill Anderson, John Conlee, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Mike Snider and The Whites. Notice who is not on the list? Lorrie herself. 

Considering that the vast majority of Opry members could not even make the 10 appearances previously asked for, how in the world do they believe 24 is a realistic number? And what are the consequences for those who do not make 24 appearances. Is it realistic to think that the Opry is going to fire 52 of its members? 

Now, I do like Lorrie Morgan and appreciate her every time she performs on the Opry and I am looking forward to her new album and to her upcoming Opry appearance. And to her credit, she has increased the number of her Opry appearances over the past several years and I would be perfectly happy if she was on the Opry twice a month. To me, that is a very realistic number. 

Maybe she is a little mistaken in her facts. If it is true that a letter has been sent out, maybe it was more in line of asking a few of the members where they have been lately, rather then asking for 24 annual appearances. On the positive side, imagine what the Opry would be like each week if Garth Brooks, Reba, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carrie, Little Big Town, and all of the Opry's other big stars appeared 24 times. It would be an awesome show each week. 


  1. I think if all of the Opry's big stars appeared one time, we'd have a much better show each week. But 24 sure would be nice. Of course, if you think about it, most of them are off the road on a Tuesday night, and they could always be doing more then.

  2. I do think they should enforce the requirement, and if people need dismissed so be it. I can think of other artists that would be interested and would actually keep the requirements. If I were running it Shelton, Alan Jackson, Clint Black, Reba, Dolly, Tom T. etc. would be cut immediately within the first week, no questions asked. They could piss and moan all they want but they would be persona non grata as long as I ran it.
    I would then ask those members who are retired to please rescind their membership as they no longer perform. Like those who are deceased, and helped build the legacy opf the opry, they too would be asked or forced out into that legacy. That retired membership could go to person such as Rhonda Vincent, Kathy Mattea, Gene Watson, or Mandy Barnett... so Jeannie Pruett would be sent out to pasture.
    At the same time I would extend my time and hand to people such as Stonewall Jackson, Garth Brooks, or those members that are not asked such as legends who do care about the show.
    Finally, as far as inducting members, I would make sure that each genre within the umbrella of country is represented and that means finding an artist to fill in Jimmy C. Newman´s shoes in the cajun- country area, more bluegrass acts, and more appalachian music a la Wilma Lee Cooper.

    1. Retired Memeberships are absurd its like being in limbo or purgatory, what do you serve as??? A greater at the Opry House like at Walmart??? Seriously that too should be questioned.

  3. This whole concept of the "retired" Opry member really puzzles me. It basically started when Barbara Mandrell retired from performing in 1997 to go and make movies. That really didn't work out, and while she has not performed since, she is still involved in the music industry to the degree that she does attend industry functions and has made visits to the Opry. I do know that when she did retire, she specifically asked to remain an Opry member as she said being a part of the Opry was important to her. I can also remember when Jeanne Pruett retired from performing in 2006, there was an interview that said she asked the Opry to drop her as a member and replace her with another female artist, specifically Rhonda Vincent, and the Opry did not do that. Ricky Van Shelton also retired in 2006 and went back to his home in Virginia where he has been since, yet he is still an Opry member. And then you have Tom T. Hall who has not appeared on the Opry in decades, has stated that he has no intention of coming out to play the Opry, yet is still a member.

    Holly Dunn retired from performing and moved to New Mexico where she is an artist. She still wanted to maintain her Opry membership and the Opry kept her as a member for a number of years after she left, yet a few years ago they quietly dropped her as a member. And when Sam Wellington of the 4 Guys retired, shortly after the entire 4 Guys were dismissed as members.

    Prior to Barbara Mandrell and her retirement, Opry membership was fluid. Members came and went. Among some of the names were Red Foley, Norma Jean, BJ Thomas, Don Williams, Earl Scruggs, Bobby Lord, and the list goes on. In today's Opry world, all of those would probably have maintained their Opry membership and just not shown up any more. And in those earlier days, if you retired from performing, you were no longer an Opry member.