Thursday, February 25, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/26 & 2/27

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, and both nights look very good. But before getting into this weekend, I just wanted to comment on last weekend and this past Tuesday Night Opry. 

I know there are not a lot of Elizabeth Cook fans out there, but I am one of them. She did another terrific job and I wish she would do the Opry more often. Mike Snider was extremely funny on both nights. I will say that he does seem to be pushing the envelop a bit, but the crowd seems to enjoy it. And Mike did receive his 90th anniversary block from Pete Fisher. Love and Theft are very good. Connie Smith hosted on Saturday night, and much like Vince Gill and Marty Stuart backed her up last weekend, Saturday it was Steve Wariner, and on Tuesday night it was Kenny Vaughan. It makes me wonder who Connie is going to use the guest lead guitarist again this weekend. 

On the Tuesday Night Opry, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers sang, "Young Love" in tribute to Sonny James. If I heard Larry correctly, he had the words on paper. Larry had done this a few times on the Opry and I remember what a wonderful job they did last year with "The 3 Bells" after Jim Ed passed. Also impressive on Tuesday was Lorrie Morgan, Bill Anderson and Chris Janson. Much like Elizabeth, I know Chris does not appeal to everyone. He really wants to be an Opry member and I still think it is just a question of when they will ask. Bill Anderson did "Too Country" and was outstanding and among Lorrie's songs was "Ode to Billie Joe." Lorrie also received her 90th anniversary block from Pete. 

What I like about the format for the Tuesday Night Opry is that each artist gets to do 3 songs and in the case of Tuesday night, the selections picked were excellent by each artist. Oh, and no I didn't forget, it was nice to hear Opry member Darius Rucker back on the Opry. 

Now as far as this weekend, the Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Mike Snider, John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, Diamond Rio, Bill Anderson, The Whites, Craig Morgan, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show. In fact, the only guest artist is Mark Wills, who has performed on the Opry more often then many of the Opry's members. 

For the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry, members John Conlee, Mike Snider, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show will be back, joined by Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky. Interesting that the Opry went with Mike Snider hosting a segment over The Riders, who generally host when they are featured on the show. Guest artists on Saturday include Craig Wayne Boyd, Holly Williams, Mickey Guyton, Ray Stevens and Annie Moses Band. 

Friday February 26
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Craig Morgan
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday February 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Craig Wayne Boyd; Holly Williams
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mickey Guyton; Ray Stevens
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; Annie Moses Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

That comes out to 11 acts each night, with 10 Opry members on Friday night and 6 on Saturday. Both shows look excellent this weekend and it is especially nice to see 10 Opry members on the Friday night show. What stands out to me is no Bobby Osborne or Jesse McReynolds this weekend. Usually you get at least one of the two, if not both. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 25 & 26, 2011:

Friday February 25
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Chesnutt
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Riders In The Sky; Montgomery Gentry
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Neal McCoy; Gretchen Wilson
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Oak Ridge Boys; Alison Krauss & Dan Tyminski

Saturday February 26
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman; Joey+Rory
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; The Doobie Brothers
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Alison Krauss & Dan Tyminski; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Sarah Darling; Keb' Mo'

And from 10 years ago, the weekend of February 24 & 25, 2006:

Friday February 24
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Joe Diffie; Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Cherryholmes; John Conlee; The Wrights
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Riders In The Sky

Saturday February 25
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Conlee
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jamey Johnson; Andy Griggs; Alan Jackson
8:00: Vince Gill (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Raul Malo

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; John Conlee; Alan Jackson
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Billy Walker; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Andy Griggs
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Raul Malo
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Mel McDaniel; Jamey Johnson

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of February 23 & 24, 2001. It was during the first show on Saturday night that Opry legend Wilma Lee Cooper suffered a career ending stroke while performing. 

Friday February 23
7:30: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Bill Carlisle; Kasey Chambers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Diamond Rio
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; The Whites
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeanne Pruett; Del Reeves; Lila McCann
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jim Ed Brown; Mel McDaniel

Saturday February 24
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; The Derailers
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Tammy Cochran; Mel McDaniel; Alison Moorer; Keith Urban; Jeannie Seely; Eddy Raven
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Holly Dunn; Jim Ed Brown

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; The Derailers; Mel McDaniel
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Tammy Cochran
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Keith Urban; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Holly Dunn; Jimmy C Newman; Eddy Raven
11:30: John Conlee (host); Ray Pillow; Charlie Walker; Allison Moorer

As mentioned, that was the posted line-up for the Opry that night. Now here is the actual running order of the 2 shows: 

1st show
6:30: WSM Online/Apple Barn
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Connie Smith: I Don't Want to Talk It Over Anymore
Bill Carlisle: Stay A Little Longer
The Derailers: You Come to the Right Place/Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Kristy Lynn: Just Someone I Used to Know

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Get A Little Dirt on You Hands
Tammy Cochran: Angels in Waiting
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night/Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
Allison Moorer: Angels Flying too Close to the Ground
Keith Urban: But for the Grace of God/Galveston
Jeannie Seely: Anytime
Eddy Raven: Sometimes A Lady/Cowboys Don't Cry
Bill Anderson: A Lot of Things Different/Still

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy Dickens (host): Mountain Dew
Wilma Lee Cooper: 30 Pieces of Silver
Billy Walker: Falling Leaves
Jack Greene: The Last Letter
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Cherokee Shuffle
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

8:30: Physicians Mutual
John Conlee (host): I'm Only In It For the Love
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands/You Really Had Me Going
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
John Conlee: The Old School

2nd show
9:30: WSM Online
Porter Wagoner (host): She Burned the Little Roadside Tavern Down
The Whites: Pins & Needles
The Derailers: Alone With You
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up/Stand On It
Porter Wagoner: Trouble In Amen Corner
The Wagonmasters: Instrumental

10:00: Lincoln Mercury/Document Management & Storage
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Del Reeves: Just A Little Lovin'/Dang Me/I Would Like to See You Again
Tammy Cochran: Heartaches by the Number/Angels in Waiting
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
Jeannie Seely (host): Hey Good Lookin'
Billy Walker: Peace in the Valley
Keith Urban: But for the Grace of God/Galveston
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel
Jeannie Seely: Make the World Go Away

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Eddy Raven: Never Find That Island Again/I Got Mexico
Bill Anderson: The Big Railroad Man

11:30: Pigeon Forge
John Conlee (host): Lady Lay Down
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Allison Moorer: Looking For a Soft Place to Fall/Are You Going to Alabama
John Conlee: Amazing Grace

Willma Leigh Leary was born on February 7, 1921 in Valley Head, West Virginia. As she grew up, she was part of her family's gospel group. In 1941, she married fiddler and vocalist Dale. T. "Stoney" Cooper, who was a musician with the Leary Family, after which Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper formed their own bluegrass group, called the Clinch Mountain Clan. For 10 years they were regulars on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, before moving to Nashville and joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. 

They recorded for Hickory Records from the late 1950s into the early 1960s. They had seven hit records, including four top ten hits on the Billboard charts, the most famous being "Big Midnight Special" and "There's A Big Wheel." After Stoney died in 1977, Wilma Lee and the Clinch Mountain Clan carried on and Wilma continued touring and performing as a regular member of the Opry. 

Although Wilma Lee Cooper never performed again after this night, she did make a few return visits to the Opry. She was recognized on stage in 2007 upon the occasion of her 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and she also returned in September 2010 when the Grand Ole Opry House reopened after the flood. That evening she was pushed on stage while sitting in a wheelchair. 

Wilma Lee passed away on September 13, 2011 at the age of 90. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Thanks for the review of last week, great to read.

    I think Friday's lineup is SUPER.
    Is it just me, or aren't Fridays generally better lately for us true 'Opry fanatics, Saturday better for the folks who want some young guy from the show Nashville or somebody not all that country?

  2. I am a big fan of Elizabeth Cook - I seem to recall her appearing on the Opry much more than she does now. She has a great sense of humor but lately she has stuck to playing her music and leaves it at that. I do not subscribe to Sirius/XM radio, so I unable to listen to her radio show on the Outlaw Channel.

    I am also a fan of Holly Williams. I like her raspy voice and while she sticks to just a couple of the same songs, I really do like them.

    And as always, I am looking forward to Craig Morgan, he has such a powerful voice and sings such great songs.

    Looking forward to Old Crow both nights - they always bring the house down.

    And as always, I look forward to Ray Stevens as well as all of the other artists.

    It's been just great how Vince Gill and Steve Wariner have rallied around Connie Smith to play behind her. Unless he was not able to with concerts of his own, one would think Marty Stuart would back up his wife, of which he did. With this weekend's shows, Ricky Skaggs could very well play guitar. I wonder if he plays electric guitar anymore. With all the bluegrass he now plays, there is no need, but when he and Kentucky Thunder do his country hits, listening to the radio, I cannot "see" if he is "plugged in" or just plays acoustic guitar even on those songs. Maybe a player with Old Crow could back her up. It is truly amazing to see the strength she has had to get up on that stage so soon after losing not only a member of her band but a very close friend while her heart is breaking.

    Agree with you Byron, on the Ode to Billie Joe that Lorrie Morgan sang - just so excellent. Just love her voice.

    Sure did enjoy Larry, Steve and Rudy singing "Young Love" - I always loved that song. Another great one ... gone.

    Love Chris Janson ... period. He gets the audience going and I am so happy for his success.

    Love "Too Country" sung by Bill Anderson. He always gets such a good hand after singing it.

    Enjoy the Opry shows this weekend.


  3. I like Elizabeth Cook also. I'm glad she put on another great performance. Bob Bien

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  5. I'll try again. Hope to get it right this time. :)

    "Too Country" (as I understand it) was written after a record executive told Bill Anderson a song he had just written (When a Man Can't Get a Woman Off His Mind) was "too country."

    I hope Craig Morgan sings it when he's on Bill's segment, as I think it's his best performance. Tears form in my eyes every time I hear it. Yeah, it's too country for today's radio.

  6. As Much as I love Ricky Skaggs and I personally have great Respect for him and I think he is one of the best musicians out there But I can`t really justify his inclusion in the Hall of Fame before Alan Jackson and Randy Travis based on his career he doesn`t have that many hits even though he has had 13 #1 Hits and his writing producing.etc aren`t above of that of others and I really truly believe a Ricky Skaggs induction would open the floodgates for Marty Stuart like Ricky Marty Didn`t have the big career like so many others

  7. Changes for the Friday Night Opry. Connie Smith has changed places with Larry Gatlin and Craig Morgan has cancelled, being replaced by Ricky Skaggs.

    7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
    7:30: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Diamond Rio
    8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Ricky Skaggs
    8:45: Larry Gatlin (host) & The Gatlin Brothers; Old Crow Medicine Show

  8. So much for my plan of Craig Morgan singing "When a man can't get a woman off his mind!"

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Can't agree with Anon's Hall priorities above. I don't know if he was on the scene or not; but 35 years ago, Ricky brought real country music back from the dead -- albeit, temporarily -- on country radio. Randy merely followed in the trail Ricky had blazed.

    Furthermore, for both musicianship and showmanship, Ricky puts Randy in the shade. I have seen concerts by both -- by Ricky, twice -- and, believe me, there is no comparison.

    Alan will be in the Hall one day and deservedly so, but Ricky should be served first.

    (As a footnote, I would say that Randy Travis obviously styled himself after Lefty Frizzell, probably by way of John Anderson. Anderson is another I would put in the Hall before Randy.)

    1. but I think there are bigger stars that are more deserving of induction into the Hall of Fame than Ricky like Alan Jackson Randy Travis and Brooks & Dunn among others as much as I love Ricky I really just Can`t see him going into the Hall of Fame before Alan Randy B&D.etc he doesn`t have that many hits and his writing producing.etc aren`t above of that of others I would put him in the same class as Marty Stuart a very talented musician but not a very solid hit-making career and I believe if Ricky is elected it would open the floodgates for Marty

  10. Fred, Bismarck:


  11. Fred, Bismarck:

    Anon, I take radio "hits" with a grain of salt, especially in this latter day when they are divorced from physical sales and playlists at many (most?) radio stations are chosen by consultants. Also, there is more to consider when evaluating a career. How many radio hits did Grandpa Jones have, or Little Jimmy?

    To put it another way: How many "No. 1's" of the last five years can you sing or hum, or even remember the name of?

    1. From Anonymous in Kingman: Grandpa Jones had a "radio hit" with "T for Texas," back in '62. I believe it reached #5 on the country hit-parade.

    2. Interestingly, “Behind the Tear,” by Sonny James, preceded Little Jimmy’s “May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose,” as the number 1 single on the ‘Billboard’ Hot Country Singles Chart in November 1965. - Anonymous in Kingman

  12. Generally, the Hall of Fame has announced the election results the first week of March, so while the debate continues, we should not have long to wait. For those who did not see the pictures, Randy Travis was in Nashville this past week, and actually might still be in town, and from the pictures I saw he looks pretty good, much like his old self. He was at several industry functions.

    Personally, I would not have a problem with either Randy Travis or Ricky Skaggs getting into the Hall. I have said in the past that while Alan Jackson is very deserving and will get into the Hall very soon, and maybe even this year, I would hate to see it only from the standpoint that it will open the doors wide for all of those artists from the early to mid 1990s, and make it that much harder for those from the early to mid 1980s that have not gotten in as of yet.

    For those who think the modern era is tough to pick, how about the veterans? Even with the recent elections of Jim Ed Brown and The Browns, Bobby Bare, Connie Smith among others, there is still a huge back up there as well. So many deserving candidates for just several spots.

    Back to the Opry for a second: I noticed that when Craig Morgan cancelled last night, they filled his spot with Ricky Skaggs, certainly a very quality addition to the show and someone that the crowd was pleased with. But have you noticed that when an Opry veteran cancels, we generally get no replacement or if we do, it will be someone such as a Jimmy Wayne or Mandy Barnett. And for those who did not listen, last night's Friday Night Opry was good.

    1. I would agree but there is one thing to consider about Alan this year it`s the CMA Awards`s 50th anniversary this year and he is the second-most nominated artist in CMA history with 81 nominations behind George Strait who has had 83 CMA nominations so while you guys would hate to see it only from the standpoint that it would open the doors wide for all of those artists from the early to mid 90s and make it that much harder for those from the early to mid 80s to get elected and he would be cutting ahead of Randy Travis and Ricky Skaggs I really think Alan truly deserves induction this year so while I think Randy and Ricky really should go in first I suspect Alan will go in because of the CMA Awards`s 50th Anniversary and for a publicity shot all of the other artists from the early to mid 90s can wait their turn but I think it`s Alan`s time this year

  13. I'm preaching to the choir but I will say it again here among friends: while the Hall has done a good job picking up some very deserving people in the last 10 yrs or so, I completely agree with Byron. Ricky, Randy & Alan completely deserve induction. There are also four glaring omissions (who at this point are long shots from an earlier era) that I really hope don't get forgotten: Johnny & Jack, Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, the Wilburn Brothers and Dottie West. I would also say there's probably zero chance of these but based on their overall contribution to country music (which has always been the mission of the Hall, not ridiculous radio hits) I would also add to my list the Maddox Brothers & Rose, Cowboys Copas (who was a much bigger star than anyone else at the time on that plane went down) Jimmy Newman (who almost single handedly kept the Cajun genre alive) George Hamilton IV (a personal friend of mine who was a pioneering international trailblazer who helped start the International Country Music Festival at Wembly, had a big hand in starting Fan Fair and started country music bus tours in Nashville) and Stonewall Jackson (who will never be inducted because of his lawsuit and now his exile from country music.) There's also no question Louise Scruggs deserves induction in the non-performing category as a pioneering manager who elevated bluegrass to a national level thanks to her promotion of Flatt & Scruggs on television, the Newport Folk Festival, the college circuit and was responsible for their ground breaking recording covering Bob Dylan. It's just asinine that among those I mentioned only Stonewall and Don Maddox would be alive to see their induction. Shame on the Hall. (Oldtimeopry)

    1. From Anonymous in Kingman: I agree!

    2. I was there the night that Wilma Lee suffered her stroke on stage. It was my birthday and the Opry Ryman run extended through the month of February then. It's a shame that Wilma Lee and Stoney never received the honor that was due them. These are the kind of people that made Roy Acuff proud.

    3. I agree. They were really, really good and Wilma Lee really kept that mountain music alive after Stoney passed away.

    4. From Anonymous in Kingman: Wilma Lee & Stoney really need to be in the CMoF, for sure!