Thursday, February 4, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/5 & 2/6

The Grand Ole Opry returns to the Grand Ole Opry House this weekend after spending the last 3 months at the Ryman Auditorium. There are a couple of pretty good shows on the schedule, featuring a nice mix of Opry members and guests. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature members Mike Snider, Joe Diffie, Jesse McReynolds, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Connie Smith and the Opry's newest members, Little Big Town. It still seems to say that about Little Big Town as they have been Opry members for over a year. And it is nice to see Joe Diffie getting another hosting slot. I have always thought that the Opry needs to push some of the younger artists as hosts. Connie Smith, Mike Snider and Ricky Skaggs will also be performing on Saturday night, where they will be joined my members Bobby Osborne, Bill Anderson and I have very happy to say, Roy Clark. Roy doesn't make it to the Opry very much anymore and it is always a great occasion when he does make it to Nashville. 

Guest artists on Friday include Darryl Worley, Restless Heart, Michael W. Smith and making he Opry debut, Margo Price. Margo is considered one of the upcoming stars in country music and her debut album comes out next month. I have been hearing a lot of her on satellite radio and have been enjoying what I hear. 

Saturday's guest will include Marty Brown, Ryan Kinder, Green River Ordinance, Tracy Lawrence and Charles Esten. If the name Marty Brown is familiar, that is because he had a string of hits in the early 1990s and then basically disappeared from country radio. More recently, he was featured on "America's Got Talent." Thanks to that appearance, his career has received a little bit of a kick. As far as Ryan Kinder, much like Margo Price on Friday night, this will be his Grand Ole Opry debut. Ryan is another one of the young talents trying to make it in the music business. 

Friday February 5
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Darryl Worley; Margo Price
7:30: Joe Diffie (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Michael W. Smith
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Little Big Town

Saturday February 6
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Marty Brown; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Ryan Kinder; Roy Clark
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Green River Ordinance; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Tracy Lawrence; Charles Esten

That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night and 6 for Saturday. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 4 & 5, 2011: 

Friday February 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Wayne
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Collin Raye
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Joe Diffie; Mark Wills
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Willis Clan; Del McCoury Band

Saturday February 5
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; James Wesley
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jack Greene; Mark Willis

From 10 years ago, the weekend of February 3 & 4, 2006:

Friday February 3
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Rodney Atkins; Connie Smith; The Whites
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Charley Pride
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Gene Watson

Saturday February 4
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Patty Loveless; Mary Gauthier; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Scott
8:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band; Charley Pride

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Marty Stuart
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; The Whites; Charley Pride
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mary Gauthier; Del McCoury Band
11:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; Ray Scott

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of 2 & 3, 2001:

Friday February 2
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Jim & Jesse
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Osborne Brothers; Billy Yates
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Del Reeves; Wilkinsons
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
9:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Holly Dunn; Jack Greene; Emmylou Harris

Saturday February 3
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Jim & Jesse; Jack Greene
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Wilkinsons; Billy Walker; Hal Ketchum; Peasall Sisters; Alison Krauss & Union Station; Emmylou Harris
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Skeeter Davis; Mike Snider; Holly Dunn; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Skeeter Davis; Peasall Sisters; Vince Gill
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Alison Krauss & Union Station
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Wilkinsons; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Mike Snider; Emmylou Harris
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Charlie Walker; Hal Ketchum

I went back and posted every 5 years, starting 15 years ago, just to demonstrate that it wasn't that long ago when the Opry really put together a very strong line-up and to show the progression of the show over the years.

Looking back at into the history of the Grand Ole Opry, from the best I can tell, it was 45 years ago this weekend, Saturday February 6, 1971 that the Opry permanently went to 2 shows each Saturday night. Up until that date, Saturday's Grand Ole Opry was typically one show that started at either 7:30 or 8:00. Occasionally, such as during the annual birthday celebration or during the high demand summer and fall months, the Opry would schedule 2 Saturday shows, with the 1st show starting at either 6:00 or 6:30, and the 2nd show at 9:30. However, with the Opry beginning to look ahead at a new Opry House and with the increased demand year round for tickets, the decision was made to go to 2 shows year round. The Opry would maintain the 2 show schedule until just a few years ago when the decision was made to go back to 1 Saturday show, except on special occasions. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Hank Locklin (host): Flying South
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get to Loving You/Country Hall of Fame

6:45: Rudy's
Tex Ritter (host): There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder
Jean Shepard: With His Hand in Mine
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Grandpa Jones: Ol' Blue
Wilma Lee Cooper: Teardrops Falling in the Snow
Bill Monroe: Life's Railway to Heaven
Skeeter Davis: Rocky Top 
Grandpa Jones: Fallen Leaves
Bill Monroe: Rawhide

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host) & Dolly Parton: You Better Move It On Home
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me
Earl Scruggs Revue: Lonesome Reuben
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Stringbean: Ruby
Earl Scruggs Revue: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Wonder If You're Lonesome Too
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Tom T Hall: Shoeshine Man
David Houston: A Woman Always Knows
Lester Flatt: Lonesome Road Blues
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Tom T Hall: Chattanooga Dog
David Houston & Barbara Mandrell: After Closing Time

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Billy Walker: She Goes Walking Through My Mind
Billy Grammer: Power in the Blood
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Willis Brothers: There Goes the Farm
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry Darling
Hank Snow: A Faded Petal From a Beautiful Bouquet

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Louvin (host): Hey Daddy
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Diane McCall: My Imagination
Willis Brothers: A 6 Ft 2 by 4
Jean Shepard: With His Hand in Mine
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Something to Brag About

10:00: Fender
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Earl Scruggs Revue & The Dillard's: I'll Fly Away
Grandpa Jones: Piney Jane
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): Walk Softly on My Heart
Skeeter Davis: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky

Lester Flatt (host): (?)
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get to Loving You
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Lester Flatt: I Can't Tell the Boys from the Girls

10:45: Beech-Nut
Porter Wagoner (host) & Dolly Parton: You Better Move It On Home
Dolly Parton: Joshua
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Hula Love
Wilma Lee Cooper: Amazing Grace
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore
Tom T Hall: 100 Children
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Wilma Lee Cooper: Nobody But a Fool
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: Black Diamond

11:30: Lava
Billy Walker (host): I'm Gonna Keep on Loving You
Jimmy C Newman: Back Pocket Money
Billy Grammer: Under the Double Eagle
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is a Soul Man
Billy Grammer: When A Man Loves A Woman

There you have it. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. One interesting point occurs to me about the old lineup. When the Opry did one show and most of the performers did two segments, Hank Snow usually did 9:30 and 11 p.m. When it went to two shows, he did 8:30 and 11 p.m. As I recall--Barry may have told this--Mr. Snow used to go home between segments. I guess in the early years, he wanted to be in and out as fast as possible!

  2. Connie Smith cancelled for Friday & Saturday, with no replacement. I hope she's ok.

    1. @Anonymous ~ it was announced last week, that Connie Smith has pneumonia, which is why Jeannie Seely stepped into that slot. I sure hope Connie Smith will be feeling better real soon. Even Vince Gill sounded like he had a cold and raspy voice his last two appearances. Maybe all of the rain they have been experiencing recently has something to do with it. Humid, foggy, dirty air probably spells disaster to those who sing.

      This weekend looks to be a great two nights of shows. LOVE Tracy Lawrence, sure wish he would be invited to become a member. I think he would make a terrific member. Very excited to hear Roy Clark and Ricky Skaggs. He's been singing many of his country hits recently and I really do like Little Big Town. Happy to see them coming back to the stage. Jimi Westfield has had throat issues recently, so some of their concerts had to be rescheduled. Happy to see them coming back to the Opry stage, they really have some great harmonies going on for four people who are not blood related.

      And you are right, Byron, I really liked Marty Brown, then he just went away. Glad he will be on the stage tomorrow tonight. And there was another artist, Clinton Gregory, that I really liked alot too. Saw and met him in concert in my area years ago. Who knows why some artists have lift off and some never do.

      Enjoy the Opry shows and the weekend everyone.


  3. I saw on the Opry schedule for tonight, with the cancellation of Connie Smith, that Little Big Town has the last segment to themselves and for Saturday night, they just combined the first two segments with Mike Snider as host. Guess this was the easy way out instead of giving someone else a call. Interesting that for Saturday night they did not give the hosting segment to Roy Clark when Connie cancelled. While Roy didn't do the Opry on a regular basis, when he was on he almost always hosted.

    1. Byron, is it my imagination or did the Friday Night Opry seem to end rather abruptly, and it ended earlier than usual? It ended at 9:10 my time. Normally the show ends at 9:15/9:20. Personally I think that Little Big Town, who sounded just outstanding, should have been able to sing one more song. I remember last week the Opry went over by 25 minutes and I remember the remark, maybe by Larry Gatlin, "you guys are getting all this time for free", (which I actually took as meaning, 25 unexpected additional minutes of the show) but I don't think it is free (monetary) at all. I think someone has to pay for air-time? Or is my thinking incorrect, which of course it could be. I'm wondering if they were "saving" air time/money last night. I have no idea what goes on with this.

      The show was really great last night, looking forward to tonight's show just as much.


  4. I noticed the same thing that Little Big Town did have time to do another song but maybe that was all they were prepared to sing. It was also WSM listener appreciation night and there was a pretty good crowd there.

    As far as Saturday night, Roy Clark sounded pretty good and Pete Fisher presented him with his 90th anniversary block that will be displayed back stage. I also thought Marty Brown was outstanding. He needs to be on the Opry more.

  5. Fred, Bismarck:

    I'm curious, Byron, why an act wouldn't be "prepared" to do on the Opry a number from their repertoire that they regularly perform on the road.

    I'm guessing it's because maybe they haven't rehearsed the song with the house band? (If Little Big Town even needs the house band -- I don't know Little Big Town.) If so, that would be a poor argument for the "versatility" Pete Fisher claims for his reconstituted group.

    Couldn't be because Little Big Town doesn't get paid to do an extra number, I hope.

    1. Little Big Town had their own band on hand for Friday's show, so it wasn't that. I agree to the abrupt end and thought they would do at least 1 more song. By my calculation and estimation, the last segment was no more than 12 minutes (it was running behind up until the last segment). Maybe they were ready to perform a 4th song but with the show running behind were told not to. I also think the lack of a segment host played a part in it. Not sure if LBT goes down in the books as host, but they really didn't do anything that I would call hosting and did not seem prepared to interact with the announcer. Outside of that the show was outstanding with Joe Diffie probably being the highlight.

  6. Generally it is predetermined how many songs an act is going to do; usually 1, 2, or 3. Sometimes if there is time, the host will signal an act to do one more. I am going to guess that Little Big Town was slotted originally to do 3 songs, as they would have been the only act on Connie's segment, and 3 songs is what they did. And no, I wouldn't consider their appearance as a hosting appearance as they were the only act on that segment. And yes, I would agree that the lack of a host thru the timing off a little bit.

  7. To those Connie Smith fans, a Marty Stuart fan posted the following on Facebook earlier this afternoon ~

    From: Gallatin, TN
    Post Posted 8 Feb 2016 10:24 am

    It is with sadness that we inform you of the passing of Local 257 member, guitarist Rick W. Wright, aka Richard Fagel, in a car accident last night. He was 57 years old and joined Local 257 on January 2, 2002. Rick was perhaps best known as the electric guitarist in Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith’s band. He always played with soul and passion behind her, and the onstage chemistry between the beloved vocalist and her longtime sideman was obvious. He is survived by his wife, Sherrie, and we hope you will join us in keeping her and Rick’s family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

    My thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Mr. Wright's wife, family, friends, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, to the remaining members of Connie's Sundowner's band and to the members of Marty's Fabulous Superlatives band.

    Another very untimely death in the country music world, of which there have been way too many since the beginning of this year. May he rest in peace ~