Monday, August 29, 2016

September Opry Highlights

It is hard to believe that summer is just about over and it's time for football. For those of us in Ohio, that means The Ohio State Buckeyes are #1 in our eyes, while we continue to hope for the best from the Cleveland Browns. For the rest of you around the country, I am sure all of you have your own local college and professional teams that you root for. While the seasons change, it is business as usual at the Opry and as always, here are the important and historical events that have taken place regarding Opry members or the Opry itself during the month of September. 

September 15, 1903: The "King of Country Music," Roy Acuff was born in Maynardsville, Tennessee. Roy came to the Opry in 1938, and except for a brief period of time, he would remain with the Opry until his death in November 1992. I think it is safe to say that Roy has been the most influential member in the history of the Opry and many people point to his death as the start of many of the changes that have taken place at the Opry. 

September 13, 1911: The "Father of Bluegrass Music," Bill Monroe was born in Rosine, Kentucky. Bill came to the Opry in October 1939 and would remain an Opry member until his death in 1996. 

September 17, 1913: Hank Williams was born. Really nothing else needs to be said. While his time at the Opry was short, it was very eventful. 

September 26, 1925: One of the most popular members in the history of the Grand Ole Opry, Marty Robbins was born near Glendale, Arizona. Marty came to the Opry in 1953, and shortly after his first appearance, he became an Opry member. Marty, who made the 11:30 segment into his own personal concert, stayed with the Opry until his death in December 1982. 

September 26, 1926: Jerry Clower was born near Liberty, Mississippi. This former fertilizer salesman joined the Opry in 1973 and was the last member of the cast to join the show prior to its permanent move to the Grand Ole Opry House. Jerry, who was a great comedian and Christian entertainer, passed away in 1998.

September 1, 1931: Lecil Travis Martin, better known as "Boxcar Willie," was born in Sterratt, Texas.  Boxcar made his Grand Ole Opry debut in 1980 at the age of 49. He became an Opry member the following year. Boxcar remained a popular member of the Opry until his death in 1999. 

September 12, 1931: The "Possum" George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas. George originally joined the Opry in 1956, and while he would come and go, he was still an Opry member when he passed away in 2013. Although his Opry appearances were few and far between, George was always proud of his Opry membership and it is noted in one of the displays at the George Jones Museum in Nashville. 

September 8, 1932: Probably the greatest female singer in the history of country music, Patsy Cline was born in Winchester, Virginia. Patsy joined the Opry in January 1960 simply by asking, as being an Opry member was one of her dreams. Patsy passed away in March 1963 at the age of 30.

September 11, 1938: The Delmore Brothers made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. One of the early members of the Opry, this brother duo influenced many others who followed. They left due to differences with Opry founder George D. Hay. 

September 5, 1945: Wally Fowler became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Wally was the founder of the Oak Ridge Quartet, who eventually became known as the Oak Ridge Boys. After Wally joined the Opry, he was frequently featured on the Prince Albert show and would generally sing a gospel number. Later in life, Wally ran into some financial problems that forced him to sell the rights to the Oak Ridge Quartet name. Wally passed away in 1994. 

September 18, 1947: The Grand Ole Opry brought a country music show for the first time to Carnegie Hall in New York city. Opry members Ernest Tubb and Minnie Pearl headlined what would be a two night run. Here is how Ernest remembered those nights, "The radio and newspaper people ignored us the first night we were there, but we turned away six thousand people and the next night, every reporter was there." Billboard magazine reported that "such screaming and wild applause after each number hasn't been heard in town since Frank Sinatra brought out the bobbysoxers at the Paramount." The shows were such a success that the Opry, and country music, would return. 

September 11, 1948: It would appear that this was the last night that Eddy Arnold performed as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. At the time, Eddy was the Opry's biggest star and he left to headline his own CBS network radio show. Eddy would later do an interview with Ralph Emery in which he talked about leaving the Opry. "I thought I had done as much as I could do there. I had two network radio programs outside the Opry." On his final night as a member, Eddy finished his set and stood on the stage looking over the Ryman Auditorium. He tanked Harry Stone, WSM, and the Opry fans and then turned to walk away from the microphone. Harold Bradley, who backed Eddy on guitar that night, would say, "We went around the curtain and he and Minnie Pearl hugged and both of them cried like babies because he was leaving." Eddy also created some controversy because he was the first "star" to leave the Opry and not return. Irving Waugh of WSM said, "We hated to see Eddy leave. But, as I recall, it didn't make that much difference to the Opry. At that stage, people were lined up all the way around the block to get in. New people, including Hank Williams were coming all the time." By the way, after Eddy left the Opry, he never came back. 

September 24, 1948: WSM began the Friday Night Frolics, later to be known as the Friday Night Opry. The show took place from Studio C at WSM, where it would remain until moving to the Ryman Auditorium in 1964. The show was created originally as a way to keep Eddy Arnold on WSM radio.

September 25, 1948: George Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was brought to the show specifically to replace Eddy Arnold. 

September 13, 1952: Webb Pierce made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He would join the cast a year later, being brought to the Opry to help fill the void after Hank Williams was fired. Webb remained an Opry member until February 19, 1957, when he left the Opry after a dispute with management over booking fees and commissions that were being charged for road shows. 

September 26, 1953: Skeeter Davis made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Skeeter would become an Opry member in 1959. 

September 10, 1955: Justin Tubb became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. At the time he joined, Justin was the Opry's youngest member. The son of Opry legend Ernest Tubb, Justin would remain with the Opry until his death in 1998 at the age of 62. 

September 24, 1956: WSM radio fired Opry manager Jim Denny. Jim had started with WSM and the Opry back in the early days of the show and was involved behind the scenes in various capacities including being in charge of the Opry's concession business, where he saw for the first time how much money the Opry was making and how much more potential there was. Over time, he became not only the Opry's manager but also a very powerful force at WSM, too powerful for some. He was fired from the Opry because he would not give up his ownership of Cedarwood Publishing Company. 

September 25, 1956: Dee Kilpatrick was named the Grand Ole Opry's "general director." He was also named manager of the WSM Artists' Service Bureau, which was the Opry's in-house booking agency. Dee, a former record company executive said at the time, "They asked me what I thought was wrong. We'll, back when I was working with Mercury Records, I was at the Opry almost every Saturday night I was in town, and I could look at the audience and see what was wrong. The Opry didn't appeal to the younger audiences that you have to have if you're going to keep growing. All I could see were older people and little teeny kids. There weren't any teenagers." Kilpatrick would begin to add younger acts to the Opry's cast, including the Everly Brothers and Porter Wagoner. What I find interesting in Dee's quote is that when you read what he said in 1956 about the Opry's aging audience, it is much the same as what Pete Fisher has been saying since 1999.

September 29, 1956: Rose Maddox joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Rose did not stay at the Opry for very long as many of the Opry's members, especially Roy Acuff, did not care for her. 

September 6, 1958: Grand Ole Opry member Rod Brasfield made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

September 13, 1958: Ben Smathers and the Stoney Mountain Cloggers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. For most of their years on the Opry, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers would rotate every other weekend as the featured square dancers. Ben Smathers passed away in 1990, and the Cloggers would remained a part of the Opry until 1993. 

September 30, 1958: Opry member Marty Stuart was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Before beginning his solo career, Marty was a part of Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and Johnny Cash's touring band. Marty joined the Opry in November 1992.

September 25, 1962: Loretta Lynn became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 54th year as an Opry member. 

September 27, 1963: The National Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the Ryman Auditorium from the city of Nashville for a reported $200,000. WSM, which operated the building, immediately changed the name of the building to the Grand Ole Opry House, even though everyone still called it the Ryman. By becoming the owners, National Life was able to make some much needed repairs to the building to bring it up to code. 

September 11, 1964: The Friday Night Frolics moved from WSM Studio C to the Ryman Auditorium and was renamed the Friday Night Opry. 

September 18, 1965: According to some of the Opry's historical records, this is the date listed for when Connie Smith became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Other dates listed in the past have included June, and more recently August. While the date might be in question, what I do know is that this is the date that Connie first appeared as an Opry member. Either way, Connie has been an Opry member for 51 years. 

September 16, 1967: Jeannie Seely became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 49th year as an Opry member. Jeannie was one of the first females to host her own Opry segment. Most weekends you will find Jeannie at the Opry and hosting. 

September 19, 1968: Former Grand Ole Opry member Red Foley passed away in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Red came to the Opry in 1946 and stayed about a decade, hosting the Prince Albert portion of the show. After he left Nashville, he went to Springfield, Missouri as host of the Ozark Jubilee, and later did additional television work. 

September 13, 1969: Earl Scruggs made his first appearance as a solo member of the Grand Ole Opry, this coming after his split with Lester Flatt. He performed "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with his sons Gary and Randy. 

September 17, 1977: Reba McEntire made her first guest appearance on the Opry. Several years later, she would become an official member. 

September 15, 1979: Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, singing "Behind Closed Doors" in a duet with Skeeter Davis. 

September 6, 1984: Ernest Tubb passed away in a Nashville hospital after a long illness. He had been in declining health for a number of years and had last appeared on the Opry in 1982. He joined the Opry in 1943 and in 1965 he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

September 9, 1989: Grand Ole Opry member Del Wood made her final appearance on the Opry. She passed away a month later at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke. 

September 4, 1991: Opry member Dottie West passed away in a Nashville hospital as a result of injuries suffered in an earlier car accident. Dottie had been an Opry member since 1964. 

September 4, 1992: Former Grand Ole Opry member Carl Butler died in Franklin, Tennessee. Carl first appeared on the Opry in 1948 and along with his wife Pearl, joined the cast in 1962. Not only was Carl a great singer, but he was also known as a fine songwriter. Carl and Pearl Butler did not stay as Opry members for very long and after leaving the Opry, they continued to tour. After Pearl's death, Carl would occasionally perform on the Opry. Dolly Parton has said many times how instrumental the couple had been early in her career. 

September 11, 1993: The Stoney Mountain Cloggers made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. After Ben Smather's death in 1990, his widow Margaret continued as the group's leader before deciding to retire. 

September 6, 1996: Grand Ole Opry legend Hank Snow made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Hank was in declining health and made a low key decision to retire. Hank passed away in 1999, just two weeks short of his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. 

September 9, 1996: Bill Monroe passed away. Bill had been in declining health since suffering a stroke earlier in the year. Bill had been an Opry member since 1939 and had brought the sound of bluegrass to the Opry stage. 

September 20, 1997: During a guest appearance on the Opry, Johnny Paycheck was asked by Opry general manager Bob Whittaker if he would like to become the Opry's newest member. Of course, Johnny said yes and was inducted later that year. 

September 28, 2002: For the first time in 10 years, Tanya Tucker makes an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. She was joined by the Jordanaires. 

September 13, 2003: The United States Postal Service unveiled a stamp featuring Roy Acuff. The ceremony took place at the Grand Ole Opry House. 

September 20, 2004: Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis passed away in Nashville at the age of 72. Skeeter had battled cancer and other health related issues for a number of years. She was always known for her bright outfits and her big smile, that brought a lot of joy to those watching her perform. 

September 23, 2004: Just days after the death of Skeeter Davis, another Opry member passed away as Roy Drusky died. Roy joined the Opry in the late 1950s and was known for his smooth voice and great ballad songs. 

September 29, 2007: During a guest appearance on the Opry, Josh Turner was asked by Roy Clark if he would like to become the Opry's newest member. It was also on this night that Grand Ole Opry legend Porter Wagoner made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. 

September 28, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House reopened after being renovated following the Nashville flood that stuck in May. Since the flood, the Opry had moved around to several different venues, with the majority of the shows taking place at the Ryman Auditorium. The last hour of the show was televised on GAC, and the segment opened with the cast coming out and singing "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." Brad Paisley and Jimmy Dickens led the way. Also on that night, Blake Shelton was asked by Trace Adkins if he would like to become the Opry's newest member. 

September 13, 2011: Grand Ole Opry legend Wilma Lee Cooper passed away. Wilma and her husband Stoney joined the Opry in 1957, coming to Nashville from the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. After Stoney's death, Wilma Lee continued on as a solo member of the Opry. In February 2001 she suffered a stroke while performing on the show which ended her career. She did return to the Opry stage in 2007 for her 50th anniversary as an Opry member, and then again in September 2010 at the reopening of the Opry House. 

September 13, 2011: George Jones made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. It was a show that celebrated George's 80th birthday and included Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Lee Ann Womack and the Oak Ridge Boys. 

September 27, 2011: Rascal Flatts was invited to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. They were officially inducted during the Opry's birthday bash in October. 

September 27, 2011: Johnny Wright passed away in Nashville. He was the husband of Kitty Wells, and a former member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

September 17, 2014: Grand Ole Opry member George Hamilton IV passed away. George was an Opry member for over 50 years, originally joining the cast in February 1960. He left the show for a brief period of time, moving back to his home state of North Carolina. His last Opry appearance had been earlier in the month, on September 6. 

September 25, 2015: While making a visit to Nashville, Randy Travis made a surprise visit to the Grand Ole Opry. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 8/26 & 8/27

As we look forward to another weekend at the Grand Ole Opry, I did want to pass along an update regarding former Opry member Holly Dunn. As was reported in April, Holly was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy treatments. This past week, the report was that Holly's cancer has been termed as very aggressive, resulting in additional tumors. She is still undergoing chemotherapy treatments and has asked for prayers and thoughts from her fans. In the store, Holly admitted that the survival odds for this type of cancer were not very good. At the age of 59, she is much too young. As I have written before, I always enjoyed Holly when she was on the Opry and personally I thought she received a raw deal when her membership was terminated. 

Now to this week's shows and the line-ups. The Friday Night Opry has seven Opry members scheduled, which include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites.  Each of the five guest artists scheduled have appeared on the Opry previously and that list includes William Michael Morgan, Sarah Darling, Craig Campbell, Brett Young and Easton Corbin. If you haven't heard William Michael Morgan before, take a listen. A real nice country voice and for William, this will be his 12th Opry appearance of the year. 

Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry will have six Opry members set to appear. Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky and The Whites, each of whom are also scheduled on Friday night, will also appear on Saturday, joined by Jesse McReynolds and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers. Guest artists include Shelley Skidmore, Trent Harmon, Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Darryl Worley, Mountain Heart, and the very talented Brandy Clark. For those who will be at the Opry on Saturday, Mountain Heart will be meeting fans and signing their new CD after the show. 

Friday August 26
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); William Michael Morgan; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Sarah Darling; Craig Campbell
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Brett Young
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Easton Corbin

Saturday August 27
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Shelley Skidmore; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Trent Harmon; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Mountain Heart; Brandy Clark

For Trent Harmon, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut Trent gained national fame by winning the fifteenth and final season of American Idol and currently records for Big Machine records. He is from Mississippi and grew up singing in his church. For his final song on American Idol, he sang "Falling" which was co-written by Grand Ole Opry member and American Idol judge Keith Urban. That single peaked at #27 on the American country charts. His 2nd single, "There's A Girl" was released in July. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of August 26 & 27, 2011: 

Friday August 26
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Kip Moore
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds; Joe Diffie
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Gene Watson
8:45: Mel Tillis (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Pam Tillis

Saturday August 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV; Tommy Emmanuel
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Sierra Hull; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Clay Walker

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of August 25 & 26, 2006: 

Friday August 25
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jennifer Hanson
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rockie Lynne
9:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Bryan White
9:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); George Hamilton IV; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday August 26
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rockie Lynne; Jack Greene
7:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Lonestar; Mark Chesnutt; Randy Owen
8:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jan Howard; John Conlee; Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Pam Tillis (host); Carolyn Dawn Johnson; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Pam Tillis
10:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jack Greene; Randy Owen
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Charlie Walker; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; John Conlee; Mark Chesnutt
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Rockie Lynne; Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday August 24, 1991: 

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ernie Ashworth
6:45: Jim & Jesse (host); Skeeter Davis; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Del Reeves (host); Billy Grammer; Jean Shepard; Dottie West; David Houston
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The McCarters; Clinton Gregory
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); George Hamilton IV; Roy Drusky; Charlie Walker; Johnson Mountain Boys

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Ernie Ashworth; Billy Grammer; Jeannie Seely
10:00: Del Reeves (host); Skeeter Davis
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Charlie Walker (host); Clinton Gregory; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jim & Jesse; Dottie West; Justin Tubb; The McCarters
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Stonewall Jackson; Roy Drusky; Johnson Mountain Boys

What made that particular night so special was that it was the final Grand Ole Opry appearance for Dottie West. What is interesting is that Dottie was not originally scheduled for the Opry that night but instead was supposed to be at a show in Ohio. However, that show apparently did not take place and Dottie did the Opry instead. 

Dorothy Marie Marsh was born on October 11, 1932 in McMinnville, Tennessee. After college, Dottie moved to Cleveland, Ohio and began appearing on local television. Several years late, she moved to Nashville where she became friends with Patsy Cline. Along with Patsy, and Loretta Lynn, Dottie is considered one of the most influential female groundbreaking artists of that period. In 1965 Dottie had her first hit, "Here Comes My Baby Back Again" which reached the Top 10 and won Dottie a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. The hits continued throughout the 1960's. In the 1970's, she again attained fame for singing "Country Sunshine" which was written by Dottie and was a theme song for Coca-Cola. Later in the decade, she teamed with Kenny Rogers for a number of duets that earned Dottie her first #1 records. In 1980, she reached #1 for the first time as a solo artist with "A Lesson In Leavin.'" Later in the 1980's she appeared on stage and in movies. Sad to say but later in the decade the years were not kind to Dottie as she had financial problems which included a large tax bill with the IRS that resulted in an auction of her personal items, including her home. 

The following Friday night, Dottie was on her way to the Friday Night Opry when she had car problems and a neighbor gave Dottie a ride to the Opry. As they were entering the Opryland area, the car, which was traveling at a high rate of speed, went off the road. The resulting crash injured Dottie, from which she did not recover, passing away on September 4, 1991 at the age of 58. 

In the course of Dottie's career, she had over 70 singles, with 7 of those reaching #1 on the charts. When you look at her career, with the numerous hit single records, her duet work with Kenny Rogers, her songwriting, and her mentoring to such artists as Larry Gatlin and Steve Wariner, Dottie West truly had a Hall of Fame career. Sadly, she has not been elected despite efforts by her family and friends for her to achieve that honor. 

Here is the detailed running order from Saturday August 24, 1991, the night that Dottie West made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Ernie Ashworth: Shamrock Motel
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Ol' Slewfoot

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jim & Jesse (host): Dream of Me
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Jim & Jesse: A Flower in the Desert

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Girl on the Billboard
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag
Jean Shepard: If You Can Live With It
Dottie West: I Can't Help It
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Del Reeves: Good Time Charlies

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
McCarters: No Where to Go But Up/If I Could Stop Loving You
Clinton Gregory: If It Weren't For Country Music I'd Go Crazy/Satisfy Me & I'll Satisfy You
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda/The Ring That Shines

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin the Blues/Muddy Water
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/Louisiana Man
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: I Can't Help It

8:30: Opryland USA
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Johnson Mountain Boys: Maybe You'll Change Your Mind
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Store
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol Slewfoot
Connie Smith: The Key's in the Mailbox
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Billy Grammer: Steel Guitar Rag/Sentimental Journey/Gotta Travel On
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging

10:00: Little Debbie
Del Reeves (host): Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
Skeeter Davis: He Says the Same Things to Me
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Wilma Lee Cooper: Gathering Flowers From the Hillside
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin' Mama
Jean Shepard: Days of Wine & Roses
Jimmy C Newman: Down on the Bayou

10:45: B.C. Powder
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Clinton Gregory: Satisfy Me & I'll Satisfy You/Nobody's Darling But Mine
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Golden Slippers
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Geisha Girl
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
McCarters: Every Time You Leave
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

11:30: Creamette
George Hamilton IV (host): Early Morning Rain
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin the Blues
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know
Johnston Mountain Boys: Duncan & Brady/Springtime in Glory
George Hamilton IV: Life's Railway to Heaven

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tuesday Night Opry 8/23

The Grand Ole Opry is back to just the Tuesday Night Opry for the mid-week shows. As is always the case when Chris Janson is scheduled, which he is this week, I always listen to see if this will be the night he is asked to become the Opry's newest member. I still think it is going to happen at some point, perhaps very soon. 

7:00: Connie Smith; Steve Moakler
7:30: Chris Janson; Craig Morgan
8:15: Lorrie Morgan; Cole Swindell
8:45: Dierks Bentley

This will be Craig's first Opry appearance since the death of his son. I am sure it could be a little emotional for him. 

Enjoy the show and be listening if you can. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 8/19 & 8/20

After the big weekend with Carrie Underwood and Vince Gill celebrating his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, things get back to normal this weekend with a more traditional look to the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. 

Looking at the Opry members scheduled this weekend, both nights will feature Riders In The Sky, John Conlee, The Whites and Mike Snider. They will be joined on Friday night by Connie Smith and Ricky Skaggs, while Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne will round out the list for Saturday. That comes out to 6 Opry members each night. 

Guest artists on Friday night include Aaron Tippin, Lucie Silvas and RaeLynn. They will be joined by 3 other artists who have made numerous Opry appearances. First is Charles Esten. Charles has appeared on the Opry more often this year than a majority of the members. I know he is best known a Deacon on "Nashville," which will be returning to CMT in late fall, but after seeing and hearing him several times on the Opry, he has a nice country voice. This past weekend he sang the humorous song "Beer" and the audience loved it. Another guest is Dailey & Vincent, who many believe should have been Opry members long ago. I can't disagree and it is nice to see them back at the Opry. Exile is the other guest artist scheduled, and they will also return on Saturday night. Like the other two mentioned, they have been on the Opry many times. 

Joining Exile on Saturday night will be non-member Opry regular Jimmy Wayne, who seems to be one of the "go-to" artists when there is an open spot in the weekly line-up. Also scheduled is Carly Pearce, Sierra Hull, and a young man that I am anxious to hear, Charlie Worsham. Vince Gill is very high on him and I thought Charlie did an outstanding job last Saturday with "Key of Life." 

Friday August 19
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Aaron Tippin; Exile
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Lucie Silvas; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; RaeLynn
8:45: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Charles Esten

Saturday August 20
7:00: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Worsham; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: The Whites (host); Sierra Hull; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy Wayne; Exile

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of August 19 & 20, 2011:

Friday August 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Troy Olsen
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Exile
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Mike Snider; Will Hoge

Saturday August 20
7:00: Larry Gatlin (host); Jimmy C Newman; John Conlee; The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; James Wesley
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Bradley Gaskin

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of August 18 & 19, 2006: 

Friday August 18
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Mountain Heart
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Lane Turner
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Pam Tillis (host); Mel McDaniel; Marty Stuart

Saturday August 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper featuring Audie Blaylock
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; David Ball
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); Mel McDaniel; Chris Young
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Lane Turner; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy Wayne

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper featuring Audie Blaylock
10:00: Jean Shepard (host); Mel McDaniel; David Ball
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Chris Young; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Sherri Austin
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Lane Turner; Jimmy Wayne

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday August 17, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Teddy Wilburn: I've Loved You All Over the World
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Stop that Ticklin' Me
Bill Carlisle: Oh, What A Party
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Lay A Little Lovin' on Me
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues
Wilma Lee Cooper: No One Now
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Stu Phillips: The Great El-Tigra
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield/Good Time Charlie's

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): John Henry
Charlie Louvin: Making Music
Skeeter Davis: Oh Happy Day
Marty Brown: You Sugar Daddy's Long Gone/Wildest Dream
Jimmy Dickens: Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: At the Time/I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Charlie Walker: My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You/San Antonio Rose
Opry Square Dance Band: Sugar in the Goard
Roy Acuff: My Tears Don't Show

8:30: Opryland USA
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Billy Walker: Down to My Last Cigarette
David Houston: I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen
Jeannie Seely: Houston
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away to Long
Hank Snow: It's All Over Nothing at All

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Skeeter Davis: Joy, Joy, Joy
Teddy Wilburn: Arkansas
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart/If I Didn't Have You In My World
Porter Wagoner: Funky Grass Band

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Grandpa Jones: Apple Jack

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
The Whites: It's Not What You Know, It's Who You Know/Let's All Go Down to the River
Roy Acuff: Freight Train Blues

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): A Dozen Pair of Boots
Charlie Louvin: This Pen
Del Reeves: The Race is On

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Marty Brown: You Sugar Daddy's Long Gone
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes/Heartaches By the Number
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
Hank Snow: Old Doc Brown

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
David Houston: Living In A House Full of Love
Jeannie Seely: What Doesn't He Just Leave Me Alone
Roy Drusky: Mississippi/Always
Charlie Walker: Roly Poly/Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

To conclude, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 50 years ago, Saturday August 20, 1966:

6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Del Wood; Bill Strength
6:45: The Browns (host); Margie Bowes
7:00: Willis Brothers (host); Sonny James; Skeeter Davis; Jimmy Newman; Jerry Wallace
7:30: Bobby Lord (host); Connie Smith; Minnie Pearl; Norville Dollar
8:00: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Charlie Louvin; Hank Williams Jr; Crook Brothers; Jeannie Seely
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); Marion Worth; Hank Locklin; Tex Ritter
9:00: Glaser Brothers (host); Norma Jean; Bobby Bare; Stringbean; Jimmy Payne
9:30: Bobby Lord (host); Carter Family; The Browns; June Carter; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Margie Bowes; Jimmy Dean
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bobby Bare; Dorsey Burnette
10:15: Tex Ritter (host); Stringbean; Norma Jean
10:30: Charlie Louvin (host); Del Wood; Steve Chapman
10:45: Hank Locklin (host); Marion Worth Crook Brothers; 
11:00: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Hank Williams Jr; Bill Strength; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam & Kirk McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Connie Smith; Bob Luman; Norville Dollar; Don Winters

The running order from that night: 

7:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Monroe: I'm Breaking in A Brand New Pair of Shoes
Del Wood: 12th Street Rag
Bill Strength: Oh, Lonesome Me
Bill Monroe: Swing Lo, Sweet Chariot/Panhandle Country

6:45: Rudy's
The Browns: I Heard the Bluebirds Sing
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Jim Ed Brown: Regular on My Mind
The Browns: I'd Just Be Fool Enough
Opry Staff Band: Tennessee Polka

7:00: N.L.A.I. Co. 
Willis Brothers: When I Come Driving Thur
Sonny James: The Minute You're Gone/What Makes A Man Wonder/I'll Keep Holding On
Skeeter Davis: Why I'm Walking
Jimmy Newman: Big Mamou
Skeeter Davis: Walking the Floor Over You
Jerry Wallace: (?)
Jimmy Newman: A Fallen Star
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Jerry Wallace: In the Misty Moonlight
Sonny James: How Great Thou Art

7:30: Luzianne
Bobby Lord: That's All Right
Connie Smith: I'll Be There
Minnie Pearl: I'm thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes
Bobby Lord: Losers Like Me
Norville Dollar: Making Me A Lonely Man
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning

8:00: Martha White
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: This Train
Charlie Louvin: Less & Less/I Don't Love You Anymore
Hank Williams Jr: Standing in the Shadow
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Jeannie Seely: It's Only Love
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Almost Persuaded
Joe Edwards: John Henry

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff: Fireball Mail
Marion Worth: All the World Is Lonely Now
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Tex Ritter: There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Marion Worth: Don't Count on Tomorrow
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy

9:00: Pet Milk
Glaser Brothers: Lover's Farewell
Norma Jean: I'm Just Pursuing Happiness
Bobby Bare: Just to Satisfy You
Stringbean: Big Ball in Nashville
Glaser Brothers: The Last Thing on My Mind
Jimmy Payne: What Does It Take
Norma Jean: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore

9:30: Kellogg's
Bobby Lord: Out Behind the Barn
Carter Family: Worried Man Blues
The Browns: Mariah
June Carter: Thirty Days
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Bobby Lord: When the Snow Falls
Margie Bowes: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Jimmy Dean: Just A Little Lovin'

10:00: Schick
Roy Acuff: Just A Friend
Bobby Bare: Gotta Travel On
Dorsey Burnette: Big Rock Candy Mountain/(?)
Roy Acuff: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

10:15: Pure
Tex Ritter: Remember Us
Stringbean: String's A PIckin'
Norma Jean: You're Driving Me Out of My Mind
Tex Ritter: Take Him Fishing

10:30: Harvey's
Charlie Louvin: Lonesome Is Me
Del Wood: Waiting for the Robert E Lee
Charlie Louvin: Making Plans
Steve Chapman: (?)

10:45: Newport
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me I'm Falling
Marion Worth: Ever Since My Baby Went Away
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Hank Locklin: Almost Persuaded

11:00: Coca-Cola
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel
Hank Williams Jr: Settin' the Woods on Fire
Bill Strength: Make the World Go Away
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Hero's Death
Sam & Kirk McGee: Make A Change in Business All Around
Hank Williams Jr: Standing in the Shadows
Joe Edwards: Doodle Bug
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Matthew 24

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins: Singing the Blues
Connie Smith: One A Day
Bob Luman: Memphis
Norville Dollar: Continental Queen
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry
Don Winters: Annie Lou
Connie Smith: Paper Roses
Bob Luman: I Remember You
Marty Robbins: The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight/Take These Chains from My Heart/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Bouquet of Roses/El Paso

There are a couple of names from the Opry that night which many fans may not recognize. 

Bill Strength was born on August 28, 1928 in Bessemer, Alabama. At the age of 16, he won an amateur contest at Houston's Joy Theater and he was soon hired by local station KTHT on a part-time basis. In 1945, he began working full time at KFEQ in St. Joseph, Missouri, followed by stations in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Denver, Colorado, after which he returned to Houston, where he worked for several stations. It was during this period that he recorded several singles for 4-Star Records, including "Who's the Lucky One" and "I'm Doing a Peach of a Job." In 1950, he was hired by the CIO to promote the organization via radio and convention appearances. In 1950 he signed with Coral Records and recorded "Black Coffee Blues" and "You Can't Have My Love," which were among his most successful recordings. In 1954, he was named "Mr. DJ USA" by WSM radio in Nashville, after which he relocated to Memphis, Tennessee where he was a part of the early rock & roll scene. He then relocated to St. Paul, Minnesota where he worked with Roy Drusky and Dave Dudley. He then signed with Capital Records and recorded "Cry, Cry, Cry," "Turn Around," and "Do You Think I'm Happy." It was reported that he had issues with alcoholism and he spent the remaining years of his life moving around to various cities and working in radio. In August 1973, he was paralyzed following an auto accident and then in October he passed away at the age of 45. In 1990 he was inducted into the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame. 

Another name from that night is Norville Dollar. Norville was from Missouri and it was said that he was an early fan of country music. He got his first guitar at the age of fifteen, after which he formed his own band. By the mid-1960's, he had his own weekly television show in St. Louis which was such a big hit that when Nashville artists appeared in the St Louis area, they appeared on Norville's show. His show also gave audiences their first exposure to a number of new artists including Barbara Fairchild, David "Lonzo" Hooten, and Helen Cornelius. After being off the air for several years, KPLR-TV aired his show again, this time with a much wider audience as the station was now on cable television and this exposure led to several guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. He later retired from the music business and formed the Norville Dollar Construction Company. After his wife passed away in 2006, his children and friends encouraged him to turn to his music again and as a result of this renewed interest he recorded a new CD titled "Through the Years With Norville Dollar." 

Finally there was Dorsey Burnette. Dorsey was born on December 28, 1932 and with his younger brother Johnny Burnette was a founding member of "The Rock and Roll Trio." As the name suggests, he was more involved with Rockabilly than country music. In the mid-1950's, they were featured on numerous national televisions shows including American Bandstand, Steve Allen's Tonight Show and Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, Despite this exposure, the three singles that the Trio released failed to make any of the national charts. In the late 1950's, he recorded several singles with Fabor Robinson, who offered Dorsey spots on the Louisiana Hayride and Town Hall Party. Relocating to California, Dorsey teamed again with his brother Johnny as the Burnette Brothers and recorded and released a number of records into the 1960's. In August 1964, Johnny died in a boating accident after which Dorsey recorded for various small labels without much luck. By the mid 1970's, he was back trying his hand at country music. In the 1970's he had fifteen singles make the country charts, however none reached the Top 20. Dorsey passed away in August 1979 at the age of 46 from a massive heart attack. 

There you have it for this week and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tuesday Night Opry 8/16

The big news for the Tuesday Night Opry this week is the return of Grand Ole Opry member Keith Urban to the Opry stage. To say that Keith has been less than a stellar member would be an under statement. Keith joined the Opry on April 21, 2012. In 2012, Keith made a total of 7 Opry appearances, including several made prior to becoming a member. Since 2012, he has appeared a total of 3 times, with his last Opry appearance coming in 2014. I think it would be fair to say that perhaps Keith should have not been asked to become an Opry member. 

The rest of the line-up is pretty solid with Opry members Darius Rucker, Del McCoury, Lorrie Morgan and John Conlee headlining the 2 shows. 

1st show
7:00: John Conlee; Clare Dunn
7:30: Drew Baldridge; Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Del McCoury Band; Darius Rucker
8:30: Keith Urban

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee; Clare Dunn
10:00: Drew Baldridge; Lorrie Morgan
10:30: Del McCoury Band; Darius Rucker
11:00: Keith Urban

Let's hope that Keith remembers where the Opry House is or there will a lot of unhappy people. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Vince Gill 25th Anniversary Recap

Saturday night the Grand Ole Opry turned over the night to Vince Gill as he celebrated his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. After attending both shows over the weekend, I can honestly say that they easily exceeded my expectations and they were two of the best Opry shows that I have seen (The best being the 75th anniversary shows) and easily making my Top 10 list. Vince, along with all of the artists, were outstanding. I know many of you followed the evening on my Facebook page as I posted a constant stream of pictures and I appreciated all of the comments. 

Among the highlights: 
  • The first show lasted almost 3 hours, coming in at 2 hours and 53 minutes. The 2nd show, scheduled to start at 9:30 did not start until 10:30 and ran until 1:00 a.m. Both shows were identical as to the songs performed, the difference being a little less talking between the songs, and on the first show Pete Fisher presented Patty Loveless and Vince their 90th anniversary membership awards.
  • As mentioned, Vince and his touring band were on stage the entire show and backed up each of the other artists performing. There were no Opry staff band members or Opry back-up singers. 
  • Each artist told a little story about Vince, usually in good humor, and then performed one of Vince's songs, with Vince singing harmony. Bill Anderson, Andrea Zonn and Charlie Worsham each performed one number, while Ashley Monroe, Patty Loveless, Jenny Gill and Amy Grant did two. The Time Jumpers performed three and also backed up the square dancers. 
  • As mentioned, Charlie Worsham appeared and was the only artist that was not on the original schedule. He performed as the entire night as a member of Vince's band. Vince and Amy's daughter Corrina did not appear.
  • Andrea Zonn, who was Vince's original fiddle player and now performs with James Taylor, did "Look at Us." Patty Loveless nailed it with "Nobody Answers When I Call Your Name" and with Vince sang, "Go Rest High on That Mountain." Amy did the song Vince wrote for her, "Whenever You Come Around." Bill and Vince sang "Which Bridge to Cross." Charlie Worsham was outstanding on "The Key to Life." Rodney Crowell and Vince came through on "Till I Can Gain Control Again." And not to forget Ashley Monroe and Jenny Gill, as they were both outstanding also. Among The Time Jumpers selections was "Corrina." 
  • Amy Grant and Rodney Crowell danced with the square dancers on the first show and Amy came back with them on the second. She also flopped down on the ground to great humor. 
  • Vince opened with "One More Last Chance" and closed with "Little Liza Jane" with everyone on stage and an extended instrumental to close it out. 
  • Pete Fisher made a special poster presentation to Vince, who received a standing ovation. 
All in all, it was a great evening. After the show concluded, one of the hostesses told me that it was among the slowest night for liquor sales during a show that she could remember, as everyone pretty much stayed in their seats the entire time, afraid that something would be missed. The first show as sold out, the second one not quite. 

A great night for Vince and a great night to be at the Opry. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 8/12 & 8/13

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry and there are two shows each night. The big event on Friday night will be Carrie Underwood appearing once again on the Opry, and scheduled for both shows. Adding it all up, this will make 10 Opry appearances so far in 2016 for Carrie, who is also doing a nationwide tour. As I have said in the past, I have always admired Carrie's commitment to the Opry. Joining Carrie on Friday will be another Opry member, one who we don't see very often on the Opry any more, and that is Marty Stuart. For Marty, this will be just his 2nd solo appearance this year. He will be hosting the closing segment on each show. Other Opry members scheduled are Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith, both of whom will be hosting segments, along with Bobby Osborne on the first show and Jesse McReynolds on the second. 

As far as non-Opry members on Friday, they are all names who have appeared on the Opry previously. Daryle Singletary, Carson Peters & Iron Mountain, Lauren Alaina, Lee Greenwood and Charles Esten are all scheduled to appear. 

As far as Saturday night, it will be all Vince Gill, as Vince will be celebrating 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Vince will be hosting both shows and I imagine that he will be on stage pretty much the entire night. Joining Vince will be Opry members Bill Anderson and Patty Loveless. It is interesting to see Bill in a non-hosting role and it is always a pleasure to see Patty on the Opry. 

Guest artists on Saturday night all have a connection to Vince. First, there is his family as wife Amy Grant and daughters Jenny and Corrina Gill will be on. Next will be The Time Jumpers, Vince's Monday group who have been touring and performing together for years. Finally there is Vince's old friend Rodney Crowell, along with Ashley Monroe and Andrea Zonn. Andrea is a name that may not be familiar to everyone, but she is a singer and fiddle player who has toured with Vince in the past. In addition to Vince, she has toured with Carol King, Lyle Lovett, James Taylor and Trace Adkins. Some of her most recent work has been with James. 

Friday August 12
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Daryle Singletary; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Carson Peters & Iron Mountain; Lauren Alaina
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Lee Greenwood; Charles Esten; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Daryle Singletary; Jesse McReynolds; Carrie Underwood
10:30: Connie Smith (host); Carson Peters & Iron Mountain; Lauren Alaina
11:00: Marty Stuart (host); Lee Greenwood; Charles Esten

Saturday August 12
1st show
7:00: Vince Gill (host); Ashley Monroe; Bill Anderson
7:30: Andrea Zonn; Rodney Crowell; Patty Loveless
8:00: Amy Grant; Jenny Gill; Corrina Gill
8:30: The Time Jumpers; Opry Square Dancers

2nd show
9:30; Vince Gill (host); Ashley Monroe; Bill Anderson
10:00: Andrea Zonn; Rodney Crowell; Patty Loveless
10:30: Amy Grant; Jenny Gill; Corrina Gill
11:00: The Time Jumpers; Opry Square Dancers

A couple of observations: first, for the Friday Night Opry, 10 acts for each show, with 5 of those being Opry members. On Saturday night, it will again be 10 acts for each show, with only 3 Opry members. And it looks like Vince Gill will be the only host for both shows, which I kind of expected. I am pretty sure that Vince pretty much picked those who are appearing on Saturday night, and all have a link to Vince. But I am somewhat surprised that there are not a few more scheduled, especially some of his contemporary Opry members, with Emmylou Harris coming to mind. She did participate on the night of Vince's 20th Opry anniversary, so I thought maybe we would see her this weekend. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of August 12 & 13, 2011. On that Saturday night, the show was dedicated to Billy Grammer, who had passed away earlier in the week, and it was also the 20th anniversary of Vince Gill as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, who came out and started the show with Billy Grammer's "Gotta Travel On."

Friday August 12
7:00: Mike Snider (host): Jimmy C Newman; Hunter Hayes
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Carter's Chord
8:45: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds; Andy Griggs

Saturday August 13
7:00: Vince Gill: Gotta Travel On; Jimmy Dickens (host); John Anderson
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; The Time Jumpers
8:15: Emmylou Harris (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Martina McBride; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jenny Gill; Amy Grant

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of August 11 & 12, 2006: 

Friday August 11
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Megan Mullins
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Mark Wills
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Chely Wright
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jack Greene; The Whites

Saturday August 12
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Billy Joe Shaver
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Martina McBride; Julie Roberts; Lee Roy Parnell
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jan Howard; The Whites; Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lee Roy Parnell
10:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; Julie Roberts
10:30: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jack Greene; Billy Joe Shaver
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); John England & The Western Swingers

There are two Opry anniversaries that I would like to highlight this week. First, it was 44 years ago this weekend, Saturday August 12, 1972, that David Houston became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

David Houston was destined to be a recording star from the time he was born. With a Godfather like Gene Austin, who sold over 88 million records himself, and David's natural born talent, he made his first major professional appearance at the age of twelve on the famous "Louisiana Hayride" out in Shreveport, Louisiana. The song "Mountain of Love" gave him his first successful hit, but that mountain just wasn't challenging enough for David. He continued to climb until he reached the point of international fame by releasing the all-time country spectacular "Almost Persuaded" in the summer of 1966. That following year, he virtually walked away with every possible award a country artist dreams of. He was one of the very first performers to receive two Grammy Awards in Nashville, Tennessee. What did such a prestigious award mean to him? "I didn't even know what a Grammy was back then," David laughed. "Almost Persuaded" headed the country charts for 16 consecutive weeks. Afterword, it was one hit after another, including "With One Exception," "You Mean the World to Me," "Have a Little Faith," "Already It's Heaven," "Baby, Baby (I Know You're A Lady)," "A Woman Always Knows," "Waltz Of The Angels," "and "Best Friends Make The Worst Enemies." David has also had hits with Tammy Wynette, ("My Elusive Dreams"), and with Barbara Mandrell, ("After Closing Time"). 

The multi-talented, tall, good looking Bossier City, Louisiana, man has appeared as an excellent representative of Country Music on all top television shows. David has also appeared in the movies "Cotton Pickin' Chicken Pickers" and "Horse Soldiers," starring John Wayne. David tours all over the United States taking his special singing talents to the masses. But now he tours with his wife, Kathy Raye, a former "Miss Louisiana," and their young son, David Louis. "I think I can teach him a few good yodel licks," says the proud pop. "And one of the best things about traveling so much is getting to meet all kinds of wonderful people."
(Courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book)

Just to add, Charles David Houston was born on December 9, 1935 in Bossier City, Louisiana. As mentioned, his first hit was "Mountain of Love" which was released in 1963 and went to #2 on the country charts. And I am sure all of us remember his signature song, "Almost Persuaded" which topped the charts in 1966. His career continued through the 1960's and into the 1970's, with his last chart hit "Can't You Feel It," released in 1974. His career ended with six #1 records. David passed away on November 30, 1993 at the age of 57 after suffering a brain aneurysm. 

Here is the Grand Ole Opry running order from Saturday August 12, 1972, the night that David Houston became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer

6:45: Rudy's
Stu Phillips (host): Have I Told You lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Diane Jordan: He's All I Got
Stu Phillips: Welcome to My World

7:00: Rudy's
Billy Walker (host): When A Man Loves A Woman
Stringbean: Hillbilly Fever
Del Wood: Standing Room Only
Billy Walker: Gone Our Endless Love
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Billy Walker: Bouquet of Roses/Smokey Places/You Gave Me A Mountain

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Karen Wheeler: The First Time for Us
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Roy Acuff: Wreck on the Highway
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Karen Wheeler: Delta Dawn
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

8:00: Martha White
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Shoji Tabuchi: San Antonio Rose/Old Joe Clark/Devil's Dream/Black Mountain Rag
Tex Ritter: Lorena
David Houston: Soft, Sweet & Warm

8:30: Stephens
Billy Grammer (host): Bonaparte's Retreat
Ray Pillow: Haven't You Heard
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Billy Grammer: Jesus Is A Soul Man
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me (I Think I've Got A Heartache)
4 Guys: Shenandoah

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Stu Phillips (host): Help Me Make It Through the Night
Ernie Ashworth: Wanted Man
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Diane Jordan: The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Stu Phillips: Welcome to My World

10:00: Fender
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Billy Walker: A Million & One/Charlie's Shoes

10:15: Union 76
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): There's A Big Wheel
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You/Coming Down from God

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): No Letter in the Mail
Karen Wheeler: The First Time for Us
Karen Wheeler & Oswald: There's A Friend In the Way
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

11:00: Coca-Cola
Tex Ritter (host): Fall Away
David Houston: Baby, Baby
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Tex Ritter: High Noon
David Houston: Living In A House Full of Love
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): I Walk Alone
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Sweet Yesterday
Ronnie Robbins: Mama Tried/Love of the Common People
Marty Robbins: Begging to You/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/To Get to You/Singing the Blues

Finally, it was on Saturday August 10. 1991 that Vince Gill became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and on Saturday night, Vince will be celebrating with two big shows. 

Combining unequaled musicianship and creativity with a strong sense of tradition, and a personality that has won him a reputation as one of the nicest people in country music, Vince Gill is one of the most honored artists in the music's history. A talented guitar and dobro picker by the time he was in his teens, Vince began his career playing with bluegrass bands, first in his native Oklahoma, then in Kentucky with the Bluegrass Alliance and, briefly, Ricky Skaggs' Boone Creek. Moving to Los Angeles, he signed on with fiddler Byron Berline's Sundance before joining the pop-country-rock Pure Prairie League. He followed that with a stint in the Cherry Bombs with Rodney Crowell and work backing Rosanne Cash In 1984, he moved to Nashville and signed his first recording contract as a solo artist, occupying himself with work as a sideman in studios. 

Vince's real breakthrough came in 1990, with the release of the now-classic "When I Call Your Name," In the years that followed, he was a steady presence in the Top 10, racking up several dozen hits that ranged from country ballads ("I Still Believe in You," "Tryin' To Get Over You") to feel-good country-rockers like "Liza Jane" and "What the Cowgirls Do" to gems such as "Go Rest High On That Mountain." Rewarded by his peers with a long list of Country Music Association awards and Grammy trophies (the most for a male country artist), Vince was a critical and commercial success, too, selling more than 25 million albums while being hailed as a soulful singer, innovative instrumentalist, and award-winning songwriter with a strong grasp of country traditions from bluegrass to honky tonk. 

In more recent years, Vince has settled into a unique role as one of country music's youngest "elder statesmen." An eloquent spokesman for the Opry and for the Country Music Foundation, he has headed all-star casts at prestigious venues around the country, hosted the CMA Awards show multiple years, made guest appearances on stage and recordings with artists ranging from the world-famous to the obscure, and toured extensively. In 2007 Vince was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 
(Courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry Picture History Book)

As Vince prepares to celebrate 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, here is a look back at the night he joined, Saturday August 10, 1991, with Roy Acuff doing the honors. 

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Del Reeves (host): Girl on the Billboard
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Del Reeves: A Dozen Pair of Boots

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Charlie Walker: Drinking Champagne/Take Me Back to Tulsa

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Wilma Lee Cooper: Wildwood Flower
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Jim Ed Brown: Scarlet Ribbons

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top/Kentucky
Vince Gill: Look At Us/When I Call Your Name

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone
Boxcar Willie: Cowboys & Horses; Hobos & Trains
Roy Drusky: Wings of A Dove
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sugar in the Gourd
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow (host): A Vanishing Breed
Jean Shepard: Home In San Antone/Time Changes Everything/Roly Poly
4 Guys: Tennessee
Mike Snider: Shuckin the Corn
Hank Snow: I Almost Lost My Mind

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Del Reeves (host): Bells of Southern Bell
Skeeter Davis: O Happy Day
Vic Willis Trio: Colorado
Teddy Wilburn; Somebody's Back in Town
Bill Carlisle: Business Man
Del Reeves: Luckenbach Texas

10:00: Little Debbie
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Vince Gill: Pocket Full of Gold/When I Call Your Name

10:30: Pet Milk
Charlie Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Jan Howard: Somebody's Always Saying Goodbye
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Blackberry Blossom
Jimmy C Newman: Mottland

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Between Fire & Water
Jean Shepard: Slippin Away
Justin Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Osborne Brothers: Bluegrass Melodies/Midnight Flyer
Hank Snow: I've Done at Least 1 Good Thing in My Life

11:30: Creamette
Boxcar Willie (host): Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hank Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/I'm Moving On/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
4 Guys: Elvira/Elizabeth/Old Flames/Church on the Cumberland Road/Dumas Walker
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper
Boxcar Willie: Cowboys & Horses; Hobos & Trains

Congratulations again to Vince Gill on his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and as an Opry member who gets what the Opry is all about. For those interested, I will be in Nashville for both nights of the Opry and as things look right now, it should be a great weekend. 

I hope everyone has a nice weekend and enjoy the Opry!!!