Thursday, October 20, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 10/21 & 10/22

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this week, I wanted to pass along birthday greetings to Louie Roberts, who turns 60 on Friday October 21. Many of you probably remember Louie, who was a regular performer on the Opry, usually appearing on segments hosted by Marty Robbins. Just to bring everyone up to date, beginning in 1978 he moved to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, appearing on The Bonnie Lou and Buster Smokey Mountain Hayride Show, and then Adloff's Starlight Jamboree. Then in 1989, he went to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and began working with Calvin Gilmore's Carolina Opry Shows, where he was until 2012, when he retired professionally from the business. Louie, who has been married for 35 years and has 3 children, is currently a worship leader at his church in White House, Tennessee, just north of Nashville. 

And I would be remiss if I didn't remind everyone that Louie is the son of the legendary Kayton Roberts. Happy Birthday Louie Roberts!!!

I also wanted to mention that Grand Ole Opry member Randy Travis made a special appearance on the Tuesday Night Opry this past week, where he was presented with his Opry membership award. Randy, who also made a guest appearance at the Nashville Palace on Saturday night, was in town for his formal induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, which took place Sunday evening. 

As to the Grand Ole Opry line-up this weekend, if you had to pick which night to attend, Saturday would be the night. Making a guest appearance on the Opry will be Marie Osmond and John Schneider. Opry records are a little bit sketchy at times when it comes to guest appearances, so I can't confirm if this is Marie's first appearance or not. I know she had her big country hit, "Paper Roses" back in the early 1970's, and she enjoyed success as a duo with Dan Seals in the 80's. I scanned my records and on first glance, I didn't come up with a previous appearance by Marie. Someone might know otherwise. One act that I know is making their Opry debut, also on Saturday, are the Turnpike Troubadours. The Turnpike Troubadours are described as a American Red Dirt Group out of Oklahoma, who have released three studio albums in the past decade. They are appearing on the Opry as a part of their current tour. Joining them on Saturday will be "Nashville" star Clare Bowen, along with Mark O'Connor and his band. 

Mark O'Connor is also scheduled for the Friday Night Opry, where he will be joined by Jimmy Wayne, TG Sheppard, Chris Janson and Dan Layus. For Dan, this will also be his Grand Ole Opry debut, and he will be appearing on the Opry the same day that his new record, "Dangerous Things" is being released. As to Chris Janson, this will be another in a long string of guest appearances for Chris. 

As far as Opry members this weekend, there are only two scheduled for Friday night, Connie Smith and Mike Snider. Mike is back for both shows on Saturday, where he will be joined by Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson and Ricky Skaggs. Connie is also back on Saturday, but just for the first show, and also scheduled for the early show is Jesse McReynolds, while The Whites and Bobby Osborne are set for the late show. 

Getting back to the Friday Night Opry, it is again very disappointing to see just 8 acts scheduled and only 2 Opry members. That might be OK for Tuesday or Wednesday, but it is unacceptable for a Friday night show. Not to take anything away from the artists who are scheduled to perform, as I know they will all do a great job, but would you pay $95 to see that line-up? You will after January 1st. But as more of the Opry's members pass away, or decline to appear, I am afraid that what we see scheduled for Friday night will become the new normal at the Opry. 

Friday October 21
7:00: Connie Smith; Shelly Skidmore
7:30: Mike Snider; Jimmy Wayne
8:15: TG Sheppard; Dan Layus
8:45: O'Connor Band w/Mark O'Connor; Chris Janson

Saturday October 22
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Clare Bowen; Mike Snider
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Turnpike Troubadours; Jesse McReynolds
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); O'Connor Band w/Mark O'Connor; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Marie Osmond; John Schneider

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Clare Bowen; Mike Snider
10:00: The Whites (host); Turnpike Troubadours; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); O'Connor Band w/Mark O'Connor; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs(host); Marie Osmond; John Schneider

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, October 21 & 22. 2011. The 8:00 segment of the 1st show on Saturday was televised on GAC, thus no host. 

Friday October 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Mountain Heart
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Whitney Duncan; Ray Price

Saturday October 22
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Jeff & Sheri Easter
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Ronnie Milsap
8:00: Lauren Alaina; Edens Edge; Kellie Pickler; Martina McBride

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Kellie Pickler
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Edens Edge; Ronnie Milsap
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Lauren Alaina; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Connie Smith; Jeff & Sheri Easter

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of October 20 & 21, 2006. This was also the weekend of the Opry's 81st birthday bash. 

Friday October 20
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Charlie Walker; Heartland
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; Earl Scruggs
8:00: Mike Snider (host); John Conlee; Jean Shepard; Chris Young
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Restless Heart; Charley Pride

2nd show
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; Earl Scruggs
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Heartland
10:30: John Conlee (host); Chris Young; Charley Pride
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Restless Heart

Saturday October 21
6:30; Jean Shepard (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Trisha Yearwood; Travis Tritt; LeAnn Rimes; Charley Pride
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Stu Phillips; Jim Ed Brown w/Helen Cornelius; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Trisha Yearwood
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Travis Tritt
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; LeAnn Rimes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Charlie Louvin; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band

Finally from 25 years ago, the weekend of October 18 & 19, 1991. The Friday Night Opry was the final night that Grant Turner announced the Opry as he passed away early the following morning. 

Friday October 18
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis; Jim & Jesse; Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); 4 Guys; Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; The Whites
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Connie Smith; Roy Clark
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jimmy Dickens; Jimmy C Newman; Osborne Brothers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jan Howard; George Hamilton IV; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Riders In The Sky; Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Bill Anderson; Roy Clark
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jim & Jesse; The Whites; Desert Rose Band
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith
11:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard; Bill Carlisle; George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman

Saturday October 19
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim & Jesse; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Hank Locklin; Skeeter Davis; Charlie Walker; The Whites
7:30: Roy Clark (host); Billy Grammer; George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Bill Anderson; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Osborne Brothers; Ray Pillow; Jimmy Dickens

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; The Whites; Hank Locklin; Billy Grammer
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim & Jesse
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Roy Clark
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Ray Pillow; George Hamilton IV
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Charlie Louvin; Bill Carlisle; Osborne Brothers

On Saturday October 21, 1967, the Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 42nd birthday and it was also the final night that The Browns performed as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Here is the running order from that night 49 years ago.

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Bill Anderson (host): Bright Lights and Country Music
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Ernie Ashworth: Tender & True
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Stu Phillips: Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Bill Anderson: I Get the Fever
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Jimmy Gately: Orange Blossom Special/She Wants to Be Like You

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Willis Brothers: Bob
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Bill Monroe: Molly & Tenbrooks

6:45: Rudy's
Billy Walker (host): I Taught Her Everything She Knows
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Jim & Jesse: Ballad of Thunder Road
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

7:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Bob Luman: Memphis
Minnie Pearl: Maple on the Hill
4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Del Reeves: One Dime at a Time
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Charlie Louvin: How Great Thou Art
Wilburn Brothers: Just to Be Where You Are
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of A Girl
Grandpa Jones: Old Dan Tucker
Bobby Lord: Shadows on the Wall
Bill Carlisle: Dr. R.D.
Ray Pillow: (?)
Roy Acuff: Cabin in Gloryland

8:00: Martha White
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
George Morgan: You're the Only Good Thing
The Browns: Looking Back to See/(?)/(?)/I Heard the Bluebird Sing/The Old Lamplighter/Scarlet Ribbons/The 3 Bells/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Crook Brothers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Dottie West: Like A Fool
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Glaser Brothers: Gone on the Other Hand
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Billy Grammer: Mabel
Margie Bowes: Bo Weevil

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host) I'm Moving On
Bill Monroe: You'll Find Her Name Written There
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops
Marion Worth: A Woman Needs Love
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klyde
Del Wood: Waiting for the Robert E Lee
Norma Jean: Jackson Ain't A Very Happy Place
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Hank Snow: There's a Fool Such as I

10:00: Schick
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilburn Brothers: Troubles Back in Town
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of A Girl
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Jim & Jesse: Diesel on My Tail
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:15: Pure
Ernest Tubb (host) w/Loretta Lynn: Sweet Thang
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Charlie Louvin & Bobby Osborne: When I Stop Dreaming
Stu Phillips: Juanita Jones

10:30: Buckley's
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Skeeter Davis: What Does it Take
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Jim Ed Brown: Bottle; Bottle
Hank Snow: (?)

10:45: Newport
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): The Birds are Back
George Morgan: Misty Blue
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Margie Bowes: Overnight
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Tex Ritter: A Working Man's Prayer
Jean Shepard: I Don't See How I Can Make It
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Sam McGee: (?)
4 Guys: Ruby
Del Reeves: Chug-A-Lug
Porter Wagoner: Julie

11:30: Lava
Roy Drusky (host): White Lightening Express
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Glaser Brothers: Through the Eyes of Love
Marion Worth: Tennessee Waltz
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You
Ray Pillow: Take Your Hands off My Heart
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Roy Drusky: Anymore/Strangers; Second Hand Rose

Now that is a birthday show for you!! The Opry that night started at 6:00 and as you would expect with so many artists on the schedule, it did not end on time. In fact, the second show did not end until after 1:00 am. 

As I mentioned, this was the final night that The Browns performed as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Jim Ed, Maxine, and Bonnie joined the Opry on August 12, 1963. Originally from Arkansas, Jim Ed and Maxine began appearing on local radio while still in high school. By the time Jim Ed was in college, they were appearing as regulars on the "Barnyard Frolic" on Little Rock radio station KLRA. In 1954, they had their first country hit, "Looking Back to See." The following year, younger sister Bonnie joined them and they became The Browns, scoring another Top 10 hit with "Here Today and Gone Tomorrow." The group signed with RCA in 1956 and quickly had two more hits, "I Take the Chance" and "I Heard the Bluebird Sing." 

After serving two years in the service, Jim Ed returned to join his sisters again and in 1959 they had their signature song and career hit, "The Three Bells." The song was No. 1 on the country charts for 10 weeks and on the pop charts for four weeks. They followed that up with "The Old Lamplighter" and "Scarlet Ribbons," both of which were also pop/country hits. 

By the mid-1960's, Bonnie and Maxine decided to retire in order to be with their families and raise their children, after which Jim Ed continued on with his solo career. Even though Bonnie and Maxine retired from active performing and recording, they would still appear on occasion with Jim Ed on the Opry and at other selected venues. In 2015, The Browns were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Jim Ed passed away in 2015, while Bonnie died earlier this year. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Yes, sad commentary in the demise of the ONCE Grand Ole Opry.

    1. I haven't attended an Opry show since they reduced it by 1/2 hour so it's been quite a while. I simply cannot justify the expense of a ticket, transportation costs (about a 10 hour round trip), lodging and meals for a two hour show. For about the $300 it would cost me to attend one show I can buy a lot of real country/western/bluegrass music to enjoy for a long time. It still makes me sad though to see this happen.

    2. Was it just me or did the Friday night show seem a bit odd? It was unusual for Connie Smith to do four numbers back to back (no complaints here) and not hosting. Mike Snider also seemed fired up especially with his comments regarding the new Opry video being promoted, specifically how the video showcases artists who rarely appear yet he was left out even though he performs often. He will probably get sent to the woodshed for that but the point he makes is spot on.

    3. Allen

      I agree with all of these comments. Its not worth the trip anymore (in my case 7 hours) to see the Opry. Not to mention the price. I admit I was spoiled by going to shows back in the 60's and 70's and even into the 90's where you could see 20-25 big stars. And a lot of these were the people that basically invented country music. Very few artists left from those days. Of the 75-80 members listed on their roster you can count on maybe 5-8 on any given night these days. I don't know if the members don't want to play the Opry anymore or if Pete Fischer and the management are responsible for the scheduling. Its sad to see the Opry as a shadow of its former self. I can't imagine they are making any money.

  2. The opry is going less country with every week, pure suicide!
    Half of the names listed are not Country anymore...who the f... is Dan Layus...?

  3. Fred, Bismarck:

    "A bit odd" would serve as a good characterization of the Opry as a whole in recent years.

    Obviously we older fans and Pete Fischer are on two different tacks. We we want our old show back, whereas Fischer seems to have in mind more of variety show of the kind that wore out on TV 40 years ago.

    "Pure suicide," maybe, although as Byron reports Fischer's trips to the bank every week don't seem to be for the exercise.

    Since we don't seem to have Fischer's ear, it may be time for us to resign ourselves to Robert Frost's consolation that "nothing gold can stay," and that the gold that was the Opry has done went.

  4. I dont think anything's wrong with a variety show, because thats what the Opry has always been (with country, gospel, bluegrass, instrumental, etc.), but there really isnt much variety anymore. All there is are wannabe rockstars singing with an over the top twang, and the occasional real country singer.

    Seeing this bad friday lineup, I was thinking and hoping maybe tonight mr. Fisher would make it worthwhile and have chris janson be invited to join the Opry. Nope. Besides that, the opry didnt even try to bulk up the schedule by adding more guests, and having connie and mike host. This "less show for more money" idea annoys me. The only reason people are going is because its the iconic grand ole opry, "where all the big names supposedly perform." It wouldnt feel right to come to nashville without seeing it. Yet 90% of the time, "the big names" arent there eeven though every ad and article makes it seem like brad and carrie have never missed a show.

    Its a hopeless cause to complain, because people are always going to buy into the opry name and history, but less and less of these first time opry visitors are coming back.

    As a sidenote, I decided to look up a few regular hosts, and found out that bill anderson, riders in the sky, jeannie seely, and ricky skaggs all werent performing on friday, among others. Im sure one, if not all wouldve been able to come in on friday.

  5. There were times a few years ago that the Friday or Saturday show was broken into only 2 segments due to a lack of Opry members capable of hosting. It would appear that there has been a change in that thought process.

    Another item that has changed recently has involved segment sponsors. In the last few weeks, Ryman has been in as a segment sponsor and it is apparent that Cracker Barrel is gone and for a while there were sponsor segments for artists with new albums. For those who have not been to the Opry lately, in the programs the shows are no longer listed as individual segments with hosts or sponsors. Instead it is just a list of the artists scheduled to appear that night. And in a way, it makes it look like the Opry is getting away from the concept of a member hosting a segment.

    1. I thought it was strange that Cracker Barrel seemed to be gone. I guess the Opry is getting a bit greedy and charging more for sponsorship segments than companies can justify. I know that's what happened to Standard Candy and Martha White. I know that sponsors come and go but for long time advertisers start leaving you know that the end cannot be too far away.

  6. Fred, Bismarck:

    Kyle is right ... my "variety show" analogy was a poor one. Indeed, a glorious, country-themed variety show is what we used to have, with everything but performing animals. (Altho, come to think of it, Johnnie & Jack sidekick Smiling Eddie Hill trotted out a mule on the '50s TV show once and sang to it.)

    Dancers, comedians and gospel, barbershop and vaudeville music to go with the country music of various stripes -- something for everybody, as Kyle remembers.

    Fischer gives us very close to a
    straight diet of "radio" music, which necessarily means redneck rock and the affected twang reference above.

    There! I had to say it twice to get it out once.

  7. My wife has said that when they reissue the book "Who Moved My Cheese?" I could be on the cover, so I don't like change. But something to think about: the original Opry wasn't even divided into segments. Vito instituted that when he became stage manager in 1934. And the times were different then, and in the 1950s when Eddie Hill sang to his mule, and even in 1990 when Mike Snider arrived. We don't have to like it, but we do have to acknowledge it. Still, it would be nice if the management actually cared about tradition, and it clearly doesn't.

    Crackerbarrel is no longer on the Opry website as a sponsor. It's just Humana and Dollar General. That's also a change, and I have to wonder about the financial implications. It may be that sponsors have lost interest, and that's another reason they keep demanding that the audience pay more money for less show.

    1. Cracker Barrel and the Opry were made for each other so it must have been something really big to make the restaurant chain pull its sponsorship. Maybe they are seeing what most of us have known for a long time now and that is the fact that the Opry is moving away from the traditional music that made it an American institution and CB no longer wanted to be associated with these changes. If the Opry makes it to its 100th birthday it will be a miracle.

  8. What I find interesting is that in the Opry program, only Humana and Dollar General are listed as sponsors. The exact wording is "segments sponsored by Humana and Dollar General. Yet, Johnny Cash Museum, Ryman Auditorium, Boot Barn, Tennessee Wildlife (and I forget who else), also sponsor segments. Not sure how all that works but I am sure it involves either some additional cash (just to get a line in the program), or perhaps the WSM sells those segments separately. As to Cracker Barrel, I know that there have been issue taking place regarding the ownership and management of the company. Perhaps that played into the decision to leave the Opry.

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    I don't know how CB has been performing as a company, but some other restaurant chains are hurting, and the change may well be driven, as Byron suggests, by a change of approach at "corporate."

    Otherwise, the separation does seem funny. My wife doesn't like the food, so we haven't been there in several years; when we did go, you were greeted with good old 1950s country music in the store and elsewhere, and there were CB-label CDS, including by Opry stars, for sale.

    Maybe others who still visit CB could report on the prevalence of country music there these days.

    1. I'm not a regular visitor to Cracker Barrel, but I did stop in one a couple weeks ago to buy a few boxes of goo goo clusters (which I ate on saturday to celebrate the Cubs' big win).

      Right as I entered we were greeted with 90s country playing on the speakers. The 2 songs that stood out in my mind was Dwight Yoakham's "Ain't Been Lonely Yet," and Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places." There was a nice selection of country cds, most notably the greatest hits of gene watson (because I've never seen a greatest hits collection of his).

      Cracker Barrel also had exclusive hits cds of people like patsy cline, johnny cash, and george jones, as well as many copies of blake shelton's latest album, in both cd and vinyl. I think they also had "opry by the decade" cds. Reba McEntire has a brand of household trinkets prominently displayed there.

      Every time I've been to a cracker barrel, they always appear to be packed with customers and shoppers. I don't think they're hurting any. Maybe cracker barrel just doesn't feel like supporting a show that's no longer what it once was for country music.

      I still have a cracker barrel dinner for 2 certificate that I won from Opry Country Classics that I never got to use. I guess now it's a collectors item!

    2. I frequent CB often when I travel and dined there twice in one day a couple of weeks ago. I've heard music by Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Porter Wagoner and other real country legends as well as newer artists playing in CB over my many past visits so I think they still see country music as a vital part of the CB experience and that I why I am baffled over their departure from the Opry show. We must keep in mind that the Opry is a radio program and as such revenue from advertising is vital. The loss of a long time sponsor such as CB cannot be a good thing. The only way this could make sense is if the show is moving away from radio and becoming more of a concert venue evidenced by whole segments being dedicated to just one performer. Perhaps this shift away from traditional radio revenue to ticket sales explains why it now costs almost a cool $100 for a decent seat. Progress I guess but still makes me sad.

  10. I bit the bullet at the beginning of the month and went to the Opry after not going the last few times I was in Nashville. I paid over
    $100 for my wife and I to sit in the cheapest seats in the Opry House on the far right side of the balcony. We got six Opry members. SIX. Overall, the guests on the show were decent, more to my wife's liking than mine. My complaint with Pete is that he's not giving us a better show for our money. We all know that over the last 10 years a good number of our Opry favorites have passed away and many more still are fading away in rapid succession. Why then, isn't the Opry adding new Opry members that represent traditional country music, honky tonk, bluegrass and Americana -- something outside of the no-name, bubblegum acts from the record labels that fills Pete's schedule week after week? We went to see John Prine at the Ryman the night before we went to the Opry. It was the first of TWO sold out shows he did at the Opry (in addition to two sold out shows he did at the Ryman earlier in the year). He had Amanda Shires open for him, who also featured her husband Jason Isbell on guitar. And he brought out Leann Womack and Margo Price to duet with him. It was simply one of the best shows I've ever seen. Every one of those people I mentioned are worthy to be members of the Opry -- not to mention bluegrass stars like Dailey & Vincent, the Grascals and Rhonda Vincent. These are people that have solid followings, make appearances on national television shows (I first heard Margo Price on Saturday Night Live) but the Opry instead goes with whoever the record labels pay to feature. It's killing the show and turning off the core audience. I give Pete a lot of credit for trying to keep the Opry relevant and if he'd just give us a better show for the money, I'd be more likely to support it. As it stands now, I'll plan my Nashville trips, and it kills me to say this, around shows besides the Opry where I know I'll hear some good quality music -- like the Jean Shepard Tribute on November 20th with Jeannie Seely, Jan Howard, Lorrie Morgan, Riders in the Sky, Jody Miller and more surprise guests emceed by Eddie Stubbs for $20! (oldtimeopry)