Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 12/23 & 12/24

Before getting into the Opry line-ups for this weekend, please let me take the time to wish everyone a very happy holiday season. At my house, we celebrate Christmas, while I know at others it is a different celebration. No matter how you spend your holiday season, I hope it is a safe and there are family or friends to share it with. And as always, my thanks to everyone who has read and commented on the blog this past year. Each of you are amazing!!!

As the the Opry line-ups this weekend, the Opry has gone with the Tuesday night format for both shows this weekend. I know Christmas weekend can be tough, especially with Christmas Eve on Saturday night, so I offer my thanks and appreciation to those artists who are appearing this weekend.

The highlight will be on Saturday night as Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin will be celebrating 40 years as members of the Opry, joining the cast on December 25, 1976. I am sure there will be special recognition for the brothers as they close out the show on Saturday. They will be joined by Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and Bobby Osborne. Jeannie and Mike are also scheduled to appear on Friday night, along with Opry member Jesse McReynolds, who has missed the past several weeks. Glad to see Jesse back on the schedule and I am looking forward to his appearance.

Guest artists on the Friday Night Opry include Jim Lauderdale, Daryle Singletary and Mandy Barnett, all frequent Opry guests, Jonathan Jackson from "Nashville" and making her Opry debut, Alyssa Bonagura.

Alyssa Bonagura is from Franklin, Tennessee and is the daughter of singers Michael Bonagura and Kathie Baillie of Baillie & The Boys. Now 28, Alyssa has been singing since the age of 2. At the age of 11, she was asked by Kenny Rogers to sing a duet with him on his Christmas album, "Christmas From the Heart." She also performed back up vocals on her mother's 2006 album, "Love's Funny That Way." In the late 2000's, she lived and studied in England, appearing with a number of different artists.

In 2010, she signed with Rondor Music International as a singer and songwriter and has produced artists including Jo Dee Messina and Jesse James. In 2012, her song, "I Make My Own Sunshine" was used in a Lowe's commercial. Her debut album, "Love Hard" was released in October 2012. As mentioned, this will be her Opry debut.

Saturday's Christmas Eve Grand Ole Opry will feature guest artists Jim Lauderdale, making a return appearance from Friday night, Sarah Potenza, Craig Wayne Boyd and Tristan McIntosh. For Tristan, this will be her 2nd solo Grand Ole Opry performance. Tristan was one of the finalists on season 15 of American Idol and at the age of 16, has been working hard at getting her career going. She has mostly been making appearances at smaller venues in the Nashville area.

Friday December 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Alyssa Bonagura; Mike Snider
8:15: Daryle Singletary; Jonathan Jackson
8:45: Jesse McReynolds; Mandy Barnett

Saturday December 24
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Mike Snider; Sarah Potenza
8:15: Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Wayne Boyd; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Tristan McIntosh; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of December 23 & 24, 2011:

Friday December 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Julie Roberts
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stu Phillips; Dale Ann Bradley
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Elizabeth Cook
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jim Lauderdale; Jimmy Wayne

Saturday December 24
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Lauderdale; Laura Cantrell
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Johnny Counterfit; Eddy Raven
8:15: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; David Ball; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Riders In The Sky; Suzy Bogguss

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of December 22 & 23, 2006:

Friday December 22
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jason Michael Carroll
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Cherryholmes
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Joe Nichols
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Grand Ole Opry Band; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mandy Barnett

Saturday December 23
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Joe Nichols; Patty Loveless; The Whites
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Cherryholmes

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Patty Loveless
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Grand Ole Opry Band; Jim Ed Brown w/Helen Cornelius
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Joe Nichols
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Cherryholmes

Finally, from 25 years ago, Saturday December 21, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms/Ponderosa
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Skeeter Davis: Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Jesus

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
Charlie Louvin: The Friendly Beast
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Grandpa Jones: Fallen Leaves

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
4 Guys: May You Find Yourself in Heaven
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Jean Shepard: Above & Beyond
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Del Reeves: Be Glad/Good Time Charlie's

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Joe Diffie: Is It Cold In Here/Together Again
Vince Gill: Look at Us/When I Call Your Name
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda/Texa-Cajun

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jim & Jesse: Air Mail Special
Mike Stephens: Fox Chase
Jan Howard: White Christmas/Where No One Stands Alone
Charlie Walker: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer/San Antonio Rose
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sugar in the Goard

8:30: Opryland
Bill Monroe (host): I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home
George Hamilton IV: Silent Night
Roy Drusky: Go Bring My Children Home
Jim Ed Brown: Winter Wonderland/The 3 Bells
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Comin'

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Jeannie Seely: The 12 Days of Christmas
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Joe Diffie: Home
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Jesus

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Cindy
4 Guys: May You Find Yourself in Heaven
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Grandpa Jones & George McCormick: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): I Couldn't Believe it Was True
Vince Gill: When I Call Your Name/Look at Us/Little Liza Jane

10:30: Pet Milk
Osborne Brothers (host): With Pain in My Heart & Blues on My Mind
Charlie Louvin: Old Dreams
Osborne Brothers: Lonesome Day

10:45: B.C. Powder
Bill Monroe (host): Life's Highway
Stonewall Jackson: Side Steppin' the Blues
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Monroe: Big Mon

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jim Ed Brown (host): Winter Wonderland
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
George Hamilton IV: Silent Night
Justin Tubb: Walkin', Talkin', Cryin', Barely Beatin' Broken Heart
Jim & Jesse: What Child is This/El Cumbanchero
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Jim Ed Brown: A Child is Born/We Wish You A Merry Christmas

11:30: Creamette
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Roy Drusky: Wings of A Dove
Jan Howard: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Johnny Russell: I Wish You A Merry Christmas
Charlie Walker: Jingle Bells

Last, but no least, it was on Saturday December 23, 1967 that Jack Greene became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

For more than four decades, Jack Greene earned the respect of Opry audiences with his rich, resonant voice and consummate showmanship. Jack's hit-filled repertoire includes such classics as "Statue of a Fool," "You Are My Treasure," "All the Time," and "There Goes My Everything," which has been covered more than a hundred times in 14 different languages. Jack holds a special place in country music history as the artist who swept the inaugural Country Music Association Awards in 1967. The Maryville, Tennessee, native won the first Male Vocalist of the Year award as well as Album, Song, and Single of the Year for "There Goes My Everything." Many who attended that very first CMA awards ceremony dubbed it "the year of Jack Greene."

Jack began his career in the 1950s in Atlanta, Georgia, when he launched his first band, The Peach Pickers. He moved back to Tennessee in 1959 and two years later was recruited by Ernest Tubb to join his band, The Texas Troubadours, as drummer. Jack's skills as a vocalist and guitarist soon propelled him into the spotlight, and he began opening shows for Ernest. In 1964, Jack released his first solo single, "The Last Letter." Ernest encouraged him to pursue a solo career, and he signed with Decca Records. He earned his first Top 40 hit in 1966 with "Ever Since My Baby Went Away." Later that year, "There Goes My Everything" was released and became a monster hit, holding the No. 1 spot on the country chart for seven weeks. It also became a crossover hit and Jack's album remained at the No. 1 spot for an entire year.

In 1970, Jack teamed with fellow Opry member Jeannie Seely and one of country music's most successful duos was born. Jack continued to record solo hits as well as duets with Jeannie, including such memorable tunes as "Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You," and "What in the World Has Gone Wrong With Our Love." A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1967, the Associated Press once called Jack "the Garth Brooks of his era" and Billboard magazine has recognized him as one of the Top 100 "Most Played Artists" of the last 40 years.

Never one to rest on his laurels, Jack continued to perform regularly on the Opry as well as concert dates throughout the country. In 2010, he released a new album of duets with other country stars. Jack said, "It's wonderful to do something that you love and go all over the world and make new friends all the time and see old friends. We get to do our songs and make good money. It's a wonderful way to make a living. We always have the Opry, and we're always got something to do every weekend somewhere."

Nicknamed the "Jolly Greene Giant." Jack ended his career with 5 No. 1 singles, "There Goes My Everything," "All the Time," You Are My Treasure," "Until My Dreams Come True," and his final No. 1, "Statue of a Fool," in 1969. In 1970, his duet with Jeannie Seely, "Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You," went to No. 2 on the country charts.

Due to declining health, Jack retired from performing in 2011, the year that he made his final Grand Ole Opry appearances. His voice stayed strong right until the end and most weekends at the Opry, after performing "There Goes My Everything" and "Statue of a Fool," he would receive a standing ovation. At the age of 83, Jack passed away on March 14, 2013.

To remember Jack Greene, here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday December 23, 1967, the night Jack became an Opry member:

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Drusky (host): White Lightening
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
Willis Brothers: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Stu Phillips: Juanita Jones
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Jeannie Seely: I'll Love You More
Grand Ole Opry Band: Jingle Bell Rock
Roy Drusky: Weakness in a Man

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Julie
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Crook Brothers: Bill Cheatham
George McCormick: Branded Man
Mack Magaha & Buck Trent: Turkey in the Straw
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Dooley

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): Hawkeye
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Grandpa Jones: That's All This World Needs
Hal Rugg: Steel Guitar Rag
Bobby Lord: Winter Wonderland

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Comin'
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of a Girl
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Ernest Tubb: Blue Christmas

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Reindeer Boogie
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Lonzo & Oscar: Jangle Bells/Frosty the Snowman
4 Guys: White Christmas
Del Reeves: A Dime at a Time
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Harold Weakley: Paint a Picture of My World
Hank Snow: Christmas Wants

10:00: Schick
Bobby Lord (host): Shadows on the Wall
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Stringbean: Run Little Rabbit, Run
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips

10:15: Pure
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Grandpa Jones: Jingle Bells
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Porter Wagoner: Woman Hungry
Mack Magaha & Buck Trent: Katy Hill

10:30: Buckley's
George Hamilton IV (host): Truck Driving Man
Dottie West: Like a Fool
Cousin Jody: Wabash Cannonball
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Eugene Sloan: (?)

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Jack Greene; What Locks the Door
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down the Trail of Aching Hearts
Skeeter Davis: Dear Heart
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Osborne Brothers: My Favorite Memory
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: Christmas Roses
Chubby Wise: Lee Highway Blues

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Tonight Carmen
Bill Monroe: Scotland
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Loretta Lynn: The Third Man
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Bobby Sykes: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry
Marty Robbins: Ribbon of Darkness/Begging to You/Singing the Blues/Lovesick Blues/El Paso

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

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!!!!


  1. Happy holidays to everyone!

    And to the Opry members, notice the lineups for the shows right before Christmas. Opry members used to find their way to the Ryman that time of year.

    1. I think it was Wilma Lee Cooper who at one time had written that Christmas was always the best time to be at the Opry and that most of the members tried to be there the Saturday before. They would exchange gifts, holiday greetings, baked goods, etc. For many, it was one of the few times each year that they would see each other due to their touring schedules. And there would be lots of Christmas music.

      Times have changed as now it appears that most of the Opry members prefer to spend the time with their families or at various vacation spots as for some, their touring and performing season has ended. I know last Saturday Ricky Skaggs commented that it was his last show of the year, and same for others.

      Michael, thanks as always for the comments throughout the year and happy holidays to you and your family also.

  2. Thank YOU Byron - your blog is the best!! We saw the Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Tour, what an outstanding show (have seen them in many other venues/concerts, but this was by far my favorite). They are incredible talent, gentlemen, and ultimate professionals. Their current tour ENDS in Nashville on Friday night!!

  3. I just saw that Jesse has cancelled out again for Friday night. Bobby Osborne is in his slot.

  4. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Bryon! You have done another amazing job on this blog for the year, and your efforts are much appreciated! I hope you have a very blessed holiday season.

    1. Thank you so much Chris. And I hope you have a very blessed holiday season also.

  5. Byron:
    Thank you again for your amazing blog!! Always informative and entertaining! And a blessed holiday season to you and yours.
    Frank Apperson

  6. Frank, thank you for your kind comments. They are appreciated and thanks for reading my blog. And I hope you have a very blessed and wonderful holiday season also.

  7. Thank YOU, Byron--not just for your comments, but for your terrific blog, and your friendship. And thanks to all of the others who come on here and sound off!

    1. Mike, you are too kind. And thank you for your friendship also. May 2017 be a great year for all.

  8. Fred, Bismarck:

    Merry Christmas, indeed, to the founder of the feast and all good Fayfarers. Our bond -- love of country music, according to our different lights -- is indissoluble!

    1. Merry Christmas Fred. And as always, thanks for your contribution and comments. They are always informative and appreciated.

  9. Byron, your obvious love of country music that we of course share comes thru in each and every post you make. We are a dying breed , but there are still a few of us remaining. Thank you so much for your wonderful blog and all the love you put into it. And a very Merry Christmas ----- the Flushing , Mich Dashmann

    1. And a very Merry Christmas to you and your family also. And thank you for the kind comments and for reading the blog. Yes, I love country music and the Opry.

  10. One more well wisher.
    Hopelessly hooked on this blog, read it every day.
    Thanks for your hard work and Merry Christmas Byron.

  11. Merry Christmas Byron and thanks for this blog! I read it everyday as well to keep up with our beloved Opry and our remaining Opry legends. Makes me think of Grandpa & Ramona doing Jingle Bells with the cow bells and Bill Monroe singing "Christmas Time is Coming!" (oldtimeopry)

  12. When Mr. Acuff closed his second show on 12-21-91 he said Merry Christmas from him and Minnie Pearl and said she was doing fine. I seldom recall him ever saying too much about Christmas or wishing a Merry Christmas to the crowd.

    On that not, as Bill Anderson would say "allow me to add my" Merry Christmas to everyone in Fayfare Land.

    As the Opry was changing I was not listening with the interest and intensity I once did. When Charlie Collins passed I stumbled over this blog and reading what all of you had to say and then participating has kept my interest strong in what happens on the Opry every week. Even though many of the things that are happening now are not to my taste, participating here has kept me in tune with the Opry and more interested in what is going on.

    So, thanks to all of you for helping continue my Opry education much like Eddie Stubbs has done over WSM.

    Special thanks to Byron for giving us this special home for us Opry orphans!

    Again, Merry Christmas to all!

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Jim, thank you!!! Your kind words and comments are always valued and I thank you for helping me out a few times with line-ups and Opry questions. And as I have seen when posting post line-ups, you have helped to keep me honest. Merry Christmas to you and your brother.

    2. Byron: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. Thank You for the wonderful job you do on the blog. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody that comes to the blog. Bob

  13. I had forgotten about Charlie Collins, along with Brother Oswald ( Pete Kirby ), whose presence at the Opry for so many years was as important as any of the big stars. Folks like Charlie made the Opry special like so many other unsung treasures that appeared week after week, year after year ---- the Crook Brothers, Sam and Kirk McGee, the dancers , Carol Lee Singers, Stringbean, Curly Fox, Joe Edwards, Del Wood, LOnzo and Oscar, Grampa Jones and Ramona, Billy Walker, Ray Pillow, Bobby Lord, Wilburn Brothers and so many others -----
    Dashmann - Flushing , Michigan

  14. In case I have forgotten anyone, Merry Christmas to all and thanks go to each and every one of you for the kind comments.