Saturday, January 30, 2016

Lorrie Morgan Interview Regarding Opry Membership

A website, recently posted an interview that was done by Sam Alex with Lorrie Morgan. The article is titled, "Lorrie Morgan Opens Up About Opry Membership, Spanking Blake Shelton." The interview was posted earlier today and you can read the entire interview by going to the link posted above and scrolling down to locate it. 

Lorrie said a few interesting things about Opry membership that caught my eye. In the interview she claims that the Opry has brought back the old rule that all members need to play 24 times a year, and for those who don't follow the rule, they get a stern letter from the Opry. 

According to Lorrie. "They send out a letter that says you know, 'We are kind of demanding that you must be here so many times a year to continue your membership.' Because it's just not fair. People want to say, 'Hey, I'm a member of the Opry,' and not want to come back. The Opry takes dedication and it takes love. It takes love." She also says in the article that she tries to play the Opry at least twice a month. 

Interesting that she is saying the same thing about performers joining the Opry and not coming to play on the Opry that Roy Acuff was saying 40 years ago. 

Now as far as her comments, I have not heard of any such letter being sent or of the Opry insisting on 24 appearances per year. The standard that they have been going with since Pete Fisher took over as the Opry's general manager in 1999 has been 10 appearances. If the Opry is going to demand 24 appearances per year from their members, they are going to be in a whole lot of trouble. Of the 63 current Grand Ole Opry members, only 13 of them would have made the requirement: Bill Anderson, John Conlee, Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Vince Gill, Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Mike Snider and The Whites. Notice who is not on the list? Lorrie herself. 

Considering that the vast majority of Opry members could not even make the 10 appearances previously asked for, how in the world do they believe 24 is a realistic number? And what are the consequences for those who do not make 24 appearances. Is it realistic to think that the Opry is going to fire 52 of its members? 

Now, I do like Lorrie Morgan and appreciate her every time she performs on the Opry and I am looking forward to her new album and to her upcoming Opry appearance. And to her credit, she has increased the number of her Opry appearances over the past several years and I would be perfectly happy if she was on the Opry twice a month. To me, that is a very realistic number. 

Maybe she is a little mistaken in her facts. If it is true that a letter has been sent out, maybe it was more in line of asking a few of the members where they have been lately, rather then asking for 24 annual appearances. On the positive side, imagine what the Opry would be like each week if Garth Brooks, Reba, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton, Carrie, Little Big Town, and all of the Opry's other big stars appeared 24 times. It would be an awesome show each week. 

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/29 & 1/30

The Grand Ole Opry finishes up the annual run of winter shows at the Ryman Auditorium this weekend with the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Overall, and even considering the line-up from last Friday when the snow totally destroyed the line-up, the overall quality of the shows has been very good. There have been some strong line-ups and we have seen a good group of Opry members. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature members Larry, Steve and Rudy Gatlin, Mike Snider, John Conlee, Hal Ketchum, Bill Anderson, Bobby Osborne, Craig Morgan and Jeannie Seely. It is nice to see Hal Ketchum back on the Opry for the first time since last January, and also nice that Craig Morgan is once again hosting a segment. They will be joined by guest artists Greg Bates, Lindsay Ell, Easton Corbin and The Steeldrivers, who will be closing out the show. 

Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson and Mike Snider will also be appearing on Saturday night, joined by member Jesse McReynolds. The guests include JT Hodges, Roger's son Dean Miller, Jackie Lee, Holly Williams, Kathy Mattea, who I would like to see as an Opry member, Lee Brice, Striking Matches and Charles Esten. 

Friday January 29
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Greg Bates; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Lindsay Ell; Hal Ketchum
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Easton Corbin
8:45: Craig Morgan (host); Jeannie Seely; The Steeldrivers

Saturday January 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); JT Hodges; Dean Miller
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jackie Lee; Holly Williams
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kathy Mattea; Opry Square 
Dancers; Lee Brice; Striking Matches; Charles Esten 

While it is nice to see 8 Opry members scheduled for Saturday, it is a little discerning to see just 4 for Saturday night, and only 3 segments.  

Before getting into the past Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I did want to mention the death of Sonny Louvin, Charlie's son, who passed away yesterday at the age of 62. Sonny and I had a few exchanges over the years, and while his approach was sometimes lacking, once you knew him he was a pretty nice person. If I remember right, back in the late 1970s and into the 1980s, Sonny played backup with Charlie on the Opry. I have no other details, but I did want to say that I am sorry he has passed away and prayers and thoughts go to the Louvin family. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago this weekend, January 28 & 29, 2011:

Friday January 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Brett Eldredge
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Darryl Worley
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); T.G. Sheppard; The Whites

Saturday January 29
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Frankie Ballard
7:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Laura Bell Bundy
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Trace Adkins (host); Carter's Chord; Toby Keith

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Frankie Ballard
10:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Laura Bell Bundy
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips; Josh Thompson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Trace Adkins (host); Carter's Chord; Toby Keith

Now from ten years ago, January 27 & 28, 2006:

Friday January 27
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:30: The Whites (host); Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Ralph Stanley; Chely Wright
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Mountain Heart

Saturday January 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Ralph Stanley
7:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Mel McDaniel; Mandy Barnett
7:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Charlie Walker (host); Billy Walker; Raul Malo; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Raul Malo
10:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Mel McDaniel; Ralph Stanley
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Charlie Louvin; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
11:30: Ray Pillow (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell

For this week's featured line-up, let's go back to the days at the Ryman Auditorium and to Saturday January 28, 1967. 

7:30: Luzianne
Bill Anderson (host): Ride, Ride, Ride
Skeeter Davis: You Add Fuel to the Flame
George Hamilton IV: The Urge for Going
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Bill Anderson: Still
Jim Ed Brown: Regular on My Mind
Skeeter Davis: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Bill Anderson: Get While the Getting's Good

8:00: Martha White
Billy Walker (host): A Million & One
Charlie Louvin: Off & On
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Walker: Bear With Me A Little Longer
Stringbean: Train 45
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): Room in the Corner of the House
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale That the Crow Told Me
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Bobby Lord: Fall Away
Jean Shepard: Heart, We Did All That We Could
Bobby Lord: The Streets of Baltimore
Grandpa Jones: Stop That Ticklin' Me

9:00: Pet Milk
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Bill Monroe: The Pretty Fair Maiden
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Lonzo & Oscar: Funny Way of Living In This Crazy Mixed Up World
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Instrumental
Roy Acuff: Glory's Coming; It Won't Be Long

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Hula Love
Willis Brothers: Bob
Marion Worth: There Goes My Everything
Curly Fox: K.C. Railroad Blues
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Hank Snow: The Count Down

10:00: Schick
Bill Anderson (host): I Get the Fever
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Stringbean: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

10:15: Pure
Jim Ed Brown (host): A Taste of Heaven
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her

10:30: Buckley's
Jean Shepard (host): Many Happy Hangovers to You
Charlie Louvin: He Can Be Found
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Grandpa Jones: Old Rattler Left Us Years Ago
Jean Shepard: It's A Man

10:45: Kent
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Bill Monroe: Panhandle Country
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such As I
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Sam McGee: Blackberry Blossom
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

11:30: Lava
Gotta Travel On
Lonzo & Oscar: We're Getting the Hang Of It Now
Bob Luman: Memphis
Marion Worth: Touch My Heart
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Connie Smith: Walk Through this World
Curly Fox: Lost John
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Billy Grammer: Under the Double Eagle

I don't think there were any complaints about this Opry line-up. Very solid with all Opry members. 

As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/22 & 1/23

Before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, and they are a couple of good ones, a couple of thoughts: While not country music related, or associated with the Grand Ole Opry, the musical world lost a few legends over the past week that I wanted to remember. David Bowie was one of the superstars of my generation. A spectacular performer who influenced so many. He was a trend setter and a hit maker for decades and his death is a real lost for the musical world. Then came the news yesterday of the death of Glenn Frey, a co-founder of The Eagles. The Eagles started out as Linda Ronstadt's back-up band, but their talent and songwriting skills led them to bigger and better things. Their "Eagles Greatest Hits, 1971-1975" is the 2nd highest selling album of all time, behind Michael Jackson's "Thriller." While not country, Glenn influenced so many country artists including Vince Gill and Brad Paisley and while some will not admit it, the music of The Eagles sounds more country then what is played on the radio today. 

Dallas Taylor also passed away. Dallas was one of the founding members of what became Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Dallas was the drummer and was featured on the cover of "Teach Your Children." His CSNY days did not last long, but he was a respected studio drummer who worked with a variety of artists. Finally, there was Dale Griffin, the drummer and a founding member of Mott the Hopple. They were big in the late 1960s and early 1970s before breaking up in the early 1980s. As with other groups of that era, they also had a great influence on many others. 

As I mentioned, none of these 4 were country artists, but their music was far reaching and their deaths will leave a void in the music community. 

In better news, Mel Tillis seems on his way to recovery after emergency colon surgery earlier in the week, that was followed by reports that Mel was in critical condition. The following day, Mel's manager said the reports were overblown and that Mel was on his way to recovery. Surgery can be dangerous, especially when you are 83. Here is continuing best wishes to Mel Tillis and his continued recovery. 

Now, getting to the Opry for this weekend. They have really hit a home run for the Friday Night Opry. When you have Opry members Bill Anderson, Montgomery Gentry and Ricky Skaggs in the first segment of the show, you know it is going to be a good one. Other Opry members set to appear include Marty Stuart, Jesse McReynolds, Connie Smith, John Conlee, Mike Snider, Vince Gill and Josh Turner. Yep, 10 of the 12 artists scheduled to appear are Opry members, with only Lauren Alaina and Henry Cho as guests. 

While not as strong a line-up on Saturday night, it is still a good one. Opry members John Conlee, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill, all scheduled for Friday, are also set for Saturday, where they will be joined by members The Whites, Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne and Steve Wariner. That comes out to 8 Opry members, with 13 artists scheduled. The guests set to appear are Ray Scott, Carly Pearce, Josh Abbott Band, Jaida Dreyer and Kristian Bush. 

Here you go for this weekend:

Friday January 22
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Montgomery Gentry; Ricky Skaggs
7:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jesse McReynolds; Connie Smith
8:15: John Conlee (host); Lauren Alaina; Mike Snider
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Henry Cho; Josh Turner

Saturday January 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Ray Scott; Mike Snider; The Whites
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carly Pearce; Josh Abbott Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jaida Dreyer; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Steve Wariner; Kristian Bush

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of January 20 & 21, 2011:

Friday January 21
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; The Whites
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
8:15: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday January 22
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Thompson Square; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; The Whites

Now from ten years ago, the weekend of January 20 & 21, 2006:

Friday January 20
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; Connie Smith; George Hamilton IV; Buddy Jewell
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jack Greene
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Mike Snider; Darryl Worley
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; The Grascals

Saturday January 21
1st show
6:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:00: Vince Gill (host); Montgomery Gentry; The Crabb Family; Susan Haynes
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Aaron Tippin; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; John Conlee; Darryl Worley

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; Aaron Tippin
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; The Whites; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Conlee; Montgomery Gentry
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Crabb Family; Darryl Worley

It was 22 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 22, that Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Hal Ketchum was born in Greenwich, New York. As he was growing up, his father, Hal, was a fan of several country music legends, including Marty Robbins and Patsy Cline. Hal was even a member of the Buck Owen's fan club. He started playing drums at the age of 15, later switching to the guitar. Hal was not an overnight success in the music business, as he spent nearly 20 years as a carpenter and furniture builder before getting his break in the music business. 

In 1981, he moved from New York for Austin, Texas. He worked on his songwriting skills in the various clubs and in 1986 he released "Threadbare Alibis," an album that featured 10 songs all written by Hal. It was also during this time period that Hal began making trips to Nashville. He eventually signed a publishing contract with Curb Records and in 1991 the single, "Small Town Saturday Night" launched his career. The song also helped his album, "Past the Point of Rescue" to reach gold status. The hits continued after that, including "Past the Point of Rescue," "Sure Love," "Mama Knows the Highway," "Hearts Are Gonna Role," and "Five O'Clock World."

Hal is not only an accomplished songwriter, singer and musician, but he also is an established painter, master carpenter and author, who writes short stories. 

Hal has admitted that he didn't know much about the Opry prior to his Opry debut in 1991. After that appearance he said, "There is an indescribable place on that stage where it feels like you are a part of history, a very fine history, and I really like that a lot. I felt the magic of the Opry the first time, and, so, I came to it in amazement." 

In 1998, Hal was diagnosed with a neurological disease that greatly affected his health. At one point, the disease affected him so much that he had to learn to walk and play the guitar all over again. And after being a steady presence at the Opry for a number of years, the disease got to the point where he was no longer able to perform. Thankfully, the past several years has seen Hal return to performing and while he has made very limited appearances, he has made it back to the Opry. 

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday January 22, 1994, the night Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Skeeter Davis: Lovesick Blues
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky: A Dear John Letter
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here this Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Alison Krauss: I'm Blue; I'm Lonesome
Oswald: Euneta
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
Marty Stuart (host): Burn Me Down
Hal Ketchum & Ferlin Husky: Wings of A Dove
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock
Vince Gill: When I Call Your Name
Hal Ketchum: Small Town Saturday Night
Marty Stuart: Kiss Me; I'm Gone

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
The Whites: Move it On Over
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durang's Hornpipe
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye
Jimmy C Newman: Allons A' Lafayette
Mike Snider: Lonesome Road Blues/The Fir Coat
Hank Snow: A Message From the Tradewinds

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Hal Ketchum: We Just Might Fall In Love/Small Town Saturday Night
Jean Shepard: Farewell Party
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): What'll I Do With the Baby-O
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Vince Gill: Trying to Get Over You/A Pocket Full of Gold
Jimmy Dickens & Vince Gill: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose

10:30: Opry Tours
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
John Conlee: Common Man
Alison Krauss: Dark Skies
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:45: Opry Book
Marty Stuart (host): That's Country
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel
Marty Stuart: Kiss Me; I'm Gone

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Geisha Girl
Mark Collie & Marty Stuart: When the Sun Goes Down, I Go Crazy
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Mike Snider: Little Maggie/Dueling Banjos
Hank Snow: The Third Man

11:30: General Jackson
4 Guys (host): If It's From the Country; It's Coming From the Heart
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Johnny Russell: Ain't No Reason Now for Going Home
4 Guys: I Know; I Know

Congratulations to Hal Ketchum and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/15 & 1/16

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, and much like the past several weeks, the shows are looking pretty good, with a nice selection of Opry members and guests. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Jeannie Seely, The Whites, Mike Snider, Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne and John Conlee. The Whites, Connie Smith, Mike Snider and John Conlee will also be appearing on Saturday night, and will be joined by members Diamond Rio, Jesse McReynolds and Larry Gatlin, who will be appearing without his brothers. That comes out to 6 Opry members on Friday and 7 on Saturday. 

As far as guests artists, Friday night will feature Rhonda Vincent, who many have hoped would someday become and Opry member, and Lee Greenwood, who at one time was asked to become a member but turned down the invitation. Joining them will be country music star Chris Young, Ashley Monroe and Point Of Grace, all excellent artists. Ashley Monroe is also scheduled for Saturday night, along with Craig Wayne Boyd, Flatt Lonesome, Lee Brice and making her Opry debut, Aubrie Sellers. 

Aubrie Sellers is from Nashville and is the daughter of Jason Sellers and Lee Ann Womack. She is 24 year old currently touring with Hayes Carll, and has recently released her debut album, "New City Blues." Over the past several years, she has opened for Chris Stapleton, Marty Stuart and Ralph Stanley, and she was featured on Ralph's recent album "Ralph Stanley and Friends: A Man of Constant Sorrow." She considers Ralph Stanley as her all-time favorite, along with Buddy and Julie Miller, Led Zeppelin, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Earle, CCR, Robert Johnson and George Jones. It sounds to me that she will fit right in at the Opry. 

Friday January 15
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Rhonda Vincent; The Whites
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Michael Ray; Point Of Grace
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Ashley Monroe
8:45: John Conlee (host); Lee Greenwood; Chris Young

Saturday January 16
7:00: John Conlee (host); Craig Wayne Boyd; Mike Snider
7:30: Connie Smith (host); The Whites; Aubrie Sellers
8:15: Diamond Rio (host); Jesse McReynolds; Ashley Monroe; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Larry Gatlin (host); Flatt Lonesome; Lee Brice

Now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the weekend of January 14 & 15, 2011:

Friday January 14
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Lee Brice
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Rodney Atkins
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Charley Pride

Saturday January 15
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Joe Diffie
7:30: Charley Pride (host); The Whites; Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Wanda Jackson featuring Jack White

And from ten years ago, the weekend of January 13 & 14, 2006:

Friday January 13
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Pam Tillis
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Elizabeth Cook
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Riders In The Sky; Restless Heart
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Jack Greene; George Canyon

Saturday January 14
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Josh Turner; Craig Morgan; Mike Snider
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Riders In The Sky; Cherryholmes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Marty Stuart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Josh Turner
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; Marty Stuart
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jack Greene; John Conlee; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Craig Morgan
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Cherryholmes

Finally, it was 16 years ago, on Saturday January 15, 2000, that Ralph Stanley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. In a throwback to the old days of the Opry, Ralph had been asked the night before if he wished to become an Opry member and the Opry made it official the following night, with Patty Loveless doing the honors. Also appearing that night, and making one of her very rare Opry appearances, was Reba McEntire, and Billy Walker celebrated his 40th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

1st show
6:30: Opryland Hotel/Banquet
Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Jack Greene: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Ricochet: I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Johnny Russell (host): Wabash Cannonball
Joe Diffie: A Night to Remember/Behind Closed Doors
Ralph Stanley: A Man of Constant Sorrow/Little Maggie
Ralph Stanley & Patty Loveless: Pretty Polly
Trisha Yearwood: She's In Love With the Boys/Real Live Woman
Billy Walker: I Love You Because
Reba McEntire: I'd Rather Ride Around With You/What Do You Say/Is There Life Out There

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Osborne Brothers: Some Things We Want to Sing About
Opry Square Dance Band: Sally Goodin
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
John Hartford: Gentle on My Mind
Loretta Lynn: You're Looking at Country/Coal Miner's Daughter
Jimmy Dickens: I'm Just Blue Enough to Do Most Anything

2nd show
9:30: Ryman Auditorium
Porter Wagoner (host): On a Highway Headed South
The Whites: Making Believe
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Loretta Lynn: Out of My Head & Back In My Bed/Your Squaw Is on the War Path/Coal Miner's Daughter
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/She Burned the Little Roadside Tavern Down

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Jeannie Seely (host): Sentimental Journey
Ralph Stanley: Think of What You've Done
Ralph Stanley & Patty Loveless: Pretty Polly
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me

10:15: Fluffo
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Reba McEntire: It's the Fear of Being Alone/What Do You Say/An Honest Heart
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

10:30: Ryman Auditorium
Jimmy C Newman (host): Allons Oh Lafayette
Trisha Yearwood: She's An American Girl/Walk Away Joe/Living On the Wrong Side of Memphis

10:45: Jogging In A Jug
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Jan Howard: He's All I Got
Opry Square Dance Band: Bill Cheatham
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: You Don't Bring Me Flowers

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): No Fair Falling in Love
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky
Joe Diffie: I Ain't The Quittin' Kind/Ships That Don't Come In
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

11:30: Ryman Video
Charlie Walker (host): Who Will Buy the Wine
John Hartford: Love Grown Cold
Ray Pillow: Baby, That's Cold
Mike Snider: Battle Cry of Freedom/Get You Hand Off My Knee and Load the Cannon
George Hamilton IV: I'm Using My Bible For A Road Map/Cabin In Gloryland
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

Ralph Stanley was born in the Clinch Mountains of Southwestern Virginia, where he still makes his home today. His mother taught Ralph the basics of the old clawhammer style of banjo playing while he and his brother Carter were learning to sing in church. After serving in Germany in World War II, Ralph and Carter formed the Clinch Mountain Boys, first performing on WCYB in Bristol, Tennessee. They would record for Rich-R-Tone starting in 1947, then moving on to Columbia Records, Mercury and King. Their recordings in the 1950s and into the 1960s produced some of the great classics that defined the Stanley Brothers sound. 

After Carter passed away in 1966, Ralph went back to a more simple style of music, emphasizing the older, more rural sounds with a simple banjo style. He continued with the Clinch Mountain Boys, whose members through the years included Curly Ray Cline, Jack Cooke, and young apprentices such as Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Larry Sparks, Charlie Sizemore and his own son, Ralph Stanley II. In the 1990s, as he reached legendary status, his albums included appearances by Vince Gill, George Jones and Bob Dylan, among others, and in 2002, he was awarded a Grammy for Best Country Male Vocalist for his epic a cappella performance of "O Death" from the award winning "O Brother, Where Art Thou." 

Even as the current oldest living member of the Grand Ole Opry, at the age of 88, Dr. Ralph Stanley is still out on the road performing with his Clinch Mountain Boys. 

Congratulations to Ralph!!!

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2015 Year in Review

With 2015 complete, it is time for the annual "Year in Review" and a look at the numbers from the Grand Ole Opry's 90th year. 

There were a total of 190 Opry shows for the year, which was 6 more then in 2014. The breakdown was as follows, with the change from the previous year:

Friday Night Opry-54 (0)
Saturday Grand Ole Opry-61 (0)
Tuesday Night Opry-50 (+6)
Wednesday Night Opry-8 (-1)
Thursday Opry Country Classics-14 (0)
Saturday Matinee-1 9)0
Tuesday Matinee-1 (0)
Monday Night (special movie filming)-1 (+1)

2015 started with 65 Opry members, Two of the Opry's long time members, Jimmy Dickens and Jim Ed Brown, passed away during the year. Both of these 50+ year members of the Opry were in the "Top 10" of Opry appearances the previous year. In what can truly be called a surprise, no new members were added during the Opry's 90th year. With the Opry really pushing the 90th anniversary of the show, many thought for sure we would see at least one, and possibly more new members added to the ranks. That also means that in the past two years, only two new members have been added, while four Opry members have passed away. As we enter 2016, the Opry membership currently stands at 63.

Of those 65 Opry members that began the year, 54 made at least one appearance with the big surprises being Garth Brooks, who made his first performing Opry appearance since 2005, and Reba McEntire who performed for first time since 2009. The other nice surprise was Larry Gatlin, who made 76 appearances during the past year, while his brothers Larry and Rudy joined him for 62 of those. Those 76 appearances by Larry compares to 23 in 2014. The other big gainers were Mike Snider, who went from 27 appearances in 2014 to 88 this past year, Connie Smith from 62 to 88 and Vince Gill, who appeared 32 times, up from 17 the previous year. 

One of the goals of Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher has been to ask each Opry member, at least those who have joined since 1999, to appear 10 times each year. It does not matter if it is a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or any other Opry date, as they all count. So of the Opry's 63 members that completed the year, who made the list? 

Looking at the "Top 10", the leader in Opry appearances were Connie Smith and Mike Snider, each with 88. They were closely followed by last year's leader, Jeannie Seely, who came in at 84. The entire "Top 10" list looks as follows: 

1) Connie Smith; Mike Snider-88
2) Jeannie Seely-84
3) Larry Gatlin-76
4) Bill Anderson-72
5) Riders In The Sky-70
6) The Whites-63
7) John Conlee-55
8) Bobby Osborne-54
9) Jesse McReynolds-41
10) Ricky Skaggs-35

As usual, the list is overwhelmingly loaded with Opry veterans. Now as to the rest of the Opry's members, here are those who did make at least 10 appearances in 2015: 

Vince Gill-32
Del McCoury-29
Mel Tillis-17
Lorrie Morgan-16
Diamond Rio-13
Jan Howard, Craig Morgan-11
Terri Clark, Old Crow Medicine Show, Marty Stuart, Carrie Underwood-10

That comes out to 22 of the Opry's 63 members making the "suggested" number of appearances. I congratulate those who help to support the show. 

So what about the other 41? First, there are those who are retired or due to ill health and no longer perform on the Opry. That list includes Tom T. Hall, Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett and Ricky Van Shelton. Add to that list would be Randy Travis, who while unable to perform did visit Opry 2 times last year, Jean Shepard, who made her only appearance to celebrate her 60th year as an Opry member, and Stonewall Jackson and Stu Phillips, both of whom have had some health issues and quite frankly, are not asked to do the Opry very often. While Stu did make one Opry appearance, Stonewall did not appear at all. As far as the rest, here are the numbers: 

Oak Ridge Boys, Ray Pillow-9
Charlie Daniels, Pam Tillis-8
Trace Adkins, Rascal Flatts, Steve Wariner-7
Joe Diffie, Ralph Stanley-6
Little Big Town, Brad Paisley-5
Darius Rucker, Josh Turner-4
Alison Krauss, Ronnie Milsap, Montgomery Gentry, Blake Shelton-3
Dierks Bentley, Roy Clark, Alan Jackson, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Trisha Yearwood-2
Garth Brooks, Hal Ketchum, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire-1
Clint Black, Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, Travis Tritt, Keith Urban-0

I have no real complaints with those who came close to the 10 appearances, but I find it pretty sad that 5 of the Opry's active members did not make an appearance in 2015. I at least Dolly Parton some recognition as she did do two shows at the Ryman this past year, one of which did benefit the Opry Trust Fund. 

28 of the members hosted at least one segment, with Riders In The Sky on top with 56. They were followed by Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith, each with 55, Bill Anderson with 47 and John Conlee at 40. After that, it drops off to Ricky Skaggs with 32. Joe Diffie, Josh Turner and Terri Clark all hosted for the first time. 

As usual, and following the pattern of the last several years, there were many non-Opry members who made more appearances then the majority of the members. That list was led by Chris Janson, with 28 appearances. The entire list of those who made at least 10 appearances: 

Chris Janson-28
Jimmy Wayne-18
The Willis Clan-17
Charles Esten, Mandy Barnett-15
Jackie Lee, Love and Theft-14
Greg Bates-13
Shelly Skidmore, Exile, Kristian Bush, Mark Wills, JT Hodges-12
Dailey & Vincent, Mo Pitney-11
Striking Matches, EmiSunshine, Holly Williams-10

We should be thankful for not only those listed above, but also all of the artists who have been making guest appearances in place of the Opry members who have not been appearing. All together, 236 non-Opry members made at least one Opry appearance in 2015, down from 267 the year before. And as with the previous year, those associated with "Nashville", the ABC show, had a big presence, with 60 appearances from those who star on the show. 

As I mentioned already, 2015 saw the 60th anniversary of Opry member Jean Shepard, along with the 50th Opry anniversary of Connie Smith. Both tributes were well done. Mike Snider was also recognized for 25 years of Opry membership. We also saw an improvement in the Opry's annual birthday celebration, with a better show then what we saw in 2014. 

All in all, 2015 was pretty similar to the previous couple of years at the Opry. The year saw the passing of several veteran Opry members, a continued shift to younger guest artists, and a reduction in the appearances by some of the veteran Opry members. We also saw the continuing trend of less artists appearing on the shows, particularly on the weekend nights. From what I can tell, 2015 was another very good year at the Opry from a financial and attendance standpoint and the management of Ryman Hospitalities, the owners of the Opry, continue to be pleased with the performance of the show. 

Only time will tell what 2016 will bring. Among the highlights will be the 50th anniversary of Ray Pillow as a member of the Opry, and Vince Gill's 25th anniversary. I am looking forward to both of those nights. I know there are others, such as Clint Black and Alan Jackson, who will be celebrating 25 years of Opry membership, but based on past performance, they may not even show up to acknowledge the occasion. Here's hoping that they will. 

Regardless, I continue to be a fan of the Opry and have great expectations that 2016 will be another good year for the "show that made country music famous."

(As a disclaimer, the recorded number of appearances is based on the tracking that I do of the shows. If there is an error, such as a missed appearance, my apologies.)

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 1/8 & 1/9

Before getting into this week's Grand Ole Opry line-ups, I just wanted to compliment the Opry and Brad Paisley, who made a special unannounced appearance last Saturday night. Brad came on at the end of the show and did several Jimmy Dickens songs, as it was the one year anniversary of his death. I just thought it was a nice tribute and I congratulate the Opry and Brad for allowing it to happen. Yes, the Opry can still surprise us once in a while, which is why we listen each week. 

As far as the line-up for this weekend, it is certainly not as strong as what we saw to start off the year, but both nights are still pretty solid. Appearing both nights are Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Del McCoury and Connie Smith. They will be joined on Friday night by Riders In The Sky, Jesse McReynolds and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, while on Saturday night, The Whites, Terry Clark, Bobby Osborne and Montgomery Gentry are set to appear. That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night and 8 on Saturday. 

Appearing with those Opry members on Friday will be Mark Wills, Mo Pitney, LOCASH, The Grascals and Cam, while on Saturday night Holly Williams, Darryl Worley and Dylan Scott will be appearing. For Dylan Scott, who records for Curb Records, it will be his Opry debut. 

As far as hosts this weekend, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith get the call both nights, with Riders In The Sky and Larry Gatlin hosting Friday and Mike Snider and Terri Clark hosting Saturday. For Terri, this will be her 2nd time hosting a segment and I do like the fact that the Opry is mixing in some new hosts into the rotation. 

Friday January 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Mo Pitney; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; LOCASH
8:45: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); The Grascals; Cam

Saturday January 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Holly Williams; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites
8:15: Terri Clark (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Dylan Scott; Montgomery Gentry

Now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of January 7 & 8, 2011:

Friday January 7
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Frankie Ballard
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); George Hamilton IV; Chris Young
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jim Ed Brown; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; Rodney Atkins

Saturday January 8
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; James Wesley
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Suzy Bogguss
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Brett Eldredge
8:45: John Conlee (host); The Whites; The Grascals

And from ten years ago, the weekend of January 6 & 7, 2006:

Friday January 6
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Alicia Nugent
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); John Conlee; Doyle Dykes
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Danielle Peck
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jim Ed Brown; Jeff Bates

Saturday January 7
1st show
6:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Trent Willmon
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jean Shepard (host); The Whites; Michael Martin Murphey
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); George Hamilton IV; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jeff Bates

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider; Trent Willmon
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Michael Martin Murphey; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jeff Bates
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Walker; Doyle Dykes

It was 45 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 9, 1971 that Tom T. Hall made his first Grand Ole Opry appearance as a member of the Opry. In the Opry's records, Tom T's induction date is listed as January 1, which was a Friday night. However, January 9 was the first Saturday. 

Here is a short biography of Tom T Hall, courtesy of the Grand Ole Opry's Picture History Book: 

"Country music is celebrated for the strength of its stories, so it means something when one performer is identified simply as 'The Storyteller.' That performer is Tom T Hall. The title is natural enough. Tom T delivered a combination of detailed observation, arresting storyline, and full-bodied characters in such songs as 'The Day Clayton Delaney Died.' 'Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine,' 'Margie's at the Lincoln Park Inn,' and 'I Flew Over Our House Last Night.' The way he sings these stories-simple, clear, and as understated as a friend talking to you on a porch-matches the songs perfectly. 

One of ten children born to a Baptist minister, Tom T began playing guitar at age four and wrote his first song at nine. In his teens, he formed a bluegrass band, which performed locally. After a stint in the army, while working as a radio copywriter in Roanoke, Virginia, he wrote songs on the side that were recorded by Jimmy C Newman, Johnny Wright, Dave Dudley, and Bobby Bare. After moving to Nashville in 1964, he had several early hit recordings of his own, including 'I Washed My Face in the Morning Dew,' but when Jeannie C. Riley's recording of his 'Harper Valley P.T.A.' sold 6 million copies and swept the 1968 awards, Tom T's own recording career at Mercury Records accelerated. That career continues through more than 45 albums. 

During the decades of the '80s and '90s, Tom T regularly played the Opry. For two years, he also hosted his own syndicated TV program, 'Pop Goes the Country,' which was filmed at Nashville's Opryland complex, and made guest appearances on many other shows. Some claim that the Kentucky-raised singer, songwriter, and author has 'retired' to his farm south of Nashville. Don't believe them. Today Tom T regularly supervises acoustic sessions at his own recording studio, writes those utterly distinctive songs, and can be seen at venues from Nashville's Station Inn to festivals across the country in support of the bluegrass music he holds especially dear. Tom T has authored a string of books, including an autobiography, a songwriting textbook, and several novels. His songs continue to be recorded with great regularity by bluegrass bands, country singers, and Americana acts alike. 

In 2008, Tom T Hall was elected to his rightful place in the Country Music Hall of Fame."

Here is the line-up from Saturday January 9, 1971: 

7:00: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Dirty Rice
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Ray Pillow: Heart Over Mind
Roy Drusky: All My Hard Times
Jim & Jesse: My Baby's Gone
Jimmy C Newman: Release Me
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight
Roy Drusky: Long, Long Texas Road

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Another Lonely Night
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharman
Tom T Hall: Ballad of Forty Dollars
Roy Acuff: Pins & Needles
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Charlie Walker: Waiting For A Train
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Wake Me When It's Over
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Del Wood: Down By the River Side
Lester Flatt: I Can't Tell the Boys From the Girls
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Stonewall Jackson: Life to Go
Hank Locklin: If Not For You
Roland White & Vic Jordan: Mocking Banjo

8:30: Stephens
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Earl Scruggs Revue: Loraderojosp III Breakdown 
George Morgan: For the Good Times
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Bill Monroe: Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
Earl Scruggs Revue: Green Back Dollar
George Morgan: Candy Kisses

9:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Osborne Brothers: You Win Again
Ernie Ashworth: Lips, Start Talking
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man
Osborne Brothers: Listening to the Rain

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Cimmaron
Del Reeves: Bar Room Talk
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klide
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee
Del Reeves: If I Lived Here
Hank Snow: Traveling Blues

10:00: Fender
Bill Monroe (host): I Haven't Seen Mary In Years
Jean Shepard: I Thought Of You/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels/You Win Again/A Dear John Letter
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry, Cry/ Blue Lonely Winter
Jim & Jesse: Where the Chilly Winds Don't Blow

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Earl Scruggs Revue: Nine Pound Hammer
Ray Pillow: Free Born Man
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host): I've Been Walking
Grandpa Jones: I'm Sorry I Caused You to Cry
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Tom T Hall: 100 Children
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Uncle Josh: Just Joshlin

10:45: Beech-Nut
Porter Wagoner (host): Big Wind
Dolly Parton: Joshua
George Morgan: Snowbird
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Miller's Cave
Osborne Brothers: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Del Wood: Bill Bailey
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Sam McGee: Wildwood Flower
Hank Snow: Born to Lose

11:30: Lava
Del Reeves (host): Help Me Make It Through the Night
Marion Worth: Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Ernie Ashworth: Love; I Finally Found It
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times
Del Reeves: Women Do Funny Things to Me/Bells of Southern Bell/Girl on the Billboard/The Chair That Rocked Up All

It has been many years since Tom T Hall has last appeared on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. While he says he is retired, he does make occasional appearances. I know many of us miss Tom T at the Opry and wish that he would someday make a return appearance. 

Nevertheless, congratulations to Tom T Hall on his 45th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Finally, it was 17 years ago this weekend, Saturday January 9, 1999 that Boxcar Willie made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. Here is the running order of that show: 

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy C Newman (host): Allons of Lafayette
Skeeter Davis: I Got to the Rock
Jimmy C Newman: Bayou Blues/Cajun Stripper

6:45: Opry Book
Ricky Skaggs (host): A Pig In a Pen
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Ricky Skaggs (host): Boston Boy

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Jan Howard: Uncloudy Day
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses
Jim Ed Brown: Distant Drums
Porter Wagoner: One Way Ticket to the Blues/The Blue Velvet Band/Ol' Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Lorrie Morgan (host): Looking for Something in Red
Oswald: Euneta
Boxcar Willie: Wabash Cannonball/The Great Speckled Bird
Billy Ray Cyrus: A Busy Man/Shot Full of Love
Lorrie Morgan & Jim Ed Brown: Near You

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Riders In The Sky: Cowboy Camp Meeting
Daryle Singletary: You Ain't Heard Nothing Yet
Opry Square Dancer Band: Cherokee Shuffle
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Jim & Jesse: You Are the One
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Mike Snider: Short Little Lulu/Clinch Mountain Backstop/Mississippi Sawyer
Jimmy Dickens: I Learned Over Backwards for You

2nd show
9:30: Opry Book
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Border
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Boxcar Willie: Wabash Cannonball
Billy Ray Cyrus: A Busy Man/Shot Full of Love/Achy Breaky Heart

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Jack Greene (host): Highway to the Sky
Holly Dunn: We've Got the Love
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything

10:15: Opry Book
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Daryle Singletary: Forever & Always/Yesterday's Wine
Jimmy Dickens: I'd Rather Sleep In Peace Then Know You're Gone

10:30: Epaphone
Ricky Skaggs (host): How Mountain Girls Can Love
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Ricky Skaggs: I'm Bound to Ride

10:45: Jogging In A Jug
Mike Snider (host): Bell Cove Breakdown
John Conlee: Backside of Thirty
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Get A Little Dirt on Your Hands
Jan Howard: Too Many Teardrops Too Late
Billy Walker: I Spend A Lot of Lonely Nights These Days
Vince Gill: Don't Come Cryin' to Me/Which Bridge to Cross; Which Bridge to Burn
Bill Anderson: Before

11:30: Opry Tickets
Johnny Russell (host): Good Hearted Woman
Del Reeves: A Lover's Question
Riders In The Sky: Jingle; Jangle; Jingle
Jim & Jesse: Gosh I Miss You All the Time
Charlie Walker: Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks and Blue Ribbon Beer

Boxcar Willie had been in declining health for a number of years and his Opry appearances had dropped dramatically. It was nice that the Opry featured Boxcar on the televised portion that night and I can remember watching and noticing how frail he looked. I think he knew it would be his last time on the Opry and he honored the man who brought him to the Opry, Roy Acuff, by singing Roy's two most famous songs. 

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!