Monday, February 29, 2016

March Opry Highlights

Welcome to March and the month that brings us spring. I hope wherever you live that winter is coming to an end and that there is an early spring. As I do each month, here are the important or historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of March. 

March 9, 1925: Ralph Sloan, the leader of the Tennessee Travelers, was born. Ralph and his group joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1952. Ralph would lead the group until his death in 1980, after which his brother Melvin took over. 

March 24, 1928: Kitty Cora Cline became the first female solo artist to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Kitty was at the Opry for just a short amount of time, actually until March 31, 1934, when she quit. The story goes that on that particular evening as she was on her way to the Opry, she witnessed a very serious car accident that bothered her so much that she refused to travel by car again. Thus, she quit performing. 

March 16, 1946: Future Grand Ole Opry member Grandpa Jones made his Opry debut as a member of Pee Wee King's band. 

March 1, 1952: Uncle Dave Macon made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Uncle Dave was one of the original stars of the Opry and was one of the first professional entertainers to join the cast. Just 2 weeks later, on March 22, he passed away at the age of 82. Uncle Dave was one of the early members to have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

March 21, 1953: Bill Carlisle and the Carlisles made their first guest appearance on the Opry. 

March 1, 1958: After criticizing the management of WSM radio, Opry member Marty Robbins was fired by the Opry. Opry management quickly realized their mistake and Marty was quickly hired back. 

March 2, 1963: Opry members Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins made their final appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Several days later they would die when the plane they were riding in crashed on the way back to Nashville. Copas, Hawkins, along with Patsy Cline and Randy Hughes, were returning to Nashville after appearing at a benefit show in Kansas City. 

March 9, 1963: The Grand Ole Opry observed a moment of silence for Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Randy Hughes, along with Jack Anglin, of Johnny & Jack, who had passed away during the past week. In the tribute read by Opry manager Ott Devine, he said, "All of their friends standing with me tonight on the stage of the Ryman Auditorium know that it is impossible to put our thoughts, or feelings, our love for Patsy, Hank, Cope, Jack and Randy. And so we ask for a moment of silent prayer in tribute to them." Some have called this the saddest moment in the history of the Opry. 

March 29, 1963: Texas Ruby Owens died in a fire at her home. Along with her husband Curly Fox, she came to the Opry in the 1940s. After her death, Curly would continue at the Opry as a solo act. J

March 2, 1964: Jim & Jesse McReynolds are invited to become members of the Grand Ole Opry. Later that week, they would make their first appearance as members. Jim & Jesse were very popular members of the Opry and would continue with their Virginia Boys, until the death of Jim on December 31, 2002. Since that time, Jesse has continued with the Opry as a solo artist and this year will celebrate 52 years as an Opry member. 

March 7, 1964: Jim & Jesse, along with Ernie Ashworth, made their first appearance as Opry members. Ernie Ashworth, who was famous for his big hit, "Talk Back Trembling Lips" and for his colorful suit with flaming lips on it, would remain an Opry member until his death on March 2, 2009. 

March 28, 1964: Connie Smith made her first appearance as a guest at the Grand Ole Opry. She was there at the invitation of Bill Anderson. Later that evening she would stop by the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and the Midnight Jamboree. A year later, in 1965, she would become a member of the Opry. 

March 9, 1968: Irene Ryan, who played the part of Granny on the Beverly Hillbillies, made a guest appearance on the Opry. 

March 15, 1968: That evening on the Friday Night Opry, The Byrds, who at the time included Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, appeared as guest artists. They sang "Sing Me Back Home" and "Hickory Wind." The Byrds had always wanted to be on the Opry and considered it an honor. It would end up being their only Opry appearance as the audience and some of the artists were not thrilled. Some say they were actually booed off the stage. 

March 28, 1970: Opry member Marty Robbins returned to the Opry for the first time since he suffered a heart attack in January. As usual, he returned as the host of the 11:30 segment and reporter Jerry Thompson, who was there, wrote the following, "The sound from the jam-packed crowd was deafening. They couldn't hear the words to the songs that familiar figure behind the Opry mic was crooning, but there was no mistake. Marty Robbins was back where he belonged. Midway through the show, Robbins sat at the piano and told the audience, 'I had so many things I was going to say tonight. I want to thank all my friends for their concern and I want to thank God for letting me be there. Now, I can't think of anything else to say, so I guess I'll have to sing for you.' And sing he did until 12:27 a.m. when the curtain closed amidst repeated shouts of 'more, more,more.'" This was one night when those at the Midnight Jamboree did not complain about the Opry running over. 

March 27, 1971: Jan Howard became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 45th year as an Opry member. Jan had appeared on the Opry so many times prior to actually being asked to join that Bud Wendall thought she was already a member. That oversight was corrected and Jan was immediately made a member. An a related note, March 13 is also Jan's birthday and at the age of 86 is the Opry's oldest female member. 

March 9, 1974: The Grand Ole Opry had its final Saturday night show at the Ryman Auditorium. The Opry, which had been at the Ryman since 1943, was scheduled to move to the new Grand Ole Opry House the following weekend. Also, this was the final night that Bobby Bare was a member of the Opry as he quit the cast when it made the move to the new Opry House. 

March 15, 1974: The Grand Ole Opry conducted its final Friday Night Opry at the Ryman Auditorium. It was such an emotional night that Bill Anderson and Charlie Walker both forgot the words to their songs. The final segment was hosted by George Morgan, who concluded the show with "Candy Kisses." After the Opry ended, Jimmie Snow hosted the final Grand Ole Gospel from the Ryman, with guests Hank Snow, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash and the Carter Family, none of whom were on the Friday Night Opry. The show concluded with the singing of "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" and as soon as they were finished, the signs were taken down and many of the items were immediately transferred to the new Opry House. After the Opry left, the Ryman stayed empty for many years, with the inside of the building left as it was when the Opry left that night. 

March 16, 1974: The Grand Ole Opry had its first performance in the new Grand Ole Opry House, located out at Opryland. President Richard Nixon made a special appearance and was the first and only President to actually perform on the Opry's stage. There was much discussion on which Opry artist would be the first to perform at the new building and after much thought, Opry management made the decision that the artists would go in alphabetical order, which meant that Roy Acuff was first. After Roy opened the show, Bill Anderson was next and the Opry was off and running. As you would expect, both shows that night ran way over their allotted time. 

March 30, 1974: The Earl Scruggs Revue made their final appearance as members of the Opry. They had become Opry members after Flatt & Scruggs broke up and while Lester enjoyed playing the Opry on a regular basis, Earl had a more progressive sound and enjoyed playing before different audiences. While he gave up his Opry membership, Earl would still come and perform as a guest artist on the show. 

March 14, 1975: The Cumberland River overflowed its banks, causing a flood that forced the Opry to move the shows that weekend to the Municipal Auditorium in downtown Nashville. It was also the first anniversary of the new Grand Ole Opry House, so the timing wasn't the greatest. While many thought that the Opry would return to the Ryman Auditorium for the weekend, it was determined that the Ryman was in no condition to host the Opry, or its fans. While in 1975 it was just the parking lots that would flood, the next time that the Cumberland went over the banks in 2010, the entire Opry House and complex, was hit.

March 4, 1978: For the first time in the history of the Grand Ole Opry, an entire Opry show was televised. PBS had approached Opry officials to see if there was an interest in televising the show as part of the annual fundraising that takes place. The Opry agreed and it was considered such a success that PBS would repeat it again the next 3 years. The Opry did agree to a few changes, including removing all references to their commercial sponsors, which included covering the sponsor's signs that appeared on the Opry stage and backdrop. That did not stop a few of the Opry's members from mentioning a few of the names. What made these shows so special, besides the quality of the line-ups, was the fact that they did not change the show at all. The format stayed the same, although several of the performers dressed up a little more than usual. These shows also gave people from across the country who had never attended an Opry show, a chance to see an entire Opry as it happened. Over the past several months, a few of the performances from the PBS shows have been showing up on YouTube. 

March 10, 1979: James Brown performed on the Opry at the invitation of Porter Wagoner. It was a tough night at the Opry as several of the Opry's members decided to stay home that night. James was on stage for almost 20 minutes and later said he enjoyed his time at the Opry. 

March 23, 1979: Lester Flatt returned to the Opry for the first time since November. A brain hemorrhage had kept him away. 

March 22, 1980: This was the final show for Opry member Marion Worth. Marion had joined the Opry in 1965 and while she didn't have a spectacular career in country music, she was a popular member of the Opry. After leaving the Opry, Marion would continue to do a few shows, mostly in Las Vegas. She passed away in December 1999.

March 28, 1980: Tom T. Hall rejoined the cast of the Opry. Tom T, along with Bobby Bare, had quit the show in March 1974 when the Opry moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House. It was reported that Ernest Tubb saw Tom T in the parking lot after a show at the Opry House and told him he needed to get back to the Opry. He did and for most of the 1980s, was a regular performer on the show. Tom T is not semi-retired and has not done the Opry in decades. 

March 1, 1982: Opry member Roy Acuff was honored with a two-hour special that was televised on ABC. An all-star cast of performers and entertainers honored Roy, including President Ronald Reagan, Vice-President George Bush, Minnie Pearl, Tom. T. Hall, Bill Anderson, Chet Atkins, Charlie Daniels and Gene Autry. 

March 7, 1983: The Nashville Network made its debut. This network would later become the television home of the Opry as a half hour of the show was televised each Saturday night. 

March 3, 1984: The Whites, consisting of Buck, Sharon and Cheryl, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 32nd year as members. 

March 7, 1986: Randy Travis made his first guest appearance on the Opry. He was introduced by Jimmy Dickens and sang, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." Later that year, Randy would become an Opry member. 

March 4, 1996: Grand Ole Opry legend Minnie Pearl passed away from complications after suffering a series of strokes. Minnie was a 50+ year member of the Opry. 

March 9, 1996: Minnie Pearl was remembered at the Grand Ole Opry on the first Saturday night following her death. Wilma Lee Cooper, Jean Shepard, Jeanne Pruett, Skeeter Davis, Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely sang, "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" which was Minnie's favorite song. 

March 15, 1996: Grand Ole Opry member Bill Monroe, an Opry member since 1939, made his final Opry appearance. 

March 14, 1998: Diamond Rio was invited to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. They accepted and would officially become members the following month.

March 13, 1999: Trisha Yearwood was inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. She had been invited the previous January by Ricky Skaggs. This will be her 17th year as an Opry member. 

March 22, 2001: Johnny Russell was honored at a special benefit show at the Opry House to help raise money to cover his medical expenses. Among those attending were Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, Oak Ridge Boys, Ricky Skaggs and Ralph Emery. 

March 7, 2003: Grand Ole Opry member Bill Carlisle made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. A few days after this show, he suffered a stroke and would pass away on March 17. Bill joined the Opry in November 1953 and was still a very active member of the cast at the time of his death. 

March 15, 2008: Carrie Underwood is surprised during a guest appearance on the Opry by Randy Travis, who invites Carrie to become a member of the Opry. Carrie would official be inducted in May. 

March 2, 2009: Opry member Ernie Ashworth passed away. Ernie had been an Opry member since 1964

March 8, 2009: Grand Ole Opry member Hank Locklin passed at away at the age of 91. Hank joined the Opry in 1960 and at the time of his death was the Opry's oldest member. 

March 1, 2011: It was announced that Opry members Jean Shepard and Reba McEntire had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. For Jean, it was the culmination of a long career in country music. 

March 6, 2012: It was announced that Opry members Connie Smith and Garth Brooks were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

March 24, 2012: Carol Lee Cooper, the leader of the Carol Lee Singers, retired. Carol Lee originally came to the Opry with her parents, Stoney and Wilma Lee Cooper, in 1957. Her retirement was the result of some voice and vocal issues that she had been experiencing. 

March 5, 2013: The Grand Ole Opry honored Patsy Cline, Cowboy Copas and Hawkshaw Hawkins on the 50th anniversary of the plane crash that took their lives, along with Randy Hughes. Among those taking part in the tribute were Jean Shepard, Terri Clark, Mandy Barnett, John Conlee and Chuck Mead. 

March 15, 2014: The Grand Ole Opry marked 40 years at the Grand Ole Opry with two special shows that featured Opry members Blake Shelton, Old Crow Medicine Show, Josh Turner, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart and Jimmy Dickens, along with guest Miranda Lambert. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/26 & 2/27

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend, and both nights look very good. But before getting into this weekend, I just wanted to comment on last weekend and this past Tuesday Night Opry. 

I know there are not a lot of Elizabeth Cook fans out there, but I am one of them. She did another terrific job and I wish she would do the Opry more often. Mike Snider was extremely funny on both nights. I will say that he does seem to be pushing the envelop a bit, but the crowd seems to enjoy it. And Mike did receive his 90th anniversary block from Pete Fisher. Love and Theft are very good. Connie Smith hosted on Saturday night, and much like Vince Gill and Marty Stuart backed her up last weekend, Saturday it was Steve Wariner, and on Tuesday night it was Kenny Vaughan. It makes me wonder who Connie is going to use the guest lead guitarist again this weekend. 

On the Tuesday Night Opry, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers sang, "Young Love" in tribute to Sonny James. If I heard Larry correctly, he had the words on paper. Larry had done this a few times on the Opry and I remember what a wonderful job they did last year with "The 3 Bells" after Jim Ed passed. Also impressive on Tuesday was Lorrie Morgan, Bill Anderson and Chris Janson. Much like Elizabeth, I know Chris does not appeal to everyone. He really wants to be an Opry member and I still think it is just a question of when they will ask. Bill Anderson did "Too Country" and was outstanding and among Lorrie's songs was "Ode to Billie Joe." Lorrie also received her 90th anniversary block from Pete. 

What I like about the format for the Tuesday Night Opry is that each artist gets to do 3 songs and in the case of Tuesday night, the selections picked were excellent by each artist. Oh, and no I didn't forget, it was nice to hear Opry member Darius Rucker back on the Opry. 

Now as far as this weekend, the Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Mike Snider, John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, Diamond Rio, Bill Anderson, The Whites, Craig Morgan, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show. In fact, the only guest artist is Mark Wills, who has performed on the Opry more often then many of the Opry's members. 

For the Saturday night Grand Ole Opry, members John Conlee, Mike Snider, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show will be back, joined by Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky. Interesting that the Opry went with Mike Snider hosting a segment over The Riders, who generally host when they are featured on the show. Guest artists on Saturday include Craig Wayne Boyd, Holly Williams, Mickey Guyton, Ray Stevens and Annie Moses Band. 

Friday February 26
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Craig Morgan
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday February 27
7:00: John Conlee (host); Craig Wayne Boyd; Holly Williams
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mickey Guyton; Ray Stevens
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; Annie Moses Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

That comes out to 11 acts each night, with 10 Opry members on Friday night and 6 on Saturday. Both shows look excellent this weekend and it is especially nice to see 10 Opry members on the Friday night show. What stands out to me is no Bobby Osborne or Jesse McReynolds this weekend. Usually you get at least one of the two, if not both. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 25 & 26, 2011:

Friday February 25
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Chesnutt
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Riders In The Sky; Montgomery Gentry
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Neal McCoy; Gretchen Wilson
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Oak Ridge Boys; Alison Krauss & Dan Tyminski

Saturday February 26
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman; Joey+Rory
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Jim Ed Brown; The Doobie Brothers
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Alison Krauss & Dan Tyminski; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Sarah Darling; Keb' Mo'

And from 10 years ago, the weekend of February 24 & 25, 2006:

Friday February 24
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Joe Diffie; Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Cherryholmes; John Conlee; The Wrights
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Riders In The Sky

Saturday February 25
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Conlee
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jamey Johnson; Andy Griggs; Alan Jackson
8:00: Vince Gill (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Raul Malo

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; John Conlee; Alan Jackson
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Billy Walker; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Andy Griggs
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Raul Malo
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Mel McDaniel; Jamey Johnson

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of February 23 & 24, 2001. It was during the first show on Saturday night that Opry legend Wilma Lee Cooper suffered a career ending stroke while performing. 

Friday February 23
7:30: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Bill Carlisle; Kasey Chambers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Diamond Rio
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; The Whites
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeanne Pruett; Del Reeves; Lila McCann
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jim Ed Brown; Mel McDaniel

Saturday February 24
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; The Derailers
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Tammy Cochran; Mel McDaniel; Alison Moorer; Keith Urban; Jeannie Seely; Eddy Raven
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Holly Dunn; Jim Ed Brown

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; The Derailers; Mel McDaniel
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Tammy Cochran
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; Keith Urban; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Holly Dunn; Jimmy C Newman; Eddy Raven
11:30: John Conlee (host); Ray Pillow; Charlie Walker; Allison Moorer

As mentioned, that was the posted line-up for the Opry that night. Now here is the actual running order of the 2 shows: 

1st show
6:30: WSM Online/Apple Barn
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Connie Smith: I Don't Want to Talk It Over Anymore
Bill Carlisle: Stay A Little Longer
The Derailers: You Come to the Right Place/Bright Lights & Country Music
Porter Wagoner & Kristy Lynn: Just Someone I Used to Know

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Get A Little Dirt on You Hands
Tammy Cochran: Angels in Waiting
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night/Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
Allison Moorer: Angels Flying too Close to the Ground
Keith Urban: But for the Grace of God/Galveston
Jeannie Seely: Anytime
Eddy Raven: Sometimes A Lady/Cowboys Don't Cry
Bill Anderson: A Lot of Things Different/Still

8:00: Martha White
Jimmy Dickens (host): Mountain Dew
Wilma Lee Cooper: 30 Pieces of Silver
Billy Walker: Falling Leaves
Jack Greene: The Last Letter
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Cherokee Shuffle
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her That Way

8:30: Physicians Mutual
John Conlee (host): I'm Only In It For the Love
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands/You Really Had Me Going
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
John Conlee: The Old School

2nd show
9:30: WSM Online
Porter Wagoner (host): She Burned the Little Roadside Tavern Down
The Whites: Pins & Needles
The Derailers: Alone With You
Mel McDaniel: Stand Up/Stand On It
Porter Wagoner: Trouble In Amen Corner
The Wagonmasters: Instrumental

10:00: Lincoln Mercury/Document Management & Storage
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Del Reeves: Just A Little Lovin'/Dang Me/I Would Like to See You Again
Tammy Cochran: Heartaches by the Number/Angels in Waiting
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
Jeannie Seely (host): Hey Good Lookin'
Billy Walker: Peace in the Valley
Keith Urban: But for the Grace of God/Galveston
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel
Jeannie Seely: Make the World Go Away

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Eddy Raven: Never Find That Island Again/I Got Mexico
Bill Anderson: The Big Railroad Man

11:30: Pigeon Forge
John Conlee (host): Lady Lay Down
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Allison Moorer: Looking For a Soft Place to Fall/Are You Going to Alabama
John Conlee: Amazing Grace

Willma Leigh Leary was born on February 7, 1921 in Valley Head, West Virginia. As she grew up, she was part of her family's gospel group. In 1941, she married fiddler and vocalist Dale. T. "Stoney" Cooper, who was a musician with the Leary Family, after which Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper formed their own bluegrass group, called the Clinch Mountain Clan. For 10 years they were regulars on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, before moving to Nashville and joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1957. 

They recorded for Hickory Records from the late 1950s into the early 1960s. They had seven hit records, including four top ten hits on the Billboard charts, the most famous being "Big Midnight Special" and "There's A Big Wheel." After Stoney died in 1977, Wilma Lee and the Clinch Mountain Clan carried on and Wilma continued touring and performing as a regular member of the Opry. 

Although Wilma Lee Cooper never performed again after this night, she did make a few return visits to the Opry. She was recognized on stage in 2007 upon the occasion of her 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and she also returned in September 2010 when the Grand Ole Opry House reopened after the flood. That evening she was pushed on stage while sitting in a wheelchair. 

Wilma Lee passed away on September 13, 2011 at the age of 90. 

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Sonny James

From Juli Thanki of the Nashville Tennessean: 

"Country singer Sonny James, whose music went from rural Alabama to the moon, died Monday afternoon, according to a family representative. He was 87.

Born James Hugh Loden on May 1, 1928, in Hackleburg, Alabama, Sonny began performing as a child with his family. At age 3, he received his first mandolin, which was handmade by his farther from a molasses bucket. The child would learn to play the guitar and fiddle, as well, and win fiddle championships as a teen. The Loden family played on radio stations and in schoolhouses around the South, and during their travels, Mr. James ended up meeting a young musician named Chet Atkins. The two crossed paths once again in Music City. 

In September 1950, Mr. James' Alabama National Guard unit was sent to Korea. While he was stationed there, he began seriously writing songs. After leaving the service, he went to Nashville to pursue a career in music. He met up with Atkins, who introduced him to Ken Nelson of Capital Records. Nelson suggested that he adopt the stage name Sonny James, which was easier for DJs and fans to remember. The singer would soon get the nickname 'the Southern Gentleman'; as a soft spoken and humble man with impeccable manners, Mr. James lived up to that description on stage and off. 

Mr. James recorded his first songs for Capital in summer 1952. Shortly after those sessions, he put his fiddle skills to use when he joined Jim and Jesse McReynolds in the studio and the bluegrass duo made its first Capital recordings. 'He was a great singer, fiddler and guitar player,' said Jesse McReynolds, who said that he and his brother later worked with several fiddlers who tried to match Mr. James' unique way of playing on those records, but they 'never could quite get it.' In early 1953, he released his debut single, 'That's Me Without You' which would hit No. 9 on the charts. The music he released over the next three years was, for the most part, unsuccessful, but in late 1956 he recorded his breakthrough hit, the dreamy ballad 'Young Love.' The sweet earnest single spent nine weeks atop the country charts and crossed over to pop radio in early 1957. With its polished production and crooning vocals, 'Young Love' would help open the door for the Nashville sound of the late 1950s and 1960s. 

During the 1950s, Mr. James was a regular on the country music television program 'Ozark Jubilee.' In 1961 he became the first country recording artist to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also appeared in multiple films, including 'Second Fiddle to a Steel Guitar,' 'Nashville Rebel,' 'Las Vegas Hillbillies' and Hillbillies in a Haunted House.,' and guested on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' multiple times. 

In 1962, he was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry, and five years later, he would begin an unprecedented streak of chart dominance. From 1967-71, he notched 16 straight No. 1 country singles on the Billboard charts, beginning with 'Need You' and ending with 'Here Comes Honey Again.' Many of those-such as 'Born to Be with You' and 'Only the Lonely'-were covers of pop hits. Others, including 'Since I Met You Baby' and 'It's Just a Matter of Time,' were countrified covers of classic R&B songs previously recorded by artists such as Brook Benton and Etta James, a nod to his diverse musical tastes. 

The 1970s  found Mr. James pursuing several different projects. In 1971 he made a cassette tape for the three-man Apollo 14 crew to listen to during their moon mission. Mr. James also stepped out from behind the microphone to produce Marie Osmond's 1973 debut album, 'Paper Roses,' and two subsequent records. In 1977, inspired by previous visits to Tennessee State Prison, recorded an album there, 'In Prison, In Person,' on which he was backed by a band of inmates. 

In August 1983, he released his last single, 'A Free Roamin' Mind.' That year he retired from performing. An avid fisherman, Mr. James spent much of his retirement on the lake, briefly returning to the spotlight in 2006, when he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. 'I've just more or less went about my career,' he said on the day of the Hall of Fame induction announcement. 'To me the friends I've made over the years actually meant as much to me as the Hall of Fame. I'm very appreciative, and I value what the Hall of Fame is doing for so many artists.'

Sonny James is survived by his wife Doris, whom he married in 1957."

Sonny James was probably one of the most respected and well liked entertainers in the history of country music. As the article mentioned, Sonny joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1962, with the actual date being October 27. It generally is pretty easy to find when a member actually joined the Opry, but it is often a little harder to find when they left. It looks like 1965 might have been his last Opry shows. 

Prayers and thoughts to the family of Sonny James, who lived up to his nickname as the "Southern Gentleman." 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/19 & 2/20

I promised to post a few notes regarding last weekend when I was in Nashville and attended both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. But life got in the way and I wasn't able to get to it as quickly as I would have liked. So before getting into the Opry shows for this weekend, allow me to take a few moments and review last weekend. 

There were two major highlights for me over the weekend. On Friday night I had the opportunity to meet Ronnie Milsap. After the Opry, he was in the lobby meeting a few of the fans who had purchased his new CD. I would estimate that there were about 100 of us and he spent a few minutes with each person and posed for a picture which I posted on my Facebook page. I was very impressed as he took the time to ask where I was from, mentioned a few kind words about Ohio, and thanked me for coming to the Opry and supporting him over the years. It was an honor to meet him. Ronnie was also honored during the show as last week marked 40 years for Ronnie as a member of the Opry. He received a frame print of the show from Eddie Stubbs. Ronnie, who looked and sounded good, received a very nice ovation from those attending. 

The second highlight of the weekend was Vince Gill. As many of you are aware, Rick Wright, who was Connie Smith's lead guitar player for the last 17 years, died in a car accident the prior Sunday night. Connie, who has missed the last couple of weeks at the Opry due to illness, was scheduled for both Friday and Saturday this past weekend. On Friday evening, Connie hosted the second segment and when the curtain went up, there was Vince Gill, who was not scheduled, on stage with her, playing the lead guitar and singing back-up on "The Key's in the Mailbox." After the song, Connie acknowledged Rick and thanked Vince for helping her get through the first night without him. Vince said a few words regarding his friendship with Rick. At the end of the segment, Connie sang "Amazing Grace" in honor of Rick. It was a very emotional segment. Then on Saturday night, Vince hosted the last segment and closed out with "Go Rest High On That Mountain," dedicated to Rick. What was impressive was Vince allowed each Opry Staff Band member to play a verse, drawing out the song, and there were some tears on stage as they played. After the song ended, which received a nice ovation from the audience, Vince immediately left the stage. A very emotional experience. 

As far as the rest of the weekend, Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and Bill Anderson appeared both nights. All did a very nice job and if any of you caught Mike Snider's portion on Saturday night, he was the funniest I have heard him in a long time. He was pushing the envelope a little bit, but the audience really loved it. Jeannie looked and sounded good both nights, as did Bill. Of course, being Valentine's weekend, Bill came out with a couple of love songs. Friday night included Bobby Osborne, who did his usual great job on Rocky Top, and The Whites, who did two numbers. Watching Buck play the piano, it is hard to believe that at the age of 85 he is one of the Opry's oldest members. As far guests artists on Friday night, I was very impressed with William Michael Morgan, who sang Johnny Paycheck's "A-11" and really nailed the song. He has a true country voice, reminding me in some ways of Josh Turner and Mo Pitney. I hope he gets his big break someday, but his voice might be too country. Jerry Douglas and The Earls of Leicester were also on Friday evening. If you are unfamiliar with this group, they specialize in music from Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, thus their name. They look and dress the part. After doing their two songs on Friday, Bill had them come back and asked them to play the Martha White theme song, which was Lester and Earl's longtime sponsor, and Opry sponsor. Of course they played it, and I did wonder how much Opry management appreciated the theme song of a former sponsor being played. I don't know the answer, but what I do know is that the Earls were back on Saturday night and did not play the theme. Also appearing on Friday was A Thousand Horses, who I was just not impressed with. I have heard them on the Opry before, and they do have a following, however my first impression upon seeing them was not positive. Finally, there was Jonathan Jackson from "Nashville." This was my first time seeing him in person on the Opry and I was very, very impressed with his two ballad numbers. A great voice that had a lot of emotion. I know he is an actor playing the part of a country music singer, but he does it well. 

As far as Saturday night, in addition to those already mentioned, Opry members Terri Clark and Jesse McReynolds were on, as was a return appearance by Connie Smith, who on Saturday had her husband Marty Stuart playing lead guitar and singing harmony. Much like Vince the night before, Marty stayed in the background and gave the spotlight to Connie. They were on the segment hosted by Terri Clark, who mentioned that it was Connie and Marty who inducted her as a member of the Opry. Terri looked and sounded great, and does a very nice job hosting. Jesse McReynolds and The Virginia Boys did a very nice job and Jesse is looking pretty good. Among the guest artists Saturday was TG Sheppard. TG, who has had a series of hit records, really did a nice job. He came down into the audience and shook a few hands with the fans. Maggie Rose was also on and she did ok, while Clare Bowen from "Nashville" was also fine. The final guest artists were The Railers, another of the young groups trying to make it in Nashville. As with A Thousand Horses from Friday night, they just didn't make it with me. I do wish them luck as this trio is talented, just not my style. 

As far as attendance, I would say that the Opry House was about 2/3 full on Friday night, while Saturday was close to a sell-out. If you listened, you might have heard a few of the artists on Saturday mention the traffic and trouble getting to the Opry House. Well, they were right. The National Wildlife Turkey Federation was having their annual convention and there were close to 50,000 people attending Saturday at the Opryland Hotel. I know it took me almost 45 minutes just to get across Music Valley Drive to the Opry parking lot. Several of the back-up artists did come in late, and I did hear Terri Clark mention that they got in with just five minutes to spare. I believe her, it was that bad. 

All in all, the Opry shows were much better than I had anticipated, based on the announced line-up. It was a good weekend and I can't wait to get back to Nashville, which I hope will be soon. 

Now as far as this weekend at the Opry, the line-ups are posted. Appearing both nights will be Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and Bill Anderson, with Bobby Osborne, Diamond Rio and Josh Turner joining them on Friday night, with Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds and Steve Wariner appearing on Saturday. Guest artists on Friday include Aaron Tippin, Dean Brody, Flatt Lonesome, Lauren Alaina and Exile, who will be appearing also on Saturday night. Joining Exile on Saturday will be Elizabeth Cook, Love and Theft, Chris Lane and The Quebe Sisters.

The newcomer on the list, and making his Opry debut, is Chris Lane. Chris is from North Carolina and first hit the charts in 2012 with his group the Chris Lane Band. In 2014, he released his debut solo album, which reached the lower half of the country charts. He has also done some touring with Florida Georgia Line. 

Here are the line-ups for this weekend:

Friday February 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Aaron Tippin
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Dean Brody; Exile
8:45: Josh Turner (host); Flatt Lonesome; Lauren Alaina

Saturday February 20
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Mike Snider
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; Love and Theft
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Chris Lane; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); The Quebe Sisters; Exile

Currently that comes out to 11 artists for each night, with one slot to fill on Friday. As far as Opry members, there are 6 for each night. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 18 & 19, 2011:

Friday February 18
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Sunny Sweeney
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ray Pillow; Terri Clark
8:15: Steve Wariner (host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; John Conlee; Craig Morgan

Saturday February 19
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sunny Sweeney
7:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: John Conlee (host); Terri Clark; Craig Morgan

From 10 years ago, the weekend of February 17 & 18, 2006: 

Friday February 17
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Tracy Byrd
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Riders In The Sky; The Whites
9:00: Emmylou Harris (host); Gillian Welch & David Rawlings; Elvis Costello
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Dierks Bentley

Saturday February 18
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Mel McDaniel; The Whites
7:00: Emmylou Harris (host); Gillian Welch & David Rawlings; Elvis Costello
8:00: John Conlee (host); Riders In The Sky; Mark Wills; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Mel McDaniel; The Whites
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Walker; Jim Ed Brown
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jim Lauderdale; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Emmylou Harris (host); Gillian Welch & David Rawlings; Elvis Costello
11:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Mark Wills

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of 16 & 17, 2001. Of significance on Saturday night, Brad Paisley was inducted as a new member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Friday February 16
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; BR5-49
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Gillian Welch & David Rawlings; Del Reeves; Mountain Heart
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Hank Locklin; Elizabeth Cook; Mel McDaniel
9:00: John Conlee (host); Larry Stephenson Band; Michael Martin Murphey
9:30: The Whites (host); Jack Greene; Trisha Yearwood

Saturday February 17
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Doc Edwards
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); BR5-49; Mel McDaniel; The Whites; Elizabeth Cook; Trisha Yearwood; Brad Paisley
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Ernie Ashworth; Del Reeves; Billy Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Lee Ann Womack; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Lee Ann Womack; Vince Gill
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Billy Walker; BR5-49
10:30: John Conlee (host); Mel McDaniel; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Steve Wariner (host); Trisha Yearwood; Brad Paisley
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Chet Biggers; Don Edwards

That was the posted line-up for the show. Here is the actual running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday February 17, 2001, the night Brad Paisley was inducted as an Opry member:

1st show
6:30: WSM Online/Apple Barn
Porter Wagoner (host): Fireball Mail/Night Train to Memphis
Connie Smith: Satisfied
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
Don Edwards: Saddle Tramp/I'm Kin to the Wind
Porter Wagoner: Brewster's Farm

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Steve Wariner (host): Burning the Road House Down
BR5-49: The Price of Love
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Elizabeth Cook: I'm Not Lisa
Trisha Yearwood: The Perfect Love/How Do I Live
Steve Wariner: I Just Do
Brad Paisley: Two People Fell In Love/Me Neither

8:00: Martha White
Jeannie Seely (host): Anytime
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Del Reeves: Bells of Southern Bell
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me

8:30: Physicians Mutual
John Conlee (host): She Can't Say that Anymore
Lee Ann Womack: I Hope You Dance/Somebody's Knocking
Vince Gill: Love Wants A Second Chance/If You Ever Have Forever in Mind
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses

2nd show
9:30: WSM Online
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor Howdy
Lee Ann Womack: Never Again, Again/Ashes by Now
Vince Gill: Love Wants A Second Chance/When I Call Your Name
Porter Wagoner: Misery Loves Company

10:00: Lincoln Mercury/Document Management & Storage
Jeannie Seely (host): You Don't Need Me, But You Will
Billy Walker: Faded Lights and Lonesome People/You Gave Me A Mountain
BR5-49: Georgia On A Fast Train
John Shepard: If You've Got the Time, I've Got the Beer/Ghost From the Opry
Jeannie Seely: Leaving & Saying Goodbye

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
John Conlee (host): Domestic Life
Mel McDaniel: Louisiana Saturday Night/Baby's Got Her Blue Jeans On
Elizabeth Cook: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Tennessee Wagoner
John Conlee: The Backside of Thirty/Rose Colored Glasses

11:00: Coca-Cola
Steve Wariner (host): Burning the Road House Down
Trisha Yearwood: Living on the Wrong Side of Memphis/Down on My Knees/She's In Love with the Boy
Brad Paisley: The Streets of Bakersfield/Two People Fell in Love/
Steve Wariner & Brad Paisley: Nothing But the Taillights

11:30: Pigeon Forge
Charlie Walker (host): Cherokee Maiden
Connie Smith: Ain't Had No Lovin'/You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Don Edwards: The Master's Call/The Ghost Train
Charlie Walker: Smoke; Smoke; Smoke

Of historical importance, it was 28 years ago this weekend, Saturday February 20, 1988 that Roy Acuff was honored for 50 years of Opry membership. TNN devoted an entire hour long segment to Roy, that was hosted by Minnie Pearl. Also of significance, Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton reunited and performed on the Opry together for first time since the duet broke up 14 years before. Also performing were Pee Wee King, who was a part of the Opry when Roy originally joined, and Ferlin Husky, who sang a duet with Jean Shepard. Truly a special night at the Opry. 

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Grandpa Jones (host): Little Pink
4 Guys: Tennessee
Lorrie Morgan: Silver Wings & Golden Rings
Ramona Jones: Orange Blossom Special

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky: A Dear John Letter
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon

7:00: Shoney's/Standard Candy
Minnie Pearl (host)
Roy Acuff: Wabash Cannonball
Chet Atkins: The House of the Rising Son
Pee Wee King: Tennessee Waltz
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner's Daughter
Loretta Lynn & Minnie Pearl: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
The Whites: If It Ain't Love
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Porter Wagoner: A Satisfied Mind
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Last Thing on My Mind/Fight & Scratch/Holding on to Nothing/Just Someone I Used to Know/Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man/Rocky Top

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Address Unknown
Connie Smith: Walk Me to the Door
Osborne Brothers: Kentucky
Dottie West: Don't Go to Strangers
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y' All Come
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date With You/Silver Threads & Golden Needles/The End of the World
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Last Thing on My Mind/Fight & Scratch/Holding On to Nothing/Just Someone I Used to Know/Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Going Down the Country
Stonewall Jackson: Closer to the Vine
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Alisa Jones: Liberty

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Loretta Lynn: They Don't Make 'em Like My Daddy Anymore/Coal Miner's Daughter
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Jean Shepard & Ferlin Husky: A Dear John Letter
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Bill Anderson & Roy Acuff: I Wonder If God Likes Country Music

10:45: Heil-Quaker
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Charlie Louvin: In the Cross
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Jim Ed Brown: Four Walls

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Bummin' Around
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Justin Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel was Born
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Hank Snow: The Prisoner's Song

11:30: B.C. Powder
Jack Greene (host): To Make A long Story Longer; She's Gone
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
The Whites: Alabama Jubilee
Johnny Russell: A Legend In My Time
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/Statue of A Fool

Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Grand Ole Opry 2/12 & 2/13

Heading to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry this weekend for both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. The shows don't look too bad and it should be a good weekend, although a cold one. 

The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry member Ronnie Milsap, who will be honored for 40 years of Opry membership. Joining Ronnie will be Opry members Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne, Mike Snider, The Whites, Bill Anderson and Connie Smith. 

As far as Saturday night, the star attraction will be Vince Gill, who is releasing his new album this weekend. I should mention that in addition to the Opry on Saturday night, Vince will also be performing a free show at the Broadway location of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop on Friday evening. The record shop is heavily promoting the new album, much the same as they did the George Strait CD in the fall. 

As far as Opry members joining Vince on Saturday night, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson will stay around for both shows this weekend, and will be joined by Terri Clark, who once again will be hosting a segment, and Jesse McReynolds. 

Guest artists on Friday night include William Michael Morgan, A Thousand Horses, Jonathan Jackson, from "Nashville" and Jerry Douglas with The Earls of Leicester. Jerry and The Earls will also be on Saturday night, joined by Maggie Rose, TG Sheppard, Clare Bowen, of "Nashville" and The Railers. I thought that this might be The Railers Opry debut, but in checking they have been on the Opry before, appearing with Hunter Hayes.

Friday February 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); William Michael Morgan; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); A Thousand Horses; The Whites
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jonathan Jackson; Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Ronnie Milsap

Saturday February 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Maggie Rose; Mike Snider
7:30: Terri Clark (host); TG Sheppard; Connie Smith
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Railers; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Clare Bowen; Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester

That comes to 11 acts of Friday night, 12 on Saturday, with 7 Opry members each night. 

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago this weekend, February 11 & 12, 2011:

Friday February 11
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Riders In The Sky; Mel Tillis
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Terri Clark
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Stonewall Jackson; Jean Shepard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

Saturday February 12
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Terri Clark
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Danny Gokey
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Secret Sisters; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Mike Snider (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Aaron Tippin

From 10 years ago, the weekend of February 10 & 11, 2006:

Friday February 10
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Lorrie Morgan
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Brice Long; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jim Ed Brown

Saturday February 11
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Billy Walker; George Hamilton IV; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Restless Heart

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Jimmy Wayne
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Jean Shepard; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
11:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Restless Heart

Finally, from 15 years ago, February 9 & 10, 2001: 

Friday February 9
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bill Carlisle; Chely Wright
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Osborne Brothers; Gail Davies
8:30: John Conlee (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stonewall Jackson; Chad Brock
9:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Sara Evans; Ricky Skaggs
9:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jim & Jesse; Del Reeves; Hank Williams III

Saturday February 10
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Bill Carlisle; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Steve Wariner; The Whites; Patty Loveless; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Travis Tritt
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Jeanne Pruett; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Gail Davies; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Osborne Brothers; Elizabeth Cook; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Steve Wariner; The Whites; Mary Chapin Carpenter; Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Stu Phillips; Del Reeves; Mike Snider
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Ray Pillow; Gail Davies

Now going back, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 62 years ago this weekend, Saturday February 13, 1954:

7:30: Warren Paint
Roy Acuff (host): Sweep Around Your Own Back Door
Lew Childre: Southern Hospitality
Dot and Smoky: Waltz of the Wind
Howdy Forrester: Black Mountain Rag

7:45: American Ace
Roy Acuff (host): No One Will Every Know
Johnny and Jack: Love Trap
Kitty Wells: Cheating is a Sin
Jimmy Riddle: Steamboat Bill
Roy Acuff: Radio Station S-A-V-E-D
Oswald: Roll Along Jordan

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Loving Heart
Bill Monroe: Memories of Mother and Dad
Hank Snow: You Broke The Chains That Held Our Heart
June Carter: Little Too Fer
Ernest Tubb: I'm With A Crowd But So Alone
Possum Hunters: Bill Cheatham
Carlisles: I Need A Little Help
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs
Bill Monroe: Goodbye Old Pal
Fiddle Tune: Bully of the Town
Ernest Tubb: Daisy May

8:30: Prince Albert
Jimmy Dickens (host): You'd Better Not Do That
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Onie Wheeler: When We All Get Together
Square Dancers: Sally Goodin
Jimmy Dickens: Take Up Thy Cross
Moon Mullican: The Cherokee Boogie
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Onie Wheeler: Run Em Off
String Bean: Lonesome Road Blues
Jimmy Dickens: I Just Gotta See You Once More
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train To Memphis
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cotton-eyed Joe
George Morgan: Love, Love, Love
Jug Band: Jesse Polka
Webb Pierce: Slowly
Lonzo and Oscar: Lets Live A Little No 2
Ray Price: Turn Your Radio On
Roy Acuff: To Be Selected
Oswald: The Nashville Blues
Howdy Forrester: Grey Eagle

9:30: Martha White
Carl Smith (host): What Am I Going To Do
Jimmy Dickens: Side Meat and Cabbage
Anita Carter: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Marty Robbins: Isle of Golden Dreams
Martha Carson: Bye and Bye
Carl Smith: Who'll Buy My Heartaches
Jimmy Dickens: Thick and Thin
Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman
Marty Robbins: Its A Long Long Ride
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

10:00: Wallrite
George Morgan (host): Look What Followed My Home
The Carlisles: Tain't Nice
Bill Monroe: Don't Put Off Until Tomorrow
Blue Grass Boys: Monroe's Hornpipe
George Morgan: The First Time I Told You A Lie

10:15: Dr Le Gear
Hank Snow (host): No Golden Tomorrow Ahead
Ray Price: You Always Get By
Tommy Vaden: Leather Britches
Cowboy Copas: A Heartbreak Ago
Hank Snow: Within This Broken Heart of Mine

10:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Ernest Tubb (host): I'm Not Looking For An Angel
Jimmy Dickens: You All Come
Marty Robbins: Don't Make Me Ashamed
Mother Maybelle: You Are My Flower
Moon Mullican: You Don't Have To Be a Baby To Cry
Ernest Tubb: Remember Me, I'm The One Who Loves You
Jordanaires: Tattler's Wagon
Chet Atkins: Little Old Lady
Jimmy Dickens: What About You
Fiddle Tune: Ricketts Hornpipe

11:00: O-Cell-O
Roy Acuff (host): Freight Train Blues
Martha Carson: I'm Gonna Walk and Talk With My Lord
Bobby Hebbs: Mr. Spoons
Gang: Where The Soul of Man Never Dies
Howdy Forrester: Bill Cheatham

11:15: Hester Battery
Carl Smith (host): Doggone It Baby I'm In Love
Johnny and Jack: Cheated Out of Love
String Bean: Free A Little Bird
Gully Jumpers: Tennessee Wagoner
Carl Smith: This Orchid Means Goodbye

11:30: W.E. Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Wasted Love
Lew Childre: Snow White Horse
Lonzo and Oscar: I't Can't Be Done
Crook Brothers: Alabama Gal
Hank Snow: Act I; Act II; Act III

11:45: Mathewson Chemical
Webb Pierce (host): You Just Can't Be True
Sam and Kirk McGee: Waiting For A Letter
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire In The Mountain
Ken Marvin: When I Stop Loving You
Webb Pierce: It's Been So Long

I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!