Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 5/23 & Opry Country Classics 5/25

Each year, usually around Memorial Day, the Grand Ole Opry has a special Tuesday Night Opry where the Opry honors and "Salute the Troops." The highlight of this special show, where a red carpet is rolled out for the veterans, is a performance by the Musiccorps Wounded Warrior Band. This Tuesday night, May 23, will be that special night, which will feature an outstanding line-up of Opry members and guests who will be saluting those troops and wounded warriors.

7:00: Terri Clark; Dailey & Vincent; Paul Shaffer; Trace Adkins
Intermission
8:15: Musiccorps Wounded Warrior Band; Chris Young; Charlie Daniels Band

Opry Country Classics on May 25 will feature the music of Hall of Fame members, The Statler Brothers. Jimmy Fortune, a member of the group, along with Wilson Fairchild, will be among the guests.

Host: Bill Cody
Spotlight Artist: Dailey & Vincent
Also appearing: Janelle Arthur; Wilson Fairchild; Jimmy Fortune; William Michael Morgan

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 5/19 & 5/20

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the schedule for the shows this weekend, and there are three scheduled as Saturday night there will be two shows. Both nights have pretty solid line-ups.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for all three shows include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider (keeping his streak of appearing on every Friday and Saturday night show alive), The Whites and Riders In The Sky. Joining that group on Friday night will be Opry members Diamond Rio and Bobby Osborne. Bobby, of course, will be appearing on the segment hosted by Diamond Rio, as he does each time both are scheduled on the same show. Joining Jeannie, Mike, The Whites and Riders on Saturday night will be Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds, and one of the Opry's newest members, Crystal Gayle. Much like Dailey & Vincent, it would appear that Crystal is starting off her Opry membership in fine style.

Guest artist on Friday night include the great Moe Bandy. Joining Moe will be comedian Gary Mule Deer, the group Exile, along with The Swon Brothers, Clare Dunn and Morgan Evans. Saturday nights guest list has The Swon Brothers returning, along with Americana singer Elizabeth Cook, Chris Carmack. Striking Matches and Charlie Nagatani, making what has pretty much become an annual appearance on the Opry. Hard to believe that this great country music entertainer from Japan is now 81 years old.

Friday May 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Clare Dunn; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Gary Mule Deer; Exile
Intermission
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Moe Bandy; The Swon Brothers
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Morgan Evans; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

Saturday May 20
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Swon Brothers
8:00: Connie Smith (host); Charlie Nagatani; Striking Matches; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Chris Carmack; Crystal Gayle

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Elizabeth Cook; Mike Snider
10:00: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; The Swon Brothers
10:30: Connie Smith (host); Charlie Nagatani; Striking Matches; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Chris Carmack; Crystal Gayle

And yes, identical line-ups for both shows. Moe Bandy, who is scheduled for the Friday Night Opry, will be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the weekend of May 18 & 19, 2007:

Friday May 18
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Daryle Singletary
8:30: Jimmy  Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Nagatani; Megan Mullins
9:00: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Patty Loveless
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Gene Watson

Saturday May 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers; Dolly Parton; Porter Wagoner
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Mel Tillis

2nd show
9:30; Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; John Conlee; Mike Snider
10:00: Marty Stuart (host); Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers; Dolly Parton; Porter Wagoner
11:00: Jean Shepard (host); Connie Smith; Mel Tillis

That Saturday night was very special as that was the night that Porter Wagoner was honored upon his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Porter Wagoner first reached the country music charts in 1954. During the course of his career, he had 81 charting singles, including 29 Top 10 records and three No. 1's. Such key hits as "Misery Loves Company," "I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand," "The Cold Hard Facts of Life," "The Carroll County Accident," and "Green, Green Grass of Home" were all deeply rooted, hard-country classics. Porter brought them, and country music, to a massive and often new audience, through the most modern means then available, syndicated television.

"The Porter Wagoner Show" ran for an amazing 21 years, beginning in 1961, and reached more than 100 television markets; it was one of the most influential programs in country music history. And it was on that show that he introduced the world at large to the talents of Dolly Parton. Their unsurpassed, soulful duets yielded 14 Top 10 hits between 1967 and 1974, winning a Grammy for their indelible version of Jack Clement's "Just Someone I Used to Know" in 1969 and three consecutive CMA awards as Duo of the Year.

Porter was hardly new to broadcasting when his own show took to the air; he'd been singing on local Missouri radio at 15, and learned TV ropes from Red Foley as an early regular on the Springfield, Missouri based "Ozark Jubilee" show during the 1950s. Legendary RCA A&R man Steve Sholes had so much faith in him as a young singer that he allowed him four years to experiment until he found that fresh and lasting Porter "combination and ingredients" style. Porter continued to record, right up to his final year as he released "Wagonmaster," produced by Marty Stuart. His much read autobiography, "A Satisfied Mind: The Country Music Life of Porter Wagoner," tells a compelling story, but seems to keep needing new chapters. A moving and engaging singer and Opry host, always the showman, he was one of the Opry's most visible treasures.

Porter was born on August 12, 1927 in West Plains, Missouri. In 2002, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, an honor that should have taken place years earlier. While he was honored on that Saturday night in May, Porter's actual Opry induction date was February 23, 1957, however ill health forced the postponement of honoring Porter. Sadly, Porter would pass away later that same year, October 28, 2007 from lung cancer. For those of us who remember seeing and watching the show that May night, it was one of the best hours that the Opry has produced.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 25 years ago, the weekend of May 22 & 23, 1992:

Friday May 22
1st show
6:30: Tom T Hall (host); Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jeannie Seely; Osborne Brothers; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jim and Jesse; Connie Smith; Justin Tubb
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; The Whites; Mike Snider
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Jan Howard; The 4 Guys

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Osborne Brothers; David Houston; Jeanne Pruett
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Tom T Hall
10:30; Jimmy Dickens (host); Ray Pillow; Jim and Jesse; Hank Locklin; The Carlisles
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; The Whites; Jimmy C Newman
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider
12:05; Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday May 23
1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jeanne Pruett
6:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Wilma Lee Cooper
7:30: Tom T Hall (host); The Whites; Stu Phillips; Martina McBride
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Anderson; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Jim Ed Brown; The 4 Guys; Hank Locklin

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; David Houston; Tom T Hall
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Charlie Walker; Roy Drusky
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Mike Snider
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Ray Pillow; The Carlisles
10:45: Jimmy Dickens (host); Martina McBride; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Justin Tubb; The Whites; Jack Greene
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Hank Locklin; The 4 Guys

That was the posted line-up from that night. The only change was Justin Tubb cancelling.

Finally, going back 50 years to Saturday May 20, 1967:

7:30: Cordite
Bobby Lord (host): On & On Goes the Hurt
Willis Brothers: Bob
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy from the Country
Bill Carlisle: Rough Stuff
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Ernie Ashworth: The D.J. Cried
Margie Bowes: Big City
Willis Brothers: Ghost Riders In the Sky
Bobby Lord: Out Behind the Barn

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Salty Dog Blues
Charlie Louvin: Apartment No. 9
Grandpa Jones: Root, Hog, Root
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Flatt & Scruggs: Roustabout
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Connie Smith: I'll Come Runnin'
Flatt & Scruggs: Nashville Cats
Paul Warren: Katy Hill

8:30: Stephens
Hank Locklin (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Jean Shepard: Life Turned Him that Way
Glaser Brothers: Gone on the Other Hand
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Lonzo & Oscar: I'm Getting the Hang of it Now
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Hank Locklin: Nashville Women

9:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Just a Friend
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Wilma Lee Cooper: You're Never Very Far from My Mind
4 Guys: Walk Thru this World With Me
Roy Acuff: The End of the World
Marion Worth: Especially You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen

9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown host): You Can Have Her
Willis Brothers: I Still Do
Ray Pillow: Thank You, Ma'am
Calhoun Twins: A Bad Girl Is A Good Enough for Me
Jim Ed Brown: The Love of the Common People
Harold Weakley: Pain A Picture of My World
Ray Pillow: (?)
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

10:00: Schick
Bobby Lord (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Bill Carlisle: What Kinda Deal is This
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Ernie Ashworth: I'm Just an Empty Place
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You

10:15: Pure
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Don't Get Above Your Raisings
Grandpa Jones: Dark As A Dungeon
Margie Bowes: When Its Over
Glaser Brothers: A Girl Like You
Flatt & Scruggs: It Was Only the Wind

10:30: Buckley's
Charlie Louvin (host): On the Other Hand
Connie Smith: Love's Gonna Live Here
Bob Luman: Memphis
Connie Smith: The Family Bible
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby/My Baby's Gone

10:45: Kent
George Morgan (host): Look at the Lonely
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Norma Gale: Ava Marie
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: The Birds are Back to Sing
4 Guys: Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fire on the Mountain
Roy Acuff: Lonely Mound of Clay
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
Sam McGee: These Boots are Made for Walking
Onie Wheeler: I Saw Mom with God Last Night
Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): No Tears, Milady
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me, I'm Falling
Jim Ed Brown: Hold Me; Thrill Me; Kiss Me
Don Winters: Jambalaya
Marion Worth: I Can't Help It
Ray Pillow: Ride, Ride, Ride
Marty Robbins: The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight/Begging to You/Don't Worry

Norma Gale appeared on the 10:45 segment in place of Justin Tubb. So who was Norma Gale? She was a country music artist from Moncton, New Brunswick who was inducted into the New Brunswick Country Hall of Fame on October 25, 2008. She was born in Moncton in 1945 and was a Gold Record recording artist and songwriter. She began her career at age 12, singing at local jamborees for 50 cents a night, During her early career, she appeared on several occasions on The Bunkhouse Boys TV show and as a full time vocalist with Val Surette and The Night Hawks & Roger Cormier's Brunswick Playboys. After winning a talent contest with her sister Linda, she became a regular vocalist on a local radio station and appeared on TV before she was 18. She became a popular bass player and performer with country music artists such as Bobby Bare, Conway Twitty, Waylon Jennings, Dottie West, Loretta Lynn, Bill Anderson and many others at the famous Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. She appeared on the Grand Ole Opry on two occasions in 1967-68. Norma traveled the world and entertained in 40 states, Greenland, Philippines, Japan, Viet Nam and Korea. In the 1990s, Norma was a bass player and singer in the famous June Pasher Band in Toronto and performed for several years every Saturday afternoon at OV's Country Club, until the untimely death of June in 2002. Norma then moved on with her own popular band, Norma Gale & Friends until ill health forced her to retire. Norma had two albums during her long career, "January, April and Me" and "April's Food Cake." She was awarded two gold albums from the recording industry, attaining 55,000 copies for each album. She also had a number of single releases, including "The Wedding," "Too Much of You," "So Far From You," "My Picture Province," and "What More Can I Say." While not making much of an impact in the United States, Norma Gale had a pretty solid, and busy career in Canada.

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




Sunday, May 14, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 5/16 & Opry Country Classics 5/18

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 16:

7:00: Larry Gatlin; The Whites
7:30: Jamie Lynn Spears; Montgomery Gentry
Intermission
8:15: Maddie & Tae; Lee Brice
8:45: Ricky Skaggs

Here is the line-up for Opry Country Classics, May 18:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Craig Morgan
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Shenandoah; Mike Snider; Emily West

Very unusual to see Mike Snider on the Opry Country Classics show. I would have to look at the records, but this might be his first appearance on Thursday night; if not his first, then it has been a few years since he has been on.




Thursday, May 11, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 5/12 & 5/13

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Overall, pretty solid line-ups with a good variety of artists.

Opry members scheduled for both shows this weekend include Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider; Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky. Joining that group on Friday night will be Joe Diffie, Connie Smith, Steve Wariner and Jesse McReynolds. while on Saturday The Whites, Bobby Osborne and Bill Anderson join the group.

Guesting both nights will be LOCASH. Joining then on Friday night will be Jackie Lee and Billy Ray Cyrus, while Saturday's guest artists include Mark Wills, Linda Davis, and Angaleena Presley, who will be signing in the Opry Shop. For those not familiar with Angaleena Presley, she is part of the group Pistol Annies, with Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe. The group, which put out several albums, is still technically together, although they really haven't done anything for several years.

Friday May 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Joe Diffie
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith
Intermission
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jackie Lee; LOCASH
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Jesse McReynolds; Billy Ray Cyrus

Saturday May 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Linda Davis
Intermission
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Angaleena Presley; Opry Square Dances
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); LOCASH

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of May 11 & 12, 2007:

Friday May 11
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lee Brice
8:30: Pam Tillis (host); Jim Ed Brown; T. Bubba Bechtol
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Angela Hacker
9:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell

Saturday May 12
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Cole Deggs & The Lonesome
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Aaron Tippin
7:30: Pam Tillis (host); Charlie Louvin; George Hamilton IV; T. Bubba Bechtol
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; John Anderson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Mel Tillis

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Mel McDaniel; Cole Deggs & The Lonesome
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; T. Bubba Bechtol; Aaron Tippin
10:30: Pam Tillis (host); George Hamilton IV; John Anderson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Mel Tills

So who was Cole Deggs & The Lonesome? Well, they were formed in 2006 and included Cole Deggs, Shade Deggs, David Wallace, Jimmy Wallace and Brian Hayes. Before forming the band, Cole was a songwriter and had written songs for Kenny Chesney, Tracy Byrd, Andy Griggs and Gary Allan, among others. As to the group, they were signed to Columbia Records in 2007 and released their first album that same year. Their first single, "I Got More" made it up to #25 on the country charts, while their 2nd single, "Girl Next Store" failed to reach the Top 40. There was no 3rd single as the group was dropped by Columbia Records and the group disbanded.

Now from 25 years ago, here is the posted line-up from Friday & Saturday May 15 & 16, 1992:

Friday May 15
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Roy Drusky; Ray Pillow; Jim and Jesse; Justin Tubb
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The 4 Guys; Jack Greene; Jeanne Pruett; The Whites
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Connie Smith
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; George Hamilton IV; Mike Snider
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jan Howard; The Carlisles; Jeannie Seely

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; The 4 Guys
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Anderson; Ray Pillow; Ernie Ashworth
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Vic Willis Trio; Jack Greene; Mike Snider
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jan Howard; The Carlisles; Connie Smith
11:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday May 16
1st show
6:30: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeannie Seely; Mac Wiseman
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Charlie Walker; George Hamilton IV; Wilma Lee Cooper
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy Dickens; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Roy Drusky; The 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stu Phillips; Ray Pillow; Mike Snider
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Mac Wiseman
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jack Greene
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; The 4 Guys; The Carlisles
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

(In the actual running of Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, Stu Phillips cancelled and Roy Drusky was moved into his spot on the 2nd show).

And now, here is the running order from 50 years ago, Saturday May 13, 1967. It was also the night that Merle Haggard made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

7:30: Cordite
Billy Walker (host): Oh, Lonesome Me
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy from the Country
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Billy Walker: Del Rio

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Charlie Louvin: Here Comes Someone's Heartache
George Hamilton IV: Urge for Going
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler
Flatt & Scruggs: Nashville Cats
Ray Pillow: Six Days on the Road
Merle Haggard: The Bottle Let Me Down
Charlie Louvin: On the Other Hand

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Little Pal
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You're Never Very Far from My Mind
Wilburn Brothers: Hurt Her Once for Me
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Tommy Hunter: Fill Up My Cup of Disgrace
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: It Started Again
Wilburn Brothers: Roarin' Again
Howdy Forrester: (?)
Roy Acuff: Cabin in Gloryland

9:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
The Browns: I'd Just be Fool Enough
Minnie Pearl: You Are My Sunshine
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life
Norma Jean: Conscience, Keep An Eye on Me Tonight
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Rumba Boogie
Jimmy C Newman: Louisiana Saturday Night
Marion Worth: Walk Thru This World
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Hank Snow: My Mother
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Jimmy C Newman; Cry, Cry Darling
Hank Snow: Down at the Pawn Shop

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): It was Only the Wind
Charlie Louvin: God Bless Her 'Cause She's My Mother
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make a Woman Lose Her Mind
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Bill Carlisle, Jr: Just to Satisfy You
Ray Pillow: Two Minus One Leaves Blue
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Howdy Forrester: (?)

10:30: Buckley's
Wilburn Brothers (host); The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight
Loretta Lynn: If You're Not Gone Too Long
Teddy Wilburn & Loretta Lynn: Sweet Thang
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face

10:45: Kent
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): The Birds are Back to Sing
Bob Luman: Let's Think About Living
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Conscience, I'm Guilty
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Lost Indian
Hank Snow: The Runt
Sam McGee: Nine Pound Hammer
Tommy Hunter: In A Way
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Hank Snow: (?)

11:30: Lava
Jimmy C Newman (host): Louisiana Saturday Night
Marion Worth: Apartment No. 9
Merle Haggard: Days of Wine & Roses/Swinging Doors
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Marion Worth: Lose Talk
Cousin Jody: Wabash Cannonball
Jimmy C Newman: Dropping Out of Sight

Finally, it was on Saturday May 13, 1972 that the great Gene Watson made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Billy Walker (host): Things
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Billy Walker: Gone Our Endless Love/Charlie's Shoes

6:45: Rudy's
Ray Pillow (host); Cinderella
Ernie Ashworth: Wanted Man
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it To Me Again

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Monroe (host): It's Mighty Dark for Me to Travel
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Don't Care (If Tomorrow Never Comes)
Louie Roberts: Old Time Religion
Bill Monroe: Kentucky Mandolin
Wilma Lee Cooper: Precious Memories
Louie Roberts: Release Me
Bill Monroe: John Henry/Shenandoah Breakdown

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Drusky (host): Long, Long Texas Road
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Stringbean: Ruby
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Roy Drusky: I Love the Way That You've Been Loving Me
Willis Brothers: Bob
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Jerry Whitehurst: Java
Roy Drusky: Red, Red Wine

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Onie Wheeler: Mother Prays Loud in Her Sleep
Howdy Forrester: (?)
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains/Cabin in Gloryland

8:30: Stephens
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll Muddy River
Barbara Mandrell: Show Me
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking in My Sleep
Wilburn Brothers: Metals for Mothers
Barbara Mandrell: I Know My Lord Will Lead Me Home
4 Guys: Let There Be Peace

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Willis Brothers: Ghost Riders in the Sky
Del Wood: Gloryland March
Billy Walker: Gone Our Endless Love
Skeeter Willis: Maiden's Prayer
Del Wood: Standing Room Only
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes/Heartaches by the Number

10:00: Fender
Ray Pillow (host): Heart Over Mind
Wilma Lee Cooper: Leroy the Cripple Boy
Ray Pillow: She's Doing it to Me Again
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Birds are Back

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): Little Joe
Louie Roberts: Old Time Religion
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Stringbean: Roll On Buddy
Harold Weakley: Where No One Stands Alone
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home/Strangers

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Crook Brothers: Soldier's Joy
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

11:00: Coca-Cola
Stu Phillips (host): Help Me Make It Through the Night
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Stu Phillips: I'd Rather Be Sorry
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Sam McGee: John Henry
Stu Phillips: Me & Bobby McGee

11:30: Elm Hill
Wilburn Brothers (host): It Looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale That the Crow Told Me
Barbara Mandrell: Tonight My Baby's Coming Home
Gene Watson: Danny Boy/I Can't Help It
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Barbara Mandrell: Show Me
Wilburn Brothers: All We Have for You, Mom

While never becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Gene Watson has certainly made his fair share of Opry appearances over the years, more than many of the Opry's members. Gene, who turns 74 this year, has had 75 singles on the country charts, 23 of which went into the Top 10, and 6 that hit #1, including his first #1 in 1975 "Love in the Hot Afternoon." That was followed by "Paper Rosie," "Farewell Party," "Pick the Wildwood Flower," "Fourteen Caret Mind," and "You're Out Doing What I'm Here Doing Without." In 2002, Gene was elected to the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Certainly a case can be made that Gene should receive serious consideration for the Country Music Hall of Fame, and many feel, such as I, that Gene should have been a member of the Opry years ago.

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend. And a very Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms!!!!



Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 5/9 & Opry Country Classics 5/11

The Tuesday Night Opry will once again have two shows this week as the Opry continues to take advantage of the current popularity of the Opry. The Tuesday night shows feature two more appearances by the Opry's newest members, Dailey & Vincent, along with frequent guest Chris Janson.

1st show
7:00: Bill Anderson; Old Dominion
7:30: Charlie Worsham; Terri Clark
8:00: Dustin Lynch; Lauren Alaina
8:30: Dailey & Vincent; Chris Janson

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson; Carly Pearce
10:00: Charlie Worsham; Terri Clark
10:30: Dustin Lynch; Lauren Alaina
11:00: Dailey & Vincent; Chris Janson

Opry Country Classics has lined up a very special spotlight artist for the show this week as Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee will be in the spotlight.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Brenda Lee
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Jamie O'Neal; Restless Heart; Mark Wills


Sunday, May 7, 2017

May Opry Highlights

April showers bring May flowers!! If that is the case, there will be a lot of flowers around our place this summer as April was a showery month. Now that it is May, we truly are well into Spring and the promise of summer. As always, here are the important and historical events that have taken place during the month of May regarding the Grand Ole Opry, or its members:

May 1, 1894: One of the Opry's original members, Sam McGee was born. Sam first appeared on the WSM Barn Dance in 1926. Over the years, Sam would appear with his brother Kirk, and as part of the Dixieliners and Fruit Jar Drinkers. Sam passed away in August 1975, following a tractor accident on his farm near Nashville.

May 12, 1901: The Duke of Paducah, Benjamin Francis Ford, was born in DeSoto, Missouri. This fine comedian joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1942, and remained a member of the Opry until 1959. Even though he gave up his Opry membership to move on to other opportunities, the Duke would continue to return for guest appearances, especially during the Opry's annual reunion shows. Benjamin Ford passed away in 1986, the same year that he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 30, 1909: Lewis Crook, a member of the Crook Brothers, was born, While not an original member of the group, he performed with Herman Crook and the others, primarily backing up the square dancers. After Herman passed away, Lewis continued on at the Opry as part of the newly named Opry Square Dance Band. Lewis, who was a part of the Opry for over 50 years, passed away in 1997.

May 17, 1912: Grand Ole Opry and WSM announcer Grant Turner was born. Grant joined the staff of WSM on D-Day, June 6, 1944. While the Opry has had many legendary announcers over the years, Grant is considered the Opry's best, so much so that he was called "The Dean of the Opry's Announcers." Grant remained an Opry announcer until his death on October 19, 1991, just hours after finishing his work on the Friday Night Opry. Grant, who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was with WSM for 47 years.

May 30, 1912: Alcyone Bate Beasley was born. Alcyone was there when it all started in November 1925, performing with her father's group, Dr. Humphrey Bate and His Possum Hunters. After his death in 1936, Alcyone worked to keep the Possum Hunters together, but it was a struggle as the Opry moved to a more professional and modern sound. By the 1960s, the Possum Hunters had been merged with the Crook Brothers. In the 1970s, after over 45 years on the Opry, Alcyone went into semi-retirement, after which she became a fixture at the Opry's annual reunion shows. She passed away in October 1982.

May 9, 1914: The legendary Singing Ranger, Hank Snow was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Hank joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1950 and would remain one of the Opry's biggest stars until his death in December 1999, just weeks short of his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In 1979, Hank was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 1, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon joined the cast of the WSM Barn Dance. Uncle Dave was considered the first professional musician to join the cast of the Barn Dance, and he would remain with the show until his death in March 1952. Uncle Dave was a popular Opry member, who always considered himself just a plain old country boy. In 1966, he was one of the early members to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 1, 1928: Former Grand Ole Opry member, James Hugh Loden was born. Better known as Sonny James, the Southern Gentleman, he was an Opry member for a few years in the 1960s. A true country legend, Sonny is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 25, 1936: Grand Ole Opry member Tom T Hall was born. Much like Abe Lincoln. Tom T was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tom T originally joined the Opry on January 1, 1971. He left the Opry in March 1974, when the show moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. In 1980, he returned as an Opry member. At the age of 81, Tom T is now retired.

May 31, 1938: Donald Lytle was born in Greenfield, Ohio. Early in his career, he decided upon the name Johnny Paycheck and spent the early part of his career as a band member for Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and Faron Young. Once he became a star in his own right, Johnny became one of the first to be considered a country "outlaw." He experienced some pretty serious issues in his life and spent some time in prison. However in 1997, thanks to some help from his friend Johnny Russell, he was asked to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Sadly, just a few years after becoming an Opry member, his health declined and his performing career ended. Johnny passed away in February 2003.

May 2, 1948: Grand Ole Opry member Larry Gatlin was born. Along with his brothers Steve and Rudy, Larry joined the cast of the Opry on Christmas Day 1976. In recent years, Larry has been performing pretty regularly at the Opry and has become the primary host of Opry Country Classics, which takes place at the Ryman Auditorium during the Spring and Fall months.

May 29, 1950: Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters, which consisted of Anita, Helen and June, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. When the Carters joined the cast, they also brought along Chet Atkins as their guitar player. For Chet, it was a return to the show as he had originally appeared on the show in the 1940s with Red Foley. While the Carter Sisters would come and go, Mother Maybelle remained with the Opry until the late 1960s. Later in her career, and similar to the experience of other veteran Opry members such as Sam and Kirk McGee, she would complain to the Opry's management about her poorly timed spots and a general lack of respect. When she finally did decide to leave the Opry, it was to become a permanent member of Johnny Cash's road show.

May 16, 1953: Jimmy Dean made his Grand Ole Opry debut, introduced that night by Opry member Carl Smith. While never becoming an Opry member, Jimmy would make occasional Opry appearances throughout his career, including on the night that Jimmy Dickens was honored on his 50th anniversary as an Opry member.

May 23, 1953: Singing "Mexican Joe" future Grand Ole Opry member Jim Reeves made his Opry debut.

May 21, 1955: While several dates are listed, it would appear that this was the date that Opry member Webb Pierce quit the Opry. He was an Opry member for just three years, but over that time he realized  pretty fast how much money he was losing by not being out on the road on Saturday nights. In addition to his Hall of Fame career, Webb was also involved in the music publishing business.

May 11, 1957: Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. They, along with a few others, were brought in as part of a youth movement in an attempt to capture the younger crowd who were not coming to the Opry. They were with the Opry for only a year before moving on. In 2001, they were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 18, 1957: Just weeks after the Everly Brothers, Rusty and Doug Kershaw made their Opry debut.

May 20, 1958: Don Gibson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. A fantastic songwriter, Don was an Opry member until December 1964, when he was fired from the cast for not making the required number of Opry appearances. Several years later, Don rejoined the Opry after the attendance requirements were lowered. Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, Don remained an Opry member until his death in 2003 after a period of declining health.

May 1, 1960: The WLS National Barn Dance, one of the Opry's early competitors, came to an end as WLS in Chicago changed formats. The Barn Dance originally started on April 19, 1924, a year prior to the start of the Opry.

May 13, 1967: Merle Haggard made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Merle came to the Opry a few times, the last being in October 2015, when he made a surprise appearance on the show.

May 8, 1968: Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay passed away at his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started the WSM Barn Dance in November 1925, several months after joining WSM as the Radio Director. After he started the show, he would frequently clash with WSM management, particularly Harry and David Stone, over the direction of the show. He wanted to keep the Opry "close to the ground" while the Stone's saw the value of the Opry to National Life and WSM and wanted the show to take a more professional approach. Over the years, Hay would suffer periods of ill health and by the time he retired from WSM, he was primarily an announcer with little creative control regarding the show. On Saturday May 11, the first Opry show following his death, Grant Turner paid tribute to him, saying, "He called himself the Solemn Old Judge. If he was solemn, it was only in the face of those who thought to change or corrupt the purity of the barn dance ballads he sought to preserve. We, the performers and friends of the Grand Ole Opry, salute the memory of one whose influence is felt on the stage of the Opry tonight-the Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay."

May 10, 1969: Stonewall Jackson rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Stonewall was another of the ones who were fired in December 1964 for failing to fulfill the Opry's attendance requirements. Stonewall originally joined the cast in November 1956 and this past November he was recognized by the Opry for being an Opry member 60 years.

May 1, 1971: Tex Summey, known professionally as Cousin Jody, made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He originally came to the Opry in 1937 with Roy Acuff and later performed with Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. Later in his career, he appeared with Lonzo & Oscar, in addition to his solo performances. While not always remember, Cousin Jody was Roy Acuff's original dobro player, replaced by Brother Oswald when he left Roy's group. He left the Opry due to his declining health.

May 13, 1972: Gene Watson made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, Gene has actually appeared on the Opry more times than many of the Opry's members. I have been asked many times why Gene never became an Opry member, and it is a question that I have no answer for.

May 22, 1977: In honor of Victoria Day, a national holiday in Canada, the Opry held a special matinee show dedicated to the fans of the Opry from the country up North.

May 11, 1979: Lester Flatt passed away in Nashville at the age of 64. Lester had been in declining health for a number of years. Lester first came to the Opry as a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, later joining with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt & Scruggs. After splitting with Earl, Lester continued as an Opry member, sticking to traditional bluegrass and traditionally hosting the segment hosted by Martha White.

May 15, 1982: Ricky Skaggs became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 35th year as an Opry member. Ricky always dreamed of becoming an Opry member and he has always taken his Opry membership seriously. As Ricky said, "I don't ever, ever want to get to the point where I don't come and play the Opry, while I feel like I'm too good to play the Opry. Mr. Acuff said that I would do that. He said you'll get so big you'll do like all the rest of them. And I said, you don't know me. You just watch and see, I'm not made that way. I didn't join the Opry for that." After that, whenever Ricky played the Opry, he would always make it a point to find Roy and tell him that he was indeed there. And yes, there have been a few bumps in the road, but overall, Ricky has been good for the Opry.

May 26, 1984: Onie Wheeler, a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, died of a heart attack while performing on the Grand Ole Gospel radio program that followed the Friday Night Opry.

May 3, 1986: Barbara Mandrell returned to the Opry for the first time following her near fatal car accident.

May 4, 1991: Travis Tritt made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Less than a year later, in February 1992, Travis would become an Opry member.

May 1, 1993: Charley Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Charley's 24th year as an Opry member. Charley first appeared as a guest on the Opry in the late 1960s. Over the following years, Charley was asked numerous times if he was interested in becoming a member of the Opry, but he always declined due to his heavy touring schedule and the fact that he seldom came to Nashville. In 1993, he finally felt that the time was right and he joined the cast.

May 11, 1996: Steve Wariner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Steve first came to the Opry as a member of Dottie West's band, before branching out with his own career. This will be Steve's 21st year as a member of the Opry's cast.

May 31, 1997: Lee Ann Womack made her first guest appearance on the Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, Lee Ann would make guest appearances on the show.

May 9, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Teddy Wilburn made his final appearance on the Opry. Teddy and his brother Doyle, along with other family members, had first appeared on the Opry in 1940 before being forced to leave the show due to child labor laws. In the 1950s, they returned to the Opry as members, with Teddy and Doyle performing as a duo until Doyle's death from cancer in 1982. Teddy continued as a solo member of the Opry, although over time he would reduce his appearances. Health issues forced Teddy to retire from performing and he passed away in November 2003.

May 15, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Johnny Paycheck made his final appearance on the Opry. Health issues forced Johnny to retire from performing.

May 5, 2001: Blake Shelton made his debut as a guest artist on the Grand Ole Opry. Over the next decade, Blake would continue to appear once in a while on the Opry, eventually joining the cast in the fall of 2010.

May 21, 2006: Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker, along with his wife Bettie and two members of his band, were killed in a traffic accident on their way back to Nashville after an appearance in Alabama. Billy had joined the Opry in 1960.

May 19, 2007: Porter Wagoner celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was joined that night by Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart and Buck Trent. Marty hosted the televised segment and it marked the final time that Porter and Dolly shared the stage together. Dolly sang a very emotional "I Will Always Love You," which she wrote dedicated to Porter and on that night, it brought tears to Porter's eyes. Porter, who was already in declining health, would pass away in October. And yes, 10 years after his death, Porter is still missed at the Opry.

May 10, 2008: Carrie Underwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 9th year as an Opry member. On the night of her induction, Garth Brooks surprised Carrie and the Opry crowd by making a special appearance to induct Carrie. I know I have said it before, but Carrie takes her Opry membership seriously and even with her busy schedule, she has always managed to get in the 10 appearances each year asked of her.

May 30, 2009: Comedian, actor and banjo player Steve Martin made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry, leading an all-star band performing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." If you have never seen or heard Steve play the banjo, he is fantastic and takes it very seriously.

May 1, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House sustained major damage when the Cumberland River flooded during heavy rains that hit the Nashville area. The Opry House, Acuff Theater, Opry Museum and Opry Mills Mall all were closed due to the damage. The Acuff Theater was torn down, the Museum has never reopened and it took the Mall years to get repaired. In the case of the Opry House, it took until September for the auditorium to be reopened. When it did, it was a star-studded Tuesday Night Opry with Bill Anderson hosting the opening segment. This was fitting as it was Bill that had hosted the final Saturday night segment the night prior to the flood. And even though the Opry House was closed due to the flood, the Opry did not miss one performance as the show relocated to various buildings around Nashville.

May 3, 2011: Alabama made a guest appearance on the Opry, 29 years after they first appeared on the Opry. They were joined on stage that night by Opry member Brad Paisley, and together they sang, "Old Alabama" and "Tennessee River."

May 18, 2013: Retired Grand Ole Opry member Barbara Mandrell made a surprise appearance at the Opry. She did not sing, but came out on stage and waved to the audience.


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 5/5 & 5/6

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the three shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and two Grand Ole Opry shows on Saturday night featuring Opry member Brad Paisley. Brad will have the entire final segment on the 1st show to himself, along with the opening segment on the 2nd show. The ushers are really going to have their work cut out for them clearing the house after the 1st show and getting everyone in for the 2nd show.

As to the rest of the line-up this weekend, Grand Ole Opry members joining Brad on Saturday night include Mike Snider, Bill Anderson, Bobby Osborne and Connie Smith. Connie, Bill, and Mike are also scheduled on Friday night, where they will be joined by members Jesse McReynolds, Dailey & Vincent (again hosting a segment), Ricky Skaggs and The Whites.

It is really, really nice to see Rhonda Vincent guesting on both shows Saturday night. These will be her first Opry appearances since Dailey & Vincent joined the cast. Joining Rhonda on Saturday will be Ashley Campbell, Charles Esten, and making her Opry debut, Bailey Bryan.

Friday's guests include Exile, Wade Hayes, Kristian Bush, Jimmy Fortune (who will be signing copies of his new CD in the Opry Shop, and Devin Dawson, who will also be making his Opry debut.

Friday May 5
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Exile
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Devin Dawson
Intermission
8:15: Dailey & Vincent (host); Wade Hayes; Jimmy Fortune
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Kristian Bush

Saturday May 6
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Ashley Campbell; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Bailey Bryan
8:00: Connie Smith (host); Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Brad Paisley

2nd show
9:30: Brad Paisley
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Ashley Campbell; Rhonda Vincent
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Bailey Bryan; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charles Esten

As mentioned, there are two individuals who will be making their Opry debut this weekend, Devin Dawson on the Friday Night Opry and Bailey Bryan on Saturday night.

Devin Dawson is described as a California native with deep country roots. He considers Johnny Cash, Alan Jackson and Marvin Gaye as his influences. Devin, who is 28, graduated from Belmont University and first made an impact in 2014, covering a Taylor Swift song with some success. "All on Me" is his debut single which he is touring in support of. That tour includes an appearance on Seth Meyer's late night show, and tour dates opening for Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

As far as Bailey Bryan, she is another one of the artists on Rolling Stone's list of new country artists you need to know. She grew up in Sequim, Washington. She is a described as a storyteller with words and melodies that capture her generation, but are wisely crafted beyond her years. While she may have country roots, her music is diverse and unique with wide-spanned influences from the Dixie Chicks to Drake to Red Hot Chili Peppers and has opened for acts such as Macklemore and Sara Evans. Now living in Nashville, Bailey records for Warner Music Nashville and 300 Entertainment out of New York, and her debut single is "Own It."

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of May 4 & 5. 2007:

Friday May 4
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Mel McDaniel; Larry Sparks
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy Wayne
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider
9:30: Pam Tillis (host); Stu Phillips; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky

Saturday May 5
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Larry Sparks
7:30: Mike Snider (host); George Hamilton IV; Julie Roberts
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Ray Scott; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Jake Owen

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Julie Roberts
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Larry Sparks; Ray Scott
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Ray Pillow; Jake Owen; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Elizabeth Cook

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of May 8 & 9, 1992:

Friday May 8
1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Roy Drusky; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Pillow
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; 4 Guys
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Jimmy C Newman; Jeannie Seely

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Pruett; The Carlisles; Air Force Band
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Justin Tubb; Jan Howard; Connie Smith
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; 4 Guys; Jack Greene
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday May 9
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeannie Seely; Charlie Walker
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Skeeter Davis; The Four Guys
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Ronna Reeves; Ricky Van Shelton
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown; Stu Phillips; Teddy Wilburn; Ronna Reeves
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Ricky Van Shelton
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); The Carlisles
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Skeeter Davis; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; Justin Tubb; Roy Drusky
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard; Riders In The Sky; Johnny Russell

Finally, from 50 years ago, Saturday May 6, 1967:

7:30: Cordite
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): (?)
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Stringbean: The Big 'Un Got Away
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You're Never Very Far from My Heart
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Ernie Ashworth: I'm Just an Empty Place
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Wonder If You're Lonesome Too
Charlie Louvin: Turn Around
Skeeter Davis: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Flatt & Scruggs: Roustabout
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle
Duane Dee: (?)
Charlie Louvin: On the Other Hand
Earl Scruggs: Reuben

8:30: Stephens
Porter Wagoner (host): You Can't Make a Heel Toe the Mark
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Norma Jean: Conscience, Keep an Eye on Me Tonight
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life
Debbie Kay: A Legend in My Time
Bobby Lord: Life Can Have Meaning
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of this As I Can Stand

9:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Marion Worth: Especially You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Lonzo & Oscar: I'm Moving On #2
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Marion Worth: Touch My Heart
Roy Acuff: Traveling the Highway Home

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Bob Luman: Memphis
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such as I
4 Guys: Shenandoah
George Morgan: Almost
Hank Snow: Breakfast With the Blues

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): It Was Only the Wind
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Flatt & Scruggs: Nashville Cats

10:15: Pure
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Norma Jean: Don't Let that Door Knob Hit You
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Mac McGaha: Shuffling Back
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:30: Buckley's
Tex Ritter (host): Boll Weevil
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Tex Ritter: Remember the Alamo

10:45: Kent
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Mind
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Ernie Ashworth: Heartbreak Avenue

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Hank Snow: Listen
4 Guys: Mariah
Sam McGee: Cabbage Head
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Hank Snow: Down at the Pawn Shop

11:30: Lava
George Morgan (host): I Couldn't See
Marion Worth: That's All Right
Lonzo & Oscar: Things Look Silly Until You Understand
Debbie Kay: Sugar-time
George Morgan: Danny Boy
Bob Luman: (?)
George Morgan & Marion Worth: Slippin' Around

A name from that night that some may have forgotten and that was Duane Dee. Duane was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and he was known for making a few guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. He originally regarded for Capital Records and his 2nd single was "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," which reached #44 on the country charts in 1968. (Yes, this is the same song that in 1975 Freddy Fender recorded, and his version went to #1). He had a few more minor hits, including "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," which went to #36 on the country charts in 1971, while the Bee Gees version went to the top of the pop charts. His last record to hit the charts was "Morning Girl" which was released on ABC Records in 1974. After that, he moved to Florida.

The other name from that night was Debbie Kay, often introduced as Debbie Lori Kay. Debbie was born in New York in 1950, but grew up in Ontario, Canada. Her father was a disc jockey and he asked a local Canadian group to allow Debbie to sing in their band. She toured with the band, Rogues, for about a year and then she joined the Tommy Hunter Show. After signing a record deal with Columbia Records, she made her first appearance on the Canadian charts in 1965 with "Picking Up My Hat," She continued to record with records hitting both the Canadian pop and country charts. In June 1968, her recording on "Come On Home" reached #12. In 1971, she was nominated for several Juno Awards, including "Best Female Vocalist" and "Best Country Female Artist."

She changed record labels several times and her songs would continue to hit the Canadian adult contemporary and country charts. She also appeared on various television programs including the Tommy Hunter Show, Wilburn Brothers Show (there is a clip of her appearance on YouTube) and Music City USA. She also had her own one hour CBC variety show, "The Debbie Lori Kay Show." In 2005 she was inducted into the Ontario Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2006, she suffered serious injuries in a car accident and the last that was heard, she was living in the Seattle, Washington area.

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







Monday, May 1, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 5/2 & Opry Country Classics 5/4

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, May 2:

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Aaron Tippin
7:30: Mandy Barnett; Jerrod Niemann
Intermission
8:15: Mo Pitney; Dailey & Vincent
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Nice to see the newest Grand Ole Opry members Dailey & Vincent making another Opry appearance. And they have many more on their upcoming schedule.

As far as Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, Larry Gatlin is busy with his new play, so Bill Cody of WSM will be hosting the show:

Host: Bill Cody
Spotlight Artist: Charlie Daniels Band
Also Appearing: Baillie & The Boys; Alyssa Bonagura; Exile; Charlie McCoy; Ray Scott

A very nice line-up and it will be interesting to see if Alyssa joins her mom Kathie Baillie for any songs.

Enjoy

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/28 & 4/29

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two Opry shows this weekend; the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. The shows both nights look pretty good, with the edge given to the Friday show.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include Mike Snider; Ricky Skaggs; Bill Anderson and John Conlee. They will be joined on Friday night by members Jeannie Seely, Josh Turner; The Whites; Pam Tillis; Bobby Osborne and Old Crow Medicine Show, who will be appearing and signing in the Opry Gift Shop after the show. On Saturday night, additional Opry members appearing include Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds and Riders In The Sky. Of that group, it is really nice to see Josh Turner returning to the Opry.

Guest artists this weekend are Runaway June on Friday night (yes, only one), and T. Bubba Bechtol, Point of Grace, Russell Dickerson, and making his Opry debut, Shane Owens. It has been a while since T. Bubba has been on the Opry and it's good to see him bring his brand of comedy back to the Opry stage.

As mentioned, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Shane Owens. Shane Owens was listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "10 Country Artists You Need to Know." According to the magazine, Shane should appeal to fans who like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks. He released his latest album, "Where I'm Coming From" this past December and he has been receiving airplay of Sirius XM's Outlaw  Country channel. According to Randy Travis, "Shane Owens brings it all...vocal, writing, performance, and passion. He has paid his dues, remained committed to traditional country and brings you a song with heart and a story. Songs that will get you through the tough times and enjoy the happy times; and, lyrics that will remind you of the threads in life that make you the fabric you are today. He will bless you with his talent and kindness. To Shane, I gladly pass the baton." Originally from Alabama, he recorded and released his first album in 2005 and has been working hard since. Personally, I look forward to hearing Shane on the Opry on Saturday night.

Friday April 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Josh Turner
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Pam Tillis
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Runaway June
8:45: John Conlee (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday April 29
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Russell Dickerson; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Point of Grace
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shane Owens; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Ricky Skaggs

Quick question: What do you notice about the Friday night line-up? Answer: Each performer, with the exception of just one, is an Opry member. It's been a little while since we have seen that many Opry members on a show, and a pretty good collection of members. And interesting to see that Ricky is not hosting on Saturday night, with the edge being given to Riders In The Sky. A tough call on the Opry's part, but with Ricky being the only guest on the final segment he will probably be given the opportunity to sing more than two songs.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 27 & 28, 2007:

Friday April 27
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Carlene Carter
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Trent Tomlinson
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; TG Sheppard
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; JD Crowe & The New South

Saturday April 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith
7:00: Trace Adkins; Radney Foster; Catherine Britt; Brenda Lee; The Whites
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Radney Foster
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Mike Snider; Brenda Lee
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Catherine Britt; Mandy Barnett

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of May 1 & 2, 1992:

Friday May 1
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis; Ray Pillow; Jan Howard
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Charlie Louvin
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Jean Shepard
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider; The Chieftans
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Teddy Wilburn
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy Dickens; Stu Phillips; The Carlisles; Stonewall Jackson
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; Jeannie Seely
11:00: Hank Snow (host); 4 Guys; Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Justin Tubb
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
12:05: Rev. Jimmie Snow

Saturday May 2
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; The Whites; Del Reeves
7:30: Billy Walker (host); Jan Howard; The Carlisles; Molly and the Heymakers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; 4 Guys; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jim and Jesse; Roy Drusky; Jeanne Pruett; Skeeter Davis

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Mike Snider; Vic Willis Trio; Michael White
10:00: Jack Greene; (host); The Whites
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Molly and the Heymakers; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; The Carlisles; Justin Tubb; Del Reeves
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Jim and Jesse

Molly and the Heymakers is a name that many may not recognize. The group, which consisted of Martha "Molly" Scheer, Andy Dee, Jeff Nelson, Joe Lindzius, and Chad Udeen, was formed in 1987. In 1991, the group had its highest charting singing on the Billboard charts, "Chasin' Something Called Love," which peaked at #50. After limited success in country music, the group changed the focus of their sound and changed their name to Molly & The Makers. In 1998 newly named group released an album that included a mix of country, rock, and punk. Country fans were not pleased and the album received mixed reviews. Currently, the group is still active under the name Molly and the Danger Band and contains none of the original founding members.

Michael White is another name from the Saturday line-up that country fans might not remember. Michael is the son of songwriter L.E. White. In 1992, Mike was signed by Reprise Records and released his debut album "Familiar Ground." Three singles from that album made the Billboard charts with the "Professional Fool" reaching #32. While his performing career was short, he has continued as a successful writer. Among his credits are "Kiss You in the Morning" by Michael Ray. "The Baby" by Blake Shelton and "Loving Every Minute," recorded by Mark Wills.

Finally, it was on Saturday April 28, 1973 that Conway Twitty made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Somewhat surprising that it took that long as even in 1973, Conway was already an established star, thanks in part to "Hello Darlin'," released in 1970 and his duets with Opry member Loretta Lynn.

Here is the running order from 44 years ago, April 28, 1973, the night of Conway Twitty's first Opry appearance:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Billy Grammer: Detroit City

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Stan Hitchcock: Let Me Roll
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Did You Think to Pray
Carolee Cooper & George McCormick: Never Ending Song of Love/Old Fashioned Love Song

7:00: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Lonzo & Oscar: Moving' On #2/Easy Loving
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Mary Lou Turner: Teddy Bear Song
Bill Anderson: If You Can Live With It (I Can Live Without It)
Jimmy Gatley: Sweet, Sweet Loving
Bill Anderson: Don't She Look Good

7:30: Standard Candy
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Jimmy C Newman: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Ray Pillow: I Wish Somebody Loved Me that Much
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Tommy Jones: Black Mountain Rag
Jimmy C Newman: Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues
Ray Pillow: Cinderella

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bobby Lewis: It's Such a Pretty World Today
Conway Twitty: She Needs Someone to Hold Her/Hello Darlin'
Conway Twitty & Kathy Twitty: Don't Cry Daddy/Jackson
Roy Acuff: Won't It Be Wonderful There

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Baby, It's So Hard to be Good
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of a Dove
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Ernest Tubb: Have You Ever Been Lonely
Stu Phillips: She's Got to be a Saint

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Grammer (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Little Red Wagon
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Billy Grammer: Life's Railway to Heaven
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Ray Pillow: I Wish Somebody Loved Me that Much
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: To My Mansion

10:15: Union 76
Archie Campbell (host): Lonesome Road
Stan Hitchcock: Let Me Roll
Tommy Jones: Dueling Banjo/The Claw

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Gathering Flowers from the Hillside
Conway Twitty: Baby's Gone/She Needs Someone to Hold Her
Conway Twitty & Kathy Twitty: Don't Cry Daddy/Daddy Frank

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Filipino Baby
Bobby Lewis: Together Again
Crook Brother: Eighth of January
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jimmy C Newman (host): The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Louie Roberts: Hey Good Lookin'
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Jimmy C Newman: San Antonio Rose
Louie Roberts: Make the World Go Away
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Jimmy C Newman: Good Deal, Lucille

11:30: Elm Hill
Stu Phillips (host): Crystal Chandeliers
4 Guys: Down by the Lazy River/Turn Your Radio On
Diane Jordan: Here I Am Again
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Diane Jordan: Teddy Bear Song
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything

I find it interesting, considering Conway's close association with Loretta Lynn, that he did not make more Opry appearances over the course of his career, or even consider becoming an Opry member. He would have made a good one, especially with his association with his "Twitty City" which I found to be a marvelous place to visit.

Finally, I did want to mention Jeannie Seely, who this week was honored by the State of Pennsylvania for being a Grand Ole Opry member for 50 years. Her actual anniversary will take place in September but it was nice to see Pennsylvania honor one of it's own.

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






Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 4/25 & Opry Country Classics 4/27

It looks like a very nice Tuesday Night Opry coming up this week as Opry members Little Big Town return to the Opry stage for another appearance, along with members Pam Tillis, Terry Clark and Bill Anderson.

7:00: Pam Tillis; The Travelin' McCourys
7:30: Terri Clark; Tyler Farr
Intermission
8:15: Bill Anderson; Easton Corbin
8:45: Kelsea Ballerini; Little Big Town

As far as Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, the Oak Ridge Boys are the spotlight artists:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Oak Ridge Boys
Also Appearing: Linda Davis; Daryle Singletary; Rhonda Vincent





Thursday, April 20, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/21 & 4/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the three shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, which will feature two shows with identical line-ups. The "featured" attraction this weekend will be the return of Opry member Patty Loveless to the Opry stage. Patty, who in my opinion has one of the sweetest voices in country music, is scheduled for both shows on Saturday night.

She will be joined that night by fellow Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson, The Whites, Bobby Osborne and Connie Smith. Jeannie, Mike, The Whites and Connie are also scheduled for Friday night, where they will be joined by Jesse McReynolds.

Guest artists on Friday include John Berry; Elizabeth Cook, Mandy Barnett; Mark Wills, Kristian Bush, the legendary Gene Watson, and making his Opry debut, Cody Johnson. For Mark Wills, this will be his 10th Opry guest appearance in 2017, which is more appearances than 53 of the Opry's 63 members. Saturday's guest list includes Lucie Silvas, Keith Anderson, Sierra Hull and William Michael Morgan.

Friday April 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); John Berry; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mandy Barnett; Mark Wills
Intermission
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kristian Bush
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Cody Johnson; Gene Watson

Saturday April 22
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Lucie Silvas; Mike Snider
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Keith Anderson; Sierra Hull
8:00: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Connie Smith (host); Patty Loveless

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Lucie Silvas; Mike Snider
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Keith Anderson; Sierra Hull
10:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Connie Smith (host); Patty Loveless

Overall all, three pretty nice shows. And here is a fact for everyone: Opry member Mike Snider has made an appearance on every Friday and Saturday show so far this year. He is the only Opry member with 100% attendance on the weekend shows.

As mention, this will be the Opry debut for Cody Johnson. Cody is based out of Texas where he has become a regional star. He has self-released six albums, with the sixth one, "Gotta Be Me" debuting at #2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. He formed his band, the "Cody Johnson Band" in 2006. In 2009, he released his first studio album, "Six Strings One Dream." What is amazing about Cody's success is that he has achieved it without support from radio or any major record label. Personally, I have never heard Cody so I will be very interested in how he sounds and comes across at the Opry.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 20 & 21, 2007:

Friday April 20
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Connie Smith; Cherryholmes
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Danielle Peck
9:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; George Hamilton IV; The Whites
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas with special guest Tony Rice

Saturday April 21
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Kellie Pickler; Restless Heart; Dusty Drake
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Marty Stuart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; The Grascals

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Pam Tillis
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Marty Stuart
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Kellie Pickler; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dusty Drake; Restless Heart

So whatever happened to Dusty Drake?
Born Dean Buffalini in 1965, he was from Pennsylvania and for several years was employed as an air traffic controller. At the same time, he was pursuing a career in country music, fronting a band called Silverado. When he was signed as an opening act for Garth Brooks at Ponderosa Park in Salem, Ohio, the promoter accidentally called him Dusty and the name stuck. After moving to Nashville in 1993, he changed his name to Dusty Drake and began work as a demo singer and songwriter. Songs that he wrote were recorded by Joe Diffie and the Oak Ridge Boys, among others. In 2002 he was signed to Warner Bros. Records as a recording artist. He had limited success with "One Last Time," released in 2003 his best showing on the charts, coming in at #26. In 2007 he moved to Big Machine Records and left that label in 2009. Since then, things have been pretty quiet for him.

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of April 17 & 18, 1992:

Friday April 17
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jimmy C Newman; Justin Tubb; Jim & Jesse
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Connie Smith
9:00: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites
9:30: Bill Monroe (host); Ray Pillow; Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Bill Carlisle; Eddy Raven
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
11:05: Rev. Jimmy Snow

Saturday April 18
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim & Jesse; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; The Whites; Jack Greene
7:30: 4 Guys (host); Paulette Carlson; Sammy Kershaw
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Pillow

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Roy Drusky; Trisha Yearwood
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Paulette Carlson; Roy Acuff
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Walker; Jan Howard
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin; Sammy Kershaw
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Justin Tubb; Jimmy Dickens; Jeannie Seely
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Johnny Russell

Finally, it was 50 years ago, Saturday April 22, 1967 that The Four Guys were formally introduced on the Opry as its newest members. The story of the 4 Guys has been told many times before, so I won't go into it further except to say that for over 30 years they were very loyal and popular members of the Grand Ole Opry.

7:30: Cordite
Billy Walker (host): Ride, Ride, Ride
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Stringbean: The Big 'Um Got Away
Merle Kilgore: I Just Don't Care Anymore
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Ernie Ashworth: Just an Empty Place
Stringbean: Wanda
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roarin' Again
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Harold Weakley: Almost Persuaded
Loretta Lynn/Teddy Wilburn & Ernest Tubb: Sweet Thang
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): That's All Right
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bob Luman & Bobby Lord: You Can't Take the Boy From the Country
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Bob Luman: Memphis
Bobby Lord: Take the Bucket to the Well

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): Driving Nails in my Coffin
Wilma Lee Cooper: There's a Big Wheel
Connie Smith: I'll Come Running
Minnie Pearl: Columbus Stockade Blues
Ernest Tubb: Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Ernest Tubb: Jealous Lovin' Heart

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Caribbean
Bill Monroe: Gray Eagle
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Marion Worth: I Can't Help It
Hank Snow: Tears in the Trade Winds
Bill Monroe: My Little Georgia Rose
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

10:00: Schick
Justin Tubb (host): Looking Back to See
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Stringbean: Ruby
Justin Tubb & Dottie West: Love Is No Excuse

10:15: Pure
Bobby Lord (host): Cash on the Barrel Head
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Bobby Lord: Fall Away

10:30: Buckley's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once for Me
Loretta Lynn: If You're Not Gone Too Long
Bob Luman: Let's Think About Living
Wilburn Brothers & Loretta Lynn: Put it Off Until Tomorrow

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): Fortunes in Memories
Wilma Lee Cooper: Wedding Bells
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Bill Monroe: Dusty Miller
4 Guys: This Land is Your Land
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Hank Snow: Black Diamond
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Sam McGee: These Boots are Made for Walkin'
Bill Monroe: Mary at the Home Place
Hank Snow: Listen

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): No Tears, Milady
Roy Drusky: Strangers
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Marion Worth: Especially You
Don Winters: Chime Bells
Roy Drusky: Alone With You
Marion Worth: Love's Gonna Live Here
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Begging to You/The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Lovesick Blues

As you can tell by the 4 Guys getting just two songs, they didn't make a big thing out of joining the Opry in those days!!!

By the 1990's, the Opry's annual reunion shows were wrapping up as many of the older, former members of the Opry had passed away. But in 1990, there were still a few around and on Saturday April 21, the annual reunion show took place. Here is the line-up from the 1st show that night:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Grandpa Jones (host): Bald Headed End of the Broom
Skeeter Davis: If I Don't Have You
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Grandpa Jones: Tritzem Yodel

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music's Gone to Town
Zeke Clements: (?)
Charlie Louvin: Everytime You Leave
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Jean Shepard: Home in San Antonio/Time Changes Everything/Roly Poly
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
Kathy Koon: Turkey in the Straw

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Geraldine
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Shenandoah
Margie Bowes: That Just About Does It, Don't It
Pee Wee King: Slowpoke

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Curly Fox: Billy in the Low Ground
Riders In The Sky: Back on the Texas Plains/Cool Water
Opry Square Dance Band: Snow Flake Reel

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
Roy Drusky: As Long As I Live
Jack Greene: She Don't Cry
Dottie West: All I Ever Need is You
Carl Butler: Don't Let Me Cross Over
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

The former Opry members who were there that night were Zeke Clements, Margie Bowes, Pee Wee King and Carl Butler. As I wrote, the numbers were really dwindling.

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






Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 4/18 & Opry Country Classics 4/20

The line-up has been posted for this week's Tuesday Night Opry. Overall, it looks like a pretty nice show:

7:00: Bill Anderson; William Michael Morgan
7:30: Sunny Sweeney; Parmalee
Intermission
8:15: Lorrie Morgan; Pam Tillis
8:45: Del McCoury Band; Chris Janson

Del and the boys seem to be making a home on Tuesday nights. And another guest appearance by Chris Janson. Even though not a member, he continues to support the show.

As for Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, really nice to see the spotlight artist is Tanya Tucker.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Tanya Tucker
Also Appearing: T. Graham Brown; Gatlin Brothers; Riders In The Sky; Maggie Rose

Enjoy!!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

April Opry Highlights

April showers bring May flowers!!! Welcome to Spring, when the trees begin to bloom, the winter dirt disappears and the start of the major league baseball season. I know everyone has their favorites, but here in Ohio we are Tribe fans and this could be their year. Go Tribe!! Now back to serious business and as I do each month, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of April.

April 19, 1924: The WLS "National Barn Dance" was aired for the first time in Chicago. The National Barn Dance was the first of what would be many weekly barn dance programs sponsored by various radio stations around the country. Among the performers who were part of the "National Barn Dance" were Lulu Belle & Scotty, Bradley Kincaid, Gene Autry and a host of others. The "National Barn Dance" lasted until 1960 when the station changed formats. As many know, especially my friends in the Chicago area, WLS stood for "World's Largest Store," which was Sears, who were the owners of the station.

April 17, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon became a regular member of the WSM Barn Dance, soon to be known as the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 55, he was the first performer to join the show that had a national reputation and his hiring, in a way, would start the show on the path of becoming a group of professional entertainers instead of those, who as George D. Hay used to say, "came down from the hills for the weekend." Uncle Dave would remain a popular Opry member until his death on March 1, 1952, at the age of 81.

April 14, 1932: Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta joined the cast of the Opry in September 1962.

April 30, 1932: The Dixieliners, which consisted of Kirk and Sam McGee, along with Arthur Smith, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. All three had been performing on the Opry for several years, but this was the first time that they teamed up as an organized group. Their popularity and reputation grew and within a short amount of time they had two ten-minute segments on the show. It began to end for the Dixieliners in 1938 as Arthur had a drinking problem and was suspended from the Opry. On January 14, 1939, the Dixieliners made their final Opry appearance, after which Arthur left the Opry, while Sam and Kirk would continue on for many years.

April 11, 1933: Grand Ole Opry member Roy Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia. And yes, it is true. Roy turns 84 this year. Hard to believe.

April 29, 1933: The Delmore Brothers, Rabon and Alton, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. The brothers remained members of the Opry until 1938 when they left to pursue what they felt were better opportunities. Alton would later write an excellent book, "Truth is Stranger" in which he detailed their time at the Opry and the issues that they had with George D. Hay and Harry Stone. After leaving the Opry, the Delmore Brothers moved around the country and had shows at various radio stations until they played out the territory and moved on. They eventually ended up at WLW in Cincinnati, where they got together with Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis and recorded under the name "Browns Ferry Four." Each of these individuals would eventually be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. September 11, 1938 was the final Opry show for the Delmore Brothers and they sang, "What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul."

April 1, 1934: Country Music Hall of Fame member, and former Opry member, Jim Ed Brown was born in Sparkman, Arkansas.

April 15, 1937: Bob Luman was born. Bob gained fame as a member of the Louisiana Hayride, and then came to Nashville, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. When Bob joined the Opry, many felt that he had too much "rock-n-roll" in him, but he was a very popular member of the Opry and fans enjoyed his performances. Bob remained at the Opry until he passed away in December 1978.

April 26, 1941: Ernest Tubb recorded "Walking the Floor Over You" in Dallas, Texas. This recording was also the first to use an electric guitar. The success of this record, which would become Ernest's theme song, led him to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry several years later.

April 14, 1945: Upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, a performance of taps was played from the stage of the Opry. This marked the first time that a trumpet was played during an Opry broadcast. Buddy Harroll, part of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys was the performer, and while it was the right thing to do, George D. Hay was not thrilled. Also of note, while there was an Opry performance that night, it was not broadcast on WSM as the station was running NBC network programming commemorating the life and death of the President.

April 6, 1946: Roy Acuff quit the Opry in a salary dispute. At the time, he was the host of "The Prince Albert Show" segment of the Opry that was broadcast on the NBC radio network. He was making $15 per night at the Opry and asked for a raise to $100 per night. When WSM refused his demands, he left the show and went out to California for an extended tour. Over the years, Roy never talked much about the whole episode, but he knew that as the Opry's biggest star, he could make more money out on the road and have extra time to make movies. A year later, Roy would return to the Opry and when he did, he was paid more than union scale.

April 13, 1946: A week after Roy Acuff left, Red Foley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and debuted as the new host of "The Prince Albert Show." There is a story behind this. After Roy quit, William Esty and Company, which was the advertising agency that represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the makers of Prince Albert chewing tobacco, undertook a study to determine how best to replace Roy Acuff as the host of the program. Most listeners wanted the Opry to continue without any changes, but it was clear after all the questioning was done that a large portion of the Opry fans wanted more music and less talk, suggesting that a singer needed to be hired as the replacement. Esty checked all the available data, which included record sales, jukebox plays and radio favorites, and it all pointed to Red Foley. Red would later say, "I guess I was never more scared than that night I replaced Roy Acuff. The people thought I was a Chicago slicker who came to pass himself off as a country boy and bump Roy out of his job." While it is true that Red came to the Opry from WLS in Chicago, he was actually born in Kentucky and had a string of country hits. It is interesting to note that while Red became a member of the Opry, he only appeared on, and hosted, the Prince Albert segment of the show.

April 13, 1946: The same night that Red Foley came to the Opry, so did Chet Atkins, who was introduced that night by Red. Chet stayed at the Opry with Red for just six months, when he left in his own dispute with Esty.

April 26, 1947: Just over a year after leaving the Opry, Roy Acuff returned as host of the "Royal Crown Cola Show." There is a story that Ernest Tubb and Harry Stone went to see Roy, who was in a Nashville hospital, telling him that the Opry might go under if he didn't return. While there is no evidence that the Opry was about to go under, the words worked and Roy came back, this time to stay for good.

April 3, 1948: The Louisiana Hayride started on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. Over the next decade, the Hayride would become known as a farm club of the Opry, with many of the Hayride's biggest stars leaving Shreveport for Nashville. Among those were David Houston, Billy Walker, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. The Hayride was also were Elvis Presley got his start. While the Hayride was very successful with Horace Logan at the helm, the lack of a recording industry in Shreveport meant that the stars had to go elsewhere, including Nashville to record. Once there, the Opry grabbed many of them.

April 26, 1952: Martha Carson, the great gospel singer, joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. She came to the Opry on the strength of her hit "Satisfied." Martha remained a member of the Opry until 1957, at which time she took a leave of absence when her first child was born and to spend some time working in New York City. However, when it came time for her to return, the Opry would not hire her back. According to Martha, "I got a leave of absence from the Opry. I didn't quit and I wasn't fired. When I came back to Nashville, Opry manager Ott Devine said they had no openings. I never did go back. I never even got to be a guest." Obviously a poor decision by Ott and the Opry's management.

April 18, 1953: Red Foley made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance as the host of "The Prince Albert Show." Red made the decision to leave Nashville and go to the Ozark Jubilee, which was televised. Red had numerous personal issues when he was with the Opry and when he decided to leave, the Opry had no objections. While many wondered about Red when he first came to the Opry, he become one of the Opry's biggest stars and one of the more popular members. After he left, "The Prince Albert Show" no longer had a permanent host.

April 12, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Vince Gill was born. Vince has been a loyal and vocal member of the Opry since 1991. Who else finds it hard to believe that Vince will be 60 this year?

April 4, 1959: Bill Anderson made his debut as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry. Several years later, in July 1961, Bill would become an Opry member.

April 30, 1960: The WLS "National Barn Dance" aired for the final time. At one time, the barn dance was considered a major competitor of the Opry, and while it lasted much longer than others, like those others, it could not sustain itself as musical tastes changed.

April 30, 1966: Ray Pillow became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Ray's 51st year as an Opry member. On the night he joined, Ernest Tubb introduced him. Though he is now on senior status and his Opry appearances are few, he still does a great job each time he is on the show.

April 22, 1967: The Four Guys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They came to the Opry from the Wheeling, West Virginia area and spent 33 years as members of the Opry until they were fired in April 2000. The reason given for their termination was the fact that all four of the original members had left the group. For a number of years, they operated a very successful dinner theater in Nashville and were a popular cruise trip attraction.

April 6, 1968: Following the assassination of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Nashville imposed a curfew that forced the Opry to cancel the live show for that night. WSM played a previously taped Opry appearance. After being notified that the show was going to be cancelled, Roy Acuff, Sam and Kirk McGee, along with a few others, put on a makeshift show at a nearby square dance hall that afternoon for Opry fans who came to town to attend the Opry. WSM and the Opry claims this was the only time that the Opry was ever cancelled.

April 6, 1968: On that same evening as the Opry was cancelled, Bud Wendall became the new general manager of the Grand Ole Opry. He replaced Ott Devine, who had been in charge of the Opry since 1959.

April 21, 1971: After taking a break to raise her children, Connie Smith returned as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Connie joined the Opry in 1965. At the time she returned, Connie had been gone for about two years.

April 12, 1972: The first "Fan Fair" was held in Nashville. It was so successful that it would become an annual event, eventually moving to June and the summer tourist season. Fan Fair was a chance for the fans to meet their favorite country music stars and the Opry was a big part of the event. It still takes place, although it is now called "CMA Music Fest."

April 27, 1972: Opryland opens for the first time. The park was an immediate hit and within several years, the Opry House would be completed and the Opry would make the move. Opryland shut down at the end of 1997 and replaced by Opry Mills shopping center. Yes, while it may seem hard to believe, Opryland has been closed for 20 years.

April 28, 1973: Conway Twitty performs on the Opry for the first time.

April 5, 1975: After having been suspended from the Opry in December 1973, Skeeter Davis was welcomed back to the show. Several Opry members had gone to Bud Wendall, asking that she be allowed to return to the show.

April 23, 1976: Don Williams is introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jeanne Pruett did the honors. As everyone knows, Don and the Opry experience didn't really work and he left the show several years later.

April 2, 1977: Vito Pellettieri worked his final show as the stage manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Several days later, he suffered a stroke and on April 14 he passed away at the age of 87. While very few people have heard of Vito, he was probably one of the most influential people in the history of the Opry, so much so that he was never really replaced when he passed away. Years after his death, one veteran Opry member said, "I miss Vito. You know, we don't have a marshal anymore. What we have out there is a piece of paper in a box, with a list of acts and when they're supposed to go on. But we don't have anybody encouraging us, goading us, giving us advice on how to do better. Nobody to jack us up." One of Vito's closest friends was Hank Snow and Hank wrote extensively about Vito in his autobiography, including the jokes they used to play on each other. Now for those who do not know, Vito was WSM's librarian and started as the Opry's stage manager in 1934. He was the one who set up the Opry on a schedule, with assigned times and slots for each performer. He broke the show into segments with sponsors. Before that, it had been a free-for-all, with the artists coming and going as they pleased. In 1959, Vito faced mandatory retirement at WSM. However, every one of the Opry's members signed a petition demanding that Vito be allowed to continue working at the Opry and that November at the annual disc jockey convention, Opry members staged a show in Vito's honor. By the way, Vito never drove or owned a car and took the bus to WSM and the Opry each day.

April 13, 1981: Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died at the age of 65. The Willis Brothers consisted of Guy, Skeeter and Vic. They originally joined the Opry in 1946, but left in 1948 to go on the road with Eddy Arnold. They rejoined the Opry in 1960. Skeeter passed away in 1976, after which Guy and Vic continued on, until Guy retired from performing in 1979 due to illness.

April 3, 1982: DeFord Bailey made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. An early member of the show, DeFord had returned in the 1970s and made several appearances on the Opry's annual reunion shows.

April 13, 1985: The Grand Ole Opry was broadcast for the first time on TNN. The original shows were a half hour in length, later expanding to an hour. In 2001 the broadcast moved to CMT and then later to GAC in 2003. The first televised show was a one hour edition and featured Roy Acuff, as the host for the first half hour, with Connie Smith, Minnie Pearl and the Four Guys as guests. The 2nd half hour was hosted by Porter Wagoner and featured Dottie West, Jack Greene, the Crook Brothers and the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Those original TNN shows were not scripted for television and were nothing more than the radio show with a camera. As a result, the timing was sometimes a little bit off and the hosts forgot they were on television and would mention the names of the radio sponsors.

April 22, 1989: Clint Black made his first appearance as a guest at the Grand Ole Opry. in 1991, Clint would become an Opry member.

April 20, 1991: Emmylou Harris began a three night run at the Ryman Auditorium, during which her recording of "At The Ryman" took place. It marked one of the first uses of the Ryman for a concert performance since the Opry had left in 1974. Due to the condition of the building, only a small portion of the seating was able to be used. Those shows with Emmylou helped to spark the idea of renovating and reopening the Ryman.

April 2, 1994: During the TNN telecast of the Opry, an all-star bluegrass jam took place that featured Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Husky, Jr., Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs. Vince said, "That's what this place is all about. Night that are like that."

April 12, 1997: Lewis Crook passed away in Nashville at the age of 87. The Crook Brothers joined the Opry on July 24, 1926, so it is safe to say that they were original members of the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers remained at the Opry until 1988, a total of 62 years. Lewis was not with the Crook Brothers when they originally began at the Opry, joining the group later in 1928. After Herman passed away and the Crook Brothers name was retired, Lewis would continue to play and make appearances with the Opry's Square Dance Band. When you add it all up and do the math, Lewis was at the Opry on and off for almost 69 years.

April 6, 1998: Former Grand Ole Opry member Tammy Wynette passed away in Nashville at the age of 55. She had been battling health issues for a number of years.

April 18, 1998: Diamond Rio became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 19th year as Opry members.

April 12, 1999: Lecil Martin, known better as Boxcar Willie, passed away in Branson, Missouri after an extended illness. He was 67. Boxcar joined the Opry in 1981.

April 17, 2004: The Judds made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

April 30, 2004: The Grand Ole Opry took to the road and sponsored the "Grand Ole Opry American Road Show." The appearance took place in York, Pennsylvania and included Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, the Del McCoury Band and Rebecca Lynn Howard.

April 21, 2012: Keith Urban became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 5th year as an Opry member. Sorry to say that Keith hasn't been around much since joining the cast.

April 26, 2013: The Grand Ole Opry dedicated the shows that weekend to Opry member George Jones, who had passed away several days earlier. Those performing included Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry and John Conlee.

April 11, 2015: Long time Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown made his final Opry appearance. The newly elected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame had been an Opry member for just over 50 years.

April 30, 2016: Ray Pillow is recognized upon is 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Opry general manager Pete Fisher presented Ray with a gold pocket watch.

There you have it for this month.