So who thought 2017 was going to be uneventful? If you were thinking that way regarding the Grand Ole Opry, you were wrong as right out of the gate Pete Fisher announced his resignation to become the CEO of the Academy of Country Music. While many have different opinions regarding his decision to leave, I do wish him well and much success in his new position. As to the Opry, time will tell as Colin Reed and Steve Buchanan work through the process of hiring his replacement. It will be interesting to see if they stay within the company, or if they follow the process when Pete Fisher was hired and look outside. There has been no indication as to how long the process will last but I have to believe that they knew of Pete's intention to leave a while ago and the search process is well underway.
While the search for a new general manager for the Grand Ole Opry continues, there are two Opry shows this weekend. Opry members scheduled for both shows this weekend (the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry) include The Whites, Mike Snider, Jeannie Seely and John Conlee. And those are your hosts for the segments on both shows. They will be joined by Jesse McReynolds on Friday night and Bobby Osborne on Saturday.
As to guest artists this weekend, those scheduled on Friday night include Luke Combs, Sylvia, Mark Willis, Darryl Worley, The Isaacs and Easton Corbin. Mark Wills returns on Saturday night, to be joined by Michael Ray, Amanda Shires, the O'Connor Band with Mark O'Connor, Tucker Beathard and the great Lee Greenwood.
The interesting name on that list is someone who has not been on the Opry in quite a while and that is Sylvia.
Sylvia Jane Hutton had a number of successful hits in the 1980s. She enjoyed her biggest hit in 1982 as "Nobody" went to No. 1 on the country charts and crossed over to No. 15 on the pop charts. The song earned a gold record and she was nominated for a Grammy Award in the category of Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Her other hits included "Drifter," which went to No. 1 in 1981, "Fallin' in Love," "Tumbleweed," and "Snapshot." In addition to her Grammy nomination, Sylvia was also named Female Vocalist of the Year by the Academy of Country Music in 1982. By the late 1980s, her chart success was over. During her career, she has released 8 albums and has had 20 singles on the country charts, 2 of which went to No. 1. Her last single, "Cumberland Rose" was released in 2011 and failed to make the charts.
In the late 1980s, she made the decision to stop recording and touring and began to focus on songwriting. She also started her own record label, Red Pony Records. Over the past several decades, she has released a few albums, with her latest being "It's All in the Family," released in 2015. She has also served as a life coach, helping others in the music industry.
Friday January 13
7:00: The Whites (host); Luke Combs; Sylvia
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mark Wills
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Darryl Worley
8:45: John Conlee (host); The Isaacs; Easton Corbin
Saturday January 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Michael Ray; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Amanda Shires; Mark Wills
8:15: The Whites (host); O'Connor Band w/Mark O'Connor; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: John Conlee (host); Tucker Beathard; Lee Greenwood
That comes out to 11 acts for each show, with 5 Opry members each night.
And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of January 13 & 14, 2012:
Friday January 13
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Restless Heart
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Brent Eldredge
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Whites; Ricky Skaggs
Saturday January 14
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; George Hamilton IV; The Black Lillies
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Katie Armiger; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rodney Atkins
Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of January 12 & 13, 2007:
Friday January 12
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jeannie Seely; Jeff Bates
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Steep Canyon Rangers
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Buddy Jewell; Del McCoury Band
9:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart
Saturday January 13
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jamie O'Neal
7:00: Mike Snider (host); George Hamilton IV; Mel Tillis
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Cherryholmes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Marty Stuart
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jamie O'Neal
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mel Tillis
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Cherryholmes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Marty Stuart
For this week's special look back, it was on Saturday January 13, 1973 that Ernest Tubb was honored and celebrated 30 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
Texas born Ernest Tubb was one of the most celebrated stars of Country Music. He was honored as one of the "All Time Greats" by the Country Music Association and the many performers who have been helped by Tubb applauded the tribute. Ernest was truly a Texas Troubadour. Born in the town of Crisp, in Ellis County, Texas, Ernest wanted to be a Western movie star. But when he heard his first recording of a Jimmie Rodgers tune, he knew he wanted to sing. His decision to follow Country Music was soon followed by an opportunity to use his deep baritone on radio when he was nineteen and auditioned for KONO Radio in San Antonio. He was able to call radio his full-time profession in 1941, when he moved to a program on KGKO Radio in Fort Worth. He joined the Opry in 1943.
Tubb's trip from the Texas Plains to the Hills of Tennessee followed the success of a song which he wrote entitled "I'm Walking the Floor Over You." The song, which soon became the theme-song for Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours, has sold millions of records. He has also written over one hundred songs.
Always ready to lend a helping hand to the new-comer, Ernest has helped many country singers to a big career in the field. His famous "Midnight Jamboree" radio show, which is broadcast over WSM from the Ernest Tubb Record Shop in Nashville, has been the proving grounds for countless young hopefuls.
Ernest made his home in Nashville where he was held in the highest regard among his friends and associates. His hobbies included home movies and golf. He traveled about 90% of the time, with his versatile band known as "The Texas Troubadours," in a big comfortable bus. His fans number in the millions all over the world, and many of them have followed his long career closely.
As mentioned, Ernest Dale Tubb was born in Crisp, Texas in 1914. He was a trend setter as his 1941 hit, "Walking the Floor Over You" is considered the start of the honky-tonk era of country music. His other hits have included "Blue Christmas," a song most associated with Elvis Presley, but first recorded by Ernest in 1948. Over the course of his career, he recorded 37 studio albums, and released 92 singles, 6 of which reached No. 1 on the charts (and remember many of his early hits were released before there were charts). His first No. 1 was "Soldier's Last Letter" in 1944, followed by "It's Been So Long Darling," "Rainbow at Midnight," "Slippin' Around," and not to forget, "Blue Christmas," and "Goodnight Irene," which was a duet with Red Foley. What is interesting is that two of his most famous songs were released late in his career. "Thanks A Lot" came out in 1963 and reached No. 3 on the charts, while "Waltz Across Texas" barely made the Top 40 in 1965. In addition to those No. 1 hits, he had dozens of Top 10 singles, and recorded hits with a number of duet partners including Red Foley and Loretta Lynn.
Ernest joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1943 and was active on the Opry until health issues forced Ernest into retirement in 1982, before passing away in 1984. Ernest was very proud of his Opry membership and even though he was on the road over 300 dates per year, he always made sure to get in his Opry dates. In fact, according to numerous people, at the beginning of each year Ernest would let the Opry's management know what 26 Saturday nights he would be in Nashville for the Opry.
As mentioned, on January 13, 1973 Ernest was recognized for being an Opry member 30 years, Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from that night.
Bill Anderson (host): I Get the Fever
Charlie Louvin: Bottom of the Fifth
Jim & Jesse: Please Be My Love
Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Bill Anderson: Always Remember
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever
Jim & Jesse: Just One Of A Kind
Carolee Cooper: Soul Song
Bill Anderson: Don't She Look Good
7:30: Standard Candy
Charlie Walker (host): Soft Lips & Liquor
Bobby Bare: Miller's Cave
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Roy Acuff: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Ray Pillow: When A Man Loves A Woman
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: Raining on the Mountain
Billy Grammer: Amazing Grace
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: Hillbilly Song
Jimmy C Newman: Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues
George Morgan: Making Heartaches
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Lonzo & Oscar: Ole Slewfoot
Ernest Tubb (host): Baby, It's So Hard to Be Good
Jack Greene: Satisfaction
Jeannie Seely: A Farm in Pennsyltucky
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: At Least We Know An Ending When It Comes
Ernest Tubb: Walking the Floor Over You
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Willis Brothers: Lady Godiva
Del Reeves: Before Goodbye
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee
Glenn Barber: Yes, Ma'am, I Found Her In A Honky Tonk
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
Bobby Bare: I Hate Goodbyes
Charlie Walker: Soft Lips & Hard Liquor
Stu Phillips: Sensuous Woman
Bill Anderson: The Lord Knows I'm Drinking
10:15: Union 76
Charlie Louvin (host): w/Diane McCall: A Man Likes Things Like That
Stonewall Jackson: I'm Not Strong Enough to Build Another Dream
Billy Grammer: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Stoney Cooper & Carolee: Mansion In the Sky
Roy Acuff (host): Little Pal
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Klyde
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me
Ernest Tubb (host): Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Pass Me By
George Morgan: She's Got to Be A Saint
Crook Brothers: Texas Quick Step
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Blackberry Blossom
Lonzo & Oscar: Take Me Home Country Roads
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Hank Snow: Mary Ann Regrets
11:30: Elm Hill
Del Reeves (host): Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
Justin Tubb & Norma Gallant: Heaven 7-7203
Glenn Barber: Unexpected Goodbye
Marion Worth: Put Your Hand in the Hand
4 Guys: Down By the Lazy River
Del Reeves: Truck Driver's Paradise
A name that some may not recognize from that night is Glenn Barber. Martin Glenn Barber was born on February 2, 1935 in Hollis, Oklahoma. He was known as a country and rockabilly singer and recorded for Hickory Records in the 1970s. He released 3 albums and had 21 singles on the country charts from 1964 to 1980. "Unexpected Goodbye" was his highest charted record, reaching No. 23. Glenn passed away in Gallatin, Tennessee in 2008.
There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!!