Sunday, February 26, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 2/28

It was on Saturday February 29, 1992 that Travis Tritt became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. And on this week's Tuesday Night Opry, Travis will be making his first Opry appearance since 2007 to celebrate his 25th anniversary as an Opry member.

While it has been great that Travis Tritt is a member of the Grand Ole Opry, he is one of those artists who joined in the early 1990s that just hasn't been around that much. Since joining the show 25 years ago, he has made a total of 43 appearances as an Opry member and no appearances since Porter Wagoner passed away in 2007. Yes, it has been 10 years since Travis has appeared on the Opry stage!! I don't know if there is a connection between Porter's passing and Travis's no-show at the Opry, but I do know that Travis had a lot of respect for Porter and it was Porter who inducted Travis into the Opry on that February night. Some have speculated that there is a connection between Travis coming back to the Opry and Pete Fisher leaving as the Opry's general manager. That I do not know, but what I do know is that Travis will be back Tuesday night and the Opry has been giving it quite a build-up on their website site, Facebook and Twitter. Hopefully this will be the beginning of a new relationship between Travis Tritt and the Opry and we will see more of Travis in the coming months.

Here is the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, February 28:

7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Flatt Lonesome
7:30: Deana Carter; Dustin Lynch
8:15: Bill Anderson; Chris Janson
8:45: Travis Tritt

A Georgia native who came up in the state's rough-and-tumble club circuit before moving to Nashville, Travis Tritt built his reputation on a blend of Southern swagger, honky tonk themes and songwriting craft that found favor with older stars like Roy Acuff and young fans alike. He began his musical career as a soloist in a Marietta, Georgia church's children choir, teaching himself guitar at age eight and writing his first song at age 14 before plunging into Atlanta's night life as a singer and bandleader. After signing with Warner Bros. Records in 1988, he released the album "Country Club," a strong debut that cracked the Top 10 with its title cut and then yielded three Top 5 singles ("Help Me Hold On," "I'm Gonna Be Somebody," and "Drift Off to Dream") that showed off his muscular singing and versatility.

In recognition of his spectacular rise, Billboard magazine named him the top new male artist of 1990, while the Country Music Association gave Travis its Horizon Award in 1991. Then he began to make appearances on the Grand Ole Opry's stage. "I don't know why to this day," he says with a smile, "but Roy Acuff saw something in me that he liked. He came up and put his arm around me backstage and said, 'Son, we want to see you back here at the Opry more often.'" The following year Travis was invited to join the Opry cast. 

For the next decade, Travis was a near-constant presence on the country charts, alternating rowdy anthems like, "T-R-O-U-B-L-E" and "Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof" with power ballads such as "Foolish Pride" and contemplative stories like "Anymore." Travis also teamed up several times with fellow Opry member Marty Stuart for songs that included the CMA and Grammy award-winning "The Whiskey Ain't Working" and Top 10 hit "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)."

Travis announced in 2010 that he was forming his own label for future releases, starting with one to mark his 20th anniversary as a country star. "In some ways it seems like 20 minutes," Travis told Billboard. "In some ways it seems like forever."

Here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from Saturday February 29, 1992, the night Travis Tritt joined the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show
6:30: Grand Ole Opry Tours
Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis; David Houston

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Del Reeves (host); Charlie Louvin; Jimmy C Newman

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Mike Snider; Jean Shepard; Ray Pillow

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host); Trisha Yearwood; Travis Tritt

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; 4 Guys; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers

8:30: Opryland USA
Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Stonewall Jackson; Boxcar Willie; Roy Drusky

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Louvin; Jeannie Seely; Travis Tritt

10:00: Little Debbie Snack Cakes
Jim Ed Brown (host); Trisha Yearwood

10:15: Sunbeam Bread/Tennessee Pride Sausage
Roy Acuff (host); Mike Snider

10:30: Pet
Boxcar Willie (host); Wilma Lee Cooper

10:45: BC Headache Powder
Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Bill Carlisle; Justin Tubb; Del Reeves

11:30: Creamette Pasta
4 Guys (host); Roy Drusky; The Whites; Connie Smith

This was also the weekend that Grand Ole Opry legend Hank Snow returned to the Opry after suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident on November 29 while he was on his way to the Opry. The day after the accident, Hank had surgery that involved removal of part of Hank's kneecap and afterwards he had weeks of recuperation and therapy to get back up and moving around. When Hank returned to the Opry, he said, "I'm doing pretty well. I still can't bend my knee all the way back, but I'm taking therapy for that. It was a pretty rough deal. I've suffered a lot of pain." He concluded by saying it was good to be back at the Opry. 

Congratulations to Travis Tritt on 25 years of Opry membership and let's hope that his appearance on Tuesday night is the first of more to come. 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 2/24 & 2/25

Who is ready for another weekend of very nice Opry shows? I am, and with the line-ups posted for the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, it is looking like a very nice weekend for those attending the Opry.

Among the Grand Ole Opry members appearing on both nights are Country Music Hall of Fame members Vince Gill and Bill Anderson, joined by Larry Gatlin (without his brothers), Riders In The Sky, and Mike Snider. Joining that group on Friday Night will be Hall of Fame members Roy Clark and the Oak Ridge Boys, along with Jeannie Seely and Jesse McReynolds. On Saturday night, joining Vince, Bill, Larry, the Riders and Mike will be Hall of Fame member Connie Smith, The Whites, Bobby Osborne and Hal Ketchum. A very nice group of Opry members appearing and it is especially nice to see Roy Clark and Hal Ketchum back on the Opry. When you add it all up, that comes out of 9 Opry members each night.

As to the guest artists this weekend, Friday night the list includes LOCASH and High Valley, while on Saturday night, it will be Lindsay Ell, The Steeldrivers and CeCe Winans, who will be signing her new CD in the Opry Shop after the show.

Friday February 24
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider
7:30: Larry Gatlin (host); Riders In The Sky; LOCASH
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; High Valley
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Roy Clark; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday February 25
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Lindsay Ell; The Steeldrivers
7:30: Larry Gatlin (host); The Whites; Mike Snider
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; CeCe Winans; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Hal Ketchum; Connie Smith

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 24 & 25, 2012:

Friday February 24
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Lee Brice
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Riders In The Sky; Diamond Rio
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Whites

Saturday February 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Josh Thompson
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy Wayne
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Will Hoge; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); James Otto; Connie Smith

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of February 23 & 24, 2007:

Friday February 23
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Jypsi
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ashley Monroe; Del McCoury Band
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Joe Nichols
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Josh Turner

Saturday February 24
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); George Hamilton IV; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:00: Joe Nichols; Jason Michael Carroll; Ashley Monroe; George Jones
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Ashley Monroe; Jason Michael Carroll
10:00: Mike Snider (host); George Jones; Jason Byrd
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeannie Seely; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Del McCoury Band; Joe Nichols

Finally, it was Saturday February 24, 2001 that Wilma Lee Cooper made her final performing appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Wilma Lee Cooper was officially the first and foremost woman in bluegrass and traditional mountain music. In 1974 the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., honored her as "First Lady of Bluegrass Music" at an institution-sponsored folk festival. Today many of her songs are preserved in the Smithsonian's Archives of the Performing Arts Division as well as the Library of Congress Archive of American Folk Music and Harvard University's Library of Music. Wilma Lee was a rarity in a practically all-male form of music. Also rare and unique was her powerful, clear and true singing voice, backed by her big D-45 Martin guitar, the fiddle, five string banjo, dobro guitar and bass.

Born Wilma Leigh Leary, she grew up in the wild and beautiful mountains of West Virginia. Her family was a well-known music group the "Leary Family" who performed at bluegrass and folk festivals. About the same time she got her degree in banking from Davis and Elkins College, she met and married another traditional performer Dale T. Cooper and as Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper, the pair created a team that was to make an important place in the history of country music. Two skillful musicians and songwriters as well as singers, they recorded such classics as "Tramp on the Street," "Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill," and "The Legend of the Dogwood Tree" for Columbia. They continued their success on the Hickory label with "Come Walk With Me," "Big Midnight Special" and "There's a Big Wheel."

"I sing just like I did back when I was growing up in those West Virginia mountains. I've never changed. I can't change. I couldn't sing any other way," Wilma Lee said. "I would say my style is just the old mountain style of singing. I am traditional country. I'm a country singer with the mountain whang to it." She noted that she sang a lot of story songs, and if listeners don't understand the words to that type of song they miss the story. "So, when I sing, I try to speak my words as plainly as I can, so folks will know what I am singing."

Following Stoney's death on March 22, 1977, Wilma Lee assembled a talented group of young musicians, the Clinch Mountain Clan, and they continued to perform. She was intensely proud of their character and integrity as well as their musicianship and never failed to introduce them on the Opry by name, adding emphatically, "I'm proud of every one of 'em."

Both the Smithsonian and her fans everywhere have proclaimed her one of the great singers of the traditional mountain music. Her songs-sad, happy and plaintive-seem to take listeners back to the rugged slopes, clean mountain air and lush meadows of West Virginia.

As mentioned, February 24, 2001 was the final night that Wilma Lee performed on the Opry. She was scheduled for both shows, however while performing on the first show, she suffered a stroke that ended her singing career. She would make 2 more appearances on the Opry, the first in January 2007 when she was recognized on stage upon her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and a final appearance in September 2010 when the Grand Ole Opry House reopened after the flood. A year later, on September 13, 2011, Wilma Lee Cooper passed away at the age of 90.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry, Saturday February 24, 2001, Wilma Lee Cooper's final night:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Eddy Raven: Island/I Got Mexico
Bill Anderson: The Big Railroad Man

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

(Wilma Lee was scheduled for the segment on the 2nd show hosted by Jimmy Dickens. Charlie Walker was scheduled for the last segment on the 2nd show but cancelled)

While they never had a No. 1 record in their careers, certainly an argument can be made that Wilma Lee Cooper, along with Stoney, should have been long ago elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. They were influential and amazing talented. Time will tell if that will happen or not.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 2/21

There is a very nice line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry this week:

7:00: Bill Anderson; Kristian Bush
7:30: Ricky Skaggs; Chris Janson
8:15: Steve Wariner; Henry Cho
8:45: RaeLynn; Justin Moore.

Very solid.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 2/17 & 2/18

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. Both nights have pretty solid line-ups.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne, The Whites, Ricky Skaggs, and one of my personal favorites, Del McCoury. Of those mentioned above, Mike, Riders, Connie, Ricky and Del will be back on Saturday night, joined by Bill Anderson and Jesse McReynolds. Overall, a nice collection of a number of the Opry's veteran members.

As to guest artists this weekend, both nights will feature Mark Wills. Mark has been making a number of Opry appearances for years, in fact, many more than most of the Opry's members. He will be joined by the duo Smithfield and the group Exile. Saturday night will feature a couple of stars of the "Nashville" television series on CMT, Sam Palladio and Charles Esten. Those two will be joined by Aaron Tippin and William Michael Morgan, a true country singer.

Currently, there are 11 acts listed for Friday night, with one more to be added. 8 of those are Opry members, with 12 acts scheduled for Saturday night, 7 of whom belong to the Opry.

Friday February 17
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Smithfield; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Exile

Saturday February 18
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Aaron Tippin; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Sam Palladio; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Mark Wills; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); William Michael Morgan; Charles Esten

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry schedule from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 17 & 18, 2012:

Friday February 17
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sarah Darling
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Riders In The Sky; Steve Wariner
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mark Wills; Craig Morgan
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); John Conlee; Diamond Rio

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of February 16 & 17, 2007:

Friday February 16
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Mountain Heart
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Brad Paisley
9:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Sammy Kershaw; Gene Watson
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Stu Phillips; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Terri Clark

Saturday February 17
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jennifer Hanson
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Junior Brown; Mountain Heart
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Brad Paisley
8:00: The Whites (host); Connie Smith; Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Cherryholmes; Sammy Kershaw

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jennifer Hanson
10:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Mountain Heart; Sammy Kershaw
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; Andy Griggs; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Connie Smith; Cherryholmes

Finally, it was Saturday February 18, 1995 that Charlie Douglas announced his final Grand Ole Opry show.

Charlie Douglas, whose real name was Doug China, began his radio career in 1953 at KLIC in Monroe, Louisiana. As with other disc jockeys of that era, Charlie moved around frequently and worked in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Asheville, North Carolina; Buffalo, New York; and in San Antonio, Dallas and Houston in Texas. Beginning in 1971, he achieved his biggest fame when he began his "Road Gang" overnight truckers show on WWL 870 in New Orleans. The show, which was on the air for 13 years, became a vital link for truckers to keep in touch with family and friends and enjoyed national success.

In 1984, Charlie was offered the opportunity to move to Nashville and work at WSM and to be an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry. He stayed at WSM and the Opry until 1995, when he retired from the radio business to work full time for CDX, a country music distribution business he established with Paul Lovelace in 1991. Charlie, who was elected to the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1994, passed away at his home in Picayune, Mississippi on Thanksgiving Day 2011 at the age of 78.

Here is the line-up from Saturday February 18, 1995, the night Charlie Douglas retired from WSM and the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Monroe (host): I'm on My Way Back to the Old Home
Roy Drusky: The Waltz of the Angels
George Lindsay: Comedy
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Breakdown

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Mike Snider (host): Foggy Mountain Chimes
Bill Carlisle: Leave That Liar Alone
Mike Snider: Snuff Dipper/Foggy Mountain Breakdown

7:00: Shoney's
The Whites (host): San Antonio Rose
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away (From Coming Home)
Jim & Jesse: Air Mail Special
Jimmy C Newman: Allons of Lafayette
Ray Pillow: One Memory to Another
The Whites: Doing It By the Book/Keep on the Sunny Side

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host)
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Hal Ketchum: Maybe You Could Stay Forever
Doug Stone: Faith In You; Faith In Me
Charlie Pride: Kiss An Angel Good Morning/Kaw-Liga
Jimmy Dickens Band: Steel Guitar Rag

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Charlie Louvin: Everytime You Leave
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Stacy Williams (?): Could I Have This Dance
Jean Shepard: I'm Tied Around Your Finger
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durango's Hornpipe
Porter Wagoner & Colene Walters: If Teardrops Were Pennies
Porter Wagoner: Freight Train Boogie

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Osborne Brothers: Midnight Flyer
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye
4 Guys: River of Dreams/Catfish John/
Hank Snow: Linda Lou

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Brother Oswald: Euneta
Stu Phillips: Wicked Greed
Charlie Walker: A Way to Free Myself
The Isaacs: I'm Gonna Move
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

10:00: Goody's
Bill Monroe (host): Sweetheart, You Done Me Wrong
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Stomp/Mule Skinner Blues

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jeannie Seely (host): Go Down Swinging
Osborne Brothers: Flying South
Jeannie Seely: Too Far Gone

10:30: Gruhn Guitars
Mike Snider (host): Bending the Strings/Born to Shop/What Have They Done to the Dominica Hen

10:45: Fairfield Communities
Jean Shepard (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jim & Jesse: Orange Blossom Special
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Turkey in the Straw
Jean Shepard/Jim & Jesse: The Violet & A Rose

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Weary River
Charlie Louvin: In the Cross
Jack Greene: Oh, Lonesome Me
Connie Smith: I Can't Stop Loving You
4 Guys: It's All Right (To Have A Good Time)
Hank Snow: My First Night Alone

11:30: Cates Pickles
Jimmy C Newman (host): (?)
Charlie Pride: All I Have to Offer You is Me/Mountain of Love
Hal Ketchum: Every Little Word/No Easy Run
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

Jimmy Dickens was scheduled to host the 7:30 TNN segment and the 10:45 segment on the 2nd show, however he had throat issues and could not sing.

On a final note: the announcer who replaced Charlie Douglas at WSM and the Opry? Eddie Stubbs.

Overall, things have been pretty quiet on the Opry front as we move through February. No news on any potential candidates to be the Opry's newest general manager. On another note, voting should be about finished up for this year's Country Music Hall of Fame class. The announcement usually comes sometime in March. I really haven't given much thought to the potential candidates for this year although the names being mentioned are likely the same as we have heard over the past several years. I will have more thoughts on the Hall of Fame coming up.

With that, I hope everyone has a great week and enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry-February 14-Happy Valentine's Day

Starting Tuesday, the Opry is back with the Tuesday Night Opry. Seems like they begin the Tuesday series earlier and earlier each year. Anyways, here is the line-up:

7:00: Connie Smith; John Conlee
7:30: Del McCoury Band; Easton Corbin
8:15: Shelly Skidmore & Greg Bates; Lucie Silvas & John Osborne; Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White

With it being Valentine's Day, it is nice that the Opry is featuring some duets.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 2/10 & 2/11

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the 2 shows this weekend, and while the decision is still being made on who the next Opry general manager will be, the shows look very similar to what we have seen over the past several years. Whoever is doing the scheduling is keeping things as they were.

The Friday Night Opry will include Opry members Jeannie Seely and Bill Anderson (fresh off the Opry cruise), along with Mike Snider, The Whites, and the Opry's newest member Crystal Gayle. Nice to see Crystal immediately stepping up and scheduling appearances on the Opry. Jeannie, Mike and The Whites will also be appearing on Saturday night, with members Diamond Rio, Ray Pillow and Bobby Osborne.

Guest artists on Friday night include JT Hodges, Claire Lynch, Sunny Sweeney, former Statler Brother member Jimmy Fortune, Holly Williams, T Graham Brown and Aaron Watson. Jimmy Fortune will also be appearing on Saturday night, where he will be joined by Drew Baldridge, Vince's daughter Jenny Gill, Alyssa Bonagura, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, and making another guest appearance, Chris Janson.

For Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, this will be their Grand Ole Opry debut. Frank Solivan is originally from Alaska before settling in the Washington, D.C. area. Solivan, who plays the mandolin, is joined by Mike Munford, the 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, Chris Luquette and Jeremy Middleton. Together, they were named the 2014 IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year.

Friday February 10
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host): JT Hodges; Claire Lynch
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Sunny Sweeney; Jimmy Fortune
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Holly Williams; T Graham Brown
8:45: The Whites (host); Aaron Watson; Crystal Gayle

Saturday February 11
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Drew Baldridge; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Jimmy Fortune; Alyssa Bonagura
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Ray Pillow; Jenny Gill; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: The Whites (host); Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen; Chris Janson

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from five years ago, the weekend of February 10 & 11, 2012:

Friday February 10
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; The Farm
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds; Diamond Rio
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Montgomery Gentry
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Josh Turner

Saturday February 11
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; James Wesley
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Diamond Rio
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; Sunny Sweeney; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Morgan

And from ten years ago, the weekend of February 9 & 10, 2007:

Friday February 9
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Trent Tomlinson
9:00: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Joan Osborne
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals

Saturday February 10
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); Billy Currington; Jake Owen; Joan Osborne
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; John Conlee; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Billy Currington
10:00: Steve Wariner (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; Joan Osborne
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jake Owen; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

Going back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was 50 years ago, Saturday February 11, 1967, that The 4 Guys made their first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Who says you have to stockpile a string of hit records and travel the nation's interstate system in a fleet of new silver-eagle buses to call yourself a success in the music business? There are many ways of looking at success, relative to your position on the highly scrutinized "Show-Biz" ladder. The 4 Guys chose to look at success as a journey rather than a destination.

Since their professional start on WWVA's "Jamboree U.S.A." in Wheeling, WV, "The Guys" had numerous successes. Most important of which was an invitation from the Grand Ole Opry to join its family of stars in Nashville, thereby becoming the first group in the history of that world famous show to be awarded regular membership without a list of "Hit Records." Fact is, The 4 Guys didn't even have a recording contract at the time. After joining the Opry on April 22, 1967, it wasn't long before "The Guys" became regulars in the main showrooms of the most prestigious hotels in Las Vegas, Reno & Lake Tahoe, Nevada, appearing on their own and with their long-time friend, Jimmy Dean. Their first major recording deal came later with Mercury Records, along with a two-year stint touring throughout the United States and Canada with Hank Williams, Jr.

Success continued to mount as "The Guys" were invited to play most of this country's major theme parks, including: Disneyland, Six Flags over Texas, and Opryland U.S.A., where they were featured in their own show four consecutive years. Countless state and county fairs have also added to their list of performance credits. They were certainly no strangers to television, appearing on many major network shows with the likes of Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton & Merv Griffin. They also appeared in the east Tennessee mountains near Dollywood.

The 4 Guys said that their Opry membership was their most valued achievement. High on the list also, was their long-time association with The Charley Pride Show, which featured "The Guys: and a then up and coming singer named Ronnie Milsap. Whether it's success in a private enterprise, (The Guys owned and operated their highly popular Harmony House Theater-Restaurant in Nashville for nearly 10 years), or whether it's successful careers on the Stage, Radio & Television, "The Guys" by any measure, enjoyed a very successful journey. Though the group had evolved through several personnel changes over the years, the original members were Sam Wellington, Brent Burkett, Beryl Lyons and Richard Garrett. Sam & Brent, along with long-time members John Frost & Laddie Cain, have proven to be the most remembered and popular members of the group.

The so called "Big Record" never happened for them, however The 4 Guys enjoyed a great career both on and off the Opry stage. Their fame gave them millions of fans who enjoyed their harmony singing and the ability to sing different styles of music.

The last original member of the group was Sam Wellington, who retired on June 19, 1999, which ironically was the first Opry show managed by Pete Fisher. The new version of The 4 Guys continued on the Opry until April 2000 when they were fired as Opry members. The reason given was that there were no original members of the group that had joined the Opry in 1967 remaining. While there was public outcry over the decision, even Sam Wellington admitted in his autobiography that he should have retired the whole group when he left, thereby preserving their place in Opry history. Sam and The 4 Guys did make one final Opry appearance as guests on Friday June 6, 2008.

Here is the running order from Saturday February 11, 1967, the night The 4 Guys made their debut appearance on the Grand Ole Opry;

7:30: Luzianne
Jim Ed Brown (host): w/Maxine Brown: I Heard the Bluebird Sing
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Pete Drake: I'm Just A Guitar (Everybody Picks on Me)
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Bob Luman: Come On & Sing
Jim Ed & Maxine Brown: Looking Back to See

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once for Me
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Ray Pillow: I Like that Sorta Thing
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Wilburn Brothers: Just To Be Where You Are
Crook Brothers: Old Hen Cackle
Billy "Crash" Craddock: There Ought a Be A Law
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Wilburn Brothers: All We Have For You, Mom

8:30: Stephens
Billy Walker (host): Things
Bill Carlisle: What Kinda Deal is This
Bobby Bare: Shame On Me
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Bill Carlisle: The Great Snowman
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco

9:00: Pet Milk
Charlie Louvin (host): I Don't Love You Anymore
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Margie Bowes: There Goes My Everything
Bluegrass Country Kin: Black Mountain Rag
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Want it
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Harold Weakley: Almost Persuaded
Ernie Ashworth: Pass Me Not
Charlie Louvin: Off & On

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Cousin Jody: I Miss Him So
Jimmy Dickens: A Country Music Lover
Carter Family: Bye; Bye
Hank Snow: A Legend In My Time
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Carter Family: Once Around the Brier Patch
Hank Snow: Hula Love

10:00: Schick
Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Maxine Brown: Where Does the Good Times Go
Dottie West: It's My Way to Survive
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Dottie West: All the World Is Lonely Now

10:15: Pure
Bob Luman (host): Let's Think About Living
Wilburn Brothers: I'm Gonna Tie One on Tonight
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Bob Luman: Hardly Anymore

10:30: Buckley's
Bobby Bare (host): I Saw the Light
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Ray Pillow: Two Minus One Leaves Blue
Bobby Bare: The Streets of Baltimore

10:45: Kent
Bill Carlisle (host): Shanghai Rooster
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Billy Walker: Bare With Me A Little Longer
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: (?)
Hank Snow: Confused With the Blues
Sam McGee: Under the Double Eagle
Jimmy Dickens: You Destroyed Me
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Hank Snow: Man Behind the Gun

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Running Gun
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Curly Fox: Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey
Don Winters: Annie Lou
Cousin Jody: Run, Please, Run
Bluegrass Country Kin: Ol' Slewfoot
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/The Shoe Goes On the Other Foot Tonight/Begging to You/El Paso

When the 4 Guys were fired, it was one of the first moves made by Pete Fisher after he became the Opry's general manager. There are many who feel that was the first of what was going to be a series of moves that would have resulted in other members of the cast being let go. However, after the public outcry and comments, those plans were obviously changed. There were terminations regarding the Opry Staff Band and several years later with Holly Dunn, but that was the extent of those moves. What did happen was that many of the Opry's senior members saw their appearance greatly decline and while many of those members complained about it, it did nothing to change those decisions.

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry and has a very nice weekend!!!!

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 2/3 & 2/4

As the Grand Ole Opry finishes up its winter run at the Ryman Auditorium on Friday night, if you are looking for Opry members at the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, it will be slim pickings as the Friday Night Opry will have just 5 members performing, while Saturday has just 4 members listed.

The big attraction at the Opry this weekend will be Opry members Little Big Town, scheduled for the Friday Night Opry. They will be joined by Opry members John Conlee, Mike Snider, The Whites and Bobby Osborne. Steve Wariner is the featured Opry member on Saturday night, joined by Jesse McReynolds, along with John Conlee and Mike Snider, holdovers from Friday night.

Guest artists this week on the Friday Night Opry include Mo Pitney, The Grascals, Mandy Barnett, Darryl Worley, Restless Heart, and making his Opry debut, Stephen Dorff. Saturday night's line-up includes Carly Pearce, TG Sheppard, Charlie Worsham, Runaway Jane, Eric Paslay, and making his Opry debut, Adam Craig.

Friday February 3
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mo Pitney; The Grascals
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mandy Barnett; Darryl Worley
8:15: The Whites (host); Stephen Dorff; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart
8:45: Little Big Town

Saturday February 4
7:00: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Jesse McReynolds; Adam Craig; TG Sheppard
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Charlie Worsham; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Runaway Jane; Eric Paslay

Really hate to see just 3 segments on the Saturday night show.

As mentioned, this will be the Opry debut for Stephen Dorff and Adam Craig. Stephen Dorff is an actor who is starring in the new movie "Wheeler." In the movie, he plays the part of a country music singer who moves from Texas to Nashville hoping to become a star. He has starred in a number of movies and to prepare for this role, he spent considerable time in Nashville, playing at various clubs and working with various singers. There is a country music connection with Stephen as he is the brother of songwriter Andrew Dorff, who passed away last year. Andrew had written a number of songs, including No. 1 hits for Blake Shelton, Martina McBride, Hunter Hayes and Kenny Chesney, among others.

The other Opry newcomer is Adam Craig. Adam is originally from Tenino, Washington and has been in Nashville since 2004, originally coming as a songwriter. He has written a number of songs including "Whiskey on my Breath," sung by Love and Theft. He is currently signed to Stoney Creek Records and has released is self-titled debut LP and his debut single "Reckon."

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of February 3 & 4, 2012:

Friday February 3
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Del McCoury Band; Edens Edge
7:30: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Charley Pride
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Oak Ridge Boys
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Keith Urban

Saturday February 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rhonda Vincent
7:30: Charley Pride (host); The Whites; Little Big Town
8:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jesse McReynolds; Holly Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Gary Morris; Diamond Rio

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of February 2 & 3, 2007:

Friday February 2
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; George Hamilton IV; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; John Starling & Carolina Star
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider; Joe Nichols
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Riders In The Sky

Saturday February 3
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Aaron Tippin
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jim Ed Brown; Joe Nichols
7:30: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; John Starling & Carolina Star
8:00: Vince Gill (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Asleep At The Wheel

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Jim Ed Brown; Aaron Tippin
10:00: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; John Starling & Carolina Star
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Joe Nichols; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del McCoury Band; Asleep At The Wheel

Finally, from 15 years ago, the weekend of February 1 & 2, 2002:

Friday February 1
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Del Reeves; Jimmy C Newman; The Derailers; Jack Greene
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim & Jesse; Stonewall Jackson; Jim Ed Brown
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Josh Turner; Diamond Rio
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Gail Davies; T.G. Sheppard; Clint Black

Saturday February 2
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Steve Holy; The Derailers; Osborne Brothers; Mickey Gilley
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Bill Carlisle; Billy Walker; Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Elizabeth Cook; George Hamilton IV; John Conlee

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Osborne Brothers
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Jim & Jesse: Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Steve Holy; Mickey Gilley
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Elizabeth Cook; Del Reeves; The Derailers

To finish it off for this week, let's go back 38 years to Saturday February 3, 1979:

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy Dickens: May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing It Now
Helen Cornelius: To Daddy
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: If the World Ran Out of Love Tonight

6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Release Me
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bucket to the South
Lonzo & Oscar: Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Ernie Ashworth: You Can't Pick A Rose in December
Bill Monroe: Big Mun

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol Slewfoot
Barbara Mandrell: Sleeping Single in A Double Bed/His Eye Is on the Sparrow
Billy Grammer: Papa & Mama
Ray Pillow: Texas
Del Wood: My Country
Willis Brothers: Bob
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/On A Highway Headed South

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/Tennessee Central No. 9/Sunshine Special
Jimmy C Newman: Happy Cajun
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Katy Hill
Roy Acuff: Jesus Will Outshine Them All

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer The Phone
Grandpa Jones: Gone Home
4 Guys: We Make Beautiful Music Together
Billy Walker: Lawyers
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Bill Carlisle: Have a Drink on Me
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

8:30: Stephen's
Hank Snow (host): Golden Rocket
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Stu Phillips: Thank God She's Mine
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Jean Shepard: I Just Want to Sing My Song
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Lonzo & Oscar: Divorce No. 2
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Saturday Night
Barbara Mandrell: If Loving You Is Wrong
Charlie Louvin: My Baby's Gone
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Act Right

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Connie Smith: Amazing Grace
Ernie Ashworth: I Can't Help It
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing It Now
Roy Acuff: When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Eight More Miles to Louisville
Stonewall Jackson: My Favorite Sin
Billy Grammer: Faded Love
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Osborne Brothers: Beneath Still Waters
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Mississippi Sawyer

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove
Jimmy C Newman: River Road
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Ray Pillow: Gone At Last
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: Geisha Girl

11:30: Acme
Wilburn Brothers (host): Country Honey
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/A Poor Man's Woman/Satin Sheets
Stu Phillips: Crystal Chandeliers
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Wilburn Brothers: Because He Lives

I think it is safe to say that was an impressive night at the Opry. Not too many Opry members were missing. Anyways, it is always nice to look back and remember.

That covers it for this week. I hope everyone has a nice weekend and enjoy the Opry!!