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!!!!


  1. I have often thought that T.Graham Brown would be an interesting member for the Opry......

  2. I agree T Graham would be a great member a few others like Suzy Boggus, Mandy Barnett, Carolina chocolate drops & Johnny Lee I believe would make more appearances than many of the current members. I miss the variety of traditional country the Opry once had but with the passing of Jimmy C Newman for example there hasn't been any Cajun country that I remember & no instrumental artists as a member like Del Wood & Chet Atkins. Doyle Dykes would be a good candidate to bring back the tradition of an instrumental artist as a member. I was happy to hear of Daily & Vincent being added. There's only a few bluegrass legends left so we can look forward to bluegrass music continuing in the future. Whoever takes Petes place I hope they at least bring Opry live back to television & feature more legends on the televised segments if it would return to tv.

    1. I agree Mike, ever since Jimmy C. Newman´s passing there has been zero cajun contry on the opry. That is sad, for this is a show that has always billed itself with distinct forms of american music from appalachian to bluegrass, to honky tonk, to folk, to western swing, etc. Now, its mainstream, lots of bro country. There needs to be a shift that goes back to that billing. There are still people, and young people who listen to those forms of music and would go to the opry to hear it. I am one of them.

  3. If you haven't caught the Opry Encore show on RFD-TV, they haven't gone back far enough into the vault yet, but they have had some nice shows.

  4. Another performer who merits serious consideration in being added to the Opry roster is Jimmy Fortune.

  5. I would expect that there will be no more new members until a new general manager takes over, but there was an exception as Trisha Yearwood joined in 1999 between the time Bob Whitaker left and Pete Fisher took over. That one was Steve Buchanan's call.

    As to television for the Opry, I think that train has left the station, so to speak.

    1. Unless television agrees to simply show the 'Opry as it is (a live radio show), with no interjected interviews, and no TV hosts hijacking the show, I'd just as soon television stays away.

  6. On youtube, I have found some great full concerts of Austin City Limits that have Ray Price, Bill Monroe, Willie Nelson, George Jones, Johnny Cash...... Pretty awesome episodes!!!

    1. Austin City Limits was wonderful back in it's country and folk days -----what happened ??? Why did it completely change course ?? I don't even think of watching it anymore --- Dashmann -- Flushing, Michigan

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  8. Last year I found a great Opry show from 1980 it was aired on PBS featuring Hank Snow, Billy Walker, David Houston, Jerry Clower, The Tennessee travelers with the fruit jar drinkers, Kirk McGee, Jeannie Pruett, Charlie Louvin, Still Phillips & Marty Robbins.

    1. Terrible picture, but sound is perfect.
      What a GREAT show.
      "For every inch I've laughed, I've cried a mile."
      Sure don't write lyrics like that any more....
      Thanks Mike.

    2. Agreed! - Anonymous in Kingman

    3. Mike,

      Thanks for posting the youtube address. I think someone did before but I could never get it to come up. I remember as kids trying to get WTIU in Bloomington to come in well enough to see this.

      I could not keep the tears from my eyes watching Marty and Mr. Acuff together and doing "the Bird" together. It was interesting to see Mr. Acuff run back to center stage and then remember how much he had slowed by the time we saw him in 1989.

      So many other things brought back memories or were interestin like seeing Weldon and Billy with beards, seeing Weldon and Sonny plying twin steel, finding out that Pee Wee Rogers and Calvin Crawford had worked with David Houston before they worked together with Jimmy Dickens, how much Denis McCall looked like brother Darrell and more.

      Thanks again!

      Knightsville, IN

  9. Fred, Bismarck:

    Agree with Bruce above that Jimmy Fortune would be a wonderful addition to the Opry. Every show needs a good tenor -- and it doesn't matter if it's strictly country that he sings or not!

    The Statlers themselves were "Americana," if anything, and Jimmy would be in the same vein. Also, he is out there working, a serious solo artist.

    If Jimmy were on the bill, I'd make it a point to tune in!

  10. Mr. Fay! The Tuesday Night Opry starts this week. Could you please help your favorite blind fan by weekly posting those line ups?

    1. Of course I will E.Z. I will have it posted as a separate post later this evening.

  11. Jeannie Seely is talking from inside a tin can.
    Mike Snyder gave it away last night, when he mentioned the new sound board.
    Sometimes new is NOT better.......

  12. Is it possible that WSM and the Opry could get the online stream to work correctly? It can't be that difficult.

    1. Apparently not Byron ~ I was lucky to have been able to tune my radio to WSM in order to listen to the Opry for the time it took to fix the online issue. The WSM stream still goes in and out at the drop of a hat. It's an on going issue and always has been. But the Opry was good last night - Jenny Gill was really, really good. I was very impressed - of course she has two very famous parents who sing pretty danged good. And of course, Chris Janson was really good though I found his voice to not be in very good shape with all the touring he did with Blake Shelton last year and now this year with Sam Hunt and Maren Morris. Very different vocal ranges and tempo's to both songs he sang. He still brings down the house.


    2. WSM online is totally off the internet this morning.
      Missing Bill and Charlie!