Thursday, March 23, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 3/24 & 3/25

I will be honest. If I didn't have a ticket for another show this weekend, I would be tempted to get in my car and drive down to Nashville for this week's Grand Ole Opry shows. A great set of artists set to appear and two shows each night.

The headliner for all four shows will be Grand Ole Opry member Carrie Underwood. For Carrie, these will be her first Opry appearances of the year. Carrie will be joined both nights by fellow Opry members Mike Snider, Bill Anderson, John Conlee and Jeannie Seely. On Friday night, Opry member Ricky Skaggs, The Whites and Jesse McReynolds are scheduled for just the first show, while Connie Smith and Bobby Osborne are down for just the later show. Connie then joins Carrie, Mike, Bill, John and Jeannie for both shows on Saturday night.

The guest list is pretty impressive. Friday night it will be Runaway June and Aubrie Sellers for both shows, while on Saturday night, Sundance Head, Lee Greenwood and Brandi Carlisle are set for both shows, while The Mavericks will be performing on the first show.

Friday March 24
1st show
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Runaway June; The Whites
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Aubrie Sellers; Mike Snider
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith (host); Runaway June; Mike Snider
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Aubrie Sellers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host);

Saturday March 25
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; The Mavericks
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Sundance Head; Lee Greenwood
8:00: John Conlee (host); Brandi Carlile; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Connie Smith (host); Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Sundance Head
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: John Conlee (host); Lee Greenwood; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Connie Smith (host); Brandi Carlile

Really some weird booking of the shows. Jeannie Seely with an entire half hour on the late show Friday? Will be interesting to see if anyone else is added. I would also think someone else would be added into the 3rd segment on the early Friday show.

Anyways, for Sundance Head, this will be his Grand Ole Opry debut. Jason "Sundance" Head is from Porter, Texas and is described as "an American country-soul singer and songwriter. He is the son of singer Roy Head. In 2007, he was a semi-finalist in the sixth season of "American Idol," while in 2011 he was the winner of season 11 of "The Voice.," where he was a part of Blake Shelton's team. He recently signed a deal with Republic Records.

Another special treat for Saturday night is Brandi Carlile. Brandi has been making a name for herself on the Americana scene for just over ten years. She really fits no one category, as she has been involved in the rock scene, pop, folk and alternative country. Last year she was paired on a few shows with Old Crow Medicine Show. While noted for her music, Brandi is also very involved in humanitarian causes. As far as her music, three of the six albums that she has released have gone to #1 on the folk charts and in 2015 her album "The Firewatcher's Daughter" was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Americana Album.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 5 years ago, the weekend of March 23 & 24, 2012:

Friday March 23
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mallory Hope
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Joe Diffie
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); Dustin Lynch; Connie Smith

Saturday March 24
1st show
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Frankie Ballard
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Yuki Miyamae; The Dirt Drifters
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Exile

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Frankie Ballard
10:00: Ray Pillow (host); Yuki Miyamae; The Dirt Drifters
10:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Exile

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

Friday March 23
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Riders In The Sky; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Ashley Monroe
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; The Greencards
9:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider
9:30: John Conlee (host); Gary Mule Deer; Mandy Barnett

Saturday March 24
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Dusty Drake
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jean Shepard; Mel McDaniel
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sons Of The Pioneers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Stu Phillips; Joe Diffie; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Charlie Daniels Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Dusty Drake
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Whites; Lorrie Morgan
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Mel McDaniel; Joe Diffie; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sons Of The Pioneers; Charlie Daniels Band

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of March 27 & 28, 1992:

Friday March 27
7:30; Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Connie Smith; Charlie Walker
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stonewall Jackson; The Carlisles
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); Stu Phillips; Jeannie Seely
9:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; The Whites
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Vince Gill
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Louvin; 4 Guys
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Justin Tubb; Jean Shepard; Johnny Russell

Saturday March 28
1st show
6:30: Johnny Russell (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Walker
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; The Whites; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Roy Drusky (host); Brooks and Dunn; Vince Gill
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Riders In The Sky; Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Mike Snider; Jeannie Seely; Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson; Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Vince Gill
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jean Shepard; 4 Guys
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Brooks and Dunn; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Carlisles; Ray Pillow; Billy Walker; Riders In The Sky
11:30: Del Reeves (host); Charlie Louvin; Justin Tubb; The Whites; Johnny Russell

Finally, it was Saturday March 24, 1979 that the Grand Ole Opry held their annual Reunion Show, also called Old-Timer's Night, when many of the Opry's former members came back for a special appearance. The Opry began these annual shows in 1974 and they continued into the early 1990s. Here is the running order from 38 years ago, Saturday March 24, 1979:

1st show
6:00: Vietti
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World/I'll Fly Away
Zeke Clements: Tumbling Tumbleweeds/Just A Little Lovin'
Lonzo & Oscar: You're Not Musically Inclined
Charlie Walker: Don't Play Me No Songs About Texas

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
Willis Brothers; Boots & Saddle
Curly Fox: Alabama Jubilee
Stonewall Jackson: Come on Home & Have Your Next Affair With Me

6:45: Rudy's
Justin Tubb (host): What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing it Now
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Jack Shook: Along the Santa Fe Trail
Alcyone Beasley: That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine
Jack Shook & Alcyone Beasley: Riding Down the Canyon
Justin Tubb: Looking Back to See

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Monroe (host); Uncle Pen
Pee Wee King: Bonaparte's Retreat/Tennessee Waltz
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me/I Can't Stop Loving You
Senator George McCloud: Ragtime Annie

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball/ Tennessee Central No. 9/Sunshine Special
Connie Smith: When God Dips His Love in My Heart
Honey Wilds: Sittin' on Top of the World/The World is Waiting for the Sunrise
Sid Harkreader: Mockingbird Breakdown/Whispering Hope
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Lester Flatt (host): Katy Hill
Wilma Lee & Carol Lee Cooper: He Will Set Your Fields on Fire
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Duke of Paducah: Comedy
Billy Smith & Curly Seckler: What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul
Charlie Nixon: The Old Spinning Wheel

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Ramblin' Rose
Billy Walker: Lawyers
Bill Carlisle: Rough Stuff
Paul Howard: I'll Never be Free
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sugar Tree Stomp
Hank Snow: My Happiness

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Bill Monroe (host): My Sweet Blue Eyed Darling
Lonzo & Oscar: Bluegrass Melodies
Oscar & G. Eldridge: Dueling Banjos
Pee Wee King: Slowpoke/Tennessee Waltz
Skeeter Davis: Georgia
Senator George McCloud: Lost Indian

10:00: Fender
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Play Me No Sad Songs about Texas
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing it Now
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabamy Bound
Charlie Walker: Release Me

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
Stonewall Jackson: Come on Home
Harold Weakley: Today I Started Loving You Again
Roy Acuff: Jesus Will Outshine them All

10:30: Trailblazer
Lester Flatt (host)
Pete Corum: My Little Georgia Rose
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man/He Was There All the Time
Nashville Grass: Angel Band
Blake Williams: Shuckin' the Corn

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Walker (host): Lawyers
Wilma Lee & Carol Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Crook Brothers: Gray Eagle
Billy Walker: Behind Closed Doors

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Catfish John
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Duke of Paducah: Comedy
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: Mysterious Lady from St. Martinique

11:30: Acme
Stu Phillips (host): It's A Heartache
Marion Worth: New Lips/Fool No. 1
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Paul Howard: San Antonio Rose
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately that I Love You/You Win Again/ Release Me

The list of former Opry members who were on that night included Zeke Clements; Curly Fox; Jack Shook; Alcyone Beasley; Pee Wee King; Honey Wilds; Sid Harkreader; Duke of Paducah; and Paul Howard. Jimmy Driftwood was also scheduled but cancelled. And finally, there was Senator George McCloud, and yes, he was a Senator from Mississippi and from what I read, a pretty decent fiddle player.

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


  1. I know we all brag on Carrie Underwood a lot, but she truly is the greatest among her generation to understand the importance of Opry membership.

  2. Ditto that David B

  3. From Anonymous in Kingman: God Bless Carrie Underwood!!

  4. I will third or fourth that and add something: since she co-hosts the CMA's with Brad Paisley, maybe she could say something to him about how he talks the talk but doesn't walk the walk, and when he said in a eulogy for Jimmy Dickens that "we'll take it from here," that meant he was making a promise he hasn't kept?

  5. I attended Little Jim's funeral, and the exact same thought has entered my mind.
    Carrie doesn't talk the walk, she just walks!

  6. I saw that the Opry is advertising that this will be Carrie's 100th appearance on the Opry. Not too bad considering how busy she is with her career and touring right now.

  7. I don't understand why always, on the second show, the headlining artist is always in the second segment and done within 30 minutes to an hour of the show starting? If that was the only show I'd bought tickets for, I'd then watch the rest, but without the excitement of the big name at the end.

    1. A lot has to do with the artist themselves. Many of them don't want to hang around all night: get in, do their songs and go. If you look at even the shows from decades ago, some of the bigger names would do either the televised segment, or the last segment on the first show, then the first segment on the second show and be gone.

      Looking at past Carrie appearances, when there have been two shows, how she appeared on Friday, and will on Saturday, is pretty standard for her.

    2. Lets not forget that in the days of TNN and the televised portion, many of the big name chart toppers wouldn't even stay for the second show, only showing up for the TV exposure and the publicity. At least that is the way I saw it. Sometimes, that was just fine with me!

      Knightsville, IN

    3. Not to take too much away from Carrie and the positive comments here, if you really had as much respect for the Opry as the artists talk about, is it too much to ask that they stay for the whole show? It's not like they are rushing to play another gig that night and I'm sure they can find friends, coworkers, etc. to chat with. Again, I don't want to take too much away from Carrie as I do appreciate her getting her 10 performances in per year.

    4. If I remember correctly, Carrie always use to perform the last half of hour of each show, but has stopped since she became a mom.

    5. Joe, I will tell you that artists coming and going based on their spots has been going on for decades. Many of the older artists used to ask to be on the earlier slots on the 2nd show so that they could leave and be home early. Other artists would leave the Opry between their spots on the 1st and 2nd shows and go get something to eat, or in the case of Hank Snow, he went back home and came back right before he was due to go on.

      Other artists don't even go into the Opry House until it is their time. Alan Jackson, when he appears, will generally wait in his tour bus. Travis Tritt used to stay in the TNN studios in the back of the Opry House. Others used to wait in Pete Fisher's office until it was time to go on.

      I know the Opry has always been made out to be one big happy family, where the artists come before the first show, stay all through the second show, visit and have fun. Sadly, those days have passed.

    6. With only 6 or 8 members appearing per show now the "family reunion" backstage atmosphere is gone. I've seen photos and videos of backstage of the Opry in the 50-80s and I long to be there. Imagine 25 or 30 artists per week just walking around. Picking sessions; Acuff's dressing room; it truly was a family. There were exceptions- Marty Robbins only coming in for the last segment; Snow didn't socialize much at all, as said, going home between shows and refusing to participate in any televised Opry shows until TNN came around. But I think for the most part everyone did get a long and truly were close friends.
      It's just changing times. With that older generation is gone, the newer ones don't hold to those things for the most part.
      I remember family reunions as a child with over 100 people. Once the older generation passed away, the reunions died along with them. We now have Facebook and texting to keep up with each other.
      The Opry building is still there but we must realize it's a new group of people.

    7. Having spent a lot of time there in the early 80's (thanks to Mr. Bell) I can tell you that the atmosphere was very much like a family reunion on a Saturday night. It would start out kind of quietly early in the evening, pick up steam around 7:00 or so, be at full steam around 8:30 and then start to quiet down again around 11. There was always a lot of music coming from dressing rooms 2 (Bill Monroe and the bluegrass acts) and 3 (The Crook Brothers, Kirk McGee and the other "old timers"), lots of coming and going and the Bill Carlisle-Marshall Barnes vaudeville show going on in the back hallway for most of the evening. A few dressing room doors would remain closed but for the most part everyone was in and out and you would usually find several artists that weren't even on the show sitting around. I passed by Roy Acuff's dressing room one night and saw Carl Smith, Carl Butler, John Hartford and Johnny Russell all sitting there having a big old time and none of them appeared on the stage that night. I just can't imagine that without the old characters to keep things stirred up and the show being practically over before it begins and the majority of performers not being long-time Opry stars that the backstage atmosphere is quite as warm, loose and informal these days.

    8. Barry, what you said is what I'd always heard about. And to confess, I've never been to the Opry. And now I think of my mother. I asked her in the 1980s whether she would want to go and she said that she didn't because it wouldn't be like what she'd heard about and listened to 30 years before. I'm now that way. I'd want to get backstage (I was acquainted enough with two of the members to be able to do it, I think), and now that's lost its glow.

      At the same time, I'm not entirely sad about it, except for the nostalgia, because the world does change. If the Opry had stayed as it was in 1926, it wouldn't be here now. It has to keep its links to the past, but it can't be a prisoner of it. Which, as a history professor, I hate to say!

  8. I was so very happy that Eddie Stubbs announced both shows tonight!!!!
    I realize the man needs a night off, but he is the Grant Turner of our lifetime. WSM is by far and away my favorite radio station, and he is far and away the greatest dj there! His ability to capture people is just amazing!!!! Plus he knows more history than anyone living today with the exception possibly of Mr. Fay!!!!
    I don't ever want his week night show to change, but I wish he did the actual Saturday night Opry rather than Friday.

  9. If you think about the Ryman days, how often have you heard the stories of the artist making the walk across the alley to Tootsie's between shows or segments they appeared on? Or they lingered in the alley. Of course, there was limited space backstage at the Ryman.

    When we spent the night backstage in April 1999, it was kind of like David B was mentioning. Although some artist did leave for a while between shows they did not rush out or turn anyone away that wanted to talk to them. I always figured they were going to grab a bite to eat. There was a lot of visiting going on. I was talking with Jim Ed Brown when the great bass man Bob Moore came up and started talking to Jim Ed. Billy and Bettie Walker visited with Jimmy C and Miss Mae about jackets for the first Golden Voice show. Johnny Russell and George IV visited in the dressing room while Johnny ate a hot dog. At that time, it really was what we all like to think it was.

    Alas, Roy, Minnie, Hank, Monroe, and Grandpa were gone but it still had the feeling. Porter was one that was nice but wasn't out of his dressing room too much. We were oh so lucky to have experienced this thanks to Jean Shepard and Benny Birchfield.

    As with a lot of our history and culture, we are all lucky to have lived when we did even though we sometimes think we were born too late.

    Knightsville, IN

  10. Between 1989 and 1991, I was blessed to be allowed backstage several times, courtesy of the late Otto Kitsinger. He was a writer/researcher for TNN, including the Opry Backstage show. As Jim says, it was very much a family atmosphere, and I was able to meet and get autographs from virtually everyone on the show (including the elusive Hank Snow). There were also many celebrity visitors who were not on the show, including Ferlin Husky (although Jean Shepard did bring him onstage as a surprise guest), Gordie Tapp, Dick Curless, and even Tammy Faye Bakker. I was free to talk to anyone I saw, and if their dressing room door was open, many of them invited me in. True, some didn't hang around to socialize, but not one refused to give me an autograph. The Staff Band and other sidemen were also very friendly. It was truly one of the highlights of my life that I will never forget! Almost all of them are gone now, and I imagine that open atmosphere no longer exists, but I will be forever thankful that I got to experience a little taste of it, before it was too late.

    Rich Leonard
    Seattle, WA

  11. Rich,

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Glad you were there a few years ahead of us and had a chance to see and meet some of the folks I mentioned that were gone by the time we were there. Hank Snow is one I regret not having the chance to meet. We did get to meet Mr. Acuff backstage in 1989. He was at the top of our list.

    When we were there, you had a feeling of who was not too approachable but even those folks were courteous and signed autographs. Otherwise, you just felt like you were among friends and could participate in most of what was going on if you were polite. I'm sure it just wouldn't be the same these days but it would still be fun!

    Knightsville, IN