Monday, March 13, 2017

Opry Observation/Tuesday Night Opry 3/14 & Opry Country Classics 3/16

As most know, I was at the Grand Ole Opry this past weekend for the induction of Dailey & Vincent as the Opry's newest members. While I will offer my observations later this week, I did want to make one observation regarding the Friday Night Opry and how it was put together.

First there was Jeannie Seely. A classic country music singer who in September will celebrate 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She was followed by Craig Campbell, one of the young, male singers in country music who already has had a presence on the country charts. Next up was Jesse McReynolds, a member of the Opry for over 50 years and a bluegrass legend. He played two instrumental numbers on his fiddle. The first segment alone had a lot of variety in it, something for everyone.

The next segment featured the comedy and string band music from Mike Snider. He brought on Brooke Eden, a very young female trying to make a career in country music. She was followed by Montgomery Gentry, one of the hot duos in country music from the past decade. They brought a lot of energy to the stage. Like the first segment, a lot of variety in the second segment.

The third segment was hosted by Riders In The Sky. Cowboy and Western music, along with a bit of comedy. Rhiannon Giddens was next. Originally a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, she is an amazing talent. Sang some soulful, basic Americana/bluegrass/folk music (in other words, hard to characterize her). Henry Cho, a non-country comedian finished out the segment.

Finally, Connie Smith hosted the final slot. A Hall of Fame member who sings classic country with a bit of gospel. A great voice and a legend. She brought out Old Crow Medicine Show. Again, they are hard to put into any one category. A bit of bluegrass, string band, country, instrumental, Americana. A crowd favorite with "Wagon Wheel."

When you add it all up, and look how each act was booked and slotted, there was something for everyone on that show. From classic country to young country. Bluegrass to today's hot hits. Comedy and string band music. And that is what has made the Opry a great show over the years.

Now for the Tuesday Night Opry, March 14:

7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jimmy Wayne; Thompson Square
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Charles Esten
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Opry Country Classics, Thursday March 16:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Pam Tillis
Also appearing: Mo Pitney; The Gatlin Brothers; Jim Lauderdale; Mandy Barnett


  1. So proud of The Gatlins for stepping up and taking the reins of those who came before them. In my mind I can see Larry being a Acuff figure for the future. Always there and reliable. Vince Gill and Ricky Skaggs as well. I had hopes for Marty Stuart, but he seems to not appear as often as I thought he would at this point. Vince is already a hall of famer, and I have no doubts The Gatlins, Marty and Ricky are not already near an induction. It would not surprise me if one or more went in this year.

    1. David, I can tell you from being in Nashville last weekend that everyone was pretty tight lipped about the Hall of Fame. I know on the Opry Classics Show on Thursday night, Larry Gatlin, Jeannie Seely and Steve Wariner all mentioned that Dottie West should be in the Hall of Fame, which leads me to think that she will not get in. The votes are probably all in at this stage and arrangements and dates are being finalized.

      I did get to thinking and what a backlog there is for the Hall and with one per year, it is not going to get better anytime soon. Just looking at the veterans you have (in no particular order) Tanya Tucker; Crystal Gayle; Ray Stevens; Jerry Reed; maybe Hank Williams, Jr. (depending on where he falls). You can make an argument for the Osborne Brothers, Eddie Rabbit; Archie Campbell, and next year, Ralph Stanley and the Stanley Brothers. Then you have Ricky Skaggs; Alan Jackson; The Judds; Brooks & Dunn, in the modern category for starters. It never ends. Oh, and for those who might have forgotten, on April 1st, the Country Music Hall of Fame will be celebrating its 50th anniversary. I was told that is going to be a special day at the Hall with some extra special events happening. Could the Hall of Fame announcement come on that date?

  2. Byron, well put. And as I looked back at lineups over the years, I thought, why is Wilma Lee Cooper on the same segment as Bill Monroe, for example--variety makes it better.

  3. Here are two of my "guesses" for the Hall of Fame this year: Ricky Skaggs and Crystal Gayle. In light of the overall predictability of the Hall of Fame, I will probably be wrong on both of these. We'll see.

  4. Let's talk about the backlog. I'm going to list a few acts I think are Hall of Fame worthy, and should be getting some consideration at this point in the game. Stonewall Jackson (84), Jerry Lee Lewis (81), Mickey Gilley (80), Ray Stevens (78), Gene Watson (73), Naomi Judd (71), Anne Murray (71), Larry Gatlin (68), Hank Williams, Jr. (67), Crystal Gayle (66), Steve Gatlin (65), Rudy Gatlin (64), Ronnie Dunn (63), Ricky Skaggs (62), Kix Brooks (61), Dwight Yoakam (60), Alan Jackson (58) and Tanya Tucker (58). Now Look at the ages. That's 15 acts, and if we started at the top and went down at two per year.... let's face it, some of these folks are never going to see a bronze plaque under the current rules. And to me this is a tough list to weed through. Not to mention the push for deceased artists in the same categories. A short list of those is, Dottie West, John Denver, The Wilburn Brothers, Jerry Reed, Bradley Kincaid, Archie Campbell, Keith Whitley, Eddie Rabbitt, Vern Gosdin, Wynn Stewart, Jerry Clower, Stringbean and Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper. And I'm very liberal naming that many. What's the answer? I think a mass induction is not the right way to go about it. We need more categories. That may get five or so in a year. And to me, that's not too many to take the "specialness" out of the honor.

  5. Would we hear more on social media from an artist if they'll be going into the hall of fame this year or less? Not an announcement that they're going in just posting more.

    Marty and Tanya are everywhere lately in terms of that. Tanya just recently started posting more on Instagram and Marty just released a new album so that part of hearing more from him is expected.

    Sometimes I can't tell if a media blitz is a lead up to an announcement or if they just want to be in the limelight.