Thursday, April 27, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/28 & 4/29

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two Opry shows this weekend; the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. The shows both nights look pretty good, with the edge given to the Friday show.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include Mike Snider; Ricky Skaggs; Bill Anderson and John Conlee. They will be joined on Friday night by members Jeannie Seely, Josh Turner; The Whites; Pam Tillis; Bobby Osborne and Old Crow Medicine Show, who will be appearing and signing in the Opry Gift Shop after the show. On Saturday night, additional Opry members appearing include Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds and Riders In The Sky. Of that group, it is really nice to see Josh Turner returning to the Opry.

Guest artists this weekend are Runaway June on Friday night (yes, only one), and T. Bubba Bechtol, Point of Grace, Russell Dickerson, and making his Opry debut, Shane Owens. It has been a while since T. Bubba has been on the Opry and it's good to see him bring his brand of comedy back to the Opry stage.

As mentioned, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Shane Owens. Shane Owens was listed by Rolling Stone magazine as one of the "10 Country Artists You Need to Know." According to the magazine, Shane should appeal to fans who like Randy Travis, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks. He released his latest album, "Where I'm Coming From" this past December and he has been receiving airplay of Sirius XM's Outlaw  Country channel. According to Randy Travis, "Shane Owens brings it all...vocal, writing, performance, and passion. He has paid his dues, remained committed to traditional country and brings you a song with heart and a story. Songs that will get you through the tough times and enjoy the happy times; and, lyrics that will remind you of the threads in life that make you the fabric you are today. He will bless you with his talent and kindness. To Shane, I gladly pass the baton." Originally from Alabama, he recorded and released his first album in 2005 and has been working hard since. Personally, I look forward to hearing Shane on the Opry on Saturday night.

Friday April 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Josh Turner
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Pam Tillis
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Runaway June
8:45: John Conlee (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday April 29
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Russell Dickerson; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Point of Grace
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shane Owens; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Ricky Skaggs

Quick question: What do you notice about the Friday night line-up? Answer: Each performer, with the exception of just one, is an Opry member. It's been a little while since we have seen that many Opry members on a show, and a pretty good collection of members. And interesting to see that Ricky is not hosting on Saturday night, with the edge being given to Riders In The Sky. A tough call on the Opry's part, but with Ricky being the only guest on the final segment he will probably be given the opportunity to sing more than two songs.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 27 & 28, 2007:

Friday April 27
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Carlene Carter
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Trent Tomlinson
9:00: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; TG Sheppard
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jim Ed Brown; JD Crowe & The New South

Saturday April 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith
7:00: Trace Adkins; Radney Foster; Catherine Britt; Brenda Lee; The Whites
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Radney Foster
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Mike Snider; Brenda Lee
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Catherine Britt; Mandy Barnett

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of May 1 & 2, 1992:

Friday May 1
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis; Ray Pillow; Jan Howard
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Charlie Louvin
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Jean Shepard
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider; The Chieftans
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Billy Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper; Del Reeves; Teddy Wilburn
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy Dickens; Stu Phillips; The Carlisles; Stonewall Jackson
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; Jeannie Seely
11:00: Hank Snow (host); 4 Guys; Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Justin Tubb
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
12:05: Rev. Jimmie Snow

Saturday May 2
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; The Whites; Del Reeves
7:30: Billy Walker (host); Jan Howard; The Carlisles; Molly and the Heymakers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; 4 Guys; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jim and Jesse; Roy Drusky; Jeanne Pruett; Skeeter Davis

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Mike Snider; Vic Willis Trio; Michael White
10:00: Jack Greene; (host); The Whites
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Molly and the Heymakers; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; The Carlisles; Justin Tubb; Del Reeves
11:30: 4 Guys (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Jim and Jesse

Molly and the Heymakers is a name that many may not recognize. The group, which consisted of Martha "Molly" Scheer, Andy Dee, Jeff Nelson, Joe Lindzius, and Chad Udeen, was formed in 1987. In 1991, the group had its highest charting singing on the Billboard charts, "Chasin' Something Called Love," which peaked at #50. After limited success in country music, the group changed the focus of their sound and changed their name to Molly & The Makers. In 1998 newly named group released an album that included a mix of country, rock, and punk. Country fans were not pleased and the album received mixed reviews. Currently, the group is still active under the name Molly and the Danger Band and contains none of the original founding members.

Michael White is another name from the Saturday line-up that country fans might not remember. Michael is the son of songwriter L.E. White. In 1992, Mike was signed by Reprise Records and released his debut album "Familiar Ground." Three singles from that album made the Billboard charts with the "Professional Fool" reaching #32. While his performing career was short, he has continued as a successful writer. Among his credits are "Kiss You in the Morning" by Michael Ray. "The Baby" by Blake Shelton and "Loving Every Minute," recorded by Mark Wills.

Finally, it was on Saturday April 28, 1973 that Conway Twitty made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Somewhat surprising that it took that long as even in 1973, Conway was already an established star, thanks in part to "Hello Darlin'," released in 1970 and his duets with Opry member Loretta Lynn.

Here is the running order from 44 years ago, April 28, 1973, the night of Conway Twitty's first Opry appearance:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Billy Grammer: Detroit City

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Stan Hitchcock: Let Me Roll
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Did You Think to Pray
Carolee Cooper & George McCormick: Never Ending Song of Love/Old Fashioned Love Song

7:00: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Lonzo & Oscar: Moving' On #2/Easy Loving
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Mary Lou Turner: Teddy Bear Song
Bill Anderson: If You Can Live With It (I Can Live Without It)
Jimmy Gatley: Sweet, Sweet Loving
Bill Anderson: Don't She Look Good

7:30: Standard Candy
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Jimmy C Newman: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Ray Pillow: I Wish Somebody Loved Me that Much
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Tommy Jones: Black Mountain Rag
Jimmy C Newman: Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues
Ray Pillow: Cinderella

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bobby Lewis: It's Such a Pretty World Today
Conway Twitty: She Needs Someone to Hold Her/Hello Darlin'
Conway Twitty & Kathy Twitty: Don't Cry Daddy/Jackson
Roy Acuff: Won't It Be Wonderful There

8:30: Stephens
Ernest Tubb (host): Baby, It's So Hard to be Good
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of a Dove
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Ernest Tubb: Have You Ever Been Lonely
Stu Phillips: She's Got to be a Saint

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Grammer (host): Wabash Cannonball
Willis Brothers: Little Red Wagon
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Billy Grammer: Life's Railway to Heaven
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Ray Pillow: I Wish Somebody Loved Me that Much
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: To My Mansion

10:15: Union 76
Archie Campbell (host): Lonesome Road
Stan Hitchcock: Let Me Roll
Tommy Jones: Dueling Banjo/The Claw

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Gathering Flowers from the Hillside
Conway Twitty: Baby's Gone/She Needs Someone to Hold Her
Conway Twitty & Kathy Twitty: Don't Cry Daddy/Daddy Frank

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Filipino Baby
Bobby Lewis: Together Again
Crook Brother: Eighth of January
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jimmy C Newman (host): The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Louie Roberts: Hey Good Lookin'
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Jimmy C Newman: San Antonio Rose
Louie Roberts: Make the World Go Away
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Jimmy C Newman: Good Deal, Lucille

11:30: Elm Hill
Stu Phillips (host): Crystal Chandeliers
4 Guys: Down by the Lazy River/Turn Your Radio On
Diane Jordan: Here I Am Again
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Diane Jordan: Teddy Bear Song
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything

I find it interesting, considering Conway's close association with Loretta Lynn, that he did not make more Opry appearances over the course of his career, or even consider becoming an Opry member. He would have made a good one, especially with his association with his "Twitty City" which I found to be a marvelous place to visit.

Finally, I did want to mention Jeannie Seely, who this week was honored by the State of Pennsylvania for being a Grand Ole Opry member for 50 years. Her actual anniversary will take place in September but it was nice to see Pennsylvania honor one of it's own.

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

Monday, April 24, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 4/25 & Opry Country Classics 4/27

It looks like a very nice Tuesday Night Opry coming up this week as Opry members Little Big Town return to the Opry stage for another appearance, along with members Pam Tillis, Terry Clark and Bill Anderson.

7:00: Pam Tillis; The Travelin' McCourys
7:30: Terri Clark; Tyler Farr
8:15: Bill Anderson; Easton Corbin
8:45: Kelsea Ballerini; Little Big Town

As far as Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, the Oak Ridge Boys are the spotlight artists:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Oak Ridge Boys
Also Appearing: Linda Davis; Daryle Singletary; Rhonda Vincent

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/21 & 4/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the three shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, which will feature two shows with identical line-ups. The "featured" attraction this weekend will be the return of Opry member Patty Loveless to the Opry stage. Patty, who in my opinion has one of the sweetest voices in country music, is scheduled for both shows on Saturday night.

She will be joined that night by fellow Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson, The Whites, Bobby Osborne and Connie Smith. Jeannie, Mike, The Whites and Connie are also scheduled for Friday night, where they will be joined by Jesse McReynolds.

Guest artists on Friday include John Berry; Elizabeth Cook, Mandy Barnett; Mark Wills, Kristian Bush, the legendary Gene Watson, and making his Opry debut, Cody Johnson. For Mark Wills, this will be his 10th Opry guest appearance in 2017, which is more appearances than 53 of the Opry's 63 members. Saturday's guest list includes Lucie Silvas, Keith Anderson, Sierra Hull and William Michael Morgan.

Friday April 21
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); John Berry; Elizabeth Cook
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Mandy Barnett; Mark Wills
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Kristian Bush
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Cody Johnson; Gene Watson

Saturday April 22
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Lucie Silvas; Mike Snider
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Keith Anderson; Sierra Hull
8:00: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Connie Smith (host); Patty Loveless

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Lucie Silvas; Mike Snider
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Keith Anderson; Sierra Hull
10:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Connie Smith (host); Patty Loveless

Overall all, three pretty nice shows. And here is a fact for everyone: Opry member Mike Snider has made an appearance on every Friday and Saturday show so far this year. He is the only Opry member with 100% attendance on the weekend shows.

As mention, this will be the Opry debut for Cody Johnson. Cody is based out of Texas where he has become a regional star. He has self-released six albums, with the sixth one, "Gotta Be Me" debuting at #2 on the Billboard Country Album Chart. He formed his band, the "Cody Johnson Band" in 2006. In 2009, he released his first studio album, "Six Strings One Dream." What is amazing about Cody's success is that he has achieved it without support from radio or any major record label. Personally, I have never heard Cody so I will be very interested in how he sounds and comes across at the Opry.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 20 & 21, 2007:

Friday April 20
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Connie Smith; Cherryholmes
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Danielle Peck
9:00: Pam Tillis (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; George Hamilton IV; The Whites
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas with special guest Tony Rice

Saturday April 21
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; The Whites
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Kellie Pickler; Restless Heart; Dusty Drake
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Jean Shepard; Marty Stuart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; The Grascals

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Pam Tillis
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Marty Stuart
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Kellie Pickler; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dusty Drake; Restless Heart

So whatever happened to Dusty Drake?
Born Dean Buffalini in 1965, he was from Pennsylvania and for several years was employed as an air traffic controller. At the same time, he was pursuing a career in country music, fronting a band called Silverado. When he was signed as an opening act for Garth Brooks at Ponderosa Park in Salem, Ohio, the promoter accidentally called him Dusty and the name stuck. After moving to Nashville in 1993, he changed his name to Dusty Drake and began work as a demo singer and songwriter. Songs that he wrote were recorded by Joe Diffie and the Oak Ridge Boys, among others. In 2002 he was signed to Warner Bros. Records as a recording artist. He had limited success with "One Last Time," released in 2003 his best showing on the charts, coming in at #26. In 2007 he moved to Big Machine Records and left that label in 2009. Since then, things have been pretty quiet for him.

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of April 17 & 18, 1992:

Friday April 17
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider; Jeannie Seely
8:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jimmy C Newman; Justin Tubb; Jim & Jesse
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Connie Smith
9:00: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites
9:30: Bill Monroe (host); Ray Pillow; Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky; Billy Walker
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Bill Carlisle; Eddy Raven
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
11:05: Rev. Jimmy Snow

Saturday April 18
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim & Jesse; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; The Whites; Jack Greene
7:30: 4 Guys (host); Paulette Carlson; Sammy Kershaw
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Pillow

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Roy Drusky; Trisha Yearwood
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Paulette Carlson; Roy Acuff
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Walker; Jan Howard
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin; Sammy Kershaw
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Justin Tubb; Jimmy Dickens; Jeannie Seely
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Johnny Russell

Finally, it was 50 years ago, Saturday April 22, 1967 that The Four Guys were formally introduced on the Opry as its newest members. The story of the 4 Guys has been told many times before, so I won't go into it further except to say that for over 30 years they were very loyal and popular members of the Grand Ole Opry.

7:30: Cordite
Billy Walker (host): Ride, Ride, Ride
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Stringbean: The Big 'Um Got Away
Merle Kilgore: I Just Don't Care Anymore
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Ernie Ashworth: Just an Empty Place
Stringbean: Wanda
Billy Walker: Anything Your Heart Desires

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roarin' Again
Loretta Lynn: You Ain't Woman Enough
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Harold Weakley: Almost Persuaded
Loretta Lynn/Teddy Wilburn & Ernest Tubb: Sweet Thang
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Wilburn Brothers: Making Plans

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): That's All Right
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bob Luman & Bobby Lord: You Can't Take the Boy From the Country
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Dottie West: What's Come Over My Baby
Bob Luman: Memphis
Bobby Lord: Take the Bucket to the Well

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): Driving Nails in my Coffin
Wilma Lee Cooper: There's a Big Wheel
Connie Smith: I'll Come Running
Minnie Pearl: Columbus Stockade Blues
Ernest Tubb: Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer
Ernest Tubb: Jealous Lovin' Heart

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Caribbean
Bill Monroe: Gray Eagle
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Marion Worth: I Can't Help It
Hank Snow: Tears in the Trade Winds
Bill Monroe: My Little Georgia Rose
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On

10:00: Schick
Justin Tubb (host): Looking Back to See
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Stringbean: Ruby
Justin Tubb & Dottie West: Love Is No Excuse

10:15: Pure
Bobby Lord (host): Cash on the Barrel Head
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease Heart
Bobby Lord: Fall Away

10:30: Buckley's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once for Me
Loretta Lynn: If You're Not Gone Too Long
Bob Luman: Let's Think About Living
Wilburn Brothers & Loretta Lynn: Put it Off Until Tomorrow

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): Fortunes in Memories
Wilma Lee Cooper: Wedding Bells
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Bill Monroe: Dusty Miller
4 Guys: This Land is Your Land
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Hank Snow: Black Diamond
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Sam McGee: These Boots are Made for Walkin'
Bill Monroe: Mary at the Home Place
Hank Snow: Listen

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): No Tears, Milady
Roy Drusky: Strangers
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Marion Worth: Especially You
Don Winters: Chime Bells
Roy Drusky: Alone With You
Marion Worth: Love's Gonna Live Here
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Begging to You/The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Lovesick Blues

As you can tell by the 4 Guys getting just two songs, they didn't make a big thing out of joining the Opry in those days!!!

By the 1990's, the Opry's annual reunion shows were wrapping up as many of the older, former members of the Opry had passed away. But in 1990, there were still a few around and on Saturday April 21, the annual reunion show took place. Here is the line-up from the 1st show that night:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Grandpa Jones (host): Bald Headed End of the Broom
Skeeter Davis: If I Don't Have You
Stonewall Jackson: Why I'm Walkin'
Grandpa Jones: Tritzem Yodel

6:45: Rudy's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music's Gone to Town
Zeke Clements: (?)
Charlie Louvin: Everytime You Leave
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Jean Shepard: Home in San Antonio/Time Changes Everything/Roly Poly
Porter Wagoner: I Thought I Heard You Calling My Name
Kathy Koon: Turkey in the Straw

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Geraldine
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Shenandoah
Margie Bowes: That Just About Does It, Don't It
Pee Wee King: Slowpoke

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Curly Fox: Billy in the Low Ground
Riders In The Sky: Back on the Texas Plains/Cool Water
Opry Square Dance Band: Snow Flake Reel

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Ancient History
Roy Drusky: As Long As I Live
Jack Greene: She Don't Cry
Dottie West: All I Ever Need is You
Carl Butler: Don't Let Me Cross Over
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

The former Opry members who were there that night were Zeke Clements, Margie Bowes, Pee Wee King and Carl Butler. As I wrote, the numbers were really dwindling.

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 4/18 & Opry Country Classics 4/20

The line-up has been posted for this week's Tuesday Night Opry. Overall, it looks like a pretty nice show:

7:00: Bill Anderson; William Michael Morgan
7:30: Sunny Sweeney; Parmalee
8:15: Lorrie Morgan; Pam Tillis
8:45: Del McCoury Band; Chris Janson

Del and the boys seem to be making a home on Tuesday nights. And another guest appearance by Chris Janson. Even though not a member, he continues to support the show.

As for Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, really nice to see the spotlight artist is Tanya Tucker.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Tanya Tucker
Also Appearing: T. Graham Brown; Gatlin Brothers; Riders In The Sky; Maggie Rose


Sunday, April 16, 2017

April Opry Highlights

April showers bring May flowers!!! Welcome to Spring, when the trees begin to bloom, the winter dirt disappears and the start of the major league baseball season. I know everyone has their favorites, but here in Ohio we are Tribe fans and this could be their year. Go Tribe!! Now back to serious business and as I do each month, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of April.

April 19, 1924: The WLS "National Barn Dance" was aired for the first time in Chicago. The National Barn Dance was the first of what would be many weekly barn dance programs sponsored by various radio stations around the country. Among the performers who were part of the "National Barn Dance" were Lulu Belle & Scotty, Bradley Kincaid, Gene Autry and a host of others. The "National Barn Dance" lasted until 1960 when the station changed formats. As many know, especially my friends in the Chicago area, WLS stood for "World's Largest Store," which was Sears, who were the owners of the station.

April 17, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon became a regular member of the WSM Barn Dance, soon to be known as the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 55, he was the first performer to join the show that had a national reputation and his hiring, in a way, would start the show on the path of becoming a group of professional entertainers instead of those, who as George D. Hay used to say, "came down from the hills for the weekend." Uncle Dave would remain a popular Opry member until his death on March 1, 1952, at the age of 81.

April 14, 1932: Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta joined the cast of the Opry in September 1962.

April 30, 1932: The Dixieliners, which consisted of Kirk and Sam McGee, along with Arthur Smith, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. All three had been performing on the Opry for several years, but this was the first time that they teamed up as an organized group. Their popularity and reputation grew and within a short amount of time they had two ten-minute segments on the show. It began to end for the Dixieliners in 1938 as Arthur had a drinking problem and was suspended from the Opry. On January 14, 1939, the Dixieliners made their final Opry appearance, after which Arthur left the Opry, while Sam and Kirk would continue on for many years.

April 11, 1933: Grand Ole Opry member Roy Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia. And yes, it is true. Roy turns 84 this year. Hard to believe.

April 29, 1933: The Delmore Brothers, Rabon and Alton, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. The brothers remained members of the Opry until 1938 when they left to pursue what they felt were better opportunities. Alton would later write an excellent book, "Truth is Stranger" in which he detailed their time at the Opry and the issues that they had with George D. Hay and Harry Stone. After leaving the Opry, the Delmore Brothers moved around the country and had shows at various radio stations until they played out the territory and moved on. They eventually ended up at WLW in Cincinnati, where they got together with Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis and recorded under the name "Browns Ferry Four." Each of these individuals would eventually be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. September 11, 1938 was the final Opry show for the Delmore Brothers and they sang, "What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul."

April 1, 1934: Country Music Hall of Fame member, and former Opry member, Jim Ed Brown was born in Sparkman, Arkansas.

April 15, 1937: Bob Luman was born. Bob gained fame as a member of the Louisiana Hayride, and then came to Nashville, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. When Bob joined the Opry, many felt that he had too much "rock-n-roll" in him, but he was a very popular member of the Opry and fans enjoyed his performances. Bob remained at the Opry until he passed away in December 1978.

April 26, 1941: Ernest Tubb recorded "Walking the Floor Over You" in Dallas, Texas. This recording was also the first to use an electric guitar. The success of this record, which would become Ernest's theme song, led him to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry several years later.

April 14, 1945: Upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, a performance of taps was played from the stage of the Opry. This marked the first time that a trumpet was played during an Opry broadcast. Buddy Harroll, part of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys was the performer, and while it was the right thing to do, George D. Hay was not thrilled. Also of note, while there was an Opry performance that night, it was not broadcast on WSM as the station was running NBC network programming commemorating the life and death of the President.

April 6, 1946: Roy Acuff quit the Opry in a salary dispute. At the time, he was the host of "The Prince Albert Show" segment of the Opry that was broadcast on the NBC radio network. He was making $15 per night at the Opry and asked for a raise to $100 per night. When WSM refused his demands, he left the show and went out to California for an extended tour. Over the years, Roy never talked much about the whole episode, but he knew that as the Opry's biggest star, he could make more money out on the road and have extra time to make movies. A year later, Roy would return to the Opry and when he did, he was paid more than union scale.

April 13, 1946: A week after Roy Acuff left, Red Foley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and debuted as the new host of "The Prince Albert Show." There is a story behind this. After Roy quit, William Esty and Company, which was the advertising agency that represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the makers of Prince Albert chewing tobacco, undertook a study to determine how best to replace Roy Acuff as the host of the program. Most listeners wanted the Opry to continue without any changes, but it was clear after all the questioning was done that a large portion of the Opry fans wanted more music and less talk, suggesting that a singer needed to be hired as the replacement. Esty checked all the available data, which included record sales, jukebox plays and radio favorites, and it all pointed to Red Foley. Red would later say, "I guess I was never more scared than that night I replaced Roy Acuff. The people thought I was a Chicago slicker who came to pass himself off as a country boy and bump Roy out of his job." While it is true that Red came to the Opry from WLS in Chicago, he was actually born in Kentucky and had a string of country hits. It is interesting to note that while Red became a member of the Opry, he only appeared on, and hosted, the Prince Albert segment of the show.

April 13, 1946: The same night that Red Foley came to the Opry, so did Chet Atkins, who was introduced that night by Red. Chet stayed at the Opry with Red for just six months, when he left in his own dispute with Esty.

April 26, 1947: Just over a year after leaving the Opry, Roy Acuff returned as host of the "Royal Crown Cola Show." There is a story that Ernest Tubb and Harry Stone went to see Roy, who was in a Nashville hospital, telling him that the Opry might go under if he didn't return. While there is no evidence that the Opry was about to go under, the words worked and Roy came back, this time to stay for good.

April 3, 1948: The Louisiana Hayride started on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. Over the next decade, the Hayride would become known as a farm club of the Opry, with many of the Hayride's biggest stars leaving Shreveport for Nashville. Among those were David Houston, Billy Walker, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. The Hayride was also were Elvis Presley got his start. While the Hayride was very successful with Horace Logan at the helm, the lack of a recording industry in Shreveport meant that the stars had to go elsewhere, including Nashville to record. Once there, the Opry grabbed many of them.

April 26, 1952: Martha Carson, the great gospel singer, joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. She came to the Opry on the strength of her hit "Satisfied." Martha remained a member of the Opry until 1957, at which time she took a leave of absence when her first child was born and to spend some time working in New York City. However, when it came time for her to return, the Opry would not hire her back. According to Martha, "I got a leave of absence from the Opry. I didn't quit and I wasn't fired. When I came back to Nashville, Opry manager Ott Devine said they had no openings. I never did go back. I never even got to be a guest." Obviously a poor decision by Ott and the Opry's management.

April 18, 1953: Red Foley made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance as the host of "The Prince Albert Show." Red made the decision to leave Nashville and go to the Ozark Jubilee, which was televised. Red had numerous personal issues when he was with the Opry and when he decided to leave, the Opry had no objections. While many wondered about Red when he first came to the Opry, he become one of the Opry's biggest stars and one of the more popular members. After he left, "The Prince Albert Show" no longer had a permanent host.

April 12, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Vince Gill was born. Vince has been a loyal and vocal member of the Opry since 1991. Who else finds it hard to believe that Vince will be 60 this year?

April 4, 1959: Bill Anderson made his debut as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry. Several years later, in July 1961, Bill would become an Opry member.

April 30, 1960: The WLS "National Barn Dance" aired for the final time. At one time, the barn dance was considered a major competitor of the Opry, and while it lasted much longer than others, like those others, it could not sustain itself as musical tastes changed.

April 30, 1966: Ray Pillow became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Ray's 51st year as an Opry member. On the night he joined, Ernest Tubb introduced him. Though he is now on senior status and his Opry appearances are few, he still does a great job each time he is on the show.

April 22, 1967: The Four Guys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They came to the Opry from the Wheeling, West Virginia area and spent 33 years as members of the Opry until they were fired in April 2000. The reason given for their termination was the fact that all four of the original members had left the group. For a number of years, they operated a very successful dinner theater in Nashville and were a popular cruise trip attraction.

April 6, 1968: Following the assassination of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Nashville imposed a curfew that forced the Opry to cancel the live show for that night. WSM played a previously taped Opry appearance. After being notified that the show was going to be cancelled, Roy Acuff, Sam and Kirk McGee, along with a few others, put on a makeshift show at a nearby square dance hall that afternoon for Opry fans who came to town to attend the Opry. WSM and the Opry claims this was the only time that the Opry was ever cancelled.

April 6, 1968: On that same evening as the Opry was cancelled, Bud Wendall became the new general manager of the Grand Ole Opry. He replaced Ott Devine, who had been in charge of the Opry since 1959.

April 21, 1971: After taking a break to raise her children, Connie Smith returned as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Connie joined the Opry in 1965. At the time she returned, Connie had been gone for about two years.

April 12, 1972: The first "Fan Fair" was held in Nashville. It was so successful that it would become an annual event, eventually moving to June and the summer tourist season. Fan Fair was a chance for the fans to meet their favorite country music stars and the Opry was a big part of the event. It still takes place, although it is now called "CMA Music Fest."

April 27, 1972: Opryland opens for the first time. The park was an immediate hit and within several years, the Opry House would be completed and the Opry would make the move. Opryland shut down at the end of 1997 and replaced by Opry Mills shopping center. Yes, while it may seem hard to believe, Opryland has been closed for 20 years.

April 28, 1973: Conway Twitty performs on the Opry for the first time.

April 5, 1975: After having been suspended from the Opry in December 1973, Skeeter Davis was welcomed back to the show. Several Opry members had gone to Bud Wendall, asking that she be allowed to return to the show.

April 23, 1976: Don Williams is introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jeanne Pruett did the honors. As everyone knows, Don and the Opry experience didn't really work and he left the show several years later.

April 2, 1977: Vito Pellettieri worked his final show as the stage manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Several days later, he suffered a stroke and on April 14 he passed away at the age of 87. While very few people have heard of Vito, he was probably one of the most influential people in the history of the Opry, so much so that he was never really replaced when he passed away. Years after his death, one veteran Opry member said, "I miss Vito. You know, we don't have a marshal anymore. What we have out there is a piece of paper in a box, with a list of acts and when they're supposed to go on. But we don't have anybody encouraging us, goading us, giving us advice on how to do better. Nobody to jack us up." One of Vito's closest friends was Hank Snow and Hank wrote extensively about Vito in his autobiography, including the jokes they used to play on each other. Now for those who do not know, Vito was WSM's librarian and started as the Opry's stage manager in 1934. He was the one who set up the Opry on a schedule, with assigned times and slots for each performer. He broke the show into segments with sponsors. Before that, it had been a free-for-all, with the artists coming and going as they pleased. In 1959, Vito faced mandatory retirement at WSM. However, every one of the Opry's members signed a petition demanding that Vito be allowed to continue working at the Opry and that November at the annual disc jockey convention, Opry members staged a show in Vito's honor. By the way, Vito never drove or owned a car and took the bus to WSM and the Opry each day.

April 13, 1981: Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died at the age of 65. The Willis Brothers consisted of Guy, Skeeter and Vic. They originally joined the Opry in 1946, but left in 1948 to go on the road with Eddy Arnold. They rejoined the Opry in 1960. Skeeter passed away in 1976, after which Guy and Vic continued on, until Guy retired from performing in 1979 due to illness.

April 3, 1982: DeFord Bailey made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. An early member of the show, DeFord had returned in the 1970s and made several appearances on the Opry's annual reunion shows.

April 13, 1985: The Grand Ole Opry was broadcast for the first time on TNN. The original shows were a half hour in length, later expanding to an hour. In 2001 the broadcast moved to CMT and then later to GAC in 2003. The first televised show was a one hour edition and featured Roy Acuff, as the host for the first half hour, with Connie Smith, Minnie Pearl and the Four Guys as guests. The 2nd half hour was hosted by Porter Wagoner and featured Dottie West, Jack Greene, the Crook Brothers and the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Those original TNN shows were not scripted for television and were nothing more than the radio show with a camera. As a result, the timing was sometimes a little bit off and the hosts forgot they were on television and would mention the names of the radio sponsors.

April 22, 1989: Clint Black made his first appearance as a guest at the Grand Ole Opry. in 1991, Clint would become an Opry member.

April 20, 1991: Emmylou Harris began a three night run at the Ryman Auditorium, during which her recording of "At The Ryman" took place. It marked one of the first uses of the Ryman for a concert performance since the Opry had left in 1974. Due to the condition of the building, only a small portion of the seating was able to be used. Those shows with Emmylou helped to spark the idea of renovating and reopening the Ryman.

April 2, 1994: During the TNN telecast of the Opry, an all-star bluegrass jam took place that featured Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Husky, Jr., Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs. Vince said, "That's what this place is all about. Night that are like that."

April 12, 1997: Lewis Crook passed away in Nashville at the age of 87. The Crook Brothers joined the Opry on July 24, 1926, so it is safe to say that they were original members of the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers remained at the Opry until 1988, a total of 62 years. Lewis was not with the Crook Brothers when they originally began at the Opry, joining the group later in 1928. After Herman passed away and the Crook Brothers name was retired, Lewis would continue to play and make appearances with the Opry's Square Dance Band. When you add it all up and do the math, Lewis was at the Opry on and off for almost 69 years.

April 6, 1998: Former Grand Ole Opry member Tammy Wynette passed away in Nashville at the age of 55. She had been battling health issues for a number of years.

April 18, 1998: Diamond Rio became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 19th year as Opry members.

April 12, 1999: Lecil Martin, known better as Boxcar Willie, passed away in Branson, Missouri after an extended illness. He was 67. Boxcar joined the Opry in 1981.

April 17, 2004: The Judds made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

April 30, 2004: The Grand Ole Opry took to the road and sponsored the "Grand Ole Opry American Road Show." The appearance took place in York, Pennsylvania and included Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, the Del McCoury Band and Rebecca Lynn Howard.

April 21, 2012: Keith Urban became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 5th year as an Opry member. Sorry to say that Keith hasn't been around much since joining the cast.

April 26, 2013: The Grand Ole Opry dedicated the shows that weekend to Opry member George Jones, who had passed away several days earlier. Those performing included Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry and John Conlee.

April 11, 2015: Long time Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown made his final Opry appearance. The newly elected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame had been an Opry member for just over 50 years.

April 30, 2016: Ray Pillow is recognized upon is 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Opry general manager Pete Fisher presented Ray with a gold pocket watch.

There you have it for this month.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/14 & 4/15

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 feature pretty solid line-ups with a number of Opry members scheduled.

Opry members Ricky Skaggs, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, and John Conlee are scheduled for both nights. On Friday night, that quartet will be joined on Friday night by members Diamond Rio, Bobby Osborne, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson. On Saturday night, it will be Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds and The Whites joining those four.

Guest artists scheduled for Friday include Jo Smith, Trent Harmon, along with Dale Watson and Ray Benson. Saturday night's schedule will feature another guest appearance by Chris Janson, who is quickly closing in on number 200. Joining Chris will be Carly Pearce, Seth Ennis, Chonda Pierce and "Nashville" star Charles Esten, who will be signing copies of his new CD in the Opry Shop.

Jo Smith is described as "SiriusXM's newest Highway find." Her hometown is Arlington, Georgia and currently resides in Nashville. She lists her influences of KT Oslin. The Judds, Bruce Springsteen, Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline. She is currently touring in support of her new EP, "JoSMITH".

Also wanting to mention are Dale Watson and Ray Benson. Dale and Ray are touring in support of their first ever duet album, which includes a few classic country duets and original material. Ray, of course, is the leader of Asleep at the Wheel, while Dale is legendary in his own right.

Friday April 14
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jo Smith; Mike Snider
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Trent Harmon
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky; Connie Smith; Dale Watson and Roy Benson; Bill Anderson

Saturday April 15
7:00: John Conlee (host); Carly Pearce; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Seth Ennis; Chonda Pierce
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Charles Esten; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Chris Janson

Somewhat some strange booking for Friday night. Only three segments, which we have seen before, but this time there are actually enough Opry members scheduled in that last hour who could host: Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith and Bill Anderson. And interesting that Bill is not hosting. Last Saturday, Bill's voice was horrible and he admitted and apologized for sounding so bad. Perhaps that could be a reason why he is not hosting this week as he might be taking it a little easy.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 13 & 14, 2007:

Friday April 13
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jimmy C Newman; Mandy Barnett
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; The Grascals
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Hank Locklin; Jean Shepard; Raul Malo
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Jack Greene; Joe Nichols

Saturday April 14
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Steve Wariner; Jean Shepard
7:00: Vince Gill (host); The Wreckers; The Whites; Oak Ridge Boys
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Mike Snider; Marty Stuart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Raul Malo

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Steve Wariner; The Wreckers
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider; Connie Smith; Marty Stuart
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; Oak Ridge Boys; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Raul Malo

The name on that line-up that maybe some don't recognize were The Wreckers. The Wreckers were a duo that was formed in 2005 and consisted of Michelle Branch and Jessica Harp. In 2006, they released their debut album, "Stand Still, Look Pretty" which produced a No. 1 single, "Leave the Pieces." After the release of this album, the duo broke up and each returned to their respective solo careers.

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of April 10 & 11, 1992:

Friday April 10
7:30; Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Stonewall Jackson; The Osborne Brothers; Connie Smith
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jean Shepard; Del Reeves; Charlie Walker
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); The 4 Guys; Jimmy Dickens; David Houston
9:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Justin Tubb; Joe Diffie
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeannie Seely; Tom T Hall; Mike Snider
10:30: Jack Greene (host); The Carlisles; Ray Pillow; Matthews, Wright and King; Johnny Russell

Saturday April 11
1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jack Greene
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); David Houston; Charlie Louvin; Mike Snider; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jeanne Pruett; Justin Tubb; Johnny Russell
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy Dickens; The 4 Guys; Larry Boone; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Bill Anderson; Del Reeves; The Whites; Billy Walker

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Stonewall Jackson; Charlie Walker; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jack Greene; The Carlisles
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Ray Pillow
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Louvin; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Larry Boone; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Johnny Russell

So you might ask, who was Matthews, Wright and King? They were a group formed in 1991 consisting of Raymond Matthews, Woody Wright and Tony King. They were put together by Columbia Records producer Larry Strickland after Shenandoah left the label, as an attempt to keep a viable country band on the label. Their highest charting single was "Power of Love" which went as high as #41 on the Billboard charts. The song was the title track of an album that was released in 1992. Shortly after a second album, "Dream Seekers" was released, the trio broke up. After breaking up, Tony King became a member of Brooks and Dunn's back-up band; Woody Wright became a successful gospel songwriter, producer and artist and Raymond Matthews returned to Alabama and for a time, left the music business. In 2013, with his daughter Ashley, Raymond released a gospel album.

In 1972, the first Fan Fair was held in Nashville. Produced by Bud Wendall, the event ran from April 12th to the 15th. It was such a success, it has been held ever since. Currently called the CMA Music Fest, the affair takes place in downtown Nashville in June.

Here is the line-up from Saturday April 15, 1972, the year of the 1st Fan Fair in Nashville, and an event that the Opry was a big participant in.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Walker (host): Smokey Places
Donna Fargo: The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Coming Down from God
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Barbara Fairchild: Love's Old Song
Stoney Cooper & Earl Sneed: Back Up & Push

7:00: Luzianne
Porter Wagoner (host): What Ain't to Be, Just Might Happen
Dolly Parton: Touch Your Woman
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination
Dolly Parton: Joshua
Speck Rhodes: Running Bare
Porter Wagoner: Be A Little Quieter

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Skeeter Davis: Sad Situation
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Vernon Soloman: Sally Johnson/Sally Goodin/Leather Britches

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Jean Shepard: I Thought of You/It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels/You Win Again/ A Dear John Letter
Charlie McCoy: Today I Started Loving You Again
Ernest Tubb: Say Something Nice to Sara
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Charlie McCoy: Orange Blossom Special
Leon Boulanger: For the Good Times

8:30: Stephens
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Penny DeHaven: Gone
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Charlie Walker: My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Charlie Walker: Jambalaya

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Billy Walker (host): When A Man Loves A Woman
Willis Brothers: Bob
Del Wood: Standing Room Only
Barbara Fairchild: Loving You is Sunshine
Billy Walker: Endless Love
Barbara Fairchild: He Touched Me
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes/Heartaches by the Number

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Jerry Clower: Comedy
Wilma Lee Cooper: Philadelphia Lawyer

10:15: Union 76
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up, Jacob
Dolly Parton: Coat of Many Colors
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: Daddy Was an Old Time Preacher Man/The Last Thing on My Mind

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): I Saw the Light
Skeeter Davis: Sad Situation
Leon McAuliffe: Steel Guitar Rag/San Antonio Rose
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Pass the Booze
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place

11:00: Coca-Cola
Charlie Walker (host): Good Deal, Lucille
Charlie McCoy: Today I Started Loving You Again
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Charlie McCoy: Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Charlie McCoy: Orange Blossom Special
Kirk McGee: Milk Cow Blues
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): I Walk Alone
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah/Shenandoah
Penny DeHaven: Down in the Boondocks
Marty Robbins: Singing the Blues/Begging to You/Don't Worry/Big Boss Man/I'll Step Aside/To Get to You

One name that many may not be familiar with is Vernon Soloman, who was a champion fiddler from Texas and won his way onto the Opry by winning the first annual Grand Masters Fiddling Contest held in Nashville. That contest still takes place each year with the winner getting a chance to perform on the Opry. After winning the contest in 1972, he came back the following year as one of the judges. Vernon had a reputation as a fine fiddler and entered many contests in the state of Texas, and around the country. Vernon was born in 1924 and passed away in 1991.

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

Monday, April 10, 2017

Tuesday Night Opry 4/11 & Opry Country Classics 4/13

Looking at the line-up for the Tuesday Night Opry, there are two shows scheduled as Grand Ole Opry member Keith Urban is scheduled to appear. Joining Keith on the first show only will be Opry members Rascal Flatts.

Tuesday April 11
1st show
7:00: Terri Clark; Del McCoury Band; Montgomery Gentry; Home Free
8:00: Rascal Flatts; Keith Urban

2nd show
9:30: Terri Clark; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Montgomery Gentry; Home Free; Keith Urban

A very strong line-up for both shows and I would expect both to be sold-out. Certainly as an Opry member, Keith is one of those who doesn't come around very often so it is nice to see him back.

Opry Country Classics, April 13

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Crystal Gayle
Also Appearing: Ashley Campbell; Gatlin Brothers; Chuck Mead; TG Sheppard

As with Dailey & Vincent, it is really nice to see new Opry member Crystal Gayle stepping up and appearing on the Opry stage.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 4/7 & 4/8

This coming week I will be on vacation, down in the mountains around Gatlinburg and then in North Carolina. I am not sure I will have computer access during the week, so I thought I would post a few comments regarding the Opry shows for the coming week.

For the Tuesday Night Opry, April 4, Opry member Clint Black will be making an appearance. For Clint, it has been a while since he has been at the Opry, and as with his last visit, he will be performing with his wife, Lisa Hartman Black. In addition to Clint, there will be another guest appearance by Chris Janson.

7:00: John Conlee; Caitlyn Smith
7:30: Henry Cho; Easton Corbin
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Chris Janson
8:45: Dailey & Vincent; Clint Black w/Lisa Hartman  Black.

Nice to see Dailey & Vincent back at the Opry. They have Opry members for less than 30 days, and this will be their 2nd appearance, with more on the schedule. Just what many of us expected.

Opry Country Classics resumes on Thursday night after taking a week off. Here is the line-up for that show:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Lee Greenwood
Also Appearing: Craig Campbell; The Gatlin Brothers; Wade Hayes; Sylvia

Now looking at those scheduled for the Friday Night Opry on April 7, those listed include Mark Wills, Logan Brill, The Grascals, Jason Crabb, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds and Riders In The Sky. For the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday April 8, those listed so far include Charlie Daniels Band, Kellie Pickler, Mark Wills, Midland, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and Connie Smith. With the Easter season, and a lot of folks on vacation, the Opry has scheduled two shows on Saturday night, hoping to take advantage of the increased crowds and school groups that are in Nashville.

And now, here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of April 6 & 7, 2007:

Friday April 6
8:00: Mike Snider (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; Luke Bryan
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mountain Heart
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chris Young
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Joe Diffie; Gene Watson

Saturday April 7
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mel McDaniel; The Whites
7:00: Alison Krauss; Taylor Swift; Bucky Covington; Emerson Drive
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Riders In The Sky; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Mel Tillis

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Mel McDaniel; Alison Krauss
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Bucky Covington; Taylor Swift
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Emerson Drive; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jean Shepard (host); Mountain Heart Mel Tillis

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday April 4, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jack Greene
6:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeanne Pruett
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; 4 Guys; Osborne Brothers
7:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Mike Snider; Stonewall Jackson; Skeeter Davis; Ray Pillow
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith; Charlie Walker; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Bill Anderson; Jean Shepard; Del Reeves; Charlie Louvin

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Wilma Lee Cooper; David Houston; Jack Greene
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); 4 Guys
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Bill Carlisle; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Del Reeves; Justin Tubb; Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Charlie Louvin; Connie Smith; Mike Snider

And from 50 years ago, Saturday April 8, 1967:

7:30: Cordite
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
George Hamilton IV; Urge for Going
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Grandpa Jones: Give That Mule More Hay
Howdy Forrester: Sally Goodin
Stringbean: The Big 'Un Got Away
Margie Bowes: Is it Over
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Oswald: The End of the World

8:00: Martha White
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Rocky Road Blues
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Jean Shepard: Careless Hands
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Crook Brothers: Lost Indian
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Bobby Lord: Blue Moon of Kentucky

8:30: Stephens
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor Howdy
Roy Drusky: Strangers
Justin Tubb: But Wait; There's More
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Porter Wagoner: The Cold Hard Facts of Life
Norma Jean: Conscience, Keep an Eye on Me Tonight
Roy Drusky: White Lightening Express
Porter Wagoner: Be Careful of Stones that You Throw
Mack Magaha & Buck Trent: Goodbye, Liza Jane

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): Journey's End
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Cal Smith: The Only Thing I Want Just Went Home
Ernest Tubb: Honky Tonk Heart
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Austin Wood: I Want 'Cha, But I Don't Wanna Hurt You
Buddy Charleton & Steve Chapman: E.T. Blues

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Willis Brothers: Bob
Grandpa Jones: I Don't Love Nobody
Bob Luman: Come on & Sing
Hank Snow: Snow in Hawaii
Marion Worth: Especially You
Willis Brothers: Anytime
Hank Snow: Miller's Cave

10:00: Schick
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
George Morgan: I Couldn't See
Stringbean: Mule & A Little Red Wagon
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:15: Pure
Roy Drusky (host): Billy Bayou
Margie Bowes: Get Your Lie the Way You Want It
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Roy Drusky: The World is Round

10:30: Buckley's
Tex Ritter (host): Just Beyond the Moon
Jean Shepard: Sweet Temptation
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Jean Shepard: Heart, We Did all That we Could

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): Til My Get Up Has Got Up and Gone
Willis Brothers: Oh, Lonesome Me
Crook Brothers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Out of the Texas Plains
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You Tried to Ruin My Name
Marion Worth: There Goes My Everything
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Dance All Night
Hank Snow: The Call of the Wild
Bobby Lord: Look What You're Doing to You
Sam McGee: Railroad Blues
Hank Snow: A Legend In My Time

11:30: Lava
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Hank Locklin: Hasta Luego
Norma Jean: Conscience, Keep An Eye on Me Tonight
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home
Bob Luman: You Can't Take the Country from the Boy
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Porter Wagoner: The Cold Hard Facts of Life

Finally, as if anyone needs a reminder, Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. will be the 2017 Country Music Hall of Fame announcement. I am sure most of us will be tuning in, at least I will try to. Some will be pleased and happy; others disappointed but I have a feeling whoever is named, each one will be well deserving of the honor.

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to add some comments, and until then, have a great week.