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!!


  1. It's interesting that the 1972 Fan Fair lineup wasn't that strong, compared with, say, the 1992 one, or with what we might expect of Fan Fair. Then we have to remember: it was the first Fan Fair! So we are grateful for the history of Fan Fair ... to Fayfare.

  2. Has anybody noticed that Loretta Lynn is at the Ryman tonight and tomorrow night at the same time the Grand Ole Opry is at the Opry House. Bob

  3. The Opry surprises keep coming. After the surprise appearances by Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys on Tuesday night, tonight it was Brad Paisley coming at. Bill Anderson ended up hosting the final half hour and brought out Brad as his guest.

  4. The wonderful thing about the Opry, and when you look back at the history of the show, is that you never know who might appear on any given night. So many of country music's biggest stars have made surprise appearances, and often times members who were not on the schedule have shown up. That seems to have disappeared somewhat over the past few years, but this week we have seen it happen twice. On Tuesday night, Blake Shelton and the Oak Ridge Boys made unannounced appearances and then last night, on the Friday Night Opry, Brad Paisley came out. Personally, I hope this is the start of a trend and gives us just another reason to either go see the show or to listen to each Opry show every week.

  5. Totally agree on the surprise guests.
    The 'Opry can absolutely use some unpredictability.

  6. There are pros and cons to the surprise appearances and other "Opry Moments". On one hand, knowing that they happen regularly helps ticket sales and ratings as people are compelled to tune in. However, when Opry Stars hardly ever appear and when they do it is unannounced, it deprives the Opry from getting a boost in ticket sales for that show.

  7. For years anytime I would tell someone I was headed to the Opry, the first thing out of their mouth was "who you going to see"? Those who are not avid fans of the Opry or have never listened or been to the show, just can't understand why you don't know who you are going to see.

    That unpredictability is part of the mystique of the Opry. I agree it can be frustrating when your favorite is out of town by chance the night you have tickets. Yet, most rewarding when someone you like shows up unexpected.

    In the days when the show was filled with more artist, it was a bit easier to enjoy and accept that mystique. It would be nice if it returned but without a solid base of performers that is a tall order.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. I was at the Opry in 1989 when Jean Shepard brought Ferlin Husky out as a surprise guest. They sang "A Dear John Letter" together, and Ferlin sang "Wings of a Dove." Talk about a magic Opry moment!

    Rich from Seattle

  9. I was at the first weekend when the Opry returned to the Ryman in 1999 and they brought out Chet Atkins! And backstage for Porter's 50th Anniversary when all
    the original Wagonmasters were there (George McCormick, Little Jack Little, Don Warden & Buck Trent) although only Buck performed that night on stage. (OldtimeOpry)

  10. Rich: Was that December 29, 1989?

    OldtimeOpry: I was also there that night in 1999 when they brought Chet onstage at the Ryman. Although I was shooting from behind the banister in the back of the balcony, I got a couple nice shots with Ricky Skaggs, Hearil Hensley, Jerry Stobel, Tim Thompson and Ralph Davis standing close by. That is the only time I ever saw Chet!

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Jim, just to clear up a couple of dates. The first show back at the Ryman was called "Grand Ole Opry Ryman Reunion Celebration" that took place on October 18, 1998. I have the program from that night and while not an "official" Opry show, Gaylord Entertainment and the Opry were one of the sponsors.

      The performers that night featured about half of the Opry's members including Bill Anderson; Stu Phillips; Wilma Lee Cooper; Osborne Brothers; Charlie Louvin; Jeanne Pruett; Jimmy Dickens; Hank Locklin; Roy Clark; Charlie Walker; Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker; Stonewall Jackson; The Whites; Del Reeves; Holly Dunn; Jimmy C Newman; Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; Patty Loveless; John Conlee; Billy Grammer; Porter Wagoner; Joe Diffie; Marty Stuart; Travis Tritt; Vince Gill; Steve Wariner; Lorrie Morgan; The Four Guys; Jan Howard; Ernie Ashworth; Jeannie Seely and Johnny Russell.

      It was the success of that show, and the comments made by the Opry's members who performed that night, and those in the audience, that the Opry needed to return for a "real" Opry show.

      That return took place on Friday & Saturday January 15 & 16, 1999. There was one show on Friday night and two shows on Saturday. It was on the Saturday show that Ricky Skaggs invited Trisha Yearwood to become an Opry member and that was the night that Chet Atkins was introduced. He stood pretty much behind the podium as he was in declining health.

      I was there that weekend for all three shows and they were fantastic. Such a success that the Opry has returned each year to the Ryman for the winter months.

    2. Jim: I must apologize for getting my dates mixed up. I was at the Opry several times in June and October, 1989, but the date I saw Ferlin was September 28, 1991, and he graciously signed my program from that night.

      Rich from Seattle

  11. Funny, I wonder how many of us have been at the Opry on the same night and didn't know it?

    I have volume one of that 1998 performance on VHS and have not watched it yet. As I understand, this was in conjunction with The Performers Benefit Fund that Bettie and Billy Walker were so involved in. She often said that this show was what planted the idea to go back down town with the Opry.

    Knightsville, IN