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!!!!


  1. I have noticed when Ricky Skaggs "hosts" he is too talkative and runs on and on - very similar to Jeannie Seely. This has not impressed me about either Opry member. The Riders in the Sky do a good job of hosting their segments.

    1. I hate to say it, but I tend to agree with you, especially in Rickey's case. Give me the Riders in the Sky any day as hosts.

  2. Byron:
    Being a huge fan of Conway, I can tell you two things; (1) he worked the road hard and knew that's where the money was, and (2) he enjoyed being his own boss and didn't fit well into many organizational Nashville venues. The only solo CMA award the man won at all was induction into the Hall of Fame. On the end he did slow down from the road and open up more socially. Had he lived it's a good chance he would have been a Charley Pride and Mel Tillis and join the Opry in his twilight. Sadly, that never happened.

  3. Re Conway's performances - we saw him in Staunton VA for the Statler Brothers Happy Birthday USA concert - they darkened the stage and it got very quiet and then in the darkness you heard "Hello Darlin" and the place went wild - especially the squeals from the women, spotlight came on and there he was. He didn't talk much but sang his heart out. We also visited Twitty City on one of our trips to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry - it was a great exhibit.

    1. I visited Twitty City every year that i went to Nashville. I loved Twitty City and i loved Conway's music.

    2. Bob...Forget to put my name on the message above.

  4. A real nice surprise at the Opry last night as Randy Travis was backstage and came out to be introduced to the audience. He was there to see Shane Owens makers Opry debut.

    Also, really enjoyed T Bubba Bechtol. When he was introduced, it was mentioned that he has appeared on the Opry almost 300 times, yet it has been a few years since he has been on. Country comedy is always good at the Opry and he is one of the better ones.