Thursday, June 1, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 6/2 & 6/3

It will be a special night on Saturday June 3, as Grand Ole Opry member Stu Phillips will be recognized upon his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Montreal native Stu Phillips grew up in Calgary, Alberta, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, where he wrote many of his early songs. He grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry on a small crystal radio set and fell in love with the show and country music in general. Stu formed his own band at an early age, establishing a following at local events as well as working part-time for a radio station. His position as a radio announcer led to other jobs, including producer, engineer, and disc jockey.

On the air, Stu was host to a variety of shows in Canada, including "Stu for Breakfast," "Town and Country," and "Cowtown Jamboree." From radio, Stu moved to television, first as host of "The Outrider," then hosted "Red River Jamboree," a major Saturday night show on the CBC network. In addition to his TV work, Stu began to enjoy recording success with his "Echos of the Canadian Foothills" album. After four more years with the CBC, Stu set his sights on Music City, moving to Nashville in 1965. He started working for a local morning TV show and that year signed with RCA Records. With Chet Atkins producing, Stu began hitting the country charts with such tunes as "Bracero," "The Great El Tigre," "Vin Rose," and "Juanita Jones."

Stu joined the Opry in 1967 after making some 20 guest appearances. Stu has toured extensively in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa, where his records received the equivalent of gold records. In 1993, Germany's Bear Family Records released a CD featuring 35 songs from his early Canadian albums. That same year, Stu was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. After more than 31 years after joining the Grand Ole Opry, Stu Phillips became an American citizen. Having lived in the U.S. longer than his native Canada, Stu celebrated American citizenship with his wife, Aldona, on the Opry stage during the Fourth of July weekend in 1998. "Our lives imply evolved over the years and took a new direction," he said. "Whenever I traveled overseas, I used to think of Canada as my home. After moving to Nashville, our lives became integrated into this land with all its comforts. Now, whenever I travel overseas, home is Tennessee, where I live." Stu also has become a minister in the Episcopal Church, receiving his divinity degree from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee.

Stu's official Grand Ole Opry induction date is listed as June 1, 1967, however his first show as a member of the Opry was actually Saturday June 17th. Now 84 years old, Stu is basically retired from performing and in fact, he hasn't made an Opry appearance since January 24, 2015.

Joining Stu Saturday night will be Grand Ole Opry members The Whites, Mike Snider, Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson, Jesse McReynolds, Diamond Rio and Riders In The Sky. Most of those, including Jeannie, Mike, Riders, The Whites, and Bill are also scheduled on Friday night, where they will be joined by Opry members Lorrie Morgan and Bobby Osborne. Overall, a nice collection of Opry veterans scheduled for this weekend.

Guest artists on Friday include Mandy Barnett, Aaron Lewis, Johnny Counterfit, John McEuen & Friends, and The Isaacs. Saturday night's guest list is a little smaller, with Smithfield, Keith Anderson, Mark Wills and Jeanne Robertson. For those not familiar with Jeanne, she has appeared on the Opry before, actually on one of the shows that I attended. She is a motivational speaker and humorist, who in 1963 was Miss North Carolina. She is a very good story teller.

Friday June 2
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mandy Barnett; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Aaron Lewis
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Johnny Counterfit; John McEuen & Friends
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Isaacs

Saturday June 3
7:00: The Whites (host); Smithfield; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Stu Phillips; Keith Anderson
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds; Jeanne Robertson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Riders In The Sky; Mark Wills

That comes out to 7 Opry members on Friday night and 8 on Saturday. And for those interested, Mark Willis will also be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, taping at 10:00 following the Opry.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 1 & 2, 2007:

Friday June 1
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Little Texas
8:30: John Conlee (host); Ray Pillow; Dukes of Hazzard Cast
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Raul Malo
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Sarah Buxton

Saturday June 2
1st show
6:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Elizabeth Cook
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Mark Wills
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; George Hamilton IV; Jack Greene; Sarah Johns
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Stu Phillips; Raul Malo; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Keith Anderson

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Mark Wills
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Sarah Johns; Raul Malo
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Jack Greene; Elizabeth Cook; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Keith Anderson

One person from that weekend who seems to have disappeared is Sarah Johns. Sarah was born in Pollard, Kentucky, and attended the University of Kentucky. After touring with Toby Keith, in 2006, she was signed to BNA Records and released her first album, "Big Love in a Small Town." There were two singles from that album that made the country charts, with "The One in the Middle" peaking at No. 39. After the limited success of that debut album, Sarah largely faded away. This June 2nd appearance was Sarah's Grand Ole Opry debut.

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday June 6, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Walker; Del Reeves
7:00: Tom T Hall (host); Ray Pillow; Jeanne Pruett; Billy Grammer; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Bill Monroe (host); Brooks & Dunn; Randy Travis
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); 4 Guys; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Jeannie Seely; Hank Locklin; Jack Greene

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Billy Walker; Brooks & Dunn
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jim Ed Brown
10:30: Tom T Hall (host); Roy Drusky
10:45: Bill Monroe (host); Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Billy Grammer; 4 Guys
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Hank Locklin; Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider

And from 50 years ago, Saturday June 3, 1967:

7:00: Luzianne
George Morgan (host): I Couldn't See
Lonzo & Oscar: Country Music Time
Harold Weakley: Paint a Picture of My World
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
George Morgan: Look at the Lonely
Lonzo & Oscar: Things Look Silly Until You Understand
George Morgan: Almost

7:30: Cordite
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Willis Brothers: Bob
Claude Gray: I Never had the One I Wanted
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Jim Ed Brown: I'm Just A Country Boy
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon

8:00: Martha White
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): The Birds are Back to Sing
4 Guys: Walk Through this World With Me
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Charlie Louvin: On the Other Hand
Wilma Lee Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Heart
4 Guys: The Green, Green Grass of Home
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Bill Monroe: Live & Let Live
Ed Bruce: Walker's Woods
Duke of Paducah: The World is Waiting for the Sunrise
Roy Acuff: The End of the World
Bill Monroe: My Little Georgia Rose
Oswald: Dobro Chimes

9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabamy Bound
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Carter Family w/June Carter: Bye, Bye
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Carter Family: Wildwood Flower
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Jim Ed Brown: He'll Have to Go/Four Walls

10:00: Schick
Bill Carlisle (host): I Was on My Way to the Show
Bob Luman: Memphis
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Ball Knob, Arkansas
Wilma Lee Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Heart
Oswald: (?)
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:30: Buckley's
Charlie Louvin (host): As Long As There's A Sunday
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Margie Bowes: Big City
Charlie Louvin: Turn Around

10:45: Kent
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Lonzo & Oscar: The Bicycle Song
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky/Lonesome Road Blues

11:00: Coca-Cola
Wilburn Brothers (host): Hurt Her Once for Me
Loretta Lynn: If You're Not Gone Too Long
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Jack Webb: Bottle, Turn Her Off & Turn Me On
Duke of Paducah: If You Knew Susie
Teddy Wilburn & Loretta Lynn: Sweet Thang
Sam McGee: Railroad Blues
Wilburn Brothers: Roarin' Again

11:30: Lava
Roy Drusky (host): White Lightening Express
4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Harold Weakley: AX 2218
Lorene Mann: Have You Ever Wanted To
Roy Drusky: The World is Round
Ed Bruce: I'm Getting Better
4 Guys: Mariah
Roy Drusky: New Lips

So who remembers Lorene Mann, who performed on the closing segment?

Lillian Lorene Mann was born on January 7, 1937 and was a singer/songwriter. She moved to Nashville in 1956 and wrote "Left to Right" which was a Top 10 hit for Kitty Wells. She also wrote "Don't Go Near the Indians," by Rex Allen, which reached #4 in 1962; "Something Precious," recorded by Skeeter Davis and hitting #23 on the charts; and "My Wife's House," a hit sang by Jerry Wallace that reached #9 in 1974. Between 1965 and 1969 she recorded for RCA Records. She recorded two duet albums, one with Justin Tubb in 1966 and then with Archie Campbell in 1968. Her only solo album, "A Mann Named Lorene" was released in 1969. She also appeared in several moves and television shows. Lorene passed away on May 24, 2013, after suffering as stroke earlier that week, at the age of 76.

Finally, I thought I would throw an additional line-up to everyone this week. This one goes back to Saturday June 4, 1977 and featured a rare appearance by, at the time, Grand Ole Opry member Don Williams. Don had joined the Opry on April 23, 1976 and was gone by 1981. In the case of Don, Opry membership just wasn't what he thought it would be.

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jack Greene (host) w/Jeannie Seely: You're Gonna Need A Cowboy for a While
Jeannie Seely: We're Still Hangin' In There. Ain't We Jesus
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

6:45: Rudy's
Bob Luman (host): Getting Back to Norma
Wilburn Brothers: Get All Excited
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bob Luman: A Satisfied Mind

7:00: Shoney's
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jean Shepard: Loving You Comes Easy/If You've Got the Money; I've Got the Time
Stu Phillips: To Get to You/Have A Nice Day
Wilma Lee Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill
Billy Grammer: Wildwood Flower

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind/He Touched Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Lafayette
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Roy Acuff: Uncloudy Day

8:00: Martha White
4 Guys (host): Mariah
Don Williams: Some Broken Hearts Never Mend/Till the Rivers All Run Dry
Skeeter Davis: It Wasn't Got Who Made Honky Tonk Angels/He Will Be There
Ronnie Robbins: Helen
4 Guys: Love, Love, Love

8:30: Stephens
Billy Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Justin Tubb: Cold Brown Bottle/No Relief in Sight
Melba Montgomery: Never Ending Love Affair
Melba Montgomery & George Owens: We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cracklin Hen
Billy Walker: How Great Thou Art

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jack Greene (host): w/Jeannie Seely: The Life of A Rodeo Cowboy
Jeannie Seely: We're Still Hangin' In There, Ain't We Jesus
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Hank Cochran: Make the World Go Away
Jeanne Pruett: I'm Living A Lie/Satin Sheets
Jack Greene; Statue of A Fool

10:00: Fender
Bob Luman (host): A Satisfied Mind
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Wilma Lee Cooper; White Dove
Bob Luman: Guitar Man from Bowling Green

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): I Couldn't Believe It Was True
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:30: Trailblazer
Billy Grammer (host): I Saw Your Face in the Moon
Connie Smith: The Key's in the Mailbox
Reg Lindsay: Give Me Liberty or Give Me Love
Billy Grammer: Did You Think to Pray

10:45: Beechnut
4 Guys (host): When Will I Be Loved
Skeeter Davis: It's Love That I Feel
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
4 Guys: Just Enough to Keep Me Hangin' On

11:00: Coca-Cola
Billy Walker (host): Word Games
Don Williams: You're My Best Friend/Turn Out the Light & Love Me Tonight/Amanda
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Billy Walker: Behind Closed Doors
Kirk McGee: Alabama Jubilee/Just Because
Billy Walker: Tumbling Tumbleweeds

11:30: Elm Hill
Stu Phillips (host): Release Me
Melba Montgomery: (?)/One of These Days
Ronnie Robbins: The Door is Always Open/Helen
Stu Phillips: To Get to You

One final name from that night, Reg Lindsay, who appeared on the 10:30 segment. Reginald John Lindsay was born in July 1929 in Waverley, Australia. Not only a singer, but Reg was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and harmonica. It is said that he wrote more than five hundred songs during his fifty-year career in music. He starred in several Australian television shows, including "The Reg Lindsay Country Hour" and "Country Homestead." He won three Golden Guitar Awards and four Logie Awards. In 1974, he became the first Australian to appear on the Grand Ole Opry and in 1977 was inducted into Australia's Country Music Hall of Fame. In 1989 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia. Reg passed away on August 5, 2008.

There you have it for this week. Once again, congratulations to Stu Phillips and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!


  1. WILLS IS JUST AWESOME!!!! The man needs to be an opry member as does Chris Janson! They both give so much!

    1. And Stu Phillips was often cited when he joined for making so many guest appearances, and now Wills and Janson have both made about 100 more than he did, I think.

  2. For those who did not listen on Friday night, Opry member Alison Krauss made a surprise appearance.

  3. Just got done listening to Stu Phillips on the Grand Ole Opry being honored for 50 years of Opry membership. Very emotional. Stu spoke for almost 10 minutes about his career, noting that the Opry has had three different owners since he has been a member, and that he has worked for five different Opry managers. He mentioned Chet Atkins, Jimmy Capps and Tommy White, among others. Also, Jan Howard, Anita Kerr Singers. The more he spoke, it sounded like a farewell address and probably realizing that this could be his final time on the Opry. The audience was very receptive to Stu. He did not sing, but did a recitation. Probably a good thing as you could tell Stu's voice was not very good. After he was finished, Mike Terry read a short biography and Jeannie Seely presented the poster and gold watch (the standard items when a member reaches 50 years). Stu's segment lasted about 20 minutes. So glad that the Opry management gave him the time and did not rush him through. Well done.

  4. Yes, very well done. I hope that management was on board with how long he spoke. If so, that speaks well of the new manager. In the past few years most of these had the conversation controlled by either the announcer or Pete Fisher. One thing that they did not mention was Stu becoming a US citizen!

    Last year at the ROPE Luncheon we got to speak briefly with Stu. Hopefully he will attend again this year.

    Knightsville, IN

  5. Okay, I know I'm saying this because some of the veterans were in the spot light tonight but I really enjoyed the show. It was nice to see Jan Howard come out on stage to visit with Bill. Riders singing happy birthday to Too Slim was nice, he's 69. One of the more country, okay traditional, shows in a while even with some new folks on.

    Congratulation to EVERYONE at the Opry tonight. Well done!

    Knightsville, IN

  6. It was indeed emotional and sweet and bittersweet all at once. I didn't get to listen to the second half, so I didn't know that Bill brought out Jan, but Stu had mentioned she was there.

  7. I don't know how many of you guys listened to Wills on the Jamboree, but it was absolutely FANTASTIC!