Thursday, June 29, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 6/30 & 7/1

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for both shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Pretty solid line-ups.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include John Conlee, Mike Snider (keeping his streak alive) and Riders In The Sky. They will be joined on Friday night by members Lorrie Morgan, Bill Anderson, Bobby Osborne, Crystal Gayle and the Oak Ridge Boys. Appearing on Saturday night will be Connie Smith, Jesse McReynolds, Montgomery Gentry and Jeannie Seely.

Guesting this weekend will be a pair of acts making their Opry debuts. The Martin Family Circus takes the stage on Friday night, while Nancy and Beth, otherwise known as Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hart will be performing on Saturday night.

Joining those artists will be Jackie Lee and Nashville star Charles Esten on Friday night, while Devin Dawson, the O'Connor Family Band with Mark O'Connor, and Exile are set for Saturday night.

Friday June 30
7:00: John Conlee (host); Jackie Lee; Mike Snider
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Riders In The Sky; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charles Esten
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Martin Family Circus

Saturday July 1
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Devin Dawson
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Jesse McReynolds; Montgomery Gentry
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); O'Connor Band w/Mark O'Connor; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Nancy and Beth (featuring Megan Mullally & Stephanie Hunt; Exile

As mentioned, for Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt, this will be their Grand Ole Opry debut. Both Megan and Stephanie are noted for being actors. Megan starred in "Will & Grace" while Stephanie has been featured in "Friday Night Lights" and "Californication." They consider themselves musical misfits and play everything from jazz to George Jones. They also take their music very seriously. In April they released their self-titled debut album and are touring in support of it. As to the name, Nancy and Beth? They just made it up.

Also making their Opry debut on Friday night is the Martin Family Circus.

Just as one might imagine a circus to be — upbeat, unexpected, accomplished, and exciting — Martin Family Circus aims to bring that same joy and a room full of fun with their heartwarming and lively “music that makes you smile!” This self-contained vocal-driven melodic band of 2 parents and 4 kids packs a punch with their rich stack of family harmonies in a soaring blend, which Rolling Stone magazine calls “exuberant.” Representing four generations of musical heritage, Martin Family Circus delivers soulful family harmony, steeped in traditional roots.

“Our house has always been like a live jukebox, with an all-you-can-play selection of musical instruments,” says Jamie. “Music completely covers our lives, so our kids have never known a day without it.”

Fueled by a mutual passion for many genres and longing for a fun, family-friendly musical experience for their kids, Paul and Jamie began singing together in 2010 with their four children: March (now 19), Kell (16), Texas (11), and Tallant (10). Quickly realizing that the kids all showed an uncanny knack for hearing harmonies and pitch, as well as for playing instruments, they began performing shows together. They were soon dubbed Martin Family Circus by Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill, playfully teasing with them about their growing number of kids and the craziness that goes hand-in-hand with a large family.

So where did it all begin? Grammy-winning artist Paul Martin, lead singer/guitarist of country-pop group Exile, met and married Jamie Allen, daughter of Duane Allen of Country Music Hall of Fame members The Oak Ridge Boys. Their four children were exposed early to 4-generations of rich musical heritage, and they watched as each child showed God-given musical talents early on. Regional performances began to boom, leading to appearances on national television shows like The Oak Ridge Boys’ American Legion Christmas special, “The Marty Stuart Show,” “Country’s Family Reunion,” “Gaither Homecoming,” and “Larry’s Country Diner,” concerts at the US Library of Congress and the Country Music Cruise, performances at the Grand Ole Opry and fairs/festivals/performing arts centers across the eastern US, as well as singing the National Anthem for major sporting events, including the NBA’s Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and San Antonio Spurs, and most recently invited by the First Lady to perform at The White House. After a rousing performance of “Elvira” to a packed house for the Oak Ridge Boys’ induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Billboard Magazine heralded them as “singing to the rafters,” getting a crowd of seasoned performers and music industry folks to their feet.

The Martin Family Circus’ newest CD project, Past, Present, Future, includes classic hits that inspired them to sing, current favorites that are inspiring them now, and some brand-new self-penned material that they hope will inspire a new generation.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 29 & 30, 2007:

Friday June 29
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Mandy Barnett
8:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Vanderbilt Kennedy Music Camp Performers; Lady Antebellum
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); w/Helen Cornelius; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Joe Nichols

Saturday June 30
1st show
6:30: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Dale Watson
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Josh Turner; Jennifer Hanson; Montgomery Gentry
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Mandy Barnett

2nd show
9:30: Hal Ketchum (host); The Whites; Jennifer Hanson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Montgomery Gentry
10:30: Ray Pillow (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Josh Turner; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Dale Watson; Mandy Barnett

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of July 3 & 4, 1992:

Friday July 3
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Skeeter Davis; Billy Dean
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Jeanne Pruett; Wilma Lee Cooper
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jack Greene; The Carlisles; Mike Snider
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy Dickens; Teddy Wilburn

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson; Billy Dean
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Anderson; Grandpa Jones
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Justin Tubb; Jim Ed Brown; The Carlisles
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Teddy Wilburn; Jack Greene
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday July 4
1st show
6:30: The 4 Guys (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Alison Krauss; Johnny Russell
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Bill Anderson; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Skeeter Davis; Jim Ed Brown; Jan Howard

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson; Alison Krauss
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jack Greene; Wilma Lee Cooper
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Mike Snider
10:30: The 4 Guys (host); Jeannie Seely
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Justin Tubb; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; The Carlisles; Jeanne Pruett
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Johnny Russell

And from 50 years ago, Saturday July 1, 1967. What made this night special is that Lonzo & Oscar appeared on the Opry and it was a new "Lonzo" as Dave Hooten replaced Johnny Sullivan.

Rare are  the performers who have been able to burlesque or satire Country musicians successfully as in the case of Lonzo and Oscar. Born Rollin Sullivan and Dave Hooten, they are the only duo who were on the Grand Ole Opry that was able to get by with poking fun at their colleagues and the music they sing seriously.

For Rollin and Dave, the road to stardom was rocky. Originally the team was composed of Ken Marvin and Oscar (Rollin) and they made their debut on Radio WTJS, Jackson, Tennessee, shortly before World War II. At that time, they recorded the tune "I'm My Own Grandpa." Shortly after this, Ken withdrew from the act and Rollin's brother, Johnny Sullivan, became a full-time member. For several years they traveled throughout the world with Eddy Arnold's show, and it was Eddy who came up with the name of Lonzo and Oscar. They continued on to new heights as a comedy team making hundreds of television films and records. They also appeared on Network telecasts such as "The Kate Smith Show," "Dave Garroway Show," and "Ed Sullivan's Show." They have also worked extensively with many syndicated television shows originating in Nashville. In addition, their comic stylings graced numerous transcriptions and Armed Forces radio shows.

Tragedy struck in 1967 when Johnny (Lonzo) died of a heart-attack while driving a tractor on his farm near Goodlettsville, Tennessee. As agreed before his death, "The show must go on," thereby Dave Hooten was asked to replace the void left by Johnny's death.

Oscar Sullivan joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1942, and Lonzo & Oscar remained members of the Opry until October October 19, 1985, when Rollin  (Oscar) Sullivan made the decision to retire. Rollin passed away in 2012, while Dave Hooten, at last report, is still alive. While Rollin retired from the Opry, he still remained active, performing at times with various Lonzos. David continued as a solo act, with minor success.

Here is the line-up from the 2nd show that night:

9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Louvin (host): See the Big Man Cry
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
4 Guys: Shenandoah
Charlie Louvin: I Forgot to Cry
Stringbean: Cumberland Gap
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Bill Carlisle: Take This Country Music and Shove It
Charlie Louvin: Here Comes Someone's Heartaches

10:00: Schick
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Jim & Jesse: Ballad of Thunder Road
Del Wood: 12th St. Rag
Ernest Tubb: Yesterday's Winner is a Loser Today

10:15: Pure
Glaser Brothers (host): The Last Thing on My Mind
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Cousin Jody: A Thousand and One Nights
Glaser Brothers: The Eyes of Love

10:30: Buckley's
Roy Acuff (host): Please Come Back, Little Pal
Lonzo & Oscar: Moving On #2
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird/Pins & Needles

10:45: Newport
Bob Luman (host): Let's Think About Living
Marion Worth: Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Bob Luman: Why Don't You Leave Me Alone

11:00: Coca-Cola
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Stu Phillips: Vin Rose
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
4 Guys: Ruby, Don't Take Your Guns to Town
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: You're Never Very Far From My Mind
Sam & Kirk McGee: I Don't Love Nobody
Harold Weakley: To Russia with Care
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die

11:30: Lava
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Glaser Brothers: Gone on the Other Hand
Harold Morrison: I'm a Bluebird
June Stearns: Tear for Tear
Archie Campbell: Mommy's Little Angel &  Daddy's Pride and Joy
Johnny Carver: It's Such a Pretty World Today
Glaser Brothers: The Eyes of Love
Archie Campbell: Most Richly Blessed

Finally, it is always special when Johnny Cash visited the Opry and he did just that on Friday July 1, 1988. He appeared on the 2nd show that night. And on the following night, Saturday July 2, former Opry member Webb Pierce made a guest appearance, appearing on the televised TNN segment with Lynn Anderson, and hosted by Hank Snow.

Friday July 1, 1988
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); The 4 Guys; Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; Stonewall Jackson; Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Del Reeves
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Jim & Jesse; Randy Travis
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jack Greene; The Whites; Osborne Brothers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Lorrie Morgan; Billy Walker; Hank Locklin; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper; Justin Tubb
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jim & Jesse; Johnny Cash
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy Dickens; The Whites
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Hank Locklin; Osborne Brothers; Johnny Russell

Saturday July 2, 1988
1st show
6:30: The 4 Guys (host); Lorrie Morgan
6:45: Billy Walker (host); Jean Shepard
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Connie Smith; Jim & Jesse; Hank Locklin; Coon Creek Girls
7:30: Hank Snow (host); Lynn Anderson; Webb Pierce
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jan Howard; Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Charlie Walker (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely

2nd show
9:30: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett; Ray Pillow; Wilma Lee Cooper; Lynn Anderson
10:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); The 4 Guys
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Dan Kelly
10:30: Jim & Jesse (host); Bill Carlisle
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); Webb Pierce; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jan Howard; Justin Tubb; Hank Locklin; Del Reeves
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely; Charlie Louvin; Skeeter Davis; Cotton Ivy

And in case anyone forgot who Cotton Ivy was, his actual name was Lamarse Howard Ivy, who was born on May 15, 1930 in Decatur County, Tennessee. He was known as a humorist and comedian, but in real life, he served as a Democrat in the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1985-1989, after which he served as Tennessee's Commissioner of Agriculture. At last report, he is still alive at the age of 87.

There you have it for this week. Happy July 4th to everyone and I hope each one of you enjoys the Opry this weekend!!


  1. As you might expect, June was with Johnny that night in 1988. I'm sure Byron has this but I'll go ahead and list it. Johnny did "Folsom Prison Blues", "I Still Miss Someone", "Five Feet High And Risen"(at Roy's request) then June helped him do "Jackson". They remained on stage to help Roy close with "Will The Circle Be Unbroken". Quite a special segment.

    Actor Michael Douglas was also visiting that night.

    The next night Webb did "Walking The Dog" and "Slowly" on the TV portion and "Wondering" on the second show.

    Knightsville, IN

  2. A curious thought always runs through my mind when I see former Opry members on past schedules. Many of these people made semi-regular or infrequent appearances long after they either left or were fired from the Opry cast yet they never retained the title "Opry Member." Many of today's Opry members appear far less than former Opry members if at all (Keith Urban, Dolly, Reba, Garth, Trisha, Blake, Milsap, Paisley, Clint Black) but still retain the title "Opry Member." Looking back at old programs, its interesting to frequently see people's names on the schedule like the Duke of Paducah, Kitty Wells, Faron Young, Ray Price etc. Seems pretty hypocritical they supported the show as better as guests than most of today's members. And as much as I loved Minnie Pearl from what I can tell she rarely appeared much outside of the Prince Albert portion and then very infrequently (to the point she was allowed a leave of absence in 64) after the Prince Albert portion went off the air. I was always so disappointed every time we went to the Opry and she was never on in the late 80s. I did manage to catch her once on a matinee which I think is where she made appearances later on along with some Friday nights when she was on the same night with Ralph Emery. (oldtimeopry)

  3. Byron correct if I'm wrong here.
    Cousin Minnie was on constantly, and I MEAN CONSTANTLY during the late 80s for sure!
    I remember at no more than 4 or 5 because that's when she had her stroke, having seen her on TNN all the time and that was of course without wsm.
    Also she was not the only performer who usually had a spasific show during the Prince Albert days.
    Red as I recall, was contracted to, and only ever hosted that one segment.
    As Hank grew larger and larger, that was the portion he normally appeared on correct?
    You knew Mr. Acuff would more than likely host whatever portion was on TNN in the golden days of that network.
    As to those people not appearing.
    Look at the way the business is today.
    The demands on their time are insane!
    Milsap now is in his 70s, and has slowed down the touring.
    Brad is one of the biggest artists in the world in any format. I have no doubt at all he'd do all he could if they really REALLY needed him.
    Blake is on one of the highest rated tv shows in the country.
    The fact is, just as in the 50s and 60s when people left, they don't make much money for being on the Opry. Like almost nothing!
    It's totally completely out of love.
    The big artists actually lose money when they give up a show to do the opry because you really don't make anything.
    So I have 0 doubt they love the place.
    As time goes on, we'll see them more.
    Look at the Flatts.
    As I've said here before, many of our older friends and neighbors may not realize just how HUGE those guys were for about a decade!
    They were EVERYWHERE!
    They were on all formats, they were the super group of my generation!
    They were not just popular! They were on another level!
    Now, they appear quite often and always sell tickets! ALWAYS!
    Plus, there is a very real magic about someone like Brad or Ronnie who doesn't appear often when they do.
    If they did, would it be a big deal? Would the Opry be able to count on a sell out as they do every single time they come on at this point?

    1. (from Byron, who for some reason can't currently reply on his own blog).

      Memories fade over time and in the case of Minnie Pearl, a lot of folks remember her being on the Opry more times than she actually was. During the majority of the 80s, she averaged just under 30 shows per year. Most of those were on the Friday Night Opry, when she would walk over to the Opry House after appearing on Ralph Emery's show. often times with Roy Acuff. This was during the time when the Opry was running over 200 weekend shows per year, with Roy making most of them. Minnie did do a number of the matinee shows when the park was open, but as she got older, and was very busy doing other things in Nashville, her Opry appearances did drop.

      It is true that Red Foley was signed by the advertising agency that represented R.J. Reynolds to specifically host and star on the Prince Albert portion of the Opry, replacing Roy Acuff who left the Opry for a short amount of time in a salary dispute. Rod Brasfield was also signed by the same agency to be the comedian on the Prince Albert portion, replacing Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, who also was involved in a salary dispute. Whitey, however, did not leave the Opry, but moved to a different segment. Unlike Red, Rod, along with Minnie Pearl, the Jordanairres, and Hank Williams, among the regulars who appeared on the Prince Albert show, did appear on other Opry segments.

      As to the commonly held belief that every artist who appears on the Opry is paid union scale, that is not true and hasn't been for a number of years, going back to Roy Acuff. When Roy rejoined the Opry, he was paid more than scale, as have others over the years. It does not make up for what they would be paid on the road, but it was at least something.

      Roy Acuff for years hosted the 7:30 segment of the Opry that was hosted by Standard Candy. After Lester Flatt (who hosted the Martha White portion at 8:00), passed away, Martha White signed Roy to host that portion of the Opry, which he did until he passed away. I forget exactly what year that happened, but I do remember a big write up in the Nashville paper as Standard Candy wasn't really happy. However, it all worked out as TNN started televising the 7:30 portion of the show and wanted to go with rotating hosts, instead of the same one each week. Roy did host quite a bit early on, with the spots reducing as Roy got older and his health declined. Roy would usually be on when it was a big deal, such as the reunion show, birthday bash and when a new member would join. Other than that, Roy would host at 8:00.

      Stars and Opry members appearing on the Opry has been an issue since the Opry started. Heck, in the 50's, the Opry was like a revolving door with Webb Pierce, Lefty Frizzell, Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and so many others coming and going, due to the money and touring. And don't forget the purge of 64 when a dozen were dismissed. What started as being a requirement to be at the Opry every Saturday night, went down to 26, then 12, then to nothing under Hal Durham, with members joining with no commitment as to how many times they would appear. At least Pete Fisher tried to get 10 out of everyone and did have some success, Carrie Underwood being a great example.

      People are paying just under $100 a ticket for a prime seat to go to the Opry. They deserve to see the stars. Nobody forced anyone to become an Opry member. For the Opry to be successful, it needs the members to lead by example and be there. Some are making better efforts such as Brad Paisley and even Blake Shelton has made a few appearances this year. But I just don't agree that once or twice a year is acceptable. The Opry is special every week and it needs the members to support the show. (sorry for the soapbox).

    2. I would like to echo Byron the Anonymous (ah, technology!) on several fronts, and add something.

      If you look at the websites of the Opry members who are younger and big stars, or even a bit older and big enough stars (Hellooooooo, Vince Gill and Marty Stuart and Lorrie Morgan), there are plenty of Saturday nights where they are off. Now, I don't begrudge them having a family life or, in Vince's case, having to go to a hockey game (Vince is a sports addict, and bless him for it). But all of them could give up the occasional night--and not just on Saturday, given that there are Opry shows on many other nights, and once upon a time, it was the Saturday night show or shows that counted toward the number of appearances.

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  6. If they keep having "guests" like Jackie Lee, it gets harder and harder to bother listening, let alone pay $100 for a good seat (we always bought the gold seats until we stopped going to the Opry). And it still bothers me that they have SO MANY "guests" and they get 2 songs and the standard bearers usually only get to do one!