The CMA Music Festival is well underway in Nashville and as is usually the case, the weekend of the Music Fest features some of the stronger Grand Ole Opry line-ups of the year, This weekend is no exception as both the Friday Night Opry, Saturday's Grand Ole Opry, and Saturday afternoon's Opry Country Classics all feature very solid line-ups.
It will be a special weekend for Grand Ole Opry and Country Music Hall of Fame member Charley Pride, as he will be featured on all three shows this weekend. Charley doesn't get up to Nashville often enough, and it is always a treat to hear Charley on the Opry.
On Friday night, Charley will be joined by fellow Opry members Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs, Riders In The Sky, Bobby Osborne, Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Oak Ridge Boys and Josh Turner. A very solid group of members. Besides Charley, Jeannie, Mike and the Riders will also be on Saturday night's show, joined by members Montgomery Gentry, The Whites and Jesse McReynolds.
Guest artists on the Friday Night Opry will be Brandy Clark, who will also be hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree on Saturday night, and Scotty McCreery. Saturday's guests include the sensational Sara Evans, and the legendary Gene Watson, along with Eric Paslay and William Michael Morgan.
Friday June 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Brandy Clark; Ricky Skaggs
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Scotty McCreery
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Charley Pride
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Josh Turner
Saturday June 10
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Gene Watson; Eric Paslay
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Charley Pride; Montgomery Gentry
8:15: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; William Michael Morgan; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Sara Evans
Opry Country Classics will have a Saturday afternoon matinee with Charley Pride as the spotlight artist, and a very solid group of artists also scheduled on the show, including Bobby Bare, Crystal Gayle and Gene Watson.
Opry Country Classics: Saturday June 10
Host: Bill Cody
Spotlight Artist: Charley Pride
Also Appearing: Bobby Bare; Ashley Campbell; Crystal Gayle; Gene Watson
And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 8 & 9, 2007:
Friday June 8
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Riders In The Sky; Jack Greene; Emerson Drive
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Terri Clark
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Pam Tillis; Charley Pride
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joe Nichols
Saturday June 9
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Hal Ketchum; Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Pam Tillis (host); Darryl Worley; Carolina Rain; Mel Tillis
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mike Snider; Connie Smith; Riders In The Sky
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jeannie Seely; Charley Pride
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); John Conlee; Darryl Worley
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider; Charley Pride
10:30: Pam Tillis (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mel Tillis
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeannie Seely; Carolina Rain
It was during the first show that Saturday night that Mel Tillis became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. 2007 was a special year for Mel as besides becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Mel was also elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Mel Tillis has had an amazing career. Not only a great singer, but he is a noted songwriter, comedian and actor. Mel has said that if he hadn't been so busy with his career, he might have become an Opry member sooner. "I always wanted to be a member of the Opry," Mel once told interviewer Edward Morris, "but I was always gone. I was doing the Johnny Carson show, the Merv Griffin show, the Mike Douglas show; every show you could name; the Dean Martin show, Hollywood Squares, and 13 movies. I just didn't have the time to commit to being a member."
Mel moved to Nashville as an aspiring songwriter in 1957 after Webb Pierce had a Top 5 hit with "I'm Tired," a song Mel says Webb first heard Ray Price singing backstage at the Opry. Pierce also had a hit with Mel's "I Ain't Never," and soon, Mel was writing hits for all sorts of singers including Bobby Bare ("Detroit City"), Ray Price ("Heart Over Mind" and "Burning Memories"), Jack Greene ("All the Time"), and Kenny Rogers and the First Edition (Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town") just to name a few. At the same time, Mel launched a recording career that has yielded more than 50 Top 40 hits, including chart-toppers like his own version of "I Ain't Never," "Coca Cola Cowboy," "Good Woman Blues," and "Southern Rains." In 1976, the Country Music Association named him Entertainer of the Year. Mel also stepped out of the country music world and tried his hand at acting. He appeared in several television movie and the feature films "Every Which Way But Loose," "W.W. & The Dixie Dance Kings" and "Uphill All the Way."
In 1999, Broadcast Media Inc.(BMI) named Mel the Songwriter of the Decade for two decades and in 2001 he was the recipient of the Golden Voice Entertainer Award. and the Golden R.O.P.E, Songwriter Award. In 2009, he was named to the Florida Artist Hall of Fame and in 2010 he was awarded the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award by the Academy of Country Music. And in 2012 he received the National Medal of Arts from the President of the United States.
Sadly, in January 2016 Mel had a serious health issue that has prevented him from performing since. At last word, Mel was at his home in Ocala, Florida receiving in-home care. Earlier this year, his daughter Pam wrote, "There are no foreseeable personal appearances, as of now. He misses his fans as much as they miss him. I miss performing with him very much, particularly at Christmas as I reminisce about all the family Christmas shows we did over the years. I play his music as people walk into my own concerts."
While it will appear that Mel will not be at the Opry to celebrate his 10th year as an Opry member, congratulations go to Mel, as do all of our thoughts.
Now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 25 years ago, the weekend of June 12 & 13, 1992:
Friday June 12
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Del Reeves
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The 4 Guys; Jan Howard
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Grandpa Jones; Charlie Walker; Jimmy C Newman
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Connie Smith; Jack Greene; Jim Ed Brown
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; George Hamilton IV
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Anderson; Grandpa Jones
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Hank Locklin; Jeannie Seely; The Carlisles
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith: Jack Greene; Jimmy C Newman; Justin Tubb
11:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; George Hamilton IV; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow
Saturday June 13
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Hank Locklin; The Carlisles
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Skeeter Davis; George Hamilton; The 4 Guys; Jean Shepard
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Shenandoah; Hal Ketchum
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The Whites; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Mike Snider
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; Shenandoah; Alan Jackson
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; The Carlisles
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Hal Ketchum
10:45: The 4 Guys (host); Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Roy Drusky; Justin Tubb; Jack Greene
11:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Charlie Walker; Jan Howard; The Whites
Finally, it was 33 years ago, Saturday June 9, 1984 that Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
"You can't imagine how it felt the night I became a member of the Opry," Lorrie Morgan says. "The first time I could really call this place home. I couldn't stop shaking or trembling or crying." That Saturday night more than 30 years ago might have been Lorrie's first night as an official member, but it certainly wasn't her first night at the Grand Ole Opry. Lorrie grew up backstage at the Opry, the daughter of Country Music Hall of Famer George Morgan, a 26-year member known everywhere for his smash 1949 hit "Candy Kisses."
Born in 1959, Lorrie made her Opry stage debut early, introduced at the Ryman Auditorium by her proud father. "My little 13-year-old knees were absolutely knocking," she recalls. "But Dad was standing there right beside me with big tears in his eyes, and those people gave me a standing ovation. I thought, this is what I'm doing the rest of my life. This was a dream of my dad's long before it was my dream. I have all of this because of Dad. We're very blessed to be a musical family here at the Grand Ole Opry. What more could you ask for?"
George Morgan died when Lorrie was 16, but she still carries in her heart two pieces of advice left her: "Never say, I can't," and "Always remember your manners." Morgan's vocal style, combining country sincerity and pop sophistication, really took off in 1989 with the emotion-filled hit "Dear Me." She won a CMA award in 1990 for her work with her late husband, Keith Whitley, the great country traditionalist who had died the year before. Subsequent albums "Leave the Light On," "Something in Red" and "Watch Me" all sold more than a million copies.
Throughout her career, Morgan says, she has thought of the Opry as home. "The Opry gave me my start in country music. It's a place we all need to go from time to time to remember why we're here and what gave us the opportunity to be here.'
During the course of her career, Lorrie has released 13 albums and 10 compilation albums. She has released 38 singles, 3 of which went to No. 1 on the charts: "Five Minutes," What Part of No," and "I Didn't Know My Strength." Interesting, one of her most famous songs, and my wife's personal favorite, "Something in Red" only made it to No. 14. Lorrie has had a very solid career in country music, and while her hit making days are behind her, she has maintained her voice and still does a great job each time she is on the Opry.
Here is the running order from Saturday June 9, 1984, the night Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Connie Smith: Had a Dream
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World through a Windshield
Jeannie Seely: You Sweet Lies Just Turned Down My Sheets Again
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lying in Love with You
Billy Grammer: Homestead on the Farm
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top
7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Po Folks
Lorrie Morgan: Candy Kisses/Stand By Your Man
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Bill Anderson: Still
8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
The Whites: Forever You/Swing Down Chariot
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Howdy Forester: (?)
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light
Hank Snow (host): Forever and One Day
Dottie West: It's High Time/I Fall to Pieces/Sweet Dreams
4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore
9:30: Dollar General
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
4 Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Jeannie Seely: When You Heart's Been Stepped On
Del Reeves: Good Hearted Woman
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Jim Ed Brown: You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma
10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope this Day is Good
Ray Pillow: Julie Loved Boston More Than Me
Bill Anderson: Southern Fried
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Billy Walker: He Sang the Songs about El Paso
10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Roy Thackerson: Eighth of January
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want to Go
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle
Roy Drusky: One Day at a Time
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Dottie West: It's High Time/Here Comes My Baby
The Whites: Hanging Around
Jerry Douglas: Cincinnati Rag
Hank Snow: Born for You
Stonewall Jackson (host): Why I'm Walking
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard/Oh, What a Party
Lorrie Morgan: What I've Got in Mind/Crazy
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chunk of Coal
Congratulations again to Lorrie Morgan and I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!