Thursday, August 3, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 8/4 & 8/5

Summer rolls on and so does the Grand Ole Opry with two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Both shows are at 7:00.

Looking at the line-ups, there are a couple of names that bring a smile to my face. On the Friday Night Opry, Suzy Bogguss will be making an appearance. Personally, I have always enjoyed Suzy and her music and she is another of the females who I thought would have made a good Opry member. Also appearing on Friday night will be Steven Curtis Chapman, who is the host of Sam's Place, the gospel music show that takes place on Sunday night at the Ryman Auditorium. Saturday night, it will be the Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires show as this couple will be appearing. Also making a guest appearance will be The McCrary Sisters, who will be joined by Opry member Steve Wariner.

As to Grand Ole Opry members appearing this weekend, both nights will feature Riders In The Sky, Jeannie Seely and Dailey & Vincent hosting segments, along with Mike Snider. Since joining the Opry cast in March, this will be appearance number 13 & 14 for this popular bluegrass duo. All I can say to that is we finally have new Opry members who understand what it is to be a member. As to Mike, he continues his streak of not missing a Friday or Saturday show in 2017, the only Opry member who can make that claim.

Other Opry members appearing on Friday night include Jesse McReynolds and Connie Smith, while on Saturday night, it will be The Whites and Steve Wariner appearing. That all adds up to 6 Opry members each night.

Among the guest artists on Friday night will be Mark Wills, who will be making Opry appearance #18. Although he is not an Opry member, and I am not sure he should, he does appear more than a majority of the members. I guess it is nice that he answers the phone when the Opry has a slot to fill. Also guesting will be Shelly Fairchild and Trent Harmon. Saturday night, besides those already mentioned, David Ball returns to the Opry, along with Jerrod Niemann.

Friday August 4
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Shelly Fairchild; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; Mark Wills
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Trent Harmon; Suzy Bogguss
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Steven Curtis Chapman

Saturday August 5
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); David Ball; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Amanda Shires; Jason Isbell
8:15: Steve Wariner (host); The McCrary Sisters; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); The Whites; Jerrod Niemann

While she will not be making her Opry debut, it has been a few years since Shelly Fairchild performed on the Opry. Shelly is from Clinton, Mississippi, and began performing at an early age at church as in her high school's choir. She attended Mississippi College and while there, performed in several local stage shows. In 2004, she signed with Columbia Records, and her debut album "Ride" was released in 2005. She toured with Rascal Flatts and Blake Shelton, however, after having limited success, she was dropped by Columbia in 2005. She later signed with Stroudavarious Records. Her latest single "Mississippi Turnpike" was released this year.

For those who might not be familiar with The McCrary Sisters, they are a Christian gospel music quartet that is from Nashville. The group formed in 2010 and consists of sisters Beverly Ann, Deborah Dianne, Regina Avonette, and Alfreda McCrary. The sisters are daughters of a former Baptist preacher, Samuel McCrary, who was a founding member of The Fairfield Four. Their first recording, "Our Journey" was released in 2010. That was followed by "All the Way" in 2013 and "Let's Go," released in 2015. In addition to performing on the Opry on Saturday night, they will also be on Sam's Place, the gospel show that takes place at the Ryman Auditorium on Sunday night.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of August 3 & 4, 2007:

Friday August 3
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Sarah Johns
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Gail Davies; Diamond Rio
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Karen Peck & New River

Saturday August 4
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Mel McDaniel; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jack Greene; Chely Wright
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); George Hamilton IV; Lady Antebellum
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Jake Owen; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Rebecca Lynn Howard
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; The Whites; Chely Wright
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Jake Owen; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Vince Gill (host); George Hamilton IV; Lady Antebellum

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of August 7 & 8, 1992:

Friday August 7
1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Jan Howard; Roy Drusky
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim and Jesse; Skeeter Davis
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Carlisles; Ray Pillow
8:00: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett
8:30: Hank Snow (host); George Hamilton IV; Jeannie Seely; Sally Mountain Show

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Mike Snider
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); The 4 Guys; Jim and Jesse; Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Skeeter Davis; Stonewall Jackson; David Houston
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Carlisles; Jeanne Pruett; Jack Greene
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Sally Mountain Show; Johnny Russell; Mike Snider
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday August 8
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard; David Houston; The Whites; Jeanne Pruett
7:30: Bill Monroe (host); Vic Willis Trio; Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The 4 Guys; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jan Howard; Roy Drusky; Wilma Lee Cooper; Carlisles

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard
10:00: Charlie Walker (host); George Hamilton IV
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jack Greene
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jeannie Seely
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Carlisles; Vic Willis Trio
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Jan Howard; Roy Drusky; Mike Snider

Just to follow up, here is the actual running order of the Saturday night shows:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Porter Wagoner (host); Dooley
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Porter Wagoner: Your Old Love Letters/Ol' Slewfoot

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Texa-Cajun

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene: (host): Happy Tracks
Jean Shepard: I Don't See How I Can Make it With You Gone
David Houston: My Elusive Dreams
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He is My Everything/Satisfied

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Shady Grove
Vic Willis Trio: Shenandoah
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind/You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me/Once A Day
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky/Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
4 Guys: New Looks from an Old Lover/Chord Buster's March
Mike Snider: Pick Away/Putting on the Dog
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Roy Acuff: No Letter in the Mail

8:30: Opryland
Hank Snow (host): Storms Never Last
Jan Howard: Slow Burning Memory
Roy Drusky: There'll Never Be Anyone Else But You for Me
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Unclouded Day
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale that the Crow Told Me
Hank Snow: Teardrops in My Heart

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Jimmy C Newman: Lafayette
Jean Shepard: I'm Alright (I Just Had You on My Mind)/Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed as Much  of this as I Can Stand/Big Wind

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
George Hamilton IV: Til I Can Gain Control Again
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze my Sharmon/Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Jack Greene: Satisfaction/There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
Dan Kelly: Turkey Buzzard

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): There's An Old, Old House
Roy Drusky: All for the Love of a Girl
Bill Monroe: Then Take Courage Unto Tomorrow

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lyin' In Love with You
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Snow Flake Real
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Bummin' Around
Vic Willis Trio: Colorado
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Connie Smith: Hey, Good Lookin'/You're Cheating Heart
Hank Snow: Mary Ann Regrets

11:30: Creamette
4 Guys (host): Real Love Making Night
Jan Howard: Somebody's Always Saying Goodbye/Why Lady Why
Mike Snider: (?)/Staten Island Hornpipe/Dueling Banjos
4 Guys: When You Got a Good Woman, It Shows

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!


  1. T. Graham Brown replaced Jesse McReynolds on Friday night. Also, Bill Anderson is on the schedule for Saturday night in place of Jeannie Seely.

  2. Thank Byron, I missed the first 20 minutes or so tonight.

    Sorry but there is someone in much pain on stage again tonight. Wish there was a cure for these folks

    Knightsville, IN

  3. I hope nobody is upset about the fact that Steven got the entire 2 guest segments on the Friday night show.
    If any of you don't know, the man is the most successful artist in the history of Christian music, with more #1s and dove awards than any other artist in the history of gospel music!
    Now, if they could get him to become a member! That would be something, and if his career is slowing a bit, that might happen!
    All that to say, sometimes these days, an artist is probably the main reason the place is full. Brad when he's there, Milsap still to this day when he is, some special guest like this. I think you gotta give those kind of folks more of a spotlight!
    I'll say it again!
    He's an amazing singer, and shows up all the time!

  4. E.Z.,

    You may be right that one artist is making the full house.

    I have thought for a long time now that Mr. Fisher was implementing a long term plan to change the Opry to a 3 or 4 act show. I think the weeknight shows were a test of this and as time passes it will slip into the weekend shows.

    I think they have probably created a generation of fans that will no longer support a Opry that has one to two dozen acts in a show as us older fans remember. Smart, or maybe sneaky people, have a way of slowly changing the taste and opinions of people without those people even knowing it.

    Maybe this is what it will take to keep a show at the Opry House but I think it is quickly going to become a show that us older fans will hardly recognize. And not that there are any such rumors but how long before it may be endangered on WSM AM? Maybe it is time for us oldies to fade into the shadows!

    Sorry for the pessimistic tone tonight! Just thinking out loud so to speak.

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Jim,

      I understand the concern, but I think the situation is flipped. I don't see it as the Opry driving the change as I see the fans driving the change. Fair or not, and for better or for worse, so many younger country fans of my generation don't recognize the majority of the names on a given night. They only know mainstream country and a handful of the all time greats. Thus, the only time they hear about the Opry is when one of those artists play the Opry, and from their perspective is it worth sitting through a 2 hour show if you only recognize 20 minutes of the performers? Personally, I agree with you in that I don't want it to change, but I think the changes we have seen are the Opry reacting to their audience, not the Opry trying to change the audience. The link that I see missing from the Opry is more recent veterans like Mark Wills. Mark is a name that country fans in their 20s and 30s would know from his commercial career, yet has music that is still traditional enough to fit the Opry's values. I know that is what convinced me to travel to Nashville for a show after watching from a far for a couple years. The show I attended had Little Big Town as the headliner (and a very disappointing one I might add), but also had Darryl Worley, Joe Diffie, and Restless Heart as artists whom I was familiar with from their commercial careers. There are so many more 80s and 90s artists that I think would help the Opry that when one like Mark is willing to play often, I really think the Opry needs to return the favor with an invitation. Getting that generation of artists on the stage more often to me is the key to bridging the demographic gap.

      As for WSM, I feel pretty confident in saying that if the Opry leaves WSM's airwaves, it will only be because there is no more Opry. They would lose so much historical goodwill and value by taking it off the air that they have to know it would kill any hopes for a successful Opry future, and I believe they are wise enough to know that and thus not to try it.

      Sorry to disagree and to ramble on at times, but I wanted to give the perspective of the younger fans that the Opry will have to attract in order to survive for decades more.

  5. Following up on Jesse McReynolds missing the Opry last night, the information that I received is that he was under the weather and cancelled just a few hours before the show. T. Graham Brown was his replacement and was obviously called at the last minute. I am assuming that T. Graham is one of those artists, such as Mandy Barnett, Jimmy Wayne and a few others, who are on the Opry's "short-list" of artists to call when there is a last minute opening on the schedule.

  6. I agree with Joe entirely. This might be sad, but it's reality.
    Look at dear wonderful Mrs. Smith! She's amazing, but literally no one from my generation other than one girl I know who looks at her as her biggest hero has ever heard of her. Same with Jeanie.
    Now those of us who grew up on TNN will remember some of those names, but not many. Bill has a much better shot because even if they don't know his name, they know tons and TONS of his songs! The announcers would do better to name a few of those and the place would go nuts!
    So, what is the solution? You can't build a show, and fill a house with names that sadly, no one knows. So, you build a show and fill the house with the superstars, which is really a new concept in country music, but it does exist! Right or wrong, good or bad, there are people who are bigger names, who sell tickets, who are to most fans, more important as sad as that might be! Brad, the Flatts boys, Little Big Town.
    Now if someone from my generation goes wanting to see one of those people, they are not gonna want to hear them sing 2 songs and leave! They are to big a deal. They stand to tall! So you have to give them 3 or 4 songs to make the crowd happy! If you don't, the show will either die, or be very VERY small!
    Think about it though. Uncle Jimmy started out just fiddling, and then as the need became clear, vocalists became the stars and the network came on, then TNN, and even then, Mr. Acuff was really the face of the show! Evolution based on the demands of the day is what has kept the opry around and successful for 91 years, and it has to do that to continue.
    The ONLY POSSIBLE alternative would be a show like we saw a couple weeks ago where every single name was a big deal and no one was mad that they did 2 or 3 and left. However, you can't do that every week unless you do it very carefully!
    Tracy, Chris, Chris, Wills, they should be members now, and should be used as often as possible because they are names people know!
    Keep the legends and try to make sure people know why we love and need them, but they aren't going to make the money.

  7. Joe and E.Z.,

    No worries on the different opinions. That is what makes the world go around......or it used to anyway.

    E.Z., I never mentioned the veterans in my comments unless my referring some of us fans as oldies.

    I am not advocating against new artist only the number of artist that we may be headed toward appearing. All of what you say about the Opry evolving from the start including Mr. Acuff is true. But through it all, there have been many acts on one show with the stars hosting and getting more air time. Today, most of the stars are not in tune with the flow of the show enough to be hosts. Now they get their own segment or the entire guest spot of one.

    I agree that the newer artist you name should be members but as Byron has discussed in the past, we may be getting away from a members based operation. However, after a drought, there have been some new ones added.

    I know that soon, the veterans of my time will be gone and people like Mark Wills will be considered a veteran. I also know that if I live long enough there is a good chance that there won't be anyone on the Opry to interest me. My issue or concern is the format of the show that will be lost. Fewer people today even realize it is a radio show until they attend the first time, at least that is what I think. If it is going to go to the 3-4 big name show then it needs to be promoted that way and they need to book those artist way in advance so the Opry is on their schedule just like any other concert on their annual tour schedule and fans can book a trip to the Opry knowing who they will see. Fans getting there only to find that their favorite is not there like they thought the promotion indicated is another issue. That in itself is another topic for another time.

    Just my opinions and not a put down to anyone else. Great to know there are folks younger than me(51)out there listening and enjoying the Opry.

    Thanks guys.

    Knightsville, IN

  8. Some interesting comments, and with permission, I will add a few more:

    Regarding who should or who should not be an Opry member, and I do agree that there are artists from the 90's that would make good members, there are some who have been asked over the years and have turned down Opry membership. I know that the Oak Ridge Boys for years turned down the Opry. Lee Greenwood is another person who has admitted that the Opry asked him to join and he turned it down. I have heard stories that Tracy Lawrence is another who was asked earlier in his career and he turned it down, saying that maybe it would work later in his career. As to individuals like Mark Wills, Mandy Barnett, Jimmy Wayne, TG Sheppard, T. Graham Brown, and on and on, why ask them to become members when they appear on the Opry on a regular basis anyways?

    Throughout the Opry's history, there have been times when attendance was down and people were complaining who was appearing on the Opry. Heck, back in the 1930's, George D. Hay was complaining about Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys and then told Bob Wills not to come back. In the 1950's, there were complaints when the Everly Brothers, the Kershaw Brothers and even Porter Wagoner joined the Opry. But at the time, the Ryman was half empty most nights and the Opry felt old. Think back to the 80's and the Opry was being called a living museum, and there were a lot of empty seats. Members such as Ernest Tubb and Marty Robbins were passing away and then you had Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and others with serious health issues. The entire generation of artists from the 70s and early 80s really had no interest in the Opry, either joining or appearing. Then there was the group in the 90s that joined and never appear.

    I guess what I am saying is that the Opry, like many other things, goes through stages and I think right now we are in another of those stages where the vast majority of the legends from the 60s on back are gone, and a new generation is coming along. The Opry is not the same show it was 25 years ago, just like the 1992 show was not the same as the Opry in the 50s. As fans we need to embrace the change, just as those before us have, and hope that the Opry's management continues to make the right moves to preserve the show.

  9. Just a comment on Opry attendance. At a Billy Walker concert in 1997, I ask how the crowds were at the Opry knowing attendance had dropped off some. That question seemed to bother Billy and he said it has always had its ups and downs and that it was doing okay, it would fill up again. He said the night he joined in 1960 only 500 people were at the Ryman.

    Knightsville, IN

  10. Another point I must make is just how many more entertainment options there are now vs. 30+ years ago. Between cable TV and the Internet, there are just so many items competing for someone's time that taking time out to listen to, or attend, the Opry becomes harder and harder. I wish I knew what the answer was because I want the Opry to not only survive, but to thrive and continue to be THE pinnacle of country music.

  11. I have many concerns about the 'Opry, but my main growing concern is the pace of the show.
    It's shrunk to two hours, and they somehow manage to have a continuously lower percentage of those two hours devoted to music.
    I really don't care who has a birthday or whatever. Too much dead time, not enough music.
    At least that's my view.

  12. Thanks everybody for the posts. Some interesting reading. Bob

  13. Thanks to all for the lively discussion! And regarding the days of low attendance at the Opry (late 50's), Byron, is it true that E.T. actually thought about leaving the music business altogether and going to work for his brother, who sold insurance? Thank you, Anonymous in Kingman

  14. Yes, I have heard the same story. Not sure how serious Ernest was, but I know his road dates suffered just like so many others. At one point, Bill Monroe disbanded the Bluegrass Boys and used local bands to back him up.

    1. Byron, Thank you for the info. I never knew that Bill Monroe had disbanded the Bluegrass Boys for a while. Keep up the good work on the Fayfare blog. Really do appreciate it. Anonymous in Kingman