Thursday, September 14, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/15 & 9/16

It will be a special weekend at the Grand Ole Opry as on Saturday night Jeannie Seely will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Opry. Jeannie will be just the 6th female member to achieve this milestone, following in the footsteps of Minnie Pearl, Jean Shepard, Wilma Lee Cooper, Loretta Lynn and Connie Smith.

Jeannie Seely's mother said that Jeannie was just four years old when she learned to stretch up, tune the knob on her family's big console radio to 650 WSM and keep it there. Jeannie is still on the dial at 650 WSM, performing regularly on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

By age 11, she was performing on a weekly radio show in nearby Meadville, Pennsylvania, and a few years later was on TV in Erie. Years of playing auditoriums, small clubs, and country music parks followed. She moved to California and worked as a secretary with Liberty and Imperial Records in Hollywood before coming to Nashville in 1965 at the urging of Opry member Dottie West. "I don't know enough to go there yet," Jeannie remembers telling Dottie. The more experienced singer responded, "Jeannie, that's where you go to learn."

A recording contract with Monument Records gave Jeannie her first hit in 1966 with "Don't Touch Me," which went to the top of the charts and earned her a Grammy Award. One year later, the singer who became famous as "Miss Country Soul" fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming a member of the Opry cast. More hits followed, including "I'll Love You More (Than You Need)," "Can I Sleep in Your Arms," and "Lucky Ladies." Jeannie briefly worked as a duet partner of Porter Wagoner and had a successful touring and recording partnership with follow Opry member Jack Greene resulting in multiple award nominations and such hits as the Top 10 single "Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You." Jeannie also is a successful songwriter, having written Faron Young's No. 1 hit, "Leavin' and Sayin' Goodbye," a BMI award-winner. She has also had songs cut by Dottie West, Connie Smith, Willie Nelson and Ray Price. Known for her plainspoken ways and sharp sense of humor, Jeannie published a book of witticisms, "Pieces of a Puzzled Mind," in 1989.

Jeannie continues to record and make new music, along with traveling and doing tour dates, many times with Tim Atwood. Yet even with her busy schedule, most weekends will find Jeannie at the Opry and hosting segments. In fact, Jeannie was one of the first female members to host a segment.

"It never made any sense to me that a woman couldn't host a segment of the show. The first Opry manager to want to change that was Bob Whittaker. He said, 'We're wasting fifty percent of our artist pool.' I used to go up to Bob's predecessor, Hal Durham, and I'd say, 'I know you've told me before why women can't host, but won't you tell me one more time.' He'd rock from side to side and jingle his change and say, 'It's tradition, Jeannie.' I'd say, 'Oh, it's tradition. It just feels like discrimination.'

It took some time, but eventually Jeannie and the other female artists got their way.

Joining Jeannie this weekend on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will be Opry members Bill Anderson (who will be hosting the 1st segment honoring Jeannie), The Whites, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, Crystal Gayle and Patty Loveless. Also appearing will be Elizabeth Cook, Brandy Clark and Wynonna. I think it is safe to say that the night will be dominated by the females.

Jeannie, Mike, The Whites and The Riders are also scheduled for Friday night, where they will be joined by Opry members Joe Diffie, Jesse McReynolds, Connie Smith and Old Crow Medicine Show, who will be in the Opry Shop after the show. Guesting will be Mark Wills, Gwen Sebastian and The Last Bandoleros.

Friday September 15
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: The Whites (host); Jesse McReynolds; Joe Diffie
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Gwen Sebastian; The Last Bandoleros
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday September 16
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Elizabeth Cook; The Whites; Brandy Clark
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Wynonna; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Crystal Gayle; Patty Loveless

That comes out to 11 acts on Friday night, of which 8 are Opry members, and 10 acts on Saturday night, of whom 7 are members of the Opry.

In addition to be honored at the Opry on Saturday night, Jeannie Seely will also be the host and featured attraction at the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 14 & 15, 2007:

Friday September 14
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Danielle Peck
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jim Ed Brown; Chris Young
9:30: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Doug Stone

Saturday September 15
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mel McDaniel; Radney Foster
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Rockie Lynne; Mandy Barnett
7:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rissi Palmer
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Connie Smith; Marty Stuart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Chris Young

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Radney Foster
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Rockie Lynne; Connie Smith; Marty Stuart
10:30: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Rissi Palmer; Chris Young

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of September 18 & 19, 1992:

Friday September 18
1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Roy Drusky; Jim Ed Brown; Jan Howard; Johnny Russell
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Billy Grammer;
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Carlisles
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jack Greene; Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Billy Walker; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Stonewall Jackson; Ray Pillow; Oak Ridge Boys
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Billy Grammer; Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Jim Ed Brown; Lorrie Morgan
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Jack Greene; Justin Tubb; Carlisles
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeanne Pruett; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 19
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; The Whites
7:30: Jack Greene (host); Jeannie Seely; Ray Pillow; Billy Grammer; Jann Brown
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); The 4 Guys; Jimmy Dickens; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin; Jan Howard; Roy Drusky; Carlisles

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker; Lorrie Morgan
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Jack Greene (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Justin Tubb; Roy Drusky; Jim Ed Brown
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow; Carlisles; Jan Howard; Charlie Louvin

(Justin Tubb cancelled)

The Saturday night show in 1992 also recognized Jeannie Seely for being an Opry member 25 years, joining the cast on September 16, 1967. The Nashville Tennessean, when printing the Opry line-up in the Friday paper, would also highlight an Opry member, and the September 18, 1992 edition highlighted Jeannie Seely. Here is what was written:

This year, Jeannie Seely and the Grand Ole Opry are celebrating their silver anniversary. Wednesday marked the 25th year of Opry membership for "Miss Country Soul," who joined in 1967. This weekend, she celebrates the anniversary by singing in shows at 9:30 p.m. Friday and 7:30 and 11 p.m. Saturday. "I'm so excited, almost like I was the first time," Seely said. "I went through my wardrobe, and nothing was good enough. I went out and splurged today and bought a new dress." Seely has always been known for her fashion sense; credited with breaking the "calico curtain," she changed the image of sweet down-home female country music singers by wearing mini-skirts and low-cut dresses.

In 1966, Seely won a Grammy for "Don't Touch Me," a hit song that led to Opry membership. "I can't forget that," she said. "Usually the first criteria to join is a hit record. When 'Don't Touch Me' hit, I was so excited about having a No. 1 record, but I kept saying, 'Does this mean they'll ask me to join the Opry?'" They did. "I was so excited and so nervous the first appearance, "Seely said. "I remember thinking of the responsibility, what it meant to be a part of the Grand Ole Opry." To Seely, it means being part of a family. "There's just a kinship there," she said. "When I'm away, I'm homesick for the Grand Ole Opry." And every weekend she's in town, Seely can be found on the Opry stage. "It's kind of frightening how fast 25 years have gone by. I just can't believe it," she said. "I'm proud of being able to stick with it that long, as well as just happy that they've stuck we me."

That was from 25 years ago, and now this weekend Jeannie will join the select company of Opry members who have been with the Opry for 50 years.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday September 16, 1967, the night Jeannie Seely became an Opry member:

6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Ernie Ashworth (host): A Week in the Country
Paul Moore: Cold, Cold Heart
Spider Wilson: Wildwood Flower
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You

6:45: Rudy's
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Jerri Lynn: Ain't Had No Lovin'
Jerry Whitehurst: Hey, Good Lookin'
George Hamilton IV: The Urge for Going

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Anderson (host): Get While the Getting's Good
The 4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot
Jimmy Gatley: Sh Wants to Be Like You
Tammy Wynette: Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Bill Anderson: No One's Gonna Hurt You Anymore
Duke of Paducah: Four-Leaf Clover
The 4 Guys: Walking in the Sunshine
Bill Anderson: Love You Drops

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Mabel, You Have Been A Friend to Me
Willis Brothers: A 6 ft 2 by 4
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Margie Bowes: Man Around the House
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Billy Grammer: Pennsylvania Polka
Willis Brothers: Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On

8:00: Martha White
Wilburn Brothers (host): It's Another World
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Dottie West: Like A Fool
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Wilburn Brothers: You're Standing in the Way
Pete Sayers: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Justin Tubb & Dottie West: Love Is No Excuse
Dottie West: Paper Mansions

8:30: Stephens
Roy Drusky (host): Rainbows & Roses
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Hugh X Lewis: You're So Cold I'm Turning Blue
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Roy Drusky: White Lightening Express
Opry Staff Band: Speeding West
Grandpa Jones: Everything I Had Going for Me Is Gone
Jeannie Seely: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Roy Drusky: Anymore

9:30: Kellogg's
Tex Ritter (host): Boll Weevil
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabamy Bound
Dottie West: Funny, Familiar, Forgotten Feelings
Hank Williams, Jr: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight/Wedding Bells/Mansion on the Hill/Half as Much/Lovesick Blues
Tex Ritter: Working Man's Prayer
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham

10:00: Schick
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Margie Bowes: Making Believe
Billy Grammer: Mabel, You Have Been a Friend to Me

10:15: Pure
Roy Drusky (host): Peel Me A Nanner
Grandpa Jones: Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Roy Drusky: New Lips

10:30: Buckley's
Ernie Ashworth (host): My Love for You
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Willis Brothers: Bob/God Walks These Hills With Me

10:45: Newport
Wilburn Brothers (host): Good, Goody Gumdrop
Justin Tubb: Take A Letter Miss Gray
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl

11:00: Coca-Cola
Tex Ritter (host): Green Grow the Lilacs
The 4 Guys: Shendandoah
Jeannie Seely: I Fall to Pieces
Hank Williams, Jr: Long Gone Lonesome Blues/(?)/Can't Take it No Longer/I'm In No Condition to Love Again/I'm Nobody's Child
Tex Ritter: Just Beyond the Moon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Jeannie Seely: Darling, Are You Ever Coming Home
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

11:30: Lava
Bob Luman (host): Let's Think About Living
Osborne Brothers: Roll Muddy River
Jerry Greene: Turn the World Around the Other Way
Tammy Wynette: I Don't Wanna Play House
Bob Luman: You Can Take the Boy From the Country
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Bob Luman: Memphis

Congratulations to Jeannie Seely on her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry and as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.


  1. Congratulations to Jennie Seely; should be an interesting show Saturday night, Bill Anderson will be great. Just read that Tracy Lawrence will do the matinee show for the anniversary weekend - all those Opry members and they have a non-member - go figure !!

  2. I share your frustration with Tracy Lawrence performing at the matinee show during anniversary weekend.
    Very entertaining true country artist, but the 'Opry continues to diminish the value of membership.

    This might be part of the reasoning.
    From the WSM website: "Tracy Lawrence is bringing his new syndicated radio show, Honky Tonkin with Tracy Lawrence, to WSM."

  3. Yes, going off subject for just a bit, Tracy Lawrence is doing the Saturday afternoon birthday concert. Interesting to remember that Crystal Gayle did the birthday concert last year and ended up being an Opry member within a couple of months. If my mind is remembering correctly, Crystal was the first non-Opry member to do the Saturday afternoon birthday concert in recent memory. And now this year Tracy.

    As to the birthday weekend itself, Friday night has Hunter Hayes, Tracy Lawrence and Pam Tillis listed so far and Saturday has Tracy along with Steven Curtin Chapman. Nothing against those listed, but we are 3 weeks away at this point and I expected something more substantial. Hopefully more coming soon but the artists listed for Opry shows before that weekend are much more substantial.

  4. Yes, I also lamented last year about Crystal Gayle (as a nonmember) for the matinee; still have no regrets in our decision to end going for the "anniversary celebration" at the 90th - management held no significant recognition about that milestone and we felt it would only digress.

  5. As I am listening to the Opry tonight, with Bill Anderson doing an excellent job hosting the segment honoring Jeannie Seely, he mentioned that someone told him backstage that Jeannie was the 9th member currently part of the cast to have reached 50 years as a member of the Opry.

    As to living members who have been Opry members for 50 years, that list includes Bill Anderson, Loretta Lynn, Ray Pillow, Stu Phillips, Bobby Osborne, Stonewall Jackson, Jesse McReynolds and Connie Smith. Seely makes it 9.

    Finally, Sally Williams, the general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, made her first appearance on stage tonight to honor Jeannie.

    1. Congratulations to Jeannie Seely...I thought Sally Williams speech honoring Jeannie was excellent. Bob

  6. Hats off to Sally Williams and all the folks at the Opry for an outstanding week. Was able to hear all three Opry shows, the Hand in Hand benefit and the Troy Gentry Memorial Service. All were incredibly well done and hit all of the right notes (musically and otherwise.) It has been a poignant week in the history of our beloved Opry and one which gives this fan much hope for the future of this great institution. Looking forward to being in Nashville for the birthday weekend!

    1. Hope to see you Woody. Please introduce yourself.

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  9. I hope WSM archives the Troy Gentry Memorial. Wasn't really expecting anything quite so special, but it was amazing.
    Vince Gill never ceases to amaze me...

  10. @Nat ~

    I have yet to watch the Celebration of Life memorial service for Troy Gentry, but you will find it on YouTube - the title is Country Singer Troy Gentry's funeral is underway at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. 14/9/17 ... It runs 1 hr 30 minutes - not sure if that is the entire memorial or not.

    My condolences to Troy Gentry's wife, two daughters, family and friends and his Opry family but especially to his musical partner, Eddie Montgomery. I am sure he is feeling like he was punched in the gut a few times. My heart really goes out to him. He will need his Opry friends and everyone else close to him to come to some type of terms with the tragic ending to Troy's life. I just watched their last Opry appearance from July 1st a few times - they looked at each other and smiled at each other, you could tell they were really good friends and truly enjoyed doing what they were doing together as Opry members. Just so sad.

    @Woody - you are so right, this week's Opry shows were terrific. Enjoy the Birthday bash!!!

    Enjoyed both Friday and Saturday Opry shows ... I really dig Brandy Clark and Elizabeth Cook, enjoyed Jeannie Seely's celebration of 50 years of Opry membership. And happy that Sally Williams introduced herself to the audience and made the nice speech she did ... and Patty Loveless - all sorts of female singers this weekend - sure did like having them all grace that stage.

    This week's Opry shows are going to be just so great; enjoy all you listen to.

    And may Tracy Lawrence become an Opry member soon!!! I have always loved his music ... his first song "Sticks & Stones" 26 years old now.


    1. Here is the link to Troy Gentry's funeral... RIP Troy. Bob