Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/22 & 9/23

First, a word regarding Jesse McReynolds. For those who do not know, earlier today Jesse was admitted to the hospital with stomach pain. He was rushed into surgery as it was determined that he had a ruptured aneurysm. Doctors at Sumner Hospital in Gallatin reported that his condition was serious. Last word I have, as I type this Wednesday afternoon is that Jesse is out of surgery and the family is cautiously optimistic. Our thoughts are with Jesse and his family.

As far as the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, Friday will be the big night as Reba McEntire will be performing on both shows and honored as it was 40 years ago, September 17, 1977 that Reba made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

When Reba McEntire made her Grand Ole Opry debut in 1977, she almost didn't make it in the door after a guard at the Opry gate missed her name on that night's list of performers. Reba found a nearby phone and called her booking agent, who arranged for her to get past security. Her parents and older sister, Alice, drove 1,400 miles round trip from their Oklahoma home to see what turned out to be Reba's three-minute performance that night. Her act was cut from two songs to just one, "Invitation to the Blues," because of a surprise appearance from Dolly Parton. Despite those issues, that evening still turned out better than the first time Reba came to the Opry as a fan. She was seven years old and visiting the Opry as an audience member. She got sick during the show, ran outside and promptly threw up on the front steps.

Western singer Red Steagall discovered Reba at the National Finals Rodeo in 1974 singing the national anthem. She signed her first record deal the following year and charted her first single in 1976. Four years passed before Reba landed her first Top 10 hit with "(You Life Me) Up to Heaven." It took two years for Reba to get her first No. 1, "Can't Even Get the Blues." Since then, the hits have consistently kept coming for four decades. She is the only female artist to have scored No. 1 singles in each decade from the 1980s through the current one.

Reba, who received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998, has sold more than 55 million albums and earned two Grammy Awards. She is the most nominated female artist in the history of the Country Music Association Awards, which named her its Entertainer of the Year in 1986. She also has found success in film, television, books, fashion, and even on the Broadway stage. She is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Now, I think most of you know how I feel about Reba. She is a great singer, and a Hall of Fame member. She has had an outstanding career in country music and continues to be an inspiration to many female artists. But as an Opry member, her support of the show has been somewhat lacking.

The Opry lists her "official" induction date as November 21, 1985 and even at that point, the Opry appearances were few and far. Just going back to 2001, Reba has made only 3 Opry appearances in the past 16 years and one of those was the surprise appearance that she made to ask Little Big Town to become the Opry's newest members.

As to the rest of Friday night's line-up, there are only 7 acts scheduled on the 1st show and just 6 on the 2nd (The Whites only appearing on the early show). What is nice is that each one is an Opry member, or in the case of Bobby Bare, a former Opry member. As to Reba McEntire & "Friends," I am not sure who the friends are. I am thinking she might have a couple of special folks with her.

Friday September 22
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mike Snider; Connie Smith; Bobby Bare
8:00: Vince Gill (host); Reba McEntire & Friends

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Bare; Mike Snider
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Reba McEntire

Interesting that they have only 2 segments. This is certainly not a case of not having anyone who could host, as The Whites, Mike Snider and Connie Smith are all on the schedule. They certainly could have filled it out if they so desired. But the line-up is solid. And yes, not matter the reason or what it took, it is good to have Reba McEntire back on the Opry. The show is better with her.

Now, as far as Saturday night is concerned, it is a more traditional show with 11 acts listed, 5 of which are Opry members. Opry members scheduled include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, The Whites, Connie Smith and Bobby Osborne. (Jesse was on the original schedule last night). Guest artists include Adam Craig, Tegan Marie, The Steel Woods, Chonda Pierce, Charlie Worsham, and Alex Williams, who I believe is making his Grand Ole Opry debut.

Saturday September 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Adam Craig; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Tegan Marie; The Steel Woods
8:15: The Whites (host); Alex Williams; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Chonda Pierce; Charlie Worsham

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 21 & 22, 2007:

Friday September 21
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard; Blaine Larsen
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Sarah Johns
9:00: Charley Pride (host); Jimmy C Newman; Doyle Dykes
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jimmy Wayne

Saturday September 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Blaine Larsen
7:00: Mike Snider (host); David Ball; Sherrie Austin
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mountain Heart
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Charley Pride (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sawyer Brown

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mike Snider; Blaine Larsen
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; David Ball; Sawyer Brown
10:30: Charley Pride (host); Jeannie Seely; Sherrie Austin; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mountain Heart; Doyle Dykes

Now from 25 years ago, the weekend of September 25 & 26, 1992:

Friday September 25
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin; Ray Pillow; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; The Whites; Mel McDaniel
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Jimmy Dickens; Jan Howard; Billy Walker
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Alan Jackson; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; The Whites; Carlisles; Alan Jackson
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Stonewall Jackson; Wilma Lee Cooper; Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Mel McDaniel; Skeeter Davis; Mike Snider
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The 4 Guys; Connie Smith; Justin Tubb; Jim Ed Brown
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 26
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard
7:00: Stonewall Jackson (host); Skeeter Davis; The Whites; The 4 Guys; Billy  Walker
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Hank Locklin; Jim & Jesse; Jann Browne
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; Carlisles; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeannie Seely; Roy Drusky; Laurie Lewis

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; The Whites; Jean Shepard
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Billy Walker
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jim & Jesse
10:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; The Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Laurie Lewis; Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely; Hank Locklin; Johnny Russell

Note: Justin Tubb cancelled.

Finally, here is the running order from 28 years ago, Saturday September 23, 1989:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
George Hamilton IV: Life's Railway to Heaven

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): Roly Poly
Jim & Jesse: Thanks for the Trip to Paradise
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Wake Up, Jacob
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Jean Shepard: Slowly
Billy Grammer: I Dreamed of an Old Love Affair/Gotta Travel On
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home
Porter Wagoner: Tennessee Saturday Night

7:30: Standard Candy
Del Reeves (host): Girl on the Billboard
Jeanne Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away too Long
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel/Everytime You Leave
Del Reeves: Bad News

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You/Once A Day
The 4 Guys: When You Got A Good Woman, It Shows/How Married Are You Mary Ann
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lyin' In Love With You
Vic Willis Trio: Beer Barrel Polka
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Ray Pillow: I'll Break Out Again Tonight
Jim Ed Brown: The Old Lamplighter

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Ray Pillow: Days When You Were Still In Love With Me
Jim & Jesse: When I Dream About the Southland/The Night Runner
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand/You've Gotta Have A License

10:00: Little Debbie
Osborne Brothers (host): My Cabin in Caroline
Jean Shepard: I Just Had You On My Mind
Osborne Brothers: Beneath Still Waters

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Roy Acuff & Billy Grammer: Happy Birthday Donna
Billy Grammer: I Was Born in Renfro Valley/The Waltz You Saved for Me
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
George Hamilton IV (host): Abilene
Charlie Louvin: My Baby's Gone
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

10:45: B.C. Powder
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around When It's Over
Opry Square Dance Band/ The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Connie Smith: Walkin' After Midnight
Bill Carlisle: Oh, What A Party
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells/Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

11:30: Creamette
The 4 Guys (host): I'm All Tied Up
Roy Drusky: More & More
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Numbers
Vic Willis Trio: Sioux City Sue
The 4 Guys: Wings of a Dove/My Special Angel/I've Had the Time of My Life

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend as we welcome back Reba McEntire.


  1. Sad about Jesse. If I'm remembering right he had a similar situation some 20-25 years ago. He and Jim are and were two of the nicest people we ever met and their music, performances and appearance was always superb. Let's hope for the best.

    Thanks for letting us know Byron.

    Knightsville, IN

  2. Here's hoping that Jesse comes back, and comes back strong.

    As for Reba ... she's almost our Exhibit A.

  3. The Tennessean published an interview with Reba McEntire which promoted her Opry appearances tonight. She talked about the first night she performed on the Opry and mentioned the story about her two songs getting cut to one because of a surprise appearance by Dolly Parton. It was also noted that Reba's mother and siblings would be with her tonight, along with some "special guests." Considering that Reba specifically mentioned Dolly in the interview, and knowing that Dolly and Reba are friends, could it be that Dolly is one of those "special friends" that might be appearing with her tonight? A quick glance shows that Dolly has nothing on her schedule for tonight. Could be interesting. Oh, for those thinking about going and haven't bought a ticket as of yet: don't bother. The Opry reports that both shows are sold out for tonight.

  4. Good for the 'Opry sell-out.

    On another front,just heard Loretta on WSM.
    Devon O’Day talked to Loretta about "The Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival held Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Hurricane Mills."
    Loretta sounded sharp, feisty, and chipper.
    She said "I'm going to be ridin' in on a motorcycle," and my favorite "I feel better than I should."
    Really did my heart good to hear Loretta sounding so great.
    Best female country artist ever? Hard to dispute it.

      If you want to listen in

    2. Thanks Nat...Bob

  5. Listening to all the excitement on the Opry. Interesting.

    I really have nothing against Reba except her lack of commitment to the Opry. This is obviously a stellar night for the Opry. Does it make up for the past 30 years of membership with such little commitment.

    Trying to look at it from her side, hard to believe I might do that but, I wonder if when she became a member if she had any idea how big she would become even having her on network TV show? To me that is not an excuse but I wonder. Did she really intend to be at the Opry so little?

    I think they probably played a piece of video or audio from all of her just over a dozen appearance since becoming a member!

    I also wonder if this was a collaboration between Opry management and Reba to take advantage of a anniversary and shine some light on the Opry and Reba's new album. Yet, she did not do anything but older classics so that may shoot that thought down.

    Anyway, great show all the way through and a big night for the Opry. The publicity that can be used having Vince, Carrie, Dolly and Reba all on at the same time is unending! Just a little mixed feelings. How many organizations can one belong to for over 30 years, participate around once every three years and be welcomed with open arms and given top billing?

    Again. just questions and thoughts on my part, not really complaints, as I say, mixed feelings.

    Knightsville, IN

    1. It was a great show. But for me personally the highlight was Bobby Bare. He still sounds great for his age. I don't know if he cares, or even would want it, but I would if a invitation to rejoin the Opry would be extended to him.

    2. Jim: I agree with you I have been a fan of Reba's for years. I love Reba and her music and still do. It upsets me when she only shows up at the Opry 3 times in 16 years. That's not showing much appreciation to her fans. I wonder what an artist thinks when they get thunderous applause like she received tonight. Do they care?? Bob

  6. Did anyone find Dolly's comment during the first show strange? She was talking about Reba's first appearance on the Opry in 1977 and mentioned how her appearance on the show that night caused Reba to be only able to do one song and not two.

    Dolly said "For some reason, I was on the show that night...." Really?!? For SOME reason?!? Maybe it's because you are a MEMBER of the show. I guess Dolly has been away so long that she has forgotten she's actually a member. But, one would think that she would recall that she was a member back in 1977 having been inducted in 1969.

    Very strange.

    1. I went back and looked at the running order of that 1977 show. I don't the posted line-up so I don't know what changes were made at show time, but in the case of Dolly, she appeared on both shows that night. During that show, she appeared on the 8:00 segment hosted by Ernest Tubb. On the 2nd show, she appeared on the 10:30 segment, and it would appear that she "hosted" that segment, although females did not host in those days. I say that because she did the opening and closing songs of that segment, with Bill Carlisle doing one song in-between.

      As to Reba, she appeared only on the 2nd show, during the 10:45 segment hosted by The 4 Guys. Interesting that in the Tennessean article she said she was introduced by Charlie Walker, but Charlie wasn't even on the Opry that night. She was correct about The 4 Guys.

      One other note from that night: Porter Wagoner was on and hosted segments on both shows. Obviously this was during the time period when Porter and Dolly were after each others throats, so it was no surprise that Dolly did not appear with Porter, or even close to Porter's segments.

    2. Sorry, meant to say that I did not have the posted line-up, only the running order of the show.

  7. Last night, especially the first show, was one of those nights when you never know what will happen at the Opry. We did learn that Reba and Dolly both know where the Opry House is located, so hopefully they will be back soon. Who knows, Dolly's next appearance might not be until January 2019 when she celebrates her 50th anniversary as an Opry member. But regardless of feelings, I will take last night anytime.

    And yes, Bobby Bare was great, voice is still there and it would be nice if the Opry brought him back as a member. When I met him a few years ago (the night of Jim Ed Brown's 50th), he was very nice and took a minute to chat. He is a true country music legend.

  8. I see Bobby is listed as guest on Larry's Dinner on RFD tonight.


  9. Love Bobby Bare - he was great on Larry's Diner !!