Thursday, September 7, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 9/8 & 9/9

With the Grand Ole Opry's 92nd birthday weekend just a month away, I have been getting emails asking for any news. Unfortunately, I have nothing to report. I called the Opry's office this past week and was told that there was nothing to announce at this time. I even asked who was going to be the entertainer at the Saturday afternoon birthday concert and they said it would be announced soon. So far there is Hunter Hays for Friday night and Steven Curtis Chapman on Saturday evening and that is it. Looking back in my records, it was the 2nd week of September last year when they started posting additional artists, so I assume it will be the same this year. There are plenty of artists listed for the weeks before and after the birthday weekend. Let's just hope it is the case that they want to make one big announcement and not a case of not being able to find any artists available.

As to the Grand Ole Opry shows for this weekend, there are two pretty solid shows with a good collection of veteran Opry members. Both nights will feature Riders In The Sky, Bill Anderson, Mike Snider and Connie Smith. That group will be joined on Friday night by Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne, while on Saturday night it will be Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Jesse McReynolds and Steve Wariner performing. That adds up to 6 Opry members on Friday and 8 on Saturday.

As to guest artists this weekend, the big name on Friday night is Tanya Tucker. Nice to see her back on the Opry stage. While she doesn't make many visits to the Opry, she is always a popular artist on the show. Additionally, "Nashville" star Charles Esten is scheduled to perform along with Jim Lauderdale, The Steeldrivers and Jackie Lee. Meanwhile on Saturday night, guest artists scheduled include Maggie Rose, Chuck Mean & His Grassy Knoll Boys, Shelly Fairchild and Joe Mullins & His Radio Ramblers.

Friday September 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Lauderdale; The Steeldrivers
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jackie Lee; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Charles Esten
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Tanya Tucker

Saturday September 9
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Maggie Rose
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shelly Fairchild; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Joe Mullins & His Radio Ramblers; Steve Wariner

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of September 7 & 8, 2007:

Friday September 7
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); John Conlee; Jack Greene; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Mark Wills
9:00: Steve Wariner (host); Jan Howard; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

Saturday September 8
1st show
6:30: Steve Wariner (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Wade Hayes
7:00: The Whites (host); Catherine Britt; Blue Country
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Dale Ann Bradley; Jennifer Hanson
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Jeff Bates; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: John Conlee (host); Mel McDaniel; Buddy Jewell

2nd show
9:30: Steve Wariner (host); The Whites; Jennifer Hanson
10:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Wade Hayes; Jeff Bates
10:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Catherine Britt; Blue Country; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: John Conlee (host); Dale Ann Bradley; Buddy Jewell

Now, going back 25 years, here are the posted line-ups from September 11 & 12, 1992:

Friday September 11
1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis; Vince Gill
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Connie Smith; The Whites
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Janie Fricke; Ray Pillow
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Stonewall Jackson; The 4 Guys; Vince Gill
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Del Reeves; Connie Smith; The Whites
10:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Janie Fricke
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Carlisles; Justin Tubb; Jeannie Seely; David Houston
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker; Johnny Russell
12:05: Reverend Jimmie Snow

Saturday September 12
1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ernie Ashworth
6:45: Charlie Walker (host); Jeannie Seely
7:00: The 4 Guys (host); Skeeter Davis; David Houston; Stu Phillips; Vic Willis Trio
7:30: Del Reeves (host); Patty Loveless; Vince Gill; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Wilma Lee Cooper; Ray Pillow; Carlisles

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Ernie Ashworth; Vince Gill
10:00: Charlie Walker (host); Patty Loveless
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Stu Phillips
10:45: Roy Drusky (host); David Houston; Opry Square Dance Band; The Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Vic Willis Trio; Jeannie Seely
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow; Carlisles; Stonewall Jackson

Finally, looking back into Grand Ole Opry history, it was 28 years ago, Saturday September 9, 1989 that Grand Ole Opry member Del Wood made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

Polly Adelaide Hendricks Hazelwood was born on February 22, 1920 in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifetime resident of Nashville, she was surrounded by the influences of early country music and the remaining vestiges of ragtime, particularly though the guitar pickers. She took up piano at age five, and played ragtime, gospel and country music. Despite her parent's best efforts to encourage a direction towards classical music, the environment in Nashville, plus the early local programming on radio, convinced her that she wanted to play piano in the honky-tonk style. Her dream goal was the Grand Ole Opry, something she would realize in her early 30s.

Shortening her married name of Adelaide Hazelwood to something easier to remember, and intentionally non-gender specific, Del Wood began playing in bands and honky-tonk joints in her 20s. After a decade of building repertoire and reputation, she spent some time as a staff pianist at WLBJ in Bowling Green, Kentucky. It was there that she was heard playing "Down Yonder" among other pieces, which led to a gig with a recording group called Hugh "Baby" Jarrett and his Dixieliners. This led to the first of many recording sessions for the Tennessee Records label starting in 1951. "Down Yonder" soon became a national hit in both the country and pop categories on the Billboard record charts, sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold record. She was probably the first female country solo instrumentalist to sell a million copies of a record. This success led to guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry, where in 1953 she became a member. Two years later her fame culminated with a recording contract from RCA Victor Records, where she would make some of the first country/honky-tonk stereo recordings in the late 1950s. While nothing else that she recorded matched the success of "Down Yonder" her recordings over the next decade were frequent and consistent. She was given the nickname "Queen of the Ragtime Pianists" among others. In 1984, she appeared in the movie Rhinestone, staring Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone as the pianist in the Wild Possums Band. During the Vietnam War, she was part of one of the Grand Ole Opry package tours that entertained troops overseas in 1968. Her recordings after the late 1960s were very infrequent, but she remained a very loyal member of the Grand Ole Opry, performing on the show most weekends. Del passed away on October 3, 1989, at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke.

Here is the running order from Saturday September 9, 1989, Del Wood's final night on the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around (When It's Over)
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host): Before I Met You
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Del Reeves: Bad News
Ray Pillow: I Guess He Knows Something I Don't Know
Dottie West: Are You Happy Baby/Together Again
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

7:30: Standard Candy
The 4 Guys (host): Baby, You Look Good to Me Tonight
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/There Goes My Everything
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby On My Mind/Once A Day
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Cajun Stripper
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Patti on the Turnpike
Roy Acuff: One More

8:30: Music Valley Drive
Hank Snow (host): Mama Tried
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Hank Snow: I'm Not at All Sorry for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): (?)
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Picking Up the Pieces
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Porter Wagoner: What Ain't to Be Just Might Happen/Y'All Come

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Bill Anderson: Still

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/Mountain of Love/Kiss An Angel Good Morning

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Del Reeves: There She Goes

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin' Mama
Connie Smith: Your Cheatin' Heart
Opry Square Dance Band/The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durham's Bull
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way That We're Doing It Now
Hank Snow: Among My Souvinors

11:30: Cremette
The 4 Guys (host): (?)
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Bill Carlisle: Happy Birthday Sheila/Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Charlie Louvin: New Dreams & Sunshine
The 4 Guys: I'm All Tied Up

There you have it for this week. Next Saturday night will be a big one at the Opry as Jeannie Seely will be celebrating 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. It looks like it will be a ladies night as in addition to Jeannie, Opry members Patty Loveless and Crystal Gayle are scheduled to appear, along with Wynonna, Brandy Clark and Elizabeth Cook. It is looking pretty good.

As always,  I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend and gets a chance to listen.


  1. I just read Opry member Troy Gentry has been killed in a helicopter crash; and former member Don Williams has passed away. Sad day in Country Music.

  2. Tanya Tucker Friday night; Bill Anderson Saturday night; enough said - wonderful tributes.

  3. I noticed that on Friday night Eddie Stubbs did a short tribute and last night Mike Terry did it, both Opry announcers. In the past you would have had Hal Durham, Bob Whittaker, or Pete Fisher doing the tribute. Just my guess, but it would appear that Steve Buchanan and Sally Williams are taking the approach of staying behind the scenes more.