Sunday, December 31, 2017

Hairl Hensley

From WSM Radio:

Our entire staff is saddened to hear the news of the passing of our longtime coworker and friend, Mr. Hairl Hensley.

Considered the Dean of the Grand Ole Opry announcers, Hairl's voice was heard over the WSM airways for many years. He became a member of the Country Music DJ Hall of Fame in 1995.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this time.

Rest in Peace, dear friend.

(He was very involved with not only the Opry and WSM but also with the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, The Porter Wagoner Show, and so many others. In the late 1950's he was doing overnights on WKDA in Nashville, after which he was the program director at WLAC in Nashville. Hairl left WSM in February 2004, where he was host of the daily bluegrass show "The Orange Possum Special." He continued for several more years as an Opry announcer before retiring).

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 12/29 & 12/30

This is it. The final weekend of 2017 and the Opry closes it out with a much improved line-up then what we saw last weekend. The Opry continues at the Ryman Auditorium through January with one show each night.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include Riders In The Sky, Mike Snider and Connie Smith. They will be joined on Friday night by Jeannie Seely, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, while on Saturday night, Bobby Osborne and Old Crow Medicine Show will take the stage.

Guesting this weekend on both nights will be Gary Mule Deer. Joining the comedian on Friday night will be Jim Lauderdale, Elizabeth Cook, The Steeldrivers, Craig Campbell and guitarist Doyle Dykes. Taking the stage with Gary on Saturday night will be Jimmy Wayne, Levi Hummon and Margo Price.

Friday December 29
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Elizabeth Cook; The SteelDrivers
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Craig Campbell; Doyle Dykes
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Gary Mule Deer; The Whites

Saturday December 30
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy Wayne; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Levi Hummon; Margo Price
8:00: Connie Smith (host); Gary Mule Deer; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Old Crow Medicine Show

No intermission on Saturday night as Old Crow Medicine Show has a show at the Ryman later that evening.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of December 28 & 29, 2007:

Friday December 28
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Bradley Walker
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; Danielle Peck
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Mel McDaniel; The Grascals
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Stu Phillips; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart

Saturday December 29
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Dailey & Vincent
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Chris Young
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; T. Bubba Bechtol
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jett Williams; The Grascals

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jett Williams; Chris Young
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Ray Pillow; Restless Heart; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); T. Bubba Bechtol; The Grascals

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday December 30, 1967:

7:30: Bobby Lord (host); Osborne Brothers; Margie Bowes; Willis Brothers; Del Wood
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs (host); Norma Jean; Wilburn Brothers; Stringbean; Crook Brothers
8:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Charlie Walker; Archie Campbell; Ernie Ashworth; Lorene Mann
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Marion Worth; Bill Carlisle; George Morgan; The 4 Guys Fruit Jar Drinkers; Tennessee Travelers
9:30: Hank Snow (host); Willis Brothers; Bill Monroe; Bobby Lord; Stu Phillips
10:00: Wilburn Brothers (host); Stringbean; Ernie Ashworth
10:15: George Morgan (host); Del Wood; Margie Bowes
10:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Norma Jean
10:45: Bill Carlisle (host); Stu Phillips; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Bill Monroe; Mel Tillis; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Jim Ed Brown; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Marion Worth; Charlie Walker; The 4 Guys; Don Winters

Finally, it was Saturday December 30, 2000 that Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis appeared on the Opry for the final time

Mary Frances Penick as born in Dry Ridge, Kentucky on December 30, 1931. Her grandfather nicknamed her "Skeeter" because he thought she had a lot of energy for a young child. While in high school, Skeeter met Billy Jack Davis, becoming friends and singing together. They formed a duet known as the Davis Sisters and started singing on WJR's Barnyard Frolics. After doing some demo recordings for Fortune Records, the duet was signed by RCA Victor in 1951. Their most successful single was "I Forgot More Than You'll Ever Know" which in 1953 spend eight weeks at No. 1 on the country charts and made the Top 20 on the pop charts. While the song was moving up the charts, the Davis sisters were involved in a serious car accident that killed Betty Jack and left Skeeter with severe injuries. After the accident, Skeeter joined up with Billy Jack's sister Georgia, continuing as the Davis Sisters, until Skeeter decided to leave the music business to get married.

In 1958, Skeeter decided to return to the music business as a solo act. She toured with Ernest Tubb and went back to RCA, working with producer Chet Atkins. After several early releases, Skeeter had a Top 5 hit in 1959 with "Set Him Free" for which she was nominated for a Grammy Award. She was the first female country singer to be nominated for that award. She also became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Beginning in 1960, Skeeter had a series of Top 10 records, including "My Late Date." In 1963, Skeeter had her biggest career hit, "The End of the World." The record sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold record. Her chart success continued, as did the Grammy Award nominations and her records remained on the charts throughout the 1960s. Skeeter's last major country hit was "I Can't Believe That It's All Over," which peaked at No. 12 in 1973.

Skeeter's Grand Ole Opry membership was suspended in 1973 when she dedicated a gospel song to a group of young church protesters. As a result, she lost several bookings, her record sales declined and as a result, she spent much time overseas touring foreign countries. She rejoined the Opry 18 months later, where she appeared on a regular basis, wearing her colorful dresses and bringing joy to the show.

In 1993, Skeeter wrote her autobiography, "Bus Fare to Kentucky" which is an excellent and well written book. Skeeter did not shy away from discussing the Opry incident or her short marriage to Ralph Emery. For the final years of her life, Skeeter battled breast cancer, which eventually spread to her entire body, resulting in her death on September 19, 2004.

Here is the running order from 17 years ago, Saturday December 30, 2000, the final night for Skeeter Davis at the Grand Ole Opry (it was also Skeeter's 69th birthday):

1st show
6:30: WSM
John Conlee (host): Common Man
Jeannie Seely: He's All I Need
Bill Carlisle: White Lightening
Jett Williams: Move It on Over
Osborne Brothers: Old Friend of Mine
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music Has Gone to Town
Jean Shepard: Tennessee Waltz
Coley McCabe: Cloud 9
Jim & Jesse: I'm Changing the Words to My Love Song
The Whites: Blue Letters
Porter Wagoner & Christi Lynn: If Teardrops Were Pennies
Porter Wagoner: She Burned the Little Roadside Tavern Down

7:30: Standard Candy
Riders In The Sky (host): I'm An Old Cow Hand from the Rio Grande
Connie Smith: Once A Day
The Isaacs: Stand Still
Dan Seals: I'd Really Love to See You Tonight/Bop
Riders In The Sky: The Desert Song/Happy Trails to You

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Skeeter
Skeeter Davis: I Can Call Jesus Anytime
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Rhonda Vincent: Lonesome Wind Blues
Opry Square Dance Band: Rachel
Bill Anderson: Too Country

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Holly Dunn: You Really Had Me Going
Mike Snider: John Henry
Steve Holy: Don't Make Me Beg
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

2nd show
9:30: WSM
Porter Wagoner (host): My Long Journey Home
Connie Smith: Where Is My Castle
Osborne Brothers: Mom & Dad Waltz/Rocky Top
John Conlee: The Carpenter/Before My Time/Baby, You're Something
Porter Wagoner: The Last Thing on My Mind/Milwaukee, Here I Come

10:00: Lincoln-Mercury/Ryman
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Holly Dunn: We've Got the Love/
Jim & Jesse: I Miss You All the Time
Dan Seals: God Might Be A Cowboy/Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold
Jimmy Dickens: Shopping for Dresses

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
Jean Shepard (host): Head Over Heals In Love
The Isaacs: I Have a Father Who Can/I'm Ready to Go
Riders In The Sky: Woody's Round Up
Opry Square Dance Band: Sugar in the Goard
Jean Shepard & Leona Williams: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Walk Out Backwards
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer
Mike Snider: The Fur Coat
Jim Ed Brown: Bar Room Pals and Good Time Gals/The 3 Bells
Bill Anderson: A Lot of Things Different

11:30: Ryman
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Rhonda Vincent & Randy Barnes: I'll Take the Blame/Get in Line Brother
Steve Holy: Just A Kiss/The Hunger
George Hamilton V: Welcome My Broken Heart
George Hamilton IV: Has Anybody Here Seen Hank

As far as the 2nd show that night, Jan Howard, Charlie Walker and Del Reeves all canceled out, as did Skeeter Davis for the 2nd show.

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone has a very safe and Happy New Year's and I will be seeing all of you in 2018.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a safe holiday season. I also wanted to say thank you to each and everyone one of you who over the past year have shared their love of the Grand Ole Opry with me. I have been lucky enough to meet many of you while attending Opry shows, and several of you have become personal friends. I am also fortunate that those who I have not met in person, have become friends and acquaintances via email and facebook posts. I appreciate each and every one of you and I hope that the friendship continues.

I know that some weeks it is hard to stay a fan of the Opry. But let's keep it going in 2018 and beyond. Keep sharing the stories and memories. Keep offering those opinions on what we like or dislike. Keep hoping that every Opry show is a winner and that some of the long-lost Opry members find their way back to the Opry House. And let's remember that year we seem to lose a few more of the legends, so treasure those who are still with us.

But most of all, care. If not for those of us who care about the Opry and its history, there would be no one to tell the stories and keep the memories alive.

Merry Christmas to all from Casey and myself and to each and everyone of you, I hope Santa is good to you and all of your holiday wishes are fulfilled.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 12/22 & 12/23

With the final weekend before Christmas upon us (actually Christmas Eve is on Sunday), the Grand Ole Opry will have one show Friday and Saturday night. With most of the members and other artists having completed their touring for 2017, the line-up is a little different for this weekend. The Friday Night Opry will be broken into just three segments as there are only three Opry members on the schedule. For Saturday night, it looks like they are going with the mid-week format of two artists for each half hour and no segment hosts, and as with Friday night, just three Opry members scheduled. Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights are Jeannie Seely and Mike Snider, while The Whites are set for Friday night and Ray Pillow for Saturday.

Guest artists scheduled for Friday night include T. Graham Brown, Flatt Lonesome, Ashley Campbell, Jason Crabb, Aaron Tippin, Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy, Linda Davis and Keith & Kristyn Getty. Quite a list!!

For Saturday night, the list is a little shorter with Mandy Barnett, Craig Wayne Boyd, Bobby Bones, David Ball, and staying around from Friday night, Flatt Lonesome.

Friday December 22
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); T. Graham Brown; Flatt Lonesome; Ashley Campbell; Jason Crabb
8:15: Mike Snider (host); Aaron Tippin; Charlie McCoy
8:45: The Whites (host); Linda Davis; Keith & Kristyn Getty

Saturday December 23
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
7:30: Mandy Barnett; Flatt Lonesome
8:15: Craig Wayne Boyd; Ray Pillow; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Bobby Bones; David Ball

I have written it before, and I will repeat it again, it just really disappoints me when they mess around with the format on the Saturday show. That is the traditional night for the Opry and even on nights when Christmas or New Years Eve was on a Saturday night, there was no trouble coming up with a full line-up of artists. I don't know if it is because no other Opry members are available or if it was pre-planned this way. As I said, I just hate to see it.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of December 22 & 23, 2007:

Friday December 21
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Connie Smith; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rissi Palmer
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Elizabeth Cook; Cherryholmes
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Ralph Stanley; Raul Malo
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard; Mel McDaniel; The Whites

Saturday December 22
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Cherryholmes
7:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; George Hamilton IV; Ralph Stanley
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Lee Roy Parnell
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Charlie Louvin; Raul Malo; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Cherryholmes
10:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Ralph Stanley; Lee Roy Parnell
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Raul Malo; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday December 26, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett
6:45: Del Reeves (host); Roy Drusky
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Charlie Louvin; Wilma Lee Cooper; The 4 Guys; The Whites
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Stonewall Jackson; Stu Phillips; Skeeter Davis; Jim & Jesse
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Ray Pillow; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Bill Carlisle; Osborne Brothers

2nd show
9:30; Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; Roy Drusky; Stonewall Jackson; Brother Oswald; Smoky Mountain Boys
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Del Reeves; The Whites
10:15: The 4 Guys (host); Charlie Louvin
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Skeeter Davis
10:45: Osborne Brothers (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Walker; Justin Tubb; Jim & Jesse
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Bill Carlisle; Johnny Russell

It was 50 years ago, Saturday December 23, 1967 that the "Jolly Greene Giant," Jack Greene became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Jack Greene was born in Maryville, Tennessee and learned to play guitar at a young age. He became involved in the music business while still a teenager, working as a disc jockey at radio station WGAP in Maryville. By the age of 18, Jack was a regular on the Tennessee Barn Dance show on WNOX, Knoxville, Tennessee. In the early 1950s, he moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where he formed his own band, The Peach Tree Boys. Jack was the lead vocalist, drummer and guitarist for the group. In 1959, he moved to Nashville and formed a new band, The Tennessee Mountain Boys. A major career break came his way in 1961 when his band was serving as the opening act for Ernest Tubb. Impressed, Ernest asked Greene to become a part of his Texas Troubadours.

For the next several years, Jack was the drummer, guitarist, vocalist and master of ceremonies for Ernest. He soon began serving as the opening act as well as continuing to play in the band. In 1964, he released his first solo record, "The Last Letter," followed by "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me." Decca Records released both records however they failed to make the charts. Ernest encouraged Jack to leave the Troubadours to pursue a solo career. As Jack explained, "Ernest told me, 'Son, I believe it's time to go.' But he also said 'If you can't make it you can always come back and be a Troubadour.'"

His first Top 40 hit came in early 1966 with "Ever Since My Baby Went Away" peaking at No. 37. Later that year, Decca released what would become his signature song, "There Goes My Everything." The song reached No. 1 and stayed on top of the country charts for 7 weeks, while also becoming a crossover hit; the album stayed No. 1 for an entire year. His success continued into 1967 with another No. 1 "All The Time" and a No. 2 with "What Locks The Door." In 1967, Jack received the Male Vocalist of the Year, Single of the Year, and Album of the year from the Country Music Association. In total, Jack had five No. 1 singles on the Billboard charts, with nine total counting the other charts, including "Statue of a Fool," "You Are My Treasure." and "Until My Dreams Come True."

In 1970, Jack began a duet partnership with Jeannie Seely. Together they had several country hits including "Wish I Didn't Have To Miss You," which reached No. 2 on the charts. This was also Jack's last Top 10 record. Jack and Jeannie continued to tour throughout the 1970s.

Jack recorded all of his hits with Decca Records, which became MCA Records in the early 1970s. His final chart hits were "Satisfaction" and "I Need Somebody Bad." After his chart success declined, he was dropped by MCA Records in 1976. After that he would record for a number of smaller, independent labels. His final studio album was "Precious Memories, Treasured Friends" released in 2010 and featured a number of duets with fellow country artists such as George Jones and Lorrie Morgan. In failing health, and suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Jack retired from performing in 2011 and passed away at the age of 83 on March 14, 2013.

Here is the running order from Saturday December 23, 1967, the night Jack Greene became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Drusky (host); White Lightening Express
Jean Shepard: Happy Tracks
Willis Brothers: I'll Be Home for Christmas
Stu Phillips: Juanita Jones
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself a Name
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Jeannie Seely: I'll Love You More
Opry Staff Band: Jingle Bell Rock
Roy Drusky: Weakness In a Man

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Julie
Dottie West: Paper Mansions
Harold Weakley: Since Never
Osborne Brothers: Making Plans
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Crook Brothers: Bill Cheatham
George McCormick: Branded Man
Mac  Magaha & Buck Trent: Turkey in the Straw
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Dooley

8:30: Stephens
Bobby Lord (host): Hawkeye
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Ernie Ashworth: At Ease, Heart
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Margie Bowes: There'll Be No Teardrops Tonight
Grandpa Jones: That's All This World Needs
Hal Rugg: Steel Guitar Rag
Bobby Lord: Winter Wonderland

9:00: Luzianne
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks A Lot
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Comin'
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jack Greene; There Goes My Everything
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Loretta Lynn: What Kind of A Girl
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Ernest Tubb: Blue Christmas

9:30 Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): Reindeer Boogie
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Lonzo & Oscar: Jangle Bells/Frosty the Snowman
The 4 Guys: White Christmas
Del Reeves: A Dime at A Time
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Harold Weakley: Paint A Picture of My World
Hank Snow: Christmas Wants

10:00: Schick
Bobby Lord (host): Shadows on the Wall
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Stringbean: Run Little Rabbit, Run
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips

10:15: Pure
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Grandpa Jones: Jingle Bells
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Porter Wagoner: Woman Hungry
Mac Magaha & Buck Trent: Katy Hill

10:30: Buckley's
George Hamilton IV (host): Truck Driving Man
Dottie West: Like A Fool
Cousin Jody: Wabash Cannonball
George Hamilton VI: Abilene

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make A Woman Lose Her Mind
Jack Greene: What Locks the Door
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down the Trail of Aching Hearts
Skeeter Davis: Dear Heart
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldiers Joy
Osborne Brothers: My Favorite Memory
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Hank Snow: Christmas Roses
Chubby Wise: Lee Highway Blues

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Tonight Carmen
Bill Monroe: Scotland
Bill Carlisle: What Kind of Deal is This
Loretta Lynn: The Third Man
Lonzo & Oscar: A King Size Cola & A Moon Pie
Bobby Sykes: I's So Lonesome I Could Cry
Marty Robbins: Ribbon of Darkness/Begging to You/Singing the Blues/Lovesick Blues/El Paso

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and that Santa is good to each and everyone of you!!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 12/15 & 12/16

The Grand Ole Opry continues its winter run at the Ryman Auditorium this weekend. The Friday Night Opry will have just the single show while Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will continue with the two show format. In looking at the line-ups, both nights offer very solid shows with a nice mix of Opry members and guests.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for all three shows this weekend include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites. Joining that group on Friday night will be Opry members Mike Snider, Lorrie Morgan, Connie Smith, and Jeannie Seely. Mike and Jeannie are also scheduled for the first show on Saturday night, while Connie is scheduled for just the second Saturday show. Also scheduled for Saturday night will be Bill Anderson, who is set for both shows, and Diamond Rio who will be appearing on just the late show.

Guest artists on Friday night include Mark Wills, Radney Foster, Ashley McBryde and Matthew West. For Mark Wills, this will be his 27th appearance of the year, which is the most of anyone not an Opry member. Additionally, Radney Foster will be greeting fans and signing his new book and CD after the show.

Saturday night's guest list is headed by "Nashville" star Charles Esten, who will be making his 23rd Opry appearance of the year, and he will be signing his new CD in the Ryman lobby. Also appearing will be Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn, Sarah Darling and LOCASH.

Friday December 15
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Radney Foster
8:15: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jeannie Seely; Ashley McBryde
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Matthew West

Saturday December 16
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Sarah Darling; Mike Snider
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
8:00: John Conlee (host); LOCASH; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Charles Esten

2nd show
9:30: Connie Smith (host); Sarah Darling; Diamond Rio
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn
10:30 John Conlee (host); LOCASH; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Charles Esten

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

Friday December 14
8:00: John Conlee (host); Mel McDaniel; Jean Shepard; Ashton Shepherd
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Connie Smith; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; The Grascals
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Gene Watson; Joe Diffie

Saturday December 15
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mel McDaniel; Hal Ketchum
7:00: Trace Adkins (host); Dierks Bentley; George Jones; Jason Byrd
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Jack Greene; Lance Miller; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky

2nd show
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; George Jones; Jason Byrd
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Hal Ketchum; Trace Adkins
10:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Dierks Bentley; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; Lance Miller

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday December 19, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Skeeter Davis; Osborne Brothers; Del Reeves; Jean Shepard
7:30: Vince Gill (host); Dixiana; Clinton Gregory
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Brother Oswald; Charlie Walker; The 4 Guys; Mike Snider
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Connie Smith; Jim & Jesse; Charlie Louvin

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Wilma Lee Cooper; Jeanne Pruett; John Conlee
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Bill Carlisle; Jeannie Seely
10:15: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard; Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Billy Walker (host); Jim & Jesse; Opry Square Dance Band
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Justin Tubb; The 4 Guys; Mike Snider
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Ray Pillow; Charlie Louvin; Johnny Russell

Continuing on now to 50 years ago, Saturday December 16, 1967:

7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Wilburn Brothers; Brother Oswald; Loretta Lynn; Stringbean; Willis Brothers
8:00: Flatt & Scruggs (host); Bill Carlisle; George Hamilton IV; Crook Brothers; Margie Bowes; Ray Pillow; Harold Weakley
8:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Grandpa Jones; Bob Luman; Archie Campbell; Marion Worth; Del Reeves
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dottie West; Billy Grammer; Lonzo & Oscar; Del Wood; Osborne Brothers
9:30: Hank Snow (host); Bill Monroe; Tex Ritter; Willis Brothers; Stu Phillips; Cousin Jody; Justin Tubb
10:00: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Ray Pillow; Stringbean; Margie Bowes
10:15: Porter Wagoner (host); George Hamilton IV; Grandpa Jones; Bob Luman
10:30: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Carlisle; Marion Worth
10:45: Wilburn Brothers (host); Lonzo & Oscar; Loretta Lynn; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Bill Monroe; Tex Ritter; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Bill Anderson; Sam McGee; The 4 Guys
11:30: Roy Drusky (host); Osborne Brothers; Billy Grammer; Cousin Jody; Stu Phillips; Justin Tubb; Jerry Whitehurst

To finish it up, it was 17 years ago, Saturday December 16, 2000 that Brad Paisley was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Brad had been making dozens of guest appearances on the Opry and was well received. Coming to Nashville from West Virginia, Brad had a true country sound and understood the history of the Opry and country music. He had mentioned many times that he would love someday to become an Opry member. On this particular night, he was surprised during the televised portion when Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Seely appeared on stage dressed as Mr. & Mrs. Claus and did the invitation.

Here is the running order from that night:

1st show
6:30: WSM
Jeannie Seely (host): Winter Wonderland
The Whites: The Light at the Stable
Bill Carlisle: Stay A Little Longer
Dale Watson: Santa In My Semi/When You Look In
Jeannie Seely: Shake Me; I Rattle

7:00: Shoney's
John Conlee (host): Pretty Paper
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Charlie Louvin: The Friendly Beasts
Billy Walker: Jesus Walks In/Charlie's Shoes
John Conlee: I'm Only in It for the Love/Rose Colored Glasses

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Po Folks Christmas
Jessica Andrews: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Ralph Stanley: Beautiful Star of Bethleham
Brad Paisley: We Danced/Baby In A Manger

8:00: Martha White
Riders In The Sky (host): Ride Along
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Opry Square Dance Band: Sally Goodin
Riders In The Sky: Woody's Roundup/Happy Trails to You

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God
Mike Snider: Twas the Night before Christmas
Mandy Barnett: Hurt
Joe Diffie: Leroy the Red-Necked Reindeer/Wrap Me in Your Love
Jimmy Dickens: There's No Place Like Home for Christmas

2nd show
9:30: WSM
Jeannie Seely (host): Winter Wonderland
The Whites: The Light at the Stable
Dale Watson: First Time and Last Time
Joe Diffie: Leroy the Red-Necked Reindeer/Behind Closed Doors

10:00: Lincoln-Mercury/Opry At the Ryman
Jimmy Dickens (host): Mountain Dew
Wilma Lee Cooper: Amazing Grace
Mike Snider: If My Nose was Runnin' Money
Jessica Andrews: Christmas Once Again/Who I Am
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her that Way

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
John Conlee (host): Friday Night Blues
Osborne Brothers: Head Over Heals in Love With You
Holly Dunn: Devil, Stand Back
Opry Square Dance Band: Sugar in the Goard
John Conlee: As Long As I'm Rockin' with You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Christmas In Your Arms
Ralph Stanley: Mary, Merry Christmas/Rawhide
Brad Paisley: You Didn't Have to Be/The Old Rugged Cross
Bill Anderson: Still

11:30: 75th Anniversary
Riders In The Sky (host): Christmas Times's A Comin'
Ray Pillow: I Wonder Who's Missing You Now
Charlie Walker: White Christmas
Mandy Barnett: Words
Riders In The Sky: I'll Be Home for Christmas/Happy Trails to You

Brad Paisley's official Opry induction would take place the following February.

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

Sunday, December 10, 2017

December Opry Highlights

Where did 2017 go? I ask that question because we are now entering December, the final month of the year. In just a matter of weeks, it will be Christmas and the holiday season. As the Grand Ole Opry prepares to close out another year, here are the important dates and events that have taken place regarding the Opry, or Opry members, during the month of December:

December 2, 1989: Herman Crook was born. Herman was one of the Opry's original members, joining the show when it was still called the WSM Barn Dance. Herman's first Opry appearance was on July 24, 1926, and he was with the show until his death in June 1988, just short of 62 years. When he passed away, the Crook Brothers were the last of the originals on the Opry, and they never wavered from the traditional string band sound. As Roy Acuff said, "He loved country music, but he wanted it country. He didn't go for any of this rock n' roll type stuff.

December 14, 1899: DeFord Bailey was born. DeFord was another of the Opry's original members, making his first appearance on June 19, 1926. DeFord was there the night Opry founder George D. Hay changed the name of the show from the WSM Barn Dance to the Grand Ole Opry, and he played the first song on the newly named show. DeFord was with the Opry until he was fired in 1941, in a move that left DeFord very bitter. Despite repeated efforts by Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl and Bill Monroe, among others, DeFord stayed away from the Opry until returning on February 23, 1974, when he appeared for the Opry's first reunion show. DeFord would make several more Opry appearances before passing away in 1982. In 2005 he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

December 11, 1914: James Clell "Tex" Summey was born. Known professionally as Cousin Jody, he first came to the Opry with Roy Acuff in 1937, and he later worked with Pee Wee King and Lonzo & Oscar. He also performed as a solo act, until health issues forced him to retire. He passed away in 1975, and it should be noted that he was the first person to play the dobro and steel guitar on the Opry stage.

December 19, 1920: Jimmy Dickens was born in Bolt, West Virginia. Jimmy first came to the Opry in 1948. While he left the show for a period of time, Jimmy returned to the Opry in 1975 and remained an Opry member until his death in January 2015. It is pretty safe to say that at the time of his death, Jimmy might have been the most beloved member of the Opry.

December 26, 1925: The WSM Barn Dance was formally listed for the first time on the WSM program schedule that was printed in the Nashville Tennessean. The listing read, "Because of this recent revival in the popularity of the old familiar tunes, WSM has arranged to have an hour or two every Saturday night starting Saturday December 26. Uncle Dave Macon, the oldest banjo picker in Dixie, and who comes from Readyville, Tennessee, and Uncle Jimmy Thompson of Martha, Tennessee, will answer any requests for old-time melodies."

December 10, 1927: While there seems to be some confusion as to the exact date, it would appear that his was the date that the WSM Barn Dance became known as the Grand Ole Opry. The Barn Dance came on the air at 8:00. In the hour prior to the start of the Barn Dance program, WSM aired a classical musical show on the NBC radio network called "Music Appreciation Hour." At the conclusion of the Music Hour show that particular night, Barn Dance founder George D. Hay announced, "For the past hour we have been listening to music taken largely from Grand Opera; from now on we will present the Grand Ole Opry." While this is the story that was told by George D. Hay, there seem to be no independent verification of this event. In fact, some historians who have looked back at the WSM program schedules,  believe that the date was actually December 8, 1928, a year later, as the "Music Appreciation Hour" did not begin on WSM until that year. However, to back up the 1927 claim, others have pointed out that on December 11, 1927, the Nashville Tennessean used the word "Grand Ole Opry" in their editions of the paper. Either way, the new name stuck.

December 13, 1930: Grand Ole Opry member Buck White was born, Along with his daughters Sharon and Cheryl, The Whites have been Opry members since 1984. Most weekends will find Buck and his daughters performing on the Opry, and if asked, Buck will also dance with the square dancers.

December 7, 1931: Grand Ole Opry member Bobby Osborne was born in Leslie County, Kentucky. Along with his brother Sonny, Bobby became an Opry member in 1964. At the age of 86, Bobby still appears on the Opry weekly and of course, always does "Rocky Top," sounding as good as ever.

December 7, 1940: After making several guest appearances during the month of November, this is the first date that Minnie Pearl is listed in the Opry program as a regular member of the Opry.

December 30, 1944: Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, appearing on the Prince Albert portion of the show that was broadcast on the NBC radio network. Minnie Pearl, who was there that night, remembered that a lady in the balcony was so excited that she fell out of the balcony onto the Ryman stage. And after Roy Acuff heard the electrified fiddles that Bob brought, he made the statement that the Opry would be ruined forever. What is interesting, that while Bob brought electrified fiddles with him, both Pee Wee King and Ernest Tubb had been playing electric instruments on the Opry previous to that night. There is another story from that night, regarding the use of drums and Bob being told to keep his drummer behind the curtain. Much like the electric fiddles, Bob's drummer was not the first to drum on the Opry, as Harold "Sticks" McDonald, a member of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys, had brought drums to the Opry several years prior. He supposedly used them for a couple of weeks until George D. Hay told Pee Wee to take the drums home and leave them there. While that may be true, within a few years, many of the Opry's acts included drums.

December 8, 1945: Earl Scruggs made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys. He was the final member to join what many consider the greatest of Bill's many renditions of the Blue Grass Boys, and what many feel was the greatest bluegrass band ever. That group included Lester Flatt, Chubby Wise and Harold Watts. This group would only stay together until 1948. After leaving Bill's group, Earl would team up with Lester Flatt, before moving on to play a more progressive sound with his sons.

December 12, 1959: While performing on the Opry, Bill Monroe was served with divorce papers from his wife, Carolyn Brown. She charged that Bill was having an affair with his bass player, Bessie Lee Mauldin. The story goes that Carolyn was waiting for Bill outside the Opry that night and when he came out the Ryman's back door, she really laid into him.

December 24, 1960: The final Prince Albert Grand Ole Opry show was broadcast on the NBC network. The decline of radio and the rise of television led to the decision to end the Opry's broadcasts. Hank Snow was the host for that final broadcast, and I am happy to say that I have a recording of that show.

December 3, 1961: "Doctor" Lew Childre passed away. Lew, who was born in 1901, became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1945. He remained with the Opry through most of the 1950's.

December 6, 1964: The Grand Ole Opry fired 12 of its members for failing to meet the required number of yearly appearances on the show. The Nashville Tennessean wrote, "Twelve top country and western stars will not appear on the Grand Ole Opry in 1965, and have been prohibited from using the Opry name in their outside billings, it was learned yesterday. Another entertainer, long-time favorite Minnie Pearl, has been given a leave of absence from the show for the coming year, but will continue to use the Opry billing in her present contracts," a WSM spokesman said. Those who were dismissed from the Opry were George Morgan, Don Gibson, Billy Grammer, Johnny Wright, Kitty Wells, the Jordanaires, Faron Young, Ferlin Husky, Chet Atkins, Justin Tubb, Stonewall Jackson and Ray Price. It was later found that Chet Atkins was not an actual Opry member, which led to some comments concerning if the Opry's management really knew what was going on at the show. At the time, Opry members were required to appear 26 times per year. Many of those fired would later return to the show as members, including George Morgan, Don Gibson, Billy Grammer, Justin Tubb and Stonewall Jackson, while Minnie Pearl would return after her leave of absence. While never rejoining the cast, the remaining ones would appear on the show as guest artists.

December 23, 1967: It was 50 years ago that Jack Greene became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jack started as a member of Ernest Tubb's Texas Troubadours before going on to a very successful solo career. Jack would remain an Opry member until his death in 2013.

December 14, 1973: Lorrie Morgan, age 14, made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Lorrie was brought on stage by her father, Opry member George Morgan. She sang "Paper Roses." A decade later, Lorrie would become an Opry member.

December 15, 1973: Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis was suspended by the Opry's management for comments she had made the previous Saturday night while performing on the Opry. As Skeeter said, "Hank Williams got kicked off the Opry for drinkin' too much old wine. Me? I got kicked off for singing about the new wine." What actually happened was that Skeeter was on her way to the Ryman Auditorium for an Opry appearance when she witnessed the arrest of what were known as "Jesus Freaks," which was another name for the young people who were protesting not only in Nashville, but around the country. The arrests enraged Skeeter and on the Opry, she expressed her rage by talking about it, singing about it, and weeping about it. When she came off the stage after performing, she faced an angry Opry management. She was told that she was no longer considered an Opry member. Happily for all, and especially for Skeeter, she was invited back to the Opry 18 months later.

December 29, 1973: Opry member Tex Ritter made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. Tex, who had joined the Opry in 1965, would pass away after suffering a heart attack, the following week.

December 25, 1976: Larry, Steve and Rudy, The Gatlin Brothers, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 41st year as Opry members, and according to my records, the only members to join the cast on Christmas day. In addition to their Opry appearances, Larry Gatlin serves as host of the Opry Country Classics show held in the Spring and Fall at the Ryman Auditorium.

December 27, 1978: Grand Ole Opry member Bob Luman passed away at the age of 41. Bob joined the Opry in 1965 and was known for his rockabilly sound that was very popular with many of the Opry's younger fans. While some on the Opry felt Bob's music had too much rock in it, he was a popular member of the cast and enjoyed great support. His last Grand Ole Opry appearance was on Saturday December 2, 1978, while Friday December 15 was his final Friday Night Opry appearance.

December 8, 1982: Marty Robbins passed away in a Nashville hospital at the age of 57. Probably the Opry's most popular member, he was famous for hosting the 11:30 segment when he was in town, and making the last half hour of the Opry his own, often performing well past the traditional midnight sign off time. Just that previous October, Marty had been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

December 20, 1986: Randy Travis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Randy's 31st year as an Opry member. Randy had a string of hits in the 1980s and 1990s, and helped to bring back a more traditional sound to country music. Sadly, Randy has suffered a serious of health setbacks and will probably never perform on the Opry again. However, he has visited the show several times in the past couple of years, and he always receives a great audience response when introduced on stage. Randy is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

December 17, 1993: Herman Harper, the famous and very popular bass singer for the Carol Lee Singers, passed away. Herman had been a member of the Oak Ridge Boys back in the day when they were considered one of the country's top gospel acts.

December 24, 1994: Vic Willis was scheduled to perform on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time. The Willis Brothers, originally known as the Oklahoma Wranglers, came to the Opry in 1946. After leaving in 1949 to tour with Eddy Arnold, they returned in 1957. In addition to Vic, the group included brothers Guy and Skeeter. Skeeter had passed away in 1976, while Guy retired in 1979 due to health issues. Vic continued on, forming the Vic Willis Trio, until he passed away early in 1995 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident.

December 30, 1994: Grand Ole Gospel Time, which followed the Friday Night Opry and hosted by Reverend Jimmie Snow, Hank's son, was broadcast for the final time. The show was taped on Friday night and broadcast on WSM Sunday mornings. Airing for 23 years, the show would feature a number of Grand Ole Opry performers including Connie Smith, Billy Walker and Roy Acuff, and feature such guests as Johnny Cash and Dennis Weaver.

December 19, 1999: Former Grand Ole Opry member Marion Worth passed away at the age of 69. Marion joined the Opry in 1963, and while never a superstar, she was very entertaining and a fan favorite. She left the Opry cast in 1980, when she went into semi-retirement.

December 20, 1999: The legendary Hank Snow passed away at his Rainbow Ranch in Madison, Tennessee after a period of declining health. Hank joined the Opry in January 1950 and was just weeks shy of 50 years of Opry membership. Hank last appeared on the Opry in September 1996, and is considered one of the all-time Opry greats.

December 16, 2000: Brad Paisley was surprised on stage by Jimmy Dickens and Jeannie Seely, in a segment hosted by Bill Anderson. Jimmy & Jeannie were dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and the reason for the surprise visit was the delivery of an invitation for Brad to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Brad tearfully accepted and the following February he would officially join the cast.

December 30, 2000: Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Skeeter, who had been battling various illnesses, would enter a period of declining health that made it difficult for her to continue performing. Skeeter passed away in December 2004. Additionally, after being notified the previous month that he was being terminated, this was the final night that Jerry Strobel was employed as the Opry House manager. Jerry had worked at the Opry for over 30 years.

December 21, 2001: Josh Turner makes his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. His debut song was "Long Black Train" after which Josh received a standing ovation. Over the next several years, Josh would make dozens and dozens of guest appearances, until finally becoming a member in October 2008.

December 31, 2002: Grand Ole Opry member Jim McReynolds, one half of Jim & Jesse, passed away in Gallatin, Tennessee after a long illness. Jim & Jesse, along with the Virginia Boys, became Opry members in March 1964, and are considered one of the greatest acts in bluegrass music history.

December 30, 2006: The Grand Ole Opry's 2nd Saturday night show concluded at midnight for the final time. The following week, both Saturday Grand Ole Opry shows were cut to 2 hours, with the late show ending at 11:30.

December 13, 2013: Grand Ole Opry member Joe Diffie was honored for 20 years of Opry membership. Joining Joe on the Opry that evening were Opry members Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley.

December 20, 2014: Grand Ole Opry member Jimmy Dickens made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. On Christmas Day, Jimmy was admitted to a Nashville hospital and would pass away shortly after the first of the year. Jimmy's final song? "Out Behind the Barn."

December 11, 2015: Grand Ole Opry member Mel Tillis made his final Opry appearance on the Friday Night Opry. Mel, who joined the Opry in 2007, entered a period of declining health after the first of the year, that would ultimately lead to his passing in November 2017.

December 30, 2016: During a guest appearance on the Friday Night Opry, Marty Stuart, with help from John Carter Cash, surprised Dailey & Vincent with an invitation to become the Opry's newest members. This was also the 100th guest appearance for Dailey & Vincent. Their actual Opry induction would take place the following March.

December 1, 2017: Grand Ole Opry member Marty Stuart celebrated his 25th anniversary as member of the Opry. Helping Marty celebrate were Connie Smith, Charlie Worsham, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dallas Frazier, Kenny Lovelace, Marty's mother Hilda, and the Grand Ole Opry Square Dancers.

There you have it for the final month of the year. As usual at the Opry, there was a lot of activity during the month.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Grand Ole Opry 12/8 & 12/9

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend at the Ryman Auditorium. After running two shows on Friday night for the past month, the Opry is back down to one show. As far as Saturday night, it is still a two show night.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include John Conlee, Mike Snider, Jeannie Seely and Riders In The Sky. They well be joined on Friday night by Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne and The Whites, while on Saturday it will be Bill Anderson, Steve Wariner and Alison Krauss appearing. It is really nice to see Alison back on the Opry. Her appearances have been infrequent, however when she is on she always receives a great audience reception.

As to Opry guests this weekend, Natalie Stovall, Rory Feek, Amanda Shires and Restless Heart are on the list for Friday, with Jamey Johnson, The Steel Woods, and Kristian Bush currently set for Saturday night. Of those listed, it is nice to see Rory making an Opry appearance.

Friday December 8
7:00: John Conlee (host); Natalie Stovall; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Rory Feek
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); Amanda Shires; Restless Heart

Saturday December 9
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Alison Krauss
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Steel Woods; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Steve Wariner (host); Riders In The Sky; Kristian Bush

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Alison Krauss
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Steel Woods; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Steve Wariner (host); Riders In The Sky; Kristian Bush

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

Friday December 7
1st show
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mark Wills
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jan Howard; Jack Greene; Steep Canyon Rangers
8:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Keith Anderson
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Suzy Bogguss

2nd show
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:00: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Suzy Bogguss; The Whites
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Mel McDaniel; Steep Canyon Rangers

Saturday December 8
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mindy Smith; Chuck Wicks; Steve Wariner; The Whites
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jimmy Wayne; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; Mark Wills

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Steve Wariner
10:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Chuck Wicks
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Mindy Smith; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy Wayne; Mark Wills

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday December 12, 1992:

1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); Ray Pillow
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jeannie Seely
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys; Charlie Louvin; Emmylou Harris
7:30: Jack Greene (host); Jeanne Pruett; Bill Carlisle; Roy Drusky; Connie Smith
8:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Osborne Brothers; John Conlee; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Billy Walker; Jan Howard

2nd show
9:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Charlie Walker; Skeeter Davis; Smoky Mountain Boys; Charlie Louvin
10:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Emmylou Harris
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Del Reeves
10:30: John Conlee (host); The 4 Guys
10:45: Osborne Brothers (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Justin Tubb; Jack Greene
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; The Whites; Johnny Russell

Finally from 50 years ago, Saturday December 9, 1967:

7:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Willis Brothers; Charlie Louvin; Minnie Pearl; Billy Grammer; Margie Bowes
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton; Bill Carlisle; Skeeter Davis; Grandpa Jones; Crook Brothers; Osborne Brothers; Stringbean
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Monroe; Jean Shepard; Archie Campbell; Lorene Mann; Del Wood; Hank Locklin
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Dottie West; George Hamilton IV; The 4 Guys; Del Reeves; Ernie Ashworth; Fruit Jar Drinkers
9:30: Hank Snow (host); Willis Brothers; Bobby Lord; Norma Jean; Glaser Brothers; Jim Ed Brown
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Monroe; Del Wood; Billy Grammer
10:15: Charlie Louvin (host); Bill Carlisle; Margie Bowes; Stringbean
10:30: Hank Locklin (host); Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper; Skeeter Davis
10:45: Porter Wagoner (host); Grandpa Jones; Jean Shepard; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Bill Anderson; Del Reeves; Fruit Jar Drinkers; The 4 Guys; Sam McGee; Dottie West
11:30: Bobby Lord (host); Glaser Brothers; Jim Ed Brown; Norma Jean; George Hamilton IV; Ernie Ashworth

Quite a line-up. Only non-Opry members that night were Dolly Parton and Lorene Mann. And for those wondering, the show actually ended one minute early!! They really moved them through that night.

Looking back in Grand Ole Opry history, it was Saturday December 8, 1973 that Skeeter Davis made her very controversial comments on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, which resulted in her suspension from the Opry's cast. Skeeter has written about the incident extensively in her book, "Bus Fare to Kentucky."

As to what happened that night, when Skeeter was on her way downtown to the Ryman Auditorium for the Opry that night, she witnessed the arrest of what were known as "Jesus freaks" which in those days were young people protesting on the streets of Nashville. The act enraged Skeeter and she expressed that rage on the Opry that night, talking about it, singing about it and weeping about it. She made headlines and caused a great deal of concern that night when she came off the stage. Reportedly, Nashville police officers, who acted as security guards at the Opry, went to management demanding that Skeeter be fired. The result was that Skeeter was gone from the Opry, returning 18 months later when several Opry members went to management and told them it was time for her to come back. During the time she was gone, Skeeter traveled the world, singing and expressing herself.

Here is the running order from Saturday December 8, 1973, the night of Skeeter's controversial comments:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Ernie Ashworth: My Love for You
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Osborne Brothers: Fastest Grass Alive

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
The 4 Guys: Top of the World
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' on Me

7:00: Rudy's
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Skeeter Davis: I Can't Believe that It's All Over
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Bill Monroe: Christmas Time's A Coming
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine
Bill Monroe: Bluegrass Breakdown

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: White Dove
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Brother Oswald: John Hardy
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I Shall Not be Moved

8:00: Martha White
Tex Ritter (host): Wayward Wind
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife; She's My Woman
Tex Ritter & Johnny Bond: Get Off of My Horse
Ramona & Mark Jones: Old Joe Clark
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jim & Jesse: Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Charlie McCoy: Release Me/Orange Blossom Special
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Goodin
Jim & Jesse: Please Be My Love
Hank Snow: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Del Reeves (host): Wild Blood
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' on Me
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Del Reeves: I'm Walking/Blueberry Hill/Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

10:00: Fender
Osborne Brothers (host): Rocky Top
The 4 Guys: Let Me BE There
Osborne Brothers: Fastest Grass Alive

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): Goodbye Old Pal
Skeeter Davis: Amazing Grace
Jim Ed Brown: Sometimes Sunshine
Bill Monroe: I'm Sitting on Top of the World

10:30 Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Just A Friend
Grandpa Jones: Oh, Suzannah
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: A Mansion in the Sky

10:45: Beech-Nut
Tex Ritter (host): Just Beyond the Moon
Charlie Louvin: Little Reasons/Will You Visit Me on Sundays/What are Those Things
Jim & Jesse: Diesel on My Tail
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Stuart Hamlin: It Is No Secret/This Old House

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): In the Misty Moonlight
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love
Charlie McCoy: Orange Blossom Special
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Sam McGee: Kentucky Turkey Buzzard
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such as I

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
Marion Worth: Shake Me, I Rattle
Ronnie Robbins: Too Much Love Between Us/Mama Tried
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Love Me/Letters Have No Arms/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Big Boss Man/El Paso/Singing the Blues

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

Monday, December 4, 2017

Opry Observations/Tuesday Opry 12/5

After being in Nashville this past weekend for Marty Stuart's 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, I just wanted to pass along a few observations regarding the shows over the weekend, along with a few other weekend activities I took part in while in Nashville.

Regarding the Friday Night Opry with Marty Stuart, I thought both shows were excellent. Marty hosted the final hour of both shows and had Connie Smith, Charlie Worsham, and the Opry Square Dancers, who closed out the shows, as his scheduled guests. Old Crow Medicine Show, who appeared earlier in the night, also came out to sing with Marty, as did musician Kenny Lovelace, best known for his work with Jerry Lee Lewis. Marty's other two guests were his mom Hilda, who did a nice little musical duet with her son, and songwriter Dallas Frazier, who Connie mentioned had written 71 of the songs she had recorded. (Adding a personal note, Dallas should have been one of the first songwriters to have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame). The one missing item from the night with Marty was the lack of a special presentation by anyone from the Opry. Usually on these anniversaries there is a special tribute and usually a presentation of a framed posted. Hopefully there was a legitimate reason for this and it was nothing personal toward Marty.

As to the rest of the Friday Night Opry, everyone did a very nice job. Bill Anderson did his Po' Folk's Christmas song, along with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on both shows; Bobby Osborne, who had fallen and suffered several broken ribs earlier in the week, looked and sounded great; John Conlee was fine and Old Crow Medicine Show did their usual great job. The other artist from Friday was Elizabeth Cook, who is my opinion also did a very fine job. She was been around Nashville for a number of years now and is also a personality on Outlaw Country. The first show looked just about sold out while the 2nd show was probably two-thirds filled.

Now on to Saturday night, and again both shows were very nice. Trace Adkins was a late addition and he performed solo, without his band. Charles Esten from "Nashville" brought a lot of energy to both shows and who knows, he may still be around when the television show ends. Hard to believe but this was the first time I had seen Shenandoah, and they brought back a lot of memories from years past. Mike Snider was funny (of course), Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith and John Conlee were in good form and The Whites were very good. Maggie Rose also guested, but the highlight of the night was seeing Wanda Jackson. I first saw Wanda a few years ago when she hosted the Midnight Jamboree, so I was looking forward to seeing her again. While she looked a little frail (she is 80 now), and sang while sitting on a stool, she still has it and her voice was solid. She treated everyone to a little rockabilly and "Right or Wrong," her big hit that she also wrote.

Wanda also appeared Saturday afternoon at the Country Music Hall of Fame, discussing her book "Every Night is Saturday Night." There was a nice crowd to see her and most really enjoyed the experience of listening to this legend. Afterwards, she signed copies of her book, which I was quick to get. The Hall of Fame did not allow pictures to be taken of each individual greeting Wanda and getting their book signed, which did disappoint me. Also, the Hall of Fame ran out of books, saying that their second shipment did not reach them. There were some people not happy as this was probably their only chance to get an autograph from Wanda and a chance to meet her. The Hall of Fame has to do a better job.

Finally, on Saturday morning I went out to the former home of Hank Snow, the famous "Rainbow Ranch" and does it look nice. Much work has gone in to restoring the house the way it was when Hank lived in it. The work as massive as the house had really fallen into a state of disrepair and the difference from what I had seen on my last visit over a year ago is just awesome. There is still work to be done but the house and property are looking good. (I did post some pictures on my facebook page and will post more, or email if anyone is interested). There is also a facebook page for Hank Snow's Rainbow Ranch. Finally, they now have Hank Snow's former tour bus back in the driveway after getting it back from the Hall of Fame. The bus is amazing as it is still in the condition of when Hank last used it, including the furnishings on the bunks and in Hank's private room. I know they want to restore the bus and allow people to see it and I am sure they will make it happen. A special thanks goes to Terry Tyson who has spent a massive number of volunteer hours on this project, and to Cal, a nephew of Hank Snow, and his wife Sandy for their time on Saturday morning, and for purchasing and saving the house. There is also a website, with pictures and more information.

Regarding the Tuesday Opry shows this week, the Opry is once again having a late afternoon matinee at the Ryman Auditorium. Overall, a pretty solid line-up for the afternoon show. As to the evening show, it will be another guest appearance by Chris Janson, who is the closing act.

Tuesday Opry Matinee 12/5
3:30: Bill Anderson; Darin & Brooke Aldridge
4:00: The Whites; Mandy Barnett
4:45: Exile; Chonda Pierce
5:15: Sundance Head; Connie Smith

Tuesday Night Opry 12/5
7:00: Bill Anderson; Sundance Head
7:30: Kelleigh Bannen; Connie Smith
8:15: Tracy Lawrence; Chonda Pierce
8:45: Exile; Chris Janson