Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 2/2 & 2/3---Updated

Guess I spoke too soon. Jesse has cancelled his Opry appearance on Saturday night, replaced by Exile. Wishing Jesse well. On a side note, that puts the Saturday night show down to just three members.

If all goes well, the Grand Ole Opry will welcome back the legendary Jesse McReynolds on Saturday night for his first Opry appearances since September. Jesse was hospitalized and underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured aneurysm on September 20 and the recovery process has taken this long. Thankfully, Jesse came through the surgery and rehabilitation and is ready to go. I know many of us will be listening on Saturday, especially for Jesse's segment. (Hopefully no setback between now and then).

I am sure emotions will run high on Friday night also as Eddie Montgomery will be making his first Opry appearance since the death of his longtime partner and collaborator Troy Gentry. Troy passed away last September in that horrible helicopter crash and since then Eddie has been formulating his plans going forward and he made the decision to continue forward as Montgomery Gentry featuring Eddie Montgomery. In addition to the Opry appearance, a tour is set for this year.

As to the rest of the Opry members this weekend, Mike Snider, Ricky Skaggs and The Whites will be hosting segments both nights, with Craig Morgan hosting on Friday night. Steve Wariner was originally scheduled to host a segment on Saturday night, however he is ill with the flu and cancelled out. Besides Eddie Montgomery on Friday night, Opry member Bobby Osborne is also scheduled. Saturday night will feature just the five Opry members already mentioned.

When looking at the guest artists scheduled for this weekend, the name Jeanne Robertson caught my eye. While not a comedian, she is a humorist and storyteller. I have seen her on the Opry previously and I thought she did a nice job. Lately, I have noticed that the Opry seems to be making a concerted effort to add comedy to the show. Over the past year, and especially the last several months, we have seen Henry Cho and Dick Hardwick making numerous appearances, and last week Chonda Pierce was on both nights. There has been the occasional appearance by Ray Stevens, T. Bubba Bechtol, Gary Mule Deer, and of course the comedy from Mike Snider. The Opry has a history of presenting comedy and the list of past members include Minnie Pearl, Rod Brasfield, Archie Campbell, Duke of Paducah, Jerry Clower and while musicians, Lonzo & Oscar, Cousin Jody, Stringbean and Grandpa Jones would throw in some jokes now and then. It is nice to see the Opry continue with that tradition.

As to other guests appearing this weekend, the wonderful Kathy Mattea is appearing both nights, while Michael Tyler, Brook Eden and Exile are on Friday's schedule. Saturday night's guests include The Swon Brothers, Linda Davis, Brandy Clark, Delta Rae and Trent Harmon.

Friday February 2
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Michael Tyler; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Brooke Eden; Kathy Mattea
8:15: The Whites (host); Exile; Jeanne Robertson
8:45: Craig Morgan (host); Montgomery Gentry/featuring Eddie Montgomery

Saturday February 3
7:00: Mike Snider (host); The Swon Brothers; Linda Davis
7:30: The Whites(host); Brandy Clark; Delta Rae
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Exile; Opry Square Dancers; Trent Harmon; Kathy Mattea

I still hate it when an artist is forced to cancel and the Opry can't come up with a member who can host a segment.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the first weekend in February 10 years ago, the weekend of February 1 & 2, 2008:

Friday February 1
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; The Whites; Danielle Peck
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Josh Gracin
9:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jimmy Wayne
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jack Greene; Buddy Jewell

Saturday February 2
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; James Otto
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; The Time Jumpers
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Stu Phillips; Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); John McEuen w/sons Jonathan & Nathan; Lee Greenwood

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; The Time Jumpers
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; James Otto
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); John McEuen w/sons Jonathan & Nathan; Lee Greenwood

From 25 years ago, Saturday February 6, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Del Reeves (host); The Whites
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jeanne Pruett; John Conlee
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker; Justin Tubb; Jan Howard
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Mel McDaniel; Connie Smith; Jimmy Dickens; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Jim & Jesse; Ray Pillow; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Brother Oswald & Charlie Collins; Stonewall Jackson; Billy Walker
10:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Skeeter Davis
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Mike Snider
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeannie Seely; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Del Reeves; Connie Smith; Charlie Louvin; Mel McDaniel
11:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Jim & Jesse; Johnny Russell

Looking back at past Grand Ole Opry shows the first weekend in February, it was 42 years ago, Friday February 6, 1976 that Ronnie Milsap became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, while it was 5 years later, February 7, 1981 that John Conlee joined the cast. February 6, 1960 was an important date in the life of George Hamilton IV as that was the night he became a member of the Opry family.

With a catchy, danceable country pop sound, Ronnie Milsap dominated radio during the '70s and '80s and pushed the genre beyond its rural roots and into mainstream entertainment. Born blind in a poor region of North Carolina, Ronnie lived with his grandmother until he was six years old. He attended Morehead State School for the Blind in Raleigh, where he was given strict Classical training. But late at night he listened to his favorite country, gospel, and R&B broadcasts. The music reminded him of home.

Ronnie studied pre-law at Young Harris Junior College near Atlanta, eventually earning a scholarship to Emory. Instead of continuing with law, he threw himself into music, forming his own band. During the mid-'60s, he landed session work, notably on Elvis Presley's "Kentucky Rain" and "Don't Cry Daddy." In 1973 Ronnie moved from Memphis to Nashville. Before one could say "overnight success," he was signed by RCA and released the two-sided hit, "All Together Now (Let's Fall Apart)" and "I Hate You." He followed with "That Girl Who Waits on Tables" and "Pure Love." A year later, he had three No. 1 songs. The flood of his hits made for quite the country music catalog: "Daydreams About Night Things," "(I'm A) Stand by My Woman Man," Smoky Mountain Rain," "Lost in the Fifties Tonight (In the Still of the Night)," "How Do I Turn You On," and "Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me" all stormed the charts.

Along with multiple gold and platinum albums, Ronnie has earned six Grammys and shelves of other awards, including CMAs and ACMs. In 2014, he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Ronnie was formally inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Roy Acuff during the Friday Night Opry on February 6, 1976. The line-up from that night included:

7:30: Billy Walker (host); Skeeter Davis; The 4 Guys; Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper
8:00: Jack Greene (host); Jeannie Seely; Stonewall Jackson
8:30: Roy Acuff (host); Jeanne Pruett; Ronnie Milsap
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Charlie Louvin; Bill Carlisle; Ernie Ashworth
9:30: Roy Drusky (host); Connie Smith; Billy Grammer; Del Wood
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Barbara Mandrell; Willis Brothers; Justin Tubb
10:30: Osborne Brothers (host); Hank Locklin; Marion Worth; Stu Phillips

The following night, Saturday February 7, 1976, Ronnie performed on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry for the first time as an Opry member. Here is the running order from the two shows that night:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Del Wood: Keep on the Firing Line/The World Each Day
Billy Grammer: That's Life/God Will Take Care of You

6:45: Rudy's
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Curly-Headed Baby
Skeeter Davis: Love Will Keep Us Together
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Tramp on the Street

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Barbara Mandrell: Standing Room Only
Roy Drusky: Sunrise
Ernie Ashworth: Wichita Woman
Barbara Mandrell: Steel Guitar Rag
Roy Drusky: One Day at A Time
Porter Wagoner: Cold Hard Facts of Life/The Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home/Indian Creek

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Don Gibson: Sweet Dreams
Marion Worth: You Win Again
Justin Tubb: Looking Back to See
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Cryin' in the Rain
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Gray Eagle
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me

8:00: Martha White
Osborne Brothers (host): Smokey Mountain Smoke
Grandpa Jones: Ball Headed End of the Broom
Connie Smith: 'Til I Kissed You
Charlie Louvin & Pam Dickinson: Don't It Seem to Rain A Lot in Our Lives
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Stu Phillips: A Castle; A Cabin
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: Day Dreams
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Brush Arbour: White Line
Hank Snow: The Next Voice You Hear

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Roy Drusky (host): Alone With You
Willis Brothers: Bob
Don Gibson: I Can't Stop Loving You
Skeeter Davis: One Tin Soldier
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Don Gibson: Blue, Blue Day
Roy Drusky: Bouquet of Roses

10:00: Fender
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Sunshine
Barbara Mandrell: Satisfied
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Porter Wagoner: The Last One to Touch Me

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Traveling the Highway Home
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Heartbreak Street
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird/I Saw the Light

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
Osborne Brothers: Smokey Mountain Smoke
Billy Grammer: That's Life
Grandpa Jones: Make Me A Pallet Down on the Floor

10:45: Beech-Nut
Hank Locklin (host): The Sweetest Mistake I Ever Made
Connie Smith: "Til I Kissed You
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Stu Phillips: Only You Can Hush the Wind
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Ernie Ashworth: Wichita Woman
Kirk McGee: My Darling Rose Malone
Hank Snow: Mary Ann Regrets

11:30: Elm Hill
Charlie Louvin (host): I Just Want Out
Jeanne Pruett: Break my Mind/Satin Sheets
Ronnie Milsap: Lovesick Blues/Just in Case/Day Dreams
Bill Carlisle: Little Liza Jane
Charlie Louvin & Pam Dickinson: If I Could Only Win Your Love

Again, congratulations to Ronnie Milsap upon his 42nd anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. And as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 1/26 & 1/27

When you go back and look at the history of the Grand Ole Opry, every once in a while they have brought in an act that causes you to scratch your head and wonder how they will fit in. This week is one of those weeks as Sister Hazel is on the schedule for Friday night.

For those who are not familiar with the group, Sister Hazel is described as an "alternative rock band from Gainesville, Florida, whose style blends elements of jangle pop, folk rock, classic rock 'n roll and southern rock. Their music is characterized by highly melodic tunes and prominent harmonies."

Sister Hazel was formed in 1993 and has maintained the same basic line-up for the past 25 years. Their first album was released in 1994 and they have been recording since. The members of the group include Ken Block, Jett Beres, Andrew Copeland, Ryan Newell and Mark Trojanowski. According to Newell, their influences include Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Page, Van Halen and Eric Clapton. It should be interesting to say the least when they are introduced by Riders In The Sky on Friday night.

As to the rest of the Grand Ole Opry members who will be appearing this weekend, besides the Riders, both nights will feature John Conlee, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, The Whites and Connie Smith. Joining that group on Friday night will be the Opry's newest member Chris Young while no additional Opry member is listed for Saturday night.

In addition to Sister Hazel on Friday night, Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy is scheduled, along with William Michael Morgan and Chonda Pierce, who is also scheduled for Saturday night. Joining Chonda on Saturday evening will be Maggie Rose, Michael Ray, Flatt Lonesome, Holly Williams and Restless Heart. That all comes out to 11 artists each night.

Friday January 26
7:00: John Conlee (host); William Michael Morgan; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Sister Hazel; Charlie McCoy
8:00: Connie Smith (host); The Whites; Chonda Pierce
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Chris Young

Saturday January 27
7:00; Mike Snider (host); Maggie Rose; The Whites
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Michael Ray; Flatt Lonesome
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Chonda Pierce; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: John Conlee (host); Holly Williams; Restless Heart

Now here is the Grand Ole Opry line-up from the 4th weekend in January 10 years ago, January 25 & 26, 2008:

Friday January 25
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Ashton Shepherd
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Andy Griggs
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jack Greene; The Steeldrivers
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Patti Page

Saturday January 26
1st show
6:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rockie Lynne
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Connie Smith; The Wrights
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jan Howard; The Grascals; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Patti Page; Restless Heart

2nd show
9:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rockie Lynne
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
10:30: Vince Gill (host); The Wrights; Patti Page; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Grascals; Restless Heart

From the last weekend in January 25 years ago, Saturday January 23, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Justin Tubb
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jimmy Dickens; Roy Drusky
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Osborne Brothers; John Conlee; Holly Dunn
7:30: Del Reeves (host); Radney Foster; Patty Loveless
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Ricky Skaggs; Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; John Conlee; Stonewall Jackson; Holly Dunn
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); Skeeter Davis; Billy Walker
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Patty Loveless
10:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Walker; Brother Oswald; Bill Carlisle
11:30: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard; Ray Pillow; Jeannie Seely; Johnny Russell

Among the events that took place at the Grand Ole Opry during the 4th week of January, it was Saturday January 25, 1992 that Emmylou Harris became a member of the Opry. This will mark her 26th year as an Opry member.

God didn't make honky tonk angels, but if he had, he would have broken the mold with Emmylou Harris. With her crystal-clear soprano, lissome beauty, impeccable instincts, and uncompromising integrity, Emmylou redefined the image and role of women in country music. Few if any artists have so successfully erased boundaries between country, folk, and rock and roll.

Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Emmylou spent her youth in North Carolina and Virginia. as the daughter of a career Marine, her upbringing was not particularly musical. But during the 1960s she fell in love with folk music, especially Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and began performing while still studying drama at the University of North Carolina. She moved to Greenwich Village in 1967 to join the burgeoning folk revival, sharing stages with Jerry Jeff Walker and David Bromberg, and released her first record in 1969. On the East Coast club circuit, she met Gram Parsons, and both her career and life changed forever. Gram, formally of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers, became her mentor and singing partner, drawing her into the 1970s country rock movement and strengthening her ties to traditional country music. Emmylou toured and recorded with Gram until his death in 1973.

In 1975 she recorded her first major album, "Pieces of the Sky," introducing her Hot Band, which over the years,included such world-class players as James Burton, Albert Lee, Rodney Crowell, and Ricky Skaggs. Emmylou has enjoyed seven No. 1 hits and 27 Top 10 songs including "If I Could Only Win Your Love," "Together Again," "Sweet Dreams," "Making Believe," "To Daddy," and "Heartbreak Hill." The 2008 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee has 10 gold albums and 12 Grammy Awards, including one for her 1987 Trio album with Linda Ronstadt and Dolly Parton as well as one for her work on the soundtrack to the motion picture "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Here is the running order from 26 years ago, Saturday January 25, 1992, the night Emmylou Harris became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Opry Tours
Boxcar Willie (host): Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/I'm Moving On/Gotta Travel On/Night Train to Memphis
Jeanne Pruett: Temporarily Yours
Boxcar Willie: Cowboys & Horses; Hobos & Trains

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
The 4 Guys: Tennessee
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): You Gotta Have A License
John Conlee: I Don't Remember Loving You
Osborne Brothers: Nearer My God to Thee
Lorrie Morgan: Except for Monday/Autumn's Not that Cold
Porter Wagoner: Wake Up, Jacob

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Vince Gill: Take Your Memory With You When You Go/When I Call Your Name/Drifting Too Far From the Shore
Emmylou Harris: Walls of Time/Blue Kentucky Girl

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
The Whites: Doing it By the Book
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Bill Monroe & Tom Ewing: Body & Soul

8:30: Opryland
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Jimmy C Newman: Mottland
Riders In The Sky: Blue Shadows on the Trail
Jean Shepard: Let's All Go Down to the River/I Saw the Light/Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I'll Fly Away/Somebody Touched Me
Bill Anderson: Still

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
John Conlee: Friday Night Blues
Emmylou Harris: Guitar Town
Emmylou Harris & Vince Gill: If You Needed Me
Porter Wagoner: Misery Loves Company

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Ol' Rattler
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Dreamed About Mama Last Night
Grandpa & Mark Jones: Arkansas Traveler

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
George Hamilton IV: I'm Using My Bible for A Road Map/Cabin in Gloryland
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin

10:30: Pet Milk
Bill Monroe (host): True Life Blues
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young
Boxcar Willie: Hobo Heaven
Bill Monroe: I'm Working on a Building

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take an Old Cold Tater
Vince Gill & Patty Loveless: When I Call Your Name
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Lafayette
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her that Way

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): You Can Have Her
Osborne Brothers: Low & Lonely
Jeannie Seely: Go Down Swinging
Stonewall Jackson: Side Steppin' the Blues
Jean Shepard: Slipping Away
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

11:30: Cremette
Charlie Walker (host): Does Ft Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Riders In The Sky: How Does He Yodel
The Whites: Swing Down Chariot
Johnny Russell: No One Will Ever Know
Charlie Walker: Take Me Back to Tulsa

I know many of us are fans of Emmylou Harris and if there was one Opry member that disappoints me, it is Emmylou. She lives in Nashville and is very active in the community. She still makes personal appearances yet it has been since December 2014 that she has appeared on the Opry. As with everything else, I am sure there is a reason for it. On the advanced schedule for this weekend, she was listed however a few weeks later she was taken off. Let's hope there is no underlying issue with Emmylou and the Opry and that she gets back on the Opry soon.

There you have it for this week. Congratulations once again to Emmylou Harris and let's hope we see her again on the Opry, and much more often. Enjoy the Opry this weekend!!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 1/19 & 1/20---Updated

(The Grand Ole Opry updated the line-up this afternoon for the weekend. For those who read the earlier post, which I have corrected, I was right in my suspicion that Bobby Osborne would be hosting a segment. They have placed The Whites in that spot. Also added on Saturday were Emily West and The Steel Woods, while Sylvia has been added to the Friday line-up)

It is winter time in Nashville and the ice and cold wrecked last week's Friday Night Opry as there were numerous cancellations. Saturday was better with no weather related cancellations. As to this weekend, hoping the weather is better both for the artists and those planning to attend.

Looking at the schedule for the Grand Ole Opry this weekend, only two Opry members are scheduled for both nights: John Conlee and Mike Snider. Friday night they will be joined by Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Bill Anderson, and Dierks Bentley, who gets the entire last segment to himself. On Saturday night, Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne and Connie Smith will be joining John and Mike.

Guesting both nights this weekend will be one of the bright young talents in country music, Charlie Worsham. I have seen Charlie perform on the Opry numerous times and he always does a great job. He is a talented singer and songwriter. Joining Charlie on Friday night will be Tegan Marie and comedian Henry Cho. Saturday night, in addition to Charlie, will be "Nashville" star Charles Esten, veteran artists Darryl Worley and Lee Greenwood.

Friday January 19
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Tegan Marie; Charlie Worsham
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Sylvia; Henry Cho
8:45: Dierks Bentley

Saturday January 20
7:00: John Conlee (host); Emily West; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Worsham; Charles Esten
8:15: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darryl Worley; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); The Steel Woods; Lee Greenwood

A note regarding Charles Esten. Even with "Nashville" finishing up its run and going into syndication, it is still nice to see that Charles hasn't forgotten where the Opry is. Most of the other actors from the show have stopped coming to the Opry and have gone back to acting. However, Charles seems to want to make a go at his music career, and while I know there are a number of people who do not care for him, I find him entertaining. Sometimes you have to see someone in person versus hearing them on the radio, and Charles is one of those artists. He definitely comes across better in person.

Now, from 10 years ago, Grand Ole Opry line-up from the 3rd weekend in January, the 18th & 19th, 2008.

Friday January 18
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Carolina Rain
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; The Steeldrivers
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Buddy Jewell
9:30: Charley Pride (host); Jack Greene; Mandy Barnett

Saturday January 19
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:00: Marty Stuart (host); Montgomery Gentry; Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band
8:00: Charley Pride (host); Jan Howard; Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mel Tillis

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mel Tillis
10:00: The Whites (host); Del McCoury Band; Montgomery Gentry
10:30: Charley Pride (host); Jack Greene; Trace Adkins; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Charlie Daniels Band

It was during the televised portion on the Saturday night show that Charlie Daniels became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Marty Stuart handled the honors and among those joining Marty and Charlie on the televised segment were Montgomery Gentry, who the following year would be invited by Charlie to become Opry members themselves.

From the third weekend of January 25 years ago, Saturday January 16, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Roy Drusky; Patty Loveless
7:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ricky Van Shelton; Alan Jackson; Barbara Mandrell; Waylon Jennings
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Marty Stuart; Mike Snider; Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Del Reeves; The 4 Guys; Joe Diffie

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim & Jesse; Barbara Mandrell
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Alan Jackson
10:15: Grandpa Jones (host); Marty Stuart; Ricky Van Shelton
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites
10:45: Stonewall Jackson (host); Connie Smith; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Patty Loveless; Justin Tubb; Bill Carlisle; Charlie Walker
11:30: Bill Monroe (host); Joe Diffie; Mike Snider; Cody Kilby

Some nights are better than others at the Opry and you can safely say that the 1993 show was one of those better nights. So good in fact, here is the actual running order of the show from that night:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Bill Anderson: This Is A Love Song

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
Jan Howard: The One You Slip Around With
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer
Grandpa Jones: Four Stoned Walls & A Ceiling

7:00: Shoney's
Ricky Skaggs (host): Heartbroke
The Whites: Makin' Believe
Roy Drusky: Always
Patty Loveless: Timber, I'm Falling in Love/If My Heart had Windows
Ricky Skaggs: Loving Only Me

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Y' All Come
Ricky Van Shelton: Statue of A Fool
Alan Jackson: Don't Rock the Jukebox/She's Got the Rhythm' I've Got the Blues
Barbara Mandrell: A Country Road/Wish You Were Here/If Loving You is Wrong/The Angel in Your Arms/Only A Lonely Heart Knows
Porter Wagoner & Waylon Jennings: Good Hearted Woman

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home
Marty Stuart: Steer Me on the Righteous Pathway/I'm Working on a Building
Mike Snider: Puttin' on the Dog
Brother Oswald: Mountain Dew
Opry Square Dance Band/ Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Bill Monroe: The Walls of Time

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Fraulein
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
The 4 Guys: Way Down Deep
Joe Diffie: Startin' Over Blues/Is It Cold in Here
Hank Snow: The Prisoner's Song

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away (From Coming Home)
Jim & Jesse: Headin' West
Barbara Mandrell: I Wish that I Could Fall in Love Today/Years/Crackers/Sleeping Single In A Double Bed/Only A Heart Knows
Porter Wagoner: I'm Gonna Act Right

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Alan Jackson: Way Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee/Tonight I Climbed the Wall
Bill Anderson (host): Still

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Grandpa Jones (host): Don't 'Cha Cry, Melinda
Marty Stuart: The Blind Man Stood on the Road
Ricky Van Shelton: Somebody Lied
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:30: Opry Tours
Ricky Skaggs (host): I Wouldn't Change You If I Could
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Ricky Skaggs: Honey, Won't 'Cha Open that Door

10:45: B.C. Powder
Stonewall Jackson (host): Why I'm Walkin'
Connie Smith: The Deepening Snow
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Sail Away Ladies
Stonewall Jackson: A Rounder Called Cotton-Eyed Joe

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Geisha Girl
Patty Loveless: Timber, I'm Falling In Love/If My Heart had Windows
Justin Tubb: Texas Dance Hall Girl
Bill Carlisle: Worried Man Blues
Charlie Walker: There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere
Hank Snow: I've Done at Least One Thing that Was Good in My Life

11:30: Nashville Network
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks
Joe Diffie: If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets/Honky Tonk Attitude
Mike Snider: Look What They've Done to the Dominica Chicken
Cody Kilby: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Bill Monroe: Lord, Let the Gates Swing Wide for Me

Other notable events at the Opry the third week of January included the Opry's return to the Ryman Auditorium for the first time since March 1974, which took place the weekend of January 15 and 16, 1999. It was during the Saturday show that weekend when Ricky Skaggs surprised Trisha Yearwood with the invitation to become an Opry member.

Saturday January 20, 1973 was the date that Jerry Lee Lewis made his only Grand Ole Opry appearance. After promising to keep it short, Jerry played well beyond the time allowed. He even brought Del Wood out for a number with him, commenting that Del was the only Opry member backstage who treated him nice.

Finally, Mike Snider made his Opry debut on January 21, 1984, Stoney Cooper made his final Opry appearance on January 22, 1977, Brother Oswald became the Opry's newest member of January 21, 1995, and Hal Ketchum joined the Opry on January 22, 1994.

To finish it up for this week, let's go back to Saturday January 21, 1984, 34 years ago, when Mike Snider made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Jan Howard: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells

6:45: Rudy's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jeannie Seely: When Your Heart's Been Stepped On
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

7:00: Shoney's
Jack Greene (host): Try A Little Kindness
Jean Shepard: City Lights
Roy Drusky: Wings of a Dove
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Wilma Lee Cooper: On the Evening Train
Jack Greene: I'd Do As Much for You/Midnight Tennessee Woman

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Footprints in the Snow
Jeanne Pruett: It's Too Late
Charlie Louvin: Think I'll Go Somewhere and Cry Myself to Sleep/Have I Told You Lately That I Love You
Billy Walker: You Sang the Songs About El Paso
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sail Away Ladies
Bill Monroe: I'm  Working on a Building

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jim & Jesse: Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Mike Snider: Shuckin' the Corn/Bells of St. Mary
Connie Smith: You've Got Me Right Where You Want Me
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Forever & 1; Forever & 2
The 4 Guys: Sweet Ruby Red
Boxcar Willie: Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/I'm Moving On/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Lonzo & Oscar: Midnight Flyer
Hank Snow: Paper Roses

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jack Greene (host): Happy Tracks
The 4 Guys: Shenandoah
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore
Jack Greene: I'm Going Through Hell for an Angel

10:00: Little Debbie
Roy Drusky (host): Peel Me A Nanner
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Roy Drusky: Somewhere My Love

10:15: Sunbeam
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
Bill Monroe: Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Teddy Wilburn: Way Down Deep in My Heart
Roy Acuff: Farther Along

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Walker (host): When A Man Loves A Woman
Jeanne Pruett: I Oughta Feel Guilty
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Chicken Reel
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Right or Wrong
Wilma Lee & Carol Lee Cooper: Where Is America Going
Jim & Jesse: Are You Tired of Hurting Me, My Darling
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Charlie Louvin: Love at Home
Hank Snow: Little Buddy

11:30: Hardee's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Jambalaya
Boxcar Willie: Fireball Mail/Train of Love/Hand Me Down My Walking Cane/Wreck of the Old 97/I'm Moving On/Wabash Cannonball/Night Train to Memphis
Boxcar Willie: Cold, Cold Heart/Half as Much/I Can't Help It/Your Cheatin' Heart/They'll Never Take Her Love From Me/Lovesick Blues
Lonzo & Oscar: No One to Hear If He Cries/Lady Down on Love
Jimmy C Newman & Cajun Country: Texas-Cajun

Mike is known for his comedy and his down home mountain music with his string band. He began playing the banjo at age 16. Within a few years, he became the Tennessee State Bluegrass Banjo Champion and was the winner of the Mid-South Banjo Playing Contest. When he was 23, Mike was the National Bluegrass Banjo Champion. He began appearing on Nashville Now with Ralph Emery and in 1987 he joined the cast of Hee Haw. On June 2, 1990, Mike became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, with fellow comedian and Hee Haw star Minnie Pearl doing the honors.

That takes care of it for this week. As you can see, the middle of January has been a pretty busy week in the history of the Opry. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 Year in Review

2017 is officially in the books and with another new year upon us, it is time once again for my annual "year in review" of the Grand Ole Opry. Here is a brief look:

2017 brought about the resignation of Vice President & General Manager of the Opry Pete Fisher, who finished up his duties in January. Pete had been in charge of the Opry since June 1999. Replacing Pete was Sally Williams, who would be overseeing the Opry in addition to her other duties with Ryman Hospitality.

After a dry spell of over a year, the Grand Ole Opry saw three new members added in 2017. Crystal Gayle joined the cast of the Opry in January, followed by Dailey & Vincent in March. Later in the year Chris Young accepted an invitation to become an Opry member and he joined the cast in October. While three new members were added, the Opry also experience the lost of two of its members as Mel Tillis passed away at the end of the year following an extended illness, and while Montgomery Gentry is continuing on with Eddie Montgomery, his partner Troy Gentry passed away. Adding it all up, the Grand Ole Opry started the year with 61 members and finished with 63.

Besides adding new members, there were also a few other highlights this past year, Stu Phillips celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Opry, in what many assume was his last appearance; Reba McEntire came back to the Opry to celebrate the 40th anniversary of her first guest appearance, and was joined by Dolly Parton; Travis Tritt came back after an absence of almost 10 years to celebrate his 25th anniversary as an Opry member and Marty Stuart's 25th Opry anniversary.

2017 saw the Grand Ole Opry produce 218 shows, which is the highest number in any year since Opryland was in operation, and was an increase of 13 shows from 2016. The year also saw the Opry performing several Sunday night shows for the first time in its history. Looking at the breakdown:

Friday Night Opry: 60 (+4)
Saturday Grand Ole Opry: 69 (-1)
Tuesday Night Opry: 51 (+2)
Wednesday Night Opry: 13 (+2)
Thursday Opry Country Classics: 19 (+3)
Sunday Night Opry: 3 (+3)
Saturday Matinee: 1 (E)
Tuesday Matinee: 2 (E)

2017 also saw a change in the requirements of Opry members. While Pete Fisher was the Opry's boss, he was asking new members to commit to 10 shows per year. However, it seems as if that requirement has been reduced to 6 shows per year, and the Opry is also offering :waivers" to those who are unable to fulfill that commitment. And while a few of the Opry's members did not appear in 2017, specifically Garth Brooks, the Opry feels that these members still contribute by the support that they give the Opry, along with the recognition that comes with being a member. There are also those members who assist the Opry behind the scenes, supporting the show in that manner.

So adding it all up, which Grand Ole Opry members made the most appearances in 2017? Well, the leader for the second year in a row was Mike Snider, clocking in with 126 appearances. As to the entire Top 10, here you go:

1) Mike Snider: 126
2) Jeannie Seely: 103
3) Connie Smith: 98
4) The Whites: 90
5) Bill Anderson: 83
6) Riders In The Sky: 72
7) John Conlee: 58
8) Bobby Osborne: 53
9) Ricky Skaggs: 42
10) Jesse McReynolds: 36

The only change among the names on the list from the previous year was Ricky Skaggs joining and Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers dropping out. For the Gatlins, who came in with 28 appearances (mostly on the Thursday Night shows), it continues a two year drop from a high of 86 appearances in 2015. And as you can see, the veteran Opry members continue to be the artists carrying the heavy load most weeks.

Continuing with the bench-mark of 10 appearances (which has been used as the standard in the past), here are those who made that number:

Dailey & Vincent: 32
Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers: 28
Vince Gill; Del McCoury: 19
Diamond Rio: 15
Crystal Gayle: 13
Lorrie Morgan; Steve Wariner: 12
Charlie Daniels; Oak Ridge Boys: 11

Among the other active members:

Terri Clark; Old Crow Medicine Show; Chris Young: 9
Carrie Underwood: 8
Trace Adkins; Craig Morgan; Rascal Flatts; Darius Rucker; Pam Tillis: 7
Montgomery Gentry; Brad Paisley: 6
Josh Turner: 5
Joe Diffie; Alison Krauss; Little Big Town; Ray Pillow; Blake Shelton; Marty Stuart; Keith Urban: 4
Patty Loveless; Martina McBride; Charley Pride: 3
Dierks Bentley; Hal Ketchum; Reba McEntire: 2
Clint Black; Roy Clark; Loretta Lynn; Ronnie Milsap; Dolly Parton; Stu Phillips; Travis Tritt; Trisha Yearwood: 1

Although retired, Jan Howard made one appearance, and even though he is unable to perform, Randy Travis made 5 visits to the show.

As to active members who did not appear in 2017, that list includes just three: Garth Brooks, Emmylou Harris and Alan Jackson.

Members who are retired include Tom T. Hall, Jan Howard, Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett and Ricky Van Shelton. We are also assuming that Stu Phillips has now retired and probably the same with Stonewall Jackson.

As to non-members, a total of 282 (give or take one) found their way to the Opry stage this past year. Of that group, Mark Willis, with 27 appearances, was the clubhouse leader. The Top 10:

1) Mark Willis: 27
2) Charles Esten: 24
3) Chris Janson: 21
4) William Michael Morgan: 20
5) Tracy Lawrence; Mandy Barnett: 16
6) Carly Pearce: 15
7) Ashley Campbell; Exile; Henry Cho: 14
8) Maggie Rose; T. Graham Brown: 13
9) LOCASH; Charlie Worsham: 12
10) Kristian Bush: 11

When looking at the number of guest artists who appeared this past year, the trend is continuing where there seems less of an emphasis on Opry members when determining the line-ups for the shows. Much of this is due to the fact that outside of the core group of veteran Opry members, there still seems to be an issue getting enough Opry members to perform on every Opry show. As fans, we should all be grateful that there are those who do wish to perform numerous times on the Opry, even though they are not members. And actually, some of those who do guest appearances, wish they were Opry members. However, the membership door has not been opened for those artists.

2017 was another year of growth at the Opry, as in addition to the number of shows, Ryman Hospitality continues to expand the Opry brand. This past year saw the opening of Opry City Stage in New York, that will showcase country concerts, along with broadcasting live Grand Ole Opry shows from Nashville. Additionally, 2017 saw increased attendance at the Opry. Every indication that I received was that financially, it was a very good year.

2018 will be another year of change at the Opry, starting with the renovation of the Opry House. Included in the plans is an expanded ticket office and Opry Gift Shop, along with a dedicated parking lot strictly for the coming to Opry shows. The work is underway with an expected completion date in October.

What else will 2018 bring? Who knows. While there are no 50 year anniversaries to celebrate this coming year, Jeanne Pruett will celebrate her 45th year as an Opry member, while Ricky Van Shelton and Patty Loveless will be celebrating number 30. Charley Pride, Alison Krauss and Joe Diffie will hit their 25th anniversary in 2018, Diamond Rio will celebrate their 20th year at the Opry while Charlie Daniels, Carrie Underwood and Craig Morgan will celebrate their 10th year as members. Regardless what all happens this coming year, I will continue to be a fan of the Opry and will continue to support the show, both by attending and listening.

As I conclude, and I mention this every year, my thanks again to all who read the blog, especially those who take the time to comment, or email questions and other personal thoughts to me. I always enjoy hearing from everyone. Special thanks go to those who I have met not only this past year, but in other years, while attending Opry shows. I have made many special friends and it is always great to put a face with a name. To those who I have never met, either due to distance or timing, don't despair. It could still happen someday. Again, my thanks to all!!!

(*As a disclaimer, the recorded number of appearances is based on the tracking that I do of each Opry show. If there is an error, such as a missed appearance, my apologies. Additionally, the thoughts and opinions written are those of myself, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Grand Ole Opry or its management).

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 1/12 & 1/13

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Before getting to the shows, which are pretty good this weekend, a couple of notes to pass along pertaining to a couple of Opry members:

Loretta Lynn is recovering after falling and suffering a broken hip. According to a posting from Crystal Gayle, Loretta is doing fine and going through her recovery phase. After the stroke last year, and now the broken hip, it really makes you wonder if we will see Loretta performing again. Just a personal opinion: I think her touring days are over and we might see an occasional appearance at her ranch, as she did last fall, or in Nashville, such as when she presented Alan Jackson for induction into the Hall of Fame. I really can't see her doing much else, but then again, it is Loretta we are talking about.

Some have asked about Jesse McReynolds. There really is no news on Jessie. His last Facebook post was in December, commenting on the death of Curly Seckler, then an earlier post thanking everyone for the cards and letters that have been sent to him. If I hear anything else, I will pass it on.

As to the Opry shows this weekend, there are two pretty nice ones with very good line-ups. Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include Hall of Fame members Bill Anderson and Vince Gill, along with Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Ricky Skaggs, and one of the Opry's newest members, Dailey & Vincent. Joining that very solid group on Friday night will be Riders In The Sky, The Whites, bluegrass Hall of Famer Bobby Osborne and another recently added member, Crystal Gayle. That adds up to 10 Opry members, a very respectable number. Joining the group on Saturday night will be another Hall of Famer, Connie Smith.

Guesting this week on Friday night will be Parmalee and Runaway June. Yes, that is correct. Only two non-members on Friday. Saturday night's guests scheduled include Shelly Fairchild, Exile, Drew and Ellie Holcomb, and Jim Lauderdale.

Friday January 12
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Parmalee; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Runaway June; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Crystal Gayle
8:45: Vince Gill (host); The Whites; Ricky Skaggs

Saturday January 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Shelly Fairchild; Mike Snider
7:30: Dailey & Vincent (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Exile; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Drew and Ellie Holcomb; Ricky Skaggs

Finally, for those who are in town on Saturday night, hosting the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will be the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band. These guys do as good of a job as anyone bringing the down-home mountain music and the classic string sounds whenever they perform. They have quite a following and all are amazing musicians.

Here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the second week of January 10 years ago, the weekend of January 11 & 12, 2008:

Friday January 11
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Old Crow Medicine Show
8:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joe Diffie

Saturday January 12
1st show
6:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mel McDaniel; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:00: Joe Nicholas; Bucky Covington; Rhonda Vincent; Craig Morgan
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jack Greene; Old Crow Medicine Show; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Del McCoury Band; Bucky Covington
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Whites; Rhonda Vincent
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Joe Nichols; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Old Crow Medicine Show; Craig Morgan

From the second weekend of January 25 years ago, Saturday January 9, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); David Houston
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim & Jesse; Roy Drusky; Ramona Jones
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host);Jim Ed Brown; Skeeter Davis; Riders In The Sky; Charlie Louvin
7:30: Bill Monroe (host); John Conlee; Lorrie Morgan
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bill Carlisle; Del Reeves; Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; The Whites; The 4 Guys

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; Brother Oswald; Jeannie Seely; Mike Snider
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Lorrie Morgan; Ramona Jones
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Billy Walker
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Riders In The Sky
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); John Conlee; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Justin Tubb; Charlie Louvin
11:30: Charlie Walker (host); Connie Smith; Bill Carlisle; Johnny Russell

Looking at Grand Ole Opry events that have taken place the 2nd week of January, it was 17 years ago Saturday night, January 13, 2001 that Old Crow Medicine Show made their debut on the Opry.

Some of the award-winning group Old Crow Medicine Show's first performances in Nashville were on the sidewalks outside the Opry House in summer 2000, playing for fans entering and exiting Opry performances. After graduating to the Opry Stage in January 2001, the band quickly became a fan favorite during dozens of Opry performances that followed. Marty Stuart, who introduced the group the night of their Opry debut, later invited the group to join the Opry on August 16, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio.

When the band officially became part of the Opry family a month later, it wasn't lost on the band or on the Grand Ole Opry itself that both entities were quite poetically coming full circle. Old Crow had officially graduated from the Opry Plaza it had played week after week all those years earlier to center stage. The Opry, meanwhile, was adding to its ranks, nearly nine decades into its life, a band with a sound much like groups such as Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys from the show's very early days.

Old  Crow Medicine Show got its start busking on street corners in New York state and through Canada, winning audiences along the way with its boundless energy and spirit. The band members eventually found themselves in Boone, North Carolina where they caught the attention of legendary folk icon Doc Watson, who invited them to play at his Merlefest, helping to launch the band's career. Shortly afterward, the band relocated to Nashville and began its fateful residency on the Opry Plaza. More than a decade later, the band has toured the world, sold hundreds of thousand of albums, and performed at renowned festivals like Bonnaroo, Coachella, and The Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Speaking on behalf of the group at its induction evening, Ketch Secor related that years ago members of the band asked themselves if they'd ever make it big in TV. Secor recalled having said, "I don't know about TV, but we might make something of ourselves on radio." Fast forwarding to the present, Secor concluded, "We're standing out here on the most beloved broadcast anywhere on earth. I think we made it big on radio!"

In recognition of the Grand Ole Opry debut of Old Crow Medicine Show, here is the running order of the Opry from Saturday January 13, 2001:

1st show
6:30: WSM
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking Back to See
Connie Smith: I'll Come Running to You
Jan Howard: Oh, Lonesome Me
The Whites: Texas To A T/Doing It By the Book
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: Lyin' In Love With You/I Don't Want to Have to Marry You

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Brewster's Farm
Holly Dunn: You Really Had Me Going
Jim & Jesse: I Love Nobody But You
Clay Davidson: Unconditional/Sometimes
BR549: I Told You No 1,000 Times

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Walker (host): Sing Me A Love Song to Baby
Andy Griggs: You Made Me That Way/Ain't Done Nothing Wrong
Vince Gill: Give Me Just One More Last Chance/If You Ever Have Forever in Mind

8:00: Martha White
Marty Stuart (host): Streamed Lined Lover
Elizabeth Cook: Success
Wilma Lee Cooper: Shake My Mother's Hand for Me/A Beautiful Life
Old Crow Medicine Show: Tear it Down
Opry Square Dance Band: Cherokee Shuffle
Rick Bennett: Journey Home
Marty Stuart: Martha White Theme

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Jean Shepard: Tennessee Waltz
Mike Snider: Instrumental Melody
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her that Way

2nd show
9:30: WSM
Porter Wagoner (host): Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: I Don't Want to Have to Marry You
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away
The Whites: Makin' Believe
Vince Gill: Look at Us/If You Ever Have Forever In Mind

10:00: Lincoln Mercury/
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed
Holly Dunn: Blue Rose of Texas
Wilma Lee Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Clay Davidson: Unconditional/Sometimes
Jimmy Dickens: We Could

10:30: Folex/Joggin' In A Jug
Marty Stuart (host): Mister Engineer
Steve Earle: My Old Friend the Blues
Elizabeth Cook: Success
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming
Old Crow Medicine Show: Raise A Ruckus/Roll Along Mule
Opry Square Dance Band: Black Mountain Rag
Marty Stuart & Steve Earle: Hillbilly Fever

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jeannie Seely (host): Healing Hands of Time
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda
BR549: Storybook Endings/Cherokee Boogie
Jeannie Seely: Make the World Go Away

11:30: Opry at Ryman
Mike Snider (host): Going Across the Ocean
Charlie Walker: Who'll Buy the Wine
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Andy Griggs: Where's the Train/Riding with You
Mike Snider: Instrumental Melody

Among other events that have taken place during the 2nd week of January at the Opry, it was on January 11, 1969 that George Jones rejoined the Opry. George had originally became an Opry member in 1956, however he left for a period of time before returning to the Opry cast. Also, it was on January 12, 1957 that Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper became members of the Grand Ole Opry, while Mel McDaniel became a member of the Opry on January 11, 1986.

45 years ago, on January 13, 1973, Grand Ole Opry legend Ernest Tubb celebrated his 30th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ernest came to the Opry in 1943 and would remain an Opry legend until his death in 1984.

Thinking of Ernest Tubb, here is the running order from Saturday January 13, 1973:

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Anderson (host): I Get The Fever
Charlie Louvin: Bottom of the Fifth
Jim & Jesse: Please Be My Love
Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Bill Anderson: Always Remember
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever
Jim & Jesse: Just One of A Kind
Carolee Cooper: Soul Song
Bill Anderson: Don't She Look Good When She Smiles

7:30: Standard Candy
Charlie Walker (host): Soft Lips & Hard Liquor
Bobby Bare: Miller's Cave
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Bobby Bare: Come Sundown
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Roy Acuff: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Ray Pillow: When A Man Loves A Woman
Grandpa & Ramona Jones: Raining on the Mountain, Now My Love
Billy Grammer: Amazing Grace

8:30: Stephens
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Skeeter Davis: Hillbilly Song
Jimmy C Newman: Good Time Charlie's Got the Blues
George Morgan: Making Heartaches
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Lonzo & Oscar: Ol' Slewfoot

9:00: Rudy's
Ernest Tubb (host): Baby, It's So Hard to be Good
Jack Greene: Satisfaction
Jeannie Seely: A Farm in Pennsyltucky
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: At Least We Know An Ending When it Comes
Ernest Tubb: Walking the Floor Over You

9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Snow (host): There's A Fool Such As I
Willis Brothers: Lady Godiva
Del Reeves: Before Goodbye
The 4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Marion Worth: Okie From Muskogee
Glenn Barber: Yes, Ma'am, I Found Her in A Honky-Tonk
Hank Snow: It Kinda Reminds Me of Me

10:00: Fender
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
Bobby Bare: I Hate Goodbyes
Charlie Walker: Soft Lips & Hard Liquor
Stu Phillips: Sensuous Woman
Bill Anderson: The Lord Knows I'm Drinking

10:15: Union 76
Charlie Louvin (host) w/Diane McCall: A Man Likes Things Like That
Stonewall Jackson: I'm Not Strong Enough to Build Another Dream
Billy Grammer: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Stoney and Carolee Cooper: Mansion in the Sky

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Little Pal
Grandpa Jones: Klide, Kitty
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalay
Ray Pillow: Excuse Me

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): Let's Say Goodbye Like We Said Hello
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Pass Me By (If You're Only Passing Through)
George Morgan: She's Got to be A Saint
Crook Brothers: Texas Quick Step

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Blackberry Blossom
Lonzo & Oscar: Take Me Home, Country Roads
Sam McGee: Farewell Blues/Alabama Jubilee/ Just Because
Hank Snow: Mary Ann Regrets

11:30: Elm Hill
Del Reeves (host): Six Days on the Road/Truck Driving Man
Justin Tubb & Norma Gallant: Heaven 7-7203
Glenn Barber: Unexpected Goodbye
Marion Worth: Put Your Hand in the Hand
The 4 Guys: Down by the Lazy River
Del Reeves: Trucker's Paradise

One last name that I did want to mention from that 1973 show was Glenn Barber. Glenn was born in Hollis, Oklahoma in 1935. He was known both for his country music and rockabilly, having recorded for Hickory Records. In the 1970's, he released three albums and had 21 singles that hit the country charts, with his highest charting record being "Unexpected Goodbye," which reached No. 23 in 1972. His last chart success was in 1979 after which his recording career ended. Glenn passed away in Gallatin, Tennessee in March 2008.

There you have it for this week. As always, I appreciate those of you who enjoy looking back at the history of the Grand Ole Opry and I will have more of it for you next week. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

January Opry Highlights

Happy New Year to Grand Ole Opry fans everywhere!!! I hope everyone had a safe holiday and are looking forward to a great 2018. Starting off the new year right, here are the important and historical events that have taken place during the history of the Opry, or regarding members of the Opry, during the month of January:

January 23, 1937: The Lakeland Sisters, Mary and Ann, made their Grand Ole Opry debut. They would only remain with the Opry for about 18 months, making their final appearance on June 4, 1938.

January 14, 1939: The Dixieliners made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Consisting of early WSM Barn Dance starts Arthur Smith, along with Sam & Kirk McGee, they made their debut in 1932.

January 16, 1943: Ernest Tubb made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Ernest was so well received that he was offered membership and officially would join the Opry the following month. Over time, Ernest would become one of the legendary members of the Opry.

January 7, 1950: The legendary Hank Snow, the Singing Ranger, made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry and was also made an Opry member that night. Yes, they did things a little differently in those days. Originally from Canada, Hank came to the Opry via Dallas, Texas, thanks to the help and recommendation of Ernest Tubb. That night, Ernest introduced Hank by saying, "From up Canada way, here's the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry, the Singing Ranger, Hank Snow." Hank sang "Brand On My Heart," which had been a big hit for him up in Canada, and a regional hit in the Dallas area. Hank felt that his Opry debut did not go over very well and that he received little audience response. In fact, he told his wife Min that he was not going back. However, she convinced Hank that he owed it to Ernest to return. He went back, and when things did not improve in the coming months, the Opry was considering letting him go. However, "I'm Moving On" was released and the rest is history. Hank remained an Opry member for the next 49 years, until his death in December 1999.

January 7, 1950: On the same night that Hank Snow joined the Opry, Tennessee Ernie Ford made his Grand Ole Opry debut. Unlike Hank, Tennessee Ernie was already an established star and appeared on the Prince Albert portion of the show. While he never became a member, Ernie had an open invitation to appear on the Opry anytime he was in Nashville and he would often take the Opry up on their offer. In later years, he would appear on the Martha White segment, as he was friends with the ownership of the company.

January 1, 1953: Hank Williams was found dead in the backseat of his car in West Virginia. He was being driving to a New Year's Day appearance in Canton, Ohio. Also booked on the show that night were Jimmy Dickens and June Webb, among others. Jimmy ended up not making the trip due to the weather, while the other artists scheduled to appear went ahead and did the show as a tribute to Hank.

January 16, 1953: Opry member Bill Monroe was seriously injured in a head-on car accident on Highway 31 in White House, Tennessee. Bill suffered 19 broken bones in the accident.

January 19, 1953: Marty Robbins made his Grand Ole Opry debut. Marty would join the cast shortly afterwards.

January 22, 1953: The Ozark Jubilee premiered on the ABC television network. The show was hosted by former Opry member Red Foley, who left Nashville and moved to Springfield, Missouri to host the show.

January 29, 1954: Theron Hale passed away. Theron was one of the early members of the Grand Ole Opry, becoming a regular in 1926. He stayed as an Opry regular into the 1930s, after which he would make occasional appearances with Sam McGee. While he was at the Opry, he would be introduced as "Theron Hale and Daughters," which were Elizabeth and Mamie Ruth.

January 22, 1955: Porter Wagoner made his first appearance as a guest on the Opry. He would return and in February 1957, Porter would become an Opry member.

January 12, 1957: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The Coopers, along with daughter Carol Lee, came to the Opry from the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, where they were very popular. Stoney would remain with the Opry until his death in 1977. Wilma Lee would continue with the Opry as a solo act, and later celebrated 50 years of Opry membership.

January 1, 1960: Although there is some debate as to the exact date, it would appear this is when Billy Walker became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Billy would remain an Opry member until his death in a car accident in 2006. Billy was a very loyal member of the Opry and later in his career, he would often speak up over the reduction of his Opry appearances.

January 9, 1960: Patsy Cline became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. While her time at the Opry was very short, Patsy was very influential to a number of female artists, including Loretta Lynn and Dottie West. In a pretty famous story as to how she became an Opry member, after one of her Opry guest performances, she approached Opry manager Ott Devine and asked if she might one day become a member. Ott responded by saying, "Patsy, if that's all you want, you are on the Opry."

January 9, 1965: Norma Jean became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Much as Dolly Parton would do a few years later, Norma Jean joined the cast as she was performing as part of Porter Wagoner's show. She stayed with the Opry until 1967, when she left Porter and Nashville.

January 7, 1967: Charley Pride became the first black solo singer to perform on the Opry. He was introduced that night by Ernest Tubb. Charley sang "The Snakes Crawl At Night," and "I Can't Help It If I'm Still In Love With You." Shortly afterwards, he was asked to become an Opry member, but declined due to his heavy touring schedule. Over the years, he would be asked several more times, until finally in 1993 he accepted the invitation to join. He was the 2nd black artist to become an Opry member, following DeFord Bailey. (Just to clarify, DeFord Bailey was a noted harmonica player and not a solo singer).

January 4, 1969: Dolly Parton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Dolly's 49th year as an Opry member. Back in the early days when she was with Porter Wagoner, Dolly was a frequent visitor at the Opry. However, as her career expanded, she became like many others as someone who hardly ever appeared on the show. She even commented once that if she was in charge of the Opry, she would fire herself. It was Carl and Pearl Butler, former Opry members, who took a liking to Dolly and helped to bring her to Nashville when she was just 12 years old. While it was a long time ago, Dolly remembered her first night guesting on the Opry: "They used to have this Friday Night Frolics and I went up there one night with the intention of being on it. I kept telling everyone I'll sing just one song. Most of the Opry artists had two spots on the show and I walked up to Jimmy C Newman, who was going to sing his second song next and I told him I wanted to be on. I didn't know why he did it, but Jimmy gave me his spot and I sang a George Jones song." While Dolly didn't know why Jimmy C did it that night, I think she came to realize that was the type of person Jimmy C Newman was.

January 11, 1969: George Jones rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Over the course of his career, George would join and leave the Opry several different times.

January 1, 1971: Tom T. Hall became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will make it 47 years for Tom T at the Opry. After joining the Opry in 1971, he left in March 1975, and then rejoined in 1980. Tom T Hall is now retired and no longer makes personal appearances.

January 13, 1973: Ernest Tubb celebrated his 30th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

January 20, 1973: For the first and only time, Jerry Lee Lewis performed on the Opry. He had always wanted to perform on the show, however the Opry management was afraid to invite him, fearing what he would do onstage. For this appearance, management asked Jerry Lee not to do any rock and roll. He agreed then broke the promise. Appearing on the 11:30 segment hosted by Charlie Walker, he was on stage for almost 40 minutes. In a nice gesture, he invited Del Wood to appear with him onstage, saying later that on a previous backstage visit, Del was the only Opry member that was nice to him.

January 27, 1973: Marty Robbins celebrated his 20th anniversary as a member of the Opry.

January 2, 1974: Grand Ole Opry member Tex Ritter passed away after suffering a heart attack. Tex joined the Opry in 1965 and enjoyed being in Nashville and as a part of the Opry. Tex was also involved in the early days of the Country Music Association and he was just the 5th person to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

January 28, 1976: Skeeter Willis, part of the Willis Brothers, passed away at the age of 58. The Willis Brothers first came to the Opry in 1946 and were well known for their western style of music.

January 22, 1977: Grand Ole Opry member Stoney Cooper appeared on the Opry for the final time. Along with is wife Wilma Lee, Stoney had joined the Opry in 1957. Stoney suffered from heart problems and would pass away in March.

January 27, 1979: Sissy Spacek, who played the part of Loretta Lynn in the movie "Coal Miner's Daughter" joined Loretta for an appearance on the Opry.

January 20, 1984: Future Grand Ole Opry member Mike Snider made his Opry debut. He was a member of the cast of Hee Haw and was well known for his banjo playing and comedy.

January 11, 1986: Mel McDaniel became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Mel would remain an Opry member until his death in 2011.

January 14, 1986: During the Opry's televised 60th anniversary special, Reba McEntire was introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. While this is the date the show was televised, the taping actually took place the previous November, thus the November taping date is considered Reba's actual Opry induction date. This will be Reba's 31st year as an Opry member.

January 14, 1989: Hubert Gregory of the Fruit Jar Drinkers passed away. Hubert's career at the Opry, as with the Fruit Jar Drinkers, dates back to the early days of the Opry. Like many others of that era, Hubert performed with many different groups, including with Sam & Kirk McGee.

January 20, 1990: Hank Snow celebrated his 40th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The televised segment on TNN included a reunion of the Glaser Brothers, who were very friendly with Hank. The reunion did not last as the Glaser Brothers never performed together again.

January 10, 1991: Clint Black became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. For Clint, this will be his 27th year as an Opry member.

January 25, 1992: Introduced by Roy Acuff, Emmylou Harris became the Opry's newest member. This will be Emmylou's 26th anniversary as a member of the Opry. Emmylou has not appeared on the Opry in several years, however she is currently on the schedule for the final weekend in January.

January 22, 1994: Hal Ketchum became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Hal's 24rd year as an Opry member. Once a pretty regular performer on the show, Hal is now based in Texas and very rarely gets back to Nashville and the Opry.

January 21, 1995: Brother Oswald, longtime member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, became an official member of the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 83, I believe he was the oldest person to join the cast. Oswald came to the Opry in the 1930s with Roy and helped to define the Acuff sound. Thanks to the efforts of Porter Wagoner and Marty Stuart, among others, he became a member. I was there the night of his induction and it was quite a surprise as I don't seem to remember it being announced much ahead of time. Oswald passed away in 2002.

January 3, 1998: Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Grandpa Jones made his final appearance on the Opry. After hosting his segment on the 2nd show, Grandpa suffered the first of what would be series of strokes. He was taken directly to the hospital from the Opry House. His condition would continue to decline and he passed away the following month.

January 24, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Justin Tubb passed away from a sudden illness. He was the son of Opry legend Ernest Tubb and had joined the Opry cast in 1955. At the time of joining, he was the Opry's youngest member. Not only was Justin an excellent singer, but he was also a fine songwriter.

January 9, 1999: Grand Ole Opry member Boxcar Willie made his final appearance on the show. In declining health, Boxcar had first appeared on the Opry in 1981.

January 15, 1999: The Grand Ole Opry returned to the Ryman Auditorium for the first time since moving to the new Grand Ole Opry House in 1974. There were three shows that weekend and all were sold out. During the 1st show on Saturday night, Ricky Skaggs invited Trisha Yearwood to become the Opry's newest member. The weekend shows, which I attended, was such a success that the Opry has returned to the Ryman each winter.

January 15, 2000: Bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Patty Loveless handled the official induction. He had been asked just the prior evening if he would like to join. After he said yes, the Opry wasted no time and inducted Ralph the following night. Ralph Stanley was an Opry member until his death last year.

January 4, 2003: Hank Williams Jr and Hank Williams III performed together on the Opry in a show that marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Hank Williams. Also appearing in the tribute that night were Jimmy Dickens, Vince Gill and The Whites

January 6, 2006: The Friday Night Opry was reduced by 30 minutes making it a 2 hour show.

January 11, 2007: Grand Ole Opry member Stonewall Jackson filed an age discrimination lawsuit against Gaylord Entertainment and the management of the Grand Ole Opry. Stonewall made several claims, and specifically named Pete Fisher. As the lawsuit played out, Stonewall refused to perform on the Opry, even though he had been asked. Eventually the lawsuit was settled out of court, with Stonewall privately saying that Gaylord made a settlement. Stonewall did see his Opry appearances increase over the short term, however in recent years, Stonewall has pretty much disappeared from the Opry stage.

January 19, 2008: Charlie Daniels became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 10th year as an Opry member. He said at the time of his induction that becoming an Opry member was always a dream of his. Marty Stuart and Connie Smith formally inducted Charlie into the Opry. In 2015, Charlie became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

January 26, 2011: After a long illness, longtime Grand Ole Opry member Charlie Louvin passed away. Along with his brother Ira, Charlie joined the Opry in 1955. After Ira's death, Charlie continued as a solo artist.

January 7, 2012: Charlie Collins performed for the final time on the Grand Ole Opry. While never an Opry member, Charlie spent considerable time at the Opry, first coming to the show as a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, and then after Roy's death, performing with Brother Oswald and with the Opry Square Dancers.

January 21, 2012: Emmylou Harris celebrated 20 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller helped Emmylou celebrate that night.

January 2, 2015: Longtime Grand Ole Opry legend Jimmy Dickens passed away in Nashville. Jimmy had been hospitalized after becoming suddenly ill on Christmas Day. Jimmy first joined the Opry in 1948 and at the time of his death, was the Opry's last link to the pre-Hank Williams of the Opry. Much loved, Jimmy was noted for his comedy songs, but let's not forget that he was also a great ballad singer.

January 9, 2017: Grand Ole Opry Vice President and General Manger Pete Fisher announced that he was resigning his position to move to California and head up the Academy of Country Music. Pete came to the Opry in June 1999 and had been in charge of the Opry for over 17 years. His final Opry show was on January 20.

January 21, 2017: Crystal Gayle became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Crystal has been asked several months previously by Carrie Underwood to join the cast. On the night of her induction, her sister and fellow Opry member Loretta Lynn handed the official induction.

There you have it for this month. Enjoy!!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 1/5 & 1/6

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the first shows on 2018 and both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry have pretty solid line-ups. As we have seen from 2017, the line-ups are thin on Opry members, with six scheduled both nights, but offering a nice collection of guest artists.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled to appear both nights include Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky and Bill Anderson. Joining those four on Friday night will be Ricky Skaggs and The Whites, while Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne are set to appear on Saturday.

As to guest artists this weekend, Dick Hardwick is scheduled for both nights. Dick has been making a number of  Opry appearances over the past several months and he is scheduled for a few more already in 2018. Some have asked who Dick actually is. He is described this way on his website, "A corporate comedian who can provide clean corporate comedy entertainment for your company's conventions, meetings and special events, Dick Hardwick is one of the most sought-after corporate and special event comedians in the country. Dick is known for his quick wit, off-the-wall sense of humor and ability to know what works for any audience each and every time he hits the stage." I have to admit that I never heard of him until he started appearing on the Opry last year.

Joining Dick on Friday night, and giving the night a little bit of a gospel flavor, will be the Gaither Vocal Band and The Isaacs. Also scheduled are Drew Baldridge, Lindsay Ell and the legendary Moe Bandy. Saturday night, in addition to Dick, Duke of Hazzard star John Schneider is scheduled, along with Carly Pearce, William Michael Morgan and Jerry Douglas.

Friday January 5
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; The Isaacs
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Lindsay Ell; Moe Bandy
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Drew Baldridge; Dick Hardwick
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Gaither Vocal Band

Saturday January 6
7:00: Connie Smith (host); John Schneider; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Carly Pearce
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Dick Hardwick; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); William Michael Morgan; Jerry Douglas

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the first weekend in January 10 years ago, the weekend of January 4 & 5, 2008:

Friday January 4
8:00: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Jeff Bates
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Doyle Dykes
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lady Antebellum
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; The Isaacs

Saturday January 5
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; The Wrights
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chuck Wicks
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Connie Smith; Infamous Stringdusters
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Darryl Worley

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; The Wrights
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Chuck Wicks
10:30: John Conlee (host); Jean Shepard; Doyle Dykes; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Infamous Stringdusters; Darryl Worley

Now here is the line-up from 25 years ago, Saturday January 2, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Skeeter Davis; Jack Greene
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Brother Oswald; Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jan Howard; Jim Owen
8:00: Bill Monroe (host); Lorrie Morgan; Del Reeves; John Conlee; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Louvin; The 4 Guys; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Wilma Lee Cooper; Jack Greene; Ray Pillow
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); The Whites; Billy Walker
10:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bill Carlisle
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Owen
10:45: Bill Monroe (host); John Conlee; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Mike Snider; Del Reeves; The 4 Guys
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeanne Pruett; Johnny Russell

It was the first weekend of January 20 years ago, January 3, 1998 that Grand Ole Opry member Grandpa Jones made his final appearance on the Opry. During the 2nd show that evening, as Grandpa came off stage after hosting his segment, he suffered a stroke that resulted in his immediate hospitalization. Over the next month, his health would continue to decline until passing away on February 19, 1998.

Louis Marshall Jones was born on October 20, 1913 in Niagara, Kentucky. He spent his teenage years in Akron, Ohio where he began singing country music on radio station WJW. In 1931, he joined the Pine Ridge String Band, which provided the musical accompaniment for the Lum and Abner show. By 1935, Louis had relocated to Boston, Massachusetts, where he met musician and songwriter Bradley Kincaid, who gave Louis the nickname "Grandpa" because of his off-stage grumpiness at early-morning radio shows. Jones liked the name and decided to create a stage persona based around it.

Performing as Grandpa Jones, he played the guitar and banjo, yodeled, and sang old-time ballads. By 1937, he had made his way to West Virginia where Cousin Emmy taught him the clawhammer style of banjo playing, which would define Grandpa though out his career. In 1942, he joined WLW in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he met fellow musician Merle Travis. In 1943 they made their recording debuts together for King Records. In 1944 he had his first hit, "It's Raining Here This Morning."

Toward the end of World War II he enlisted in the United States Army. When he was discharged in 1946, he returned to recording for King Records. In March 1946 he moved to Nashville and started performing on the Grand Ole Opry. That same year he married Ramona Riggins, who was also an accomplished musician. His most famous songs were "T For Texas," "Are You From Dixie," "Night Train To Memphis," "Mountain Dew," and "Eight More Miles To Louisville" all of which Grandpa would perform on a regular basis on the Opry.

In 1969 he joined the cast of Hee Haw, where he became one of the most beloved cast members. On the show he was involved in a number of comedy skits and played the banjo, often teaming up with fellow Opry member and best friend David "Stringbean" Akeman. A favorite skit had an off-camera cast member ask, "Hey Grandpa, what's for supper?"

In 1978 Grandpa Jones was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and in 1984 his autobiography, "Everybody's Grandpa: Fifty Years Behind The Mike" was published. Additionally, Grandpa was a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years.

Here is the running order of the Grand Ole Opry from Saturday January 3, 1998, the final night that Grandpa Jones appeared on the Opry:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Wilma Lee Cooper: Wedding Bells
Grandpa Jones: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

6:45: Joggin' In A Jug
John Conlee (host): As Long As I'm Rocking With You
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
John Conlee: Domestic Life

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Brother Oswald: Prairie Queen
Jimmy C Newman: Gumbo Song
Osborne Brothers: World of Forgotten People/Rocky Top
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home
Porter Wagoner & Christie Lynn: Milwaukee, Here I Come

7:30: Standard Candy
Johnny Russell (host): Someday I'll Sober Up
Ricochet: Connected at the Heart
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again
Tracy Byrd: Don't Take Her, She's All I Got
Riders In The Sky: Always Drink Upstream from the Herd
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Ricky Skaggs: Dim Lights, Thick Smoke
Vince Gill: The Key to Life
Opry Square Dance Band: Cherokee Shuffle

8:30: Clifty Farms
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take An Old Cold Tater
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
The 4 Guys: I'm Bound for Higher Ground
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General Stores
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses
Riders In The Sky: Where the Bloom is on the Sage
Ricochet: She's Got Her Daddy's Money
Christie Lynn: Walk Softly on My Heart
Porter Wagoner & Christie Lynn: Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

10:00: Opry Book
Grandpa Jones (host): Stop That Ticklin' Me
Tracy Byrd: Roly Poly/Watermelon Crawl
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Banquet
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
Jimmy Dickens: Mountain Dew

10:30: Purnells
Bill Anderson (host): But You Know I Love You
Osborne Brothers: Beneath Still Waters
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

10:45: MTD
Ricky Skaggs (host): Hold What 'Cha Got
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Ricky Skaggs: I'm Lost and I'll Never Find the Way

11:00: Coca-Cola
Mike Snider (host): The Whole World Smiles With You
Del Reeves: A Lover's Question
The Whites: Swing Down, Sweet Chariot
Vince Gill: A River Like You/The Key to Life
Tom Brantley: Wheel Hoss

11:30: Opry Book
Johnny Russell (host): Got No Reason Now for Going Home
The 4 Guys: Moments to Remember
Charlie Walker: Who'll Buy the Wine
Stu Phillips: Dust in My Eyes
Johnny Russell: Ain't You Even Gonna Cry

Other notable events that took place during the first weekend in January included Charley Pride's debut on the Grand Ole Opry, which took place on January 7, 1967. Over the next several decades, Charley would be asked numerous times to become an Opry member, however he declined each time until finally becoming a member on May 1, 1993. It was January 7, 1995 that Hank Snow marked his 45th year as an Opry member. Hank joined the Opry on January 7, 1950. And finally, it was on Saturday January 4, 1969 that Dolly Parton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. For Dolly, this will be her 49th year as a member.

Since 2018 will mark Charley Pride's 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, let's look back to that Opry debut 51 years ago on January 7, 1967:

7:30: Luzianne
Bobby Lord (host): Out Behind the Barn
Margie Bowes: Come on Home
Jim Ed Brown: You Can Have Her
Minnie Pearl: Maple on the Hill
Bobby Lord: Old Enough to Die
Stringbean: Run, Little Rabbit; Run
Ernie Ashworth: The D.J. Cried
Bobby Lord: Hawkeye

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Gonna Have Myself A Ball
Charlie Louvin: I Think I'll Go Somewhere & Cry Myself to Sleep
Bill Carlisle: Doctor R.D.
Jean Shepard: I'd Rather Be the One
Flatt & Scruggs: Call Me on Home, Too
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Bill Carlisle: Knothole
Flatt & Scruggs: You Are My Flower
Uncle Josh: Just Joshin'
Flatt & Scruggs: Nine Pound Hammer

8:30: Stephens
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Justin Tubb: Take a Letter Miss Gray
Del Wood: Down at Papa Joe's
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Hero's Death
Ray Pillow: Common Colds & Broken Hearts
Cousin Jody: I Miss Him So
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Satisfied

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Filipino Baby
Wilburn Brothers: Hurt Her Once for Me
Jim & Jesse: Cotton Mill Man
Charley Pride: The Snakes Crawl at Night
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Fruit Jar Drinkers: The Old Hen Cackle
Steve Chapman: Wildwood Flower

9:30: Kellogg's
Willis Brothers (host): Cimarron
Tex Ritter: High Noon
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Marion Worth: Burning Bridges
Willis Brothers: When My Blue Moon Turns to Gold Again
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Tex Ritter: Take Him Fishin'
Willis Brothers: If I Can Help Somebody

10:00: Schick
Flatt & Scruggs (host): My Saro Jane
Stringbean: Walk Up, Little Betty
Ernie Ashworth: Sad Face
Flatt & Scruggs: Mama, You've Been on My Mind
Earl Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Special

10:15: Pure
Charlie Louvin (host): Apartment #9
Margie Bowes: Enough to Make a Woman Lose Her Mind
Jim Ed Brown: Yesterday
Cousin Jody: Jody's Chimes
Charlie Louvin: Off & On

10:30: Buckley's
Ray Pillow (host): And I Like That Sorta Thing
Jean Shepard & Ray Pillow: Willingly
Del Wood: Melinda
Ray Pillow: "If" Is a Mighty Big Word

10:45: Kent
Ernest Tubb (host): Answer the Phone
Bill Carlisle: What Kinda Deal is This
Wilburn Brothers: Just To Be Where You Are
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): It Started Again
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Jim & Jesse: Don't Let Nobody Tie You Down
Charley Pride: I Can't Help It
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Jim & Jesse: Memphis
Sam McGee: Wheels
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Wabash Cannonball

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Running Gun
Tex Ritter: Boll Weevil
Osborne Brothers: The Kind of Woman I Got
Marion Worth: There Goes My Everything
Marty Robbins: El Paso
Curly Fox: Listen to the Mocking Bird
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of A Hillbilly Heaven
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You

There you have it for the first week of January and the start of a new year. I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend as the winter run continues at the Ryman Auditorium.