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.


  1. This is so ironic Byron! I was going to ask you at some point when the last time the gvb was on the opry! I'm gonna predict with some certainty that Bill will get AT LEAST 3 songs! I am sure he wouldn't do it as much as he still travels, but they would make wonderful members!

    1. I can safely say that it has been a few years since they have been on the Opry, although individual members including Bill have been on the show. Nice to see as their style does fit in and they have a following. The group did a show in Canton last year and it sold out quickly.

  2. They really truly would. The Opry obviously loves gospel, and Gaither so perfectly blends the familiar with the new.

  3. Though the following isn't perhaps what it was 20 years ago, I safely submit, and I don't think I'll get much argument, that Bill is the reason southern gospel is still alive and well today! I think we all remember when they were on tnn, and how you couldn't turn on a tv without seeing them even outside of those content areas. I was 12 when they sold out the Georgia Dome for a 12 hour all day sing! When you combine that with what Bill did for modern Christian music in general years before, he MIGHT be the most important figure in its history. What Billy Graham did for preaching, Bill Gaither did for the music.

  4. Have you all seen the story out there about a Roy Acuff fiddle made by his uncle being donated to a Goodwill in Kansas City. It is up for auction and up past 8K.

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Goodwill pulled the auction on the Acuff fiddle yesterday (Friday) and returned the fiddle to its previous owner. Apparently it was somehow donated by mistake and was a family heirloom. Not sure how that could ever happen. Maybe they were surprised at how hight the bids were coming in, but Goodwill still did the right thing by returning it and staying out of any potential controversy.