Thursday, March 15, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 3/16 & 3/17

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, both with very solid line-ups. And of course, with Saturday being St. Patrick's Day, it will be the Nashville Irish Step Dancers kicking off the show.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, Mike Snider and Dailey & Vincent. Joining that group on Friday night will be Opry members Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Josh Turner and Jesse McReynolds, while Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne will be appearing on Saturday night. That adds up to 8 members on Friday and 6 on Saturday.

Guesting on Friday night will be Shenandoah, Ashley Monroe and Lee Brice. All very solid performers. Saturday night will feature Wade Hayes, Craig Campbell, Steve Moakler, and a couple of Hall of Fame members: Don Schlitz and Jimmy Fortune.

Friday March 16
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Josh Turner
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Shenandoah
8:15: John Conlee (host); Mike Snider; Ashley Monroe
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Lee Brice

Saturday March 17
7:00: Nashville Irish Step Dancers; John Conlee (host); Wade Hayes; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Craig Campbell
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Don Schlitz; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Steve Moakler; Jimmy Fortune

Now from 10 years ago, the weekend of March 14 & 15, 2008:

Friday March 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chris Young
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Andy Griggs
9:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds; Rhett Atkins
9:30: Vince Gill (host); Connie Smith; Rhonda Vincent

Saturday March 15
1st show
6:30: Nashville Irish Stepdancers; Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jimmy C Newman; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:00: Carrie Underwood; Little Big Town; Lady Antebellum; Randy Travis
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Rhett Atkins; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Vince Gill (host); Hal Ketchum; Jack Greene

2nd show
9:30: Nashville Irish Step Dancers; Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Little Big Town
10:00: Vince Gill (host); Carrie Underwood
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; Lady Antebellum; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Hal Ketchum (host); Jack Greene; Rhett Atkins

It was during the first show on that Saturday night that Randy Travis surprised Carrie Underwood with an invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Carrie, who was the first country music singer to win American Idol, would formally join the cast two months later on May 10.

From Saturday March 20, 1993, the 3rd weekend in March 25 years ago:

1st show
6:30: Bill Monroe (host); The 4 Guys
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; Charlie Walker
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Bill Carlisle; The Whites
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Joe Diffie; Holly Dunn; Ricky Van Shelton
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Brother Oswald; Jimmy C Newman; Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Del Reeves; Ray Pillow

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Holly Dunn; Ricky Van Shelton
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard; Stonewall Jackson
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeannie Seely
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Del Reeves; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Charlie Louvin & Charles Whitstein; Justin Tubb; Joe Diffie
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The 4 Guys; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

Looking back at the 3rd weekend in March over the years, it was on Saturday March 16, 1996 that Grand Ole Opry member Don Gibson performed on the Opry for the final time.

Music Row first wanted him as a songwriter. He wanted to perform. So, Don Gibson wrote enough hits for himself and everybody else. For starters, "I Can't Stop Loving You," "I'd Be A Legend in My Time," and "Sweet Dreams," Don's songs have been recorded by more than 150 artists, from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello and Ferlin Husky to Ella Fitzgerald.

Born in Shelby, North Carolina, Don was the son of a railroad man. With three brothers and two sisters, Don knew early on that he would be responsible for financing his music career. So, he went to work in the textile mills and "hopping curbs and even delivering baby diapers," he recalled, just to earn enough money. Don was only a kid when he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee, to be a regular on the WNOX "Tennessee Barndance." He also played area club dates and one-nighters. Wesley Rose, president of Acuff-Rose Publishing in Nashville saw Don perform. Wesley's father Fred Rose had discovered Hank Williams. Wesley Rose offered Don a songwriting contract. But, since Don wanted to sing, he told Wesley that it was a deal only if he got to perform. So, his writing contract was with Wesley, his recording contract with RCA.

His first single, "Too Soon to Know" became a known song, but it was the second one that garnered the attention, "Oh, Lonesome Me." He wrote it in the same afternoon that he wrote "I Can't Stop Loving You." But Don didn't think much of "Oh, Lonesome Me." "I Thought it was nothing at all, so I sent it to Nashville and said, "'Give it to George Jones. It might make him a good number.'" he remembered, "I had no idea I'd ever cut it. But Chet Atkins and Wesley Rose said that was the one they wanted me to record. I said, 'I don't want to do that junk. I thought you'd give it to George,' Well, they insisted, so I said, 'I'll do it if you let me put "I Can't Stop Loving You" on the back. I think it's the best song.' Chet and Wesley reluctantly agreed to use the song, and "I Can't Stop Loving You" became a country standard in spite of them."

Don further justified his talents with such hits as "Blue Blue Day," "Legend In My Time," "Sweet Dreams," "Too Soon To Know," "Give Away The Blues," "Country Green," "Who Cares" and scores of others. So many that you can't separate Don Gibson the singer from the songwriter.

Don originally joined the Opry on May 20, 1958. However, he was later fired from the Opry's cast in December 1964 for failing to meet  the Opry's appearance requirements. He rejoined the Opry several years later, and would remain an Opry member until his death in 2003. In 2000, Don was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In his later years, Don appeared at the Opry very seldom as he entered a period of declining health. As mentioned, his last appearance was on Saturday March 16, 1996. Here is the running order from the Opry that night:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings/Joggin' In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents is All I Got
Bluegrass Boys: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here this Morning
Jan Howard: Rock Me Back to Little Rock
Bill Carlisle: Is Zat You Myrtle
Jan Howard: Evil on Your Mind

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Freight Train Boogie
Brother Oswald: John Hardy
Jean Shepard: Head Over Heals in Love With You
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk of Coal
The Whites: It Should've Been Easy
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles to Poplar Bluff
The Wagonmasters: Over the Line

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy  Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
The Hemphills: Let's Have a Revival/Partners In Emotion
Don Gibson: Oh, Lonesome Me/I Can't Stop Loving You
Jimmy Dickens: When Your House is Not A Home/Mountain Dew

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Before I Met You
Billy Walker: Come A Little Bit Closer
Jeannie Seely: Another Bridge to Burn
Opry Square Dance Band: Durang's Hornpipe
Bill Anderson: The Touch of the Master's Hand/Still

8:30: Kraft
The 4 Guys (host): It's All Right
Charlie Walker: Does Ft. Worth Ever Cross Your Mind
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
The 4 Guys: Forever Young

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jean Shepard: Gone, Gone, Gone
The Hemphills: Let's All Go to Church/Partners in Emotion
Christi Lynn: Don't Stop for Nothing

10:00: Massey-Ferguson
Del Reeves (host): Good Time Charlie's
Wilma Lee Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime At A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield/Girl on the Billboard

10:15: Zim's Crack Cream
Grandpa Jones (host): Nashville on My Mind
The Whites: Move it on Over
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls & A Ceiling

10:30: Gruhn Guitars
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleepin' At the Foot of the Bed
The Jordanaires: The Uncloudy Day
Jimmy Dickens: We Could

10:45: Fairfield
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Jeannie Seely: Another Bridge to Burn
Opry Square Dance Band: Sugar in the Goard
Bill Anderson: The Big Railroad Man

11:00: Coca-Cola
The 4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Jan Howard: My Heart Skips a Beat
The 4 Guys: Tennessee

11:30: Loreal
Billy Walker (host): Ashes of Love/Blue Moon of Kentucky/That's All Right
Connie Smith: Walk Me to the Door/Walkin' After Midnight
Ray Pillow: Please Don't Leave Me Anymore/The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Roy Drusky: Waltz of the Angels
Billy Walker: Adam's Side/Charlie's Shoes

It should also be noted that Bill Monroe was scheduled on the Opry that night, however after appearing on the Friday Night Opry the night before, Bill suffered a stroke that ended his performing days. Bill entered a period of declining health and would pass away later that year.

Other Opry events from the 3rd weekend in March include the annual Opry reunion show (Old Timer's Night) on Saturday March 20, 1976 and Saturday March 19, 1977. On March 20, 1980, Opry member Marion Worth made her final appearance on the Opry, as she made the decision to retire.

Finally, let's not forget the big event, which was the grand opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House, which took place on Saturday March 16, 1974. I know I have printed the running order from that night several times, but knowing that there are new readers to the blog, here we go again with it:

1st show
Roy Acuff & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Wabash Cannonball
Roy  Acuff: You Are My Sunshine
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Bill Anderson: Po' Folks
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Jim Ed Brown: Morning
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Roy Drusky: Satisfied Mind
Jerry Clower: Marcella's Chain Saw
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: Wish I Didn't Have to Miss You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
President Richard Nixon & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Happy Birthday Mrs. Nixon
President Richard Nixon: My Wild Irish Rose
Roy Acuff & Grand Ole Opry Cast: Stay A Little Longer
President Richard Nixon & Grand Ole Opry Cast: God Bless America
Jan Howard: My Kind of People
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Goodin
Jim & Jesse: Freight Train
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Lonzo & Oscar: Traces of Life
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: American Trilogy
George Morgan: You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfied
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' on Me
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Hank Snow: I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
The Four Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Ernest Tubb: Walking the Floor Over You
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Loving Heart
Justin Tubb: Bad, Bad Leroy Brown
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Sam McGee: San Antonio Rose
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination

2nd show
Roy Acuff: Back in the Country
Howdy Forrester: Instrumental
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe
Ernie Ashworth: Honky-Tonk Hardwood Floor
Jim Ed Brown: The Three Bells
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Little Darling Pal of Mine
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Crook Brothers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Somewhere My Love
Jack Greene: Statue of A Fool
Jeannie Seely: Can I Sleep in Your Arms Tonight, Mister
Jack Greene & Jeannie Seely: What in the World Has Gone Wrong with Our Love
Porter Wagoner: I've Never Seen So Many Happy Faces
Dolly Parton: Jolene
Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton: The Right Combination
Jan Howard: Sunshine on My Shoulder
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Grandpa Jones: Heading South with Nashville on My Mind
Connie Smith: Dallas
Bobby Lord: Mississippi
Charlie Louvin: You're My Wife; She's My Woman
Jerry Clower: The Last Piece of Chicken
George Morgan: Red Rose from the Blue Side of Town
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Jimmy C Newman: The Potato Song
Osborne Brothers: Ruby
Stu Phillips: There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Ray Pillow: Countryfied
Del Reeves: Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
Sam & Kirk McGee: Rollin' in My Sweet Baby's Arms
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such as I
The 4 Guys: Let Me Be There
Justin Tubb: Ramblin' Man
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Wilburn Brothers: Knoxville Girl
Del Wood: There's A Big Wheel
Marion Worth: Me & Bobby McGee
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/I'm Wanting To/Big Boss Man/Singing the Blues

The first show started at 6:30 and ended at 10:15 while the 2nd show went from 10:47 until 1:54. The first show was made up of an invited audience while the 2nd show was for the "regular" Opry fans. President Richard Nixon was the first President of the United States and he was on stage for just about 30 minutes. As you can see, the artists went pretty much in alphabetical order during the first show, with Roy Acuff leading off. The 2nd show was pretty much the same, but there were a few changes as some artists needed to get on the road for Sunday matinee shows.

While just about every member of the Grand Ole Opry made it that night, there were a few who did not: Archie Campbell, Bill Carlisle, Lester Flatt, David Houston, George Jones, Bob Luman, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Bill Monroe (who did phone into the first show), Earl Scruggs, Billy Walker and Tammy Wynette.  While still listed as Opry members, Bobby Bare and Tom T. Hall both made the decision to give up their Opry memberships while Skeeter Davis was still on suspension.

There you have it for this week. As always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend. And don't forget that on the Tuesday Night Opry Chris Janson will become the Opry's newest member.


  1. who do you guys see going into the Hall of Fame this year? Hank Williams Jr., Dottie West, Tanya Tucker, Crystal Gayle, and/or Ray Stevens from the Veterans category and Brooks & Dunn, The Judds, and/or Ricky Skaggs from the Modern category out of all the names that I mentioned, who do you guys think will go into the Hall of Fame this year?

  2. I attended both Opry shows this weekend.

    Friday Evening, We did the VIP Backstage Preshow Tour. I would be happy to report on that experience, if it has not been done already. The Remainder of Friday's Show was a solid Opry Show.

    Saturday Night, Mike Snider, and Later Bobby Osbourne's Base player had a Dollar Bill clipped to their Jacket... It wasn't until I saw it the second time, that I realized they were making fun of themselves for forgetting to Wear Green on St. Patrick's day...

    Also on Saturday night we had a surprise appearance by Larry Gatlin, who brought in a television comedian, but I did not catch his name. He did a couple of impersonations, but when he made a Joke about Hillary Clinton, Larry grabbed his microphone, and playfully pushed him off the stage. Shortly after, They both showed up in the crowd, took a few selfies with fans, and Sat in the back left corner of the lower level, and watched the show for about 1/2 hour or so.

    Too Slim Took his chaps off, in order to dance with the square dancers, and Mike Terry was talking when he picked them back up. Slim picked them up, held them to his cheek, and was petting them like a dog. This is what caused Mike to finally stop reading his commercial and start laughing. When Dailey and Vincent started their show, Darrin Vincent came out wearing Too Slim's chaps.

    To top the evening off, During the Springer Mountain Farms segment, I was sitting in section 15, Row W, Seat 1, and apparently won a gift pack of Chicken to be shipped to me.

    Really had an enjoyable weekend at in Nashville, and at the grand Ole Opry!

  3. Pat, thanks for the nice report. Glad you saw a couple of good shows. By the way, the comedian you mentioned was Rich Little. He was a popular back in the days of the Dean Martin show, and the other network variety shows where he was pretty much a regular. I did not even realize he was still alive. But a nice surprise.

    I would be interested in your impression of the backstage tour. I took it once just to see what they were telling people and how they conducted it. There were also a few times when I was backstage and asked some of those on the tour what they thought. So please feel free to give us your impressions of the tour.

  4. Pat,

    The comedian was Rich Little. Going back into I think the late 60's he became very popular appearing on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, filling in for Johnny many times. He also appeared on many shows of the time like Carol Burnett, Dean Martin and many other comedy hour shows of that era. At least that is how I remember. Some of his best impersonations were of Presidents, and Nixon was a popular one because that was probably the height of Little's career. Not trying to be an authority on Rich Little, only stating things I remember as a youngster. In his time he was able to poke fun of politicians with out the harsh personal attacks we see these days and I believe he had the respect of them as well. Again, just observations and memories. He was popular in Vegas and I believe he is still working there. Actually a pretty famous non music act to show up at the Opry.

    It is nice to see that you noticed the little things that went on during the Opry. To me, they are just as important and fun as the stars and the performances you get to see. To me there is not enough of that laid back feeling anymore. Part of it comes from the vast array of acts they have appearing who really don't know each other and have little in common or spend little to no time off stage together. Therefore, they can't really poke at each other and have fun on stage the way they used to. That was a big part of the show years ago when they all went out on the road on package shows together with four, five or maybe more artist. Friends or not, you got to know each other pretty well riding a bus togethr, or earlier in a cramped car.

    Glad to hear you had a good time.

    Knightsville, IN

  5. Byron,

    Is this a case of "Great minds think alike"?

    Looks like we were responding at the same time with a similar comment. At least we didn't contradict each other!

    Also, I was so pleased with how Jesse did Friday night. It still amazes me at how someone of his age still sounds pretty darn good. Not like his heyday but pretty darn good. Then, you have someone 30 years younger that sounds pretty flat after only 25 or so years in the business. Was it the cigarettes or something back in the day that has made these older artist still sound as good or better sometimes that the next or second generation to follow? I just think of Price, Snow, Jim Ed, Connie Smith, just so many, that kept their voice and ability to the end and now how flat and sour some of these newer act are or become so fast.


    1. Jim, I don't know but I agree with you that many of the artists sound as good today as they did in their "prime." It could be how they took care of their voice, or it could just be the grace of God. Thinking back, however, to those who lost their voices or passed away too soon from smoking and lung cancer or emphysema; artists such as Del Reeves, Roy Drusky, Ernest Tubb to name several.

  6. Jim,
    I guess you could call it a pet peeve of mine, but the opry is a radio show first. When you hear things happening on the radio, but have no idea why. it bugs me. Perfect example is when Slim finally got Mike Terry to laugh, sitting on the other end of the radio, you just heard Mike break out of his Commercial Laughing, with no explanation or reason why.

    I Don't know how many people are listening online either through the App or website, but perhaps Ryman Hospitalities could hire someone to Live Blog during the show? It would be nice to have a quick, Timely commentary about what is happening on stage. I think that would improve the experience for everyone listening online...


  7. As for the VIP behind the scenes tour, I am a fan of the Opry, more so than any one particular artist. Listening in frequently makes me familiar with musicians, as well as the stars. so as we were getting backstage, we were next to the guitar cage, waiting. I looked over, and there is Jimmy Capps and Tommy White conversing. We then walked through to the artists entrance, and saw a couple of band members coming in. we saw where the artists have their names on the wall, and the mailboxes. We walked by all of the Dressing rooms, taking time to look in each one.(Except Shanendoah, there door was closed) the Unused rooms we were allowed inside to take photo's and such. We walked through the green room, Saw Jamie Daily and Darren Vincent deep in conversation. Buck White was getting something to Drink. as a Fan of all of these people it was kind of surreal to be in that place with them. On the other hand, Exactly one Musician took the time to step out of his dressing room, and engage us in conversation... and that was what we would later learn was John Conlee's Piano Player. All of the others seemed like they were trying to avoid eye contact. When we went by Josh Turner's dressing Room, he was talking about what they were planning for the show. When my wife started taking pictures, someone stepped in the way so we couldn't see Josh at all. May have been coincident, but May not have been either.

    The last thing I want to comment on, is the Scene in Mike Sniders dressing room. Often the people introducing Mike will say that they heard him playing in the dressing room before the show. You could hear Mike and friends playing, Laughing, and just having a big time. I really got a sense that there were having a Party, and that Party just walks out on stage for a few minutes, then moves right back to the dressing room. I bet it would be a lot of fun to just spend the evening in Mike's room!


  8. Pat,

    Thanks for sharing this very in depth review of your VIP backstage visit. My brother and I have had the good fortune to be back stage three times. I wont't restate all of that here for many have heard most of it.

    I will say that the second time, Charlie Louvin took us back to the dressing room were Bashful Brother Oswald, Charlie Collins and Earl White were getting prepared to go on stage and rehearsing. Charlie Bush was visiting them, a long time friend to them and Mr. Acuff. We had met Mr Acuff the first time back! The door was closed and Charlie Louvin knocked, stepped in and introduced us and ask them if we could hang out a while. They greeted us accepted our gifts and chatted then went on to rehearse. I ask if pictures were okay, they said yes, and we got a few. Very laid back and informal. That was 1998. Very emotional because Os was in failing health.

    Then we were there all evening in April 1999 and just roamed around taking photo's discreetly, visiting and just hanging out. Not every dressing room door was open but we would see that in some of those rooms were close friends and family, perfectly understandable.

    We were never turned away or stopped from taking a photo. I would like to think some of that had to do with how we conducted ourselves and also our knowledge of who we visited with. We also had several gifts for many of the folks we had not met up to that point.

    We are so blessed and have memories of those times to last the rest of our lives. Things change and we were lucky to come along just in time to experience these folks. That is why I always encourage folks to go see Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith and the few others that have a link what I call the golden age, when they come anywhere close to you.

    Knightsville, IN

  9. I had the opportunity to see Bill Anderson and Little Jimmie Dickens do a show together at the Little Nashville Opry(Nashville, Indiana) a couple of years before it burned down. It is one of the better shows I have seen. 2 guys that more than sang, they performed.... they entertained, in ways that are hard to describe. but I suspect you know what I mean.

    Thanks for sharing your backstage experience. I believe everybody on the VIP tour was out of the backstage area by 15 minutes into the show, and things were probably somewhat different after we left. You have to consider that this was likely a once in a lifetime event for me, But these guys and gals are backstage very regularly, and it probably gets rather old dealing with fans while you are trying to get dressed/tuned/rehearsed/ Etc....

    My Day Job is something a lot of people find fascinating, and I don't mind explaining what I do once in a while, but explaining slows you down a lot, as it disrupts the routine. I even get frustrated explaining my work from time to time. I Couldn't imagine how these folks feel. Every person that comes along wants a few minutes of your time. On the other hand, visiting with fans should be expected as part of the job of being a performer.


    1. Pat, I know that before George Hamilton IV passed away, he would be backstage pretty much every Friday and Saturday night, acting as the goodwill ambassador for the Opry. (He was there even when he was not scheduled to be on stage). He would talk to the tour groups, pose for pictures, etc. He would usually be stationed in the artist area right behind the stage. I always thought that was a nice touch but I also know that George would have preferred to be on stage, not backstage.

      I also know that for the post show tours, they tend to keep the tour groups in the auditorium until all of the artists have cleared out.

      Just following up on Jim, I have noticed that the bluegrass and string bands tend to be more friendlier to the backstage visitors than others. Mike Snider can usually be found hanging out at the Cracker Barrel before the shows and I can remember dozens of artists being at the Shoney's after the show. No more now.

      From my own personal experience, and maybe it was because I was not part of any backstage tour but had backstage access, I have found most of the artists friendly and easy to talk to. John Conlee, Jimmy Dickens, Sharon White, Jimmy C Newman, Steve Wariner, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Walker, Jan Howard and Connie Smith are a few that come immediately to mind. Maybe they do tend to look down on the tour groups just because it is more people that are in the way. I also know that a number of artists, such as Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson and Loretta Lynn will either stay in their bus or stay in the Opry offices until their time to go on stage.

      Glad that you had the chance to go backstage. It is a real nice experience and they have added a lot back there. For what they charge, it should be a good experience.

    2. Pat,

      Small world. Not sure where you are but I'm about 1 hour and 20 minutes from Nashville, IN. Nat Hill who posts here is from Bloomington!

      That performance by Bill and Little Jimmy was November 18, 2006. Jimmy used the Po Folks band which that night included Les Singer on guitar and banjo. That is possibly the last time I saw him on the road with Bill before he became unable to travel so much and stuck to backing Bill mostly on the Opry.

      My notes show Bill opened the show that night with Wild Weekend and then brought Jimmy on to do eight songs and tell some of his jokes. Bill then came back out and did his show. I had forgot, but my notes show that I took a note up to Bill with some requests. He didn't have his glasses so he ask for mine. He still couldn't see so a lady fan loaned him hers!

      I also show that this was one of the few times I saw Bill not stay until everyone had met him. They may have had somewhere to be on Sunday. Jimmy did stick around until everyone who wanted to got to visit with him. Mona had family in southern Indiana and I believe they had a second house there so that may have been why Jimmy was not in a hurry.

      I agree it was a good show and a unique chance to see two male Opry legends together.

      Knightsville, IN

    3. Pat: Did they reopen the Little Nashville Opry? Bob

  10. Byron,
    I wonder if part of it is we were there before everyone performed. Perhaps the stars would be more relaxed and friendly after the Work is done for the evening?

    Bob, My understanding is that a businessman from the area has purchased the name and Property of the little Nashville opry, but is unable to secure funding to build a building. as of now, there is just an empty lot where the building used to stand.

    has it really been 12 years? now that I think about it, I took my father in Law along for the show, as my Son was an infant, and my wife didn't want to leave him with anyone, and he turns 12 this year.... My strongest memory from that night was how well the performers did, and how I thought I was about the youngest person in the audience that night. I would have been 30 Years old that November day.... I live a little over 1 hour east of Nashville, just outside a small town called Westport. The Little Nashville opry sure was a good place to go see a show.

    I am a relative newcomer to the Opry, as I saw my first Opry show somewhere around 2004, as we were on our way home from a road trip to visit family in Texas. I had no idea at the time what a fan I was going to become of the Opry. Today, about the only Music I listen to is archived Opry shows on the WSM website.

    1. We made the comfortable drive 250 - 275 miles from Michigan a couple times to the Little Nashville Indiana Opry. Saw Doyle Lawson and Marty Stuart in the great Saturday night shows, but the real highlight was the Friday night show, For $ 10 the local artists put on a show reminiscent of the original Grand Ole Opry. Brad Mangus and Ronna Bemis were artists that could have competed with any of the stars in Tennesee ---- my first and lasting impression is the venue was a total fire trap, which, of course, became it's fate. A wonderful little town to visit --- so many neat little shops ----I hope someone can rebuild and revive it ---- Flushing , Michigan Dashmann

    2. I believe Ms. Bemis is now a regular at the Ross Country Jamboree I was mentioning in Scottsburg.

      Knightsville, IN

  11. Pat, welcome aboard. Glad to have you and hope you will visit and comment often. Appreciate the insight.

  12. Thanks Byron, I am an avid reader of your blog, I normally don't feel like I have much to contribute. So, When I feel like I have something to contribute, I will!

  13. Pat,

    If I'm thinking correct, the Milwaukee Railroad used to reach around to Westport from Bedford!

    Little Nashville was a nice place to go and see folks. However, I always felt the Country Time Music Hall at Ski World was even better. It was newer but more important the seats were individual and staggered as well as on a slope so rarely did anyone in front of you block your view.

    Local gentleman Lloyd Wood had a great band and they would back acts from the Opry and Nashville very well. What usually happened is the act might bring one of the key band members with them and they would send out a tape ahead of time of the songs they planned to perform. It worked very well. Over about three years we saw Billy Walker, Jeannie Seely, Skeeter Davis, Jean Shepard, Tommy Cash, George Hamilton IV, Norma Jean and Jack Greene there. One I regret missing was Sheb Wooley, he fell ill shortly after and got off the road. This would have been the late 90's.

    If you have not seen Lloyd Wood, keep an eye out at local venues for him. I know he plays the Ross Country Jamboree in Scottsburg which by the way, has Bill Anderson booked in September and Jimmy Fortune real soon.

    As Byron said, welcome aboard and please share your experiences with us.

    Knightsville, IN

  14. Jim,
    You may well be correct... Westport had a North south train line, from North Vernon to Greensburg, and another railroad that left town to the southwest. Not sure of the names, as I can barely remember there being tracks there.

    I have never heard of the country time music hall, not sure how I missed it. The late 90's I was probably more into the modern country music. Glad to have learned to like the older music!