Thursday, March 29, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 3/30 & 3/31

Over the past day, I have given some thought to this year's Hall of Fame inductees: Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West, and Johnny Gimble, and before getting into the Grand Ole Opry line-ups for this weekend, I just wanted to offer an analysis regarding the election of these three well-deserved individuals, and where the Hall of Fame goes from here in future voting.

First, Johnny Gimble was elected in the Recording and/or Touring Musician Category. This is significant as the previous inductees from this category (Grady Martin, Pig Robbins, Charlie McCoy, Harold Bradley, Floyd Cramer) were primarily recording musicians and not touring musicians. While Johnny did his share of recording, he also worked the road with acts such as Bob Wills and Willie Nelson. Hopefully with the election of Johnny, it will open the door for other touring musicians such as Don Rich or Brother Oswald, who helped to define the sounds of Buck Owens and Roy Acuff.

Secondly, there is Dottie West. For the past several years there has been a significant campaign that involved a number of country music artists (Steve Wariner, Larry Gatlin, Kenny Rogers, Jeannie Seely, Shelly West), among others, who worked very hard to get Dottie elected to the Hall of Fame. It seemed that this year the voters got the message and felt that in order to move forward with others in the veterans category, they had to vote Dottie in. The reason is pretty simple: for the past several years, when the articles start appearing about the Hall of Fame, the first name mentioned as not being in was Dottie, with questions to the voters as to why not? Make no mistake about it: Dottie deserved to be elected, and should have been years ago. I believe with her election, the voters can now move on with a clear conscious to the others in the veterans category, such as Hank Williams, Jr., Crystal Gayle, Tanya Tucker, Ray Stevens, among so many others.

Finally, Ricky Skaggs. After the election last year of Alan Jackson in the modern era category, I was afraid that the voters decided to move forward and would start electing the candidates from the late 1980s and 1990s, leaving Ricky behind and waiting to be elected in the veterans class. I do believe that with the election of Ricky, that will close the door to artists of his generation getting elected to the Hall of Fame in the modern era category. I would expect that beginning next year, the focus will be on those from the very late 80s and 90s, including artists such as Brooks & Dunn, The Judds (yes, I know they are more of an 80s act, but there are often associated with the late 80s and 90s),  Toby Keith, Marty Stuart and Tim McGraw, to name a few. To those that are left from Ricky's generation, with Steve Wariner and Keith Whitley coming to mind, I think they will have to wait until they get voted in from the veterans category.

Speaking of voting and categories, it was nice to hear Garth mention that he felt there were too many artists not in the Hall of Fame that should be, and that brings me to the voting. Let me be clear: I do not favor a mass induction. To me, that takes away some of the honor. However, I do believe in the opening up of categories, perhaps adding one or two. I also think that perhaps the voters should be allowed to vote for more than one nominee with those who receive a certain percentage of votes getting in. As an example, for the Baseball Hall of Fame it takes 75% of the vote and for the Football Hall of Fame it takes 80%. Perhaps something in that order to allow maybe two or three to be elected in a category. As things stand now, there is a tremendous backlog being created among those in the veteran class, with more being added each year. Once an artist enters that class, the only way they are eliminated is if they are elected. There are no easy answers but the Country Music Association needs to take a look at it. On the other hand, they might be perfectly fine with only three artists being elected each year. But to country music fans who wonder why their favorite artists are not in the Hall of Fame, that is not good enough.

Now to the Grand Ole Opry on this Easter weekend, as there are two pretty nice shows, with Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry looking very good. Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and Riders In The Sky. On Friday night, they will be joined by a couple of Hall of Famers, Bill Anderson and Vince Gill, along with Jesse McReynolds, a member of the bluegrass Hall of Fame. Saturday night has Steve Wariner, Terri Clark, Ricky Skaggs, Marty Stuart, The Whites and Bobby Osborne joining that group.

Guests on Friday night include Smithfield, Chonda Pierce, Annie Moses Band, RayLynn and Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert. Saturday night has Hall of Famer Don Schlitz, Lee Greenwood and making her Opry debut, Kalie Shorr.

Friday March 30
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Smithfield; Kieran Kane & Rayna Gellert
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Chonda Pierce; Annie Moses Band
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Jesse McReynolds; RayLynn

Saturday March 31
7:00: Steve Wariner (host); Mike Snider; Terri Clark
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Kalie Shorr; Riders In The Sky
8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Don Schlitz; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Lee Greenwood

As mentioned, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Kalie Shorr. Kalie is from Portland, Maine. This 23 year old was playing guitar by the age of ten and began posting covers of popular songs on YouTube when she was 13. At the age of 16 she made her first visit to Nashville, moving there when she turned 19.

In 2010 she was the Southern Maine winner of Maine's Got Talent contest. In March 2014 she got involved in a weekly live show, Song Suffragettes, which featured female singer-songwriters, and has continued to perform on the show. In February 2015, Kalie released an EP of demos that she had recorded over her time in Nashville, named Nashville Sessions. In 2016, her single "Fight Like a Girl" began to receive airplay on Sirius XM The Highway. She later signed a publishing deal and in September 2016 released a second single "He's Just Not That Into You." In March 2017, she released Slingshot, a five-song EP. Thus far, her chart success has been minimal.

And now from 10 years ago, the weekend of March 28 & 29, 2008:

Friday March 28
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman; The Steeldrivers
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Jennifer Hanson
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; B J Thomas
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Ralph Stanley; Restless Heart

Saturday March 29
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Phil Stacey
7:00: Vince Gill (host); Kellie Pickler; The Time Jumpers; Neal McCoy
8:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jan Howard; Ralph Stanley; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jack Greene; Charlie Daniels Band

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Phil Stacey
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Neal McCoy; Kellie Pickler
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Jean Shepard; The Time Jumpers; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Ralph Stanley; Charlie Daniels Band

From 50 years ago, Saturday March 30, 1968:

7:30: Standard Candy
Charlie Louvin (host); On the Other Hand
Grandpa Jones: Banjo Sam
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Wilma Burgess: Baby
The 4 Guys: The Men Who Never Returned
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Laurel
Del Wood: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Charlie Louvin: I Don't Have Any Place to Go

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host); Homestead on the Farm
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Stu Phillips: That's the Chance I'll Have to Take
Rex Allen: Don't Go Near the Indians/Up A Lazy River
Flatt & Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Crook Brothers: Arkansas Traveler

8:30: Stephens
Billy Grammer (host); Mabel
Jim & Jesse: Ballad of Thunder Road
Jerry Green: I've Got A Tiger by the Tail
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Billy Grammer: Money, Love & War
Jim & Jesse: Memphis
Archie Campbell & Lorene Mann: The Dark End of the Street
Ramblin' Lou: Little Green Valley
Billy Grammer: God Will Take Care of You

9:00: Luzianne
Ray Pillow (host); Take Your Hands Off My Heart
The 4 Guys: Love of the Common People
Pete Sayers: Washed My Face in the Morning Dew
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Ray Pillow: Life Turned Her That Way
Duane Dee: Danny Boy
Donna Darlene: I Don't Know You From Adam

9:30: Kellogg's
Willis Brothers (host): A 6 FT 2 By 4
Charlie Louvin: Something's Wrong
Skeeter Davis: Going Down the Road Feeling Bad
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Willis Brothers: A Satisfied Mind
Harold Weakley: He'll Have to Go
Skeeter Davis: Instinct for Survival

10:00: Fender
Hank Locklin (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Stu Phillips: The Note in Box Number 9
Wilma Burgess: Misty Blue
Hank Locklin: Love Song for You

10:15: Pure
Flatt & Scruggs (host): It Was Only the Wind
Jerry Green: Make the World Go Away
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time
Flatt & Scruggs: Down in the Flood

10:30: Buckley's
Jim & Jesse (host): Truck Driving Man
Del Wood: Beer Barrel Polka
Duane Dee: The Shining Hour
Jim & Jesse: Diesel on My Tail

10:45: Newport
Archie Campbell (host): Rindercella
Lorene Mann: Don't Put Your Hands on Me
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Archie Campbell & Lorene Mann: The Dark End of the Street

11:00: Coca-Cola
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
The 4 Guys: Woman; Woman
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Alabama Gal
Rex Allen: San Antonio Rose/The Streets of Laredo
Billy Grammer: Money, Love & War
Sam McGee: McGee Blues
Pete Sayers: Jimmy Brown the Newsboy
Billy Grammer: Beautiful Isle of Somewhere

11:30: Lava
Willis Brothers (host): Little Red Wagon
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Ray Pillow: Gone with the Wine
Cousin Jody: Jody's Chimes
Willis Brothers: Somebody Knows My Dog
Harold Weakley: You've Still Got A Place in My Heart
Skeeter Davis: My Last Date with You
Willis Brothers: Suppertime

There were a couple of names from that show 50 years ago that some might have recognized, or have forgotten:

Ramblin' Lou Schriver was from the western part of New York. Born in 1929, he began his radio career on WJJL in Niagara Falls in 1947. He then moved on to Buffalo and Southern Ontario, Canada. In 1951, along with his band Twin Pine Mountaineers, he recorded and released an album on Sparton Records. That led to appearances on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, the Grand Ole Opry, and the Erie County Fair, where he was an annual performer for 51 years. He was also a music promoter, who brought acts such as Elvis Presley, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams to the Buffalo area. In 1985, he was inducted into the Country Radio Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and was a charter member of the Buffalo Broadcasters Hall of Fame, and the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame. He continued to perform locally until his death on January 17, 2016.

Duane Dee was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and recorded for Capital Records. He had the original recording of "Before the Next Teardrop Falls," which later went to No. 1 for Freddy Fender. Duane's version only went as high as #44 in 1968. He had a string of minor hits and made several appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. As of September 2017 he was living in Florida.

Finally, Donna Darlene was born in Kane, Pennsylvania in 1938. She was pretty popular in the Western Pennsylvania area, performing on various radio stations in the area. She later was a part of the Bob Spicker and the Sunset Ramblers. Later she was a part of the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. By 1967, her manager was Shot Jackson and she was signed to Wizard Records, and then in 1979 to Stardust Records. She was married to Doug Kershaw and then to Shot Jackson. Donna never had a major hit and not much is known about her later years. She passed away in June 2017.

Finally, it was Saturday March 30, 1974 that the Earl Scruggs Revue made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. After breaking up with Lester Flatt in 1969, each remained Opry members, with Earl joining up with his sons Randy, Gary, and Steve, along with Vassar Clements and Josh Graves to play a more progressive style of bluegrass. The original line-up would change over the years, with Earl, Randy and Gary remaining the constant members, joined by various groups of musicians. While popular with younger audiences, Earl had issues with many who played and followed traditional bluegrass, with several feeling that Earl had lost his way.  The group was popular on college campuses and festivals and performed with a number of progressive acts. The group recorded for Columbia Records.

Earl only stayed at the Opry for a few years after forming his group. Their first appearance was September 13, 1969, with their final show just over 4 1/2 years later. After leaving the Opry, the group stayed together until 1982 when the decision was made to part ways.

Here is the running order from 44 years ago, Saturday March 30, 1974, the final night that Earl Scruggs performed as a member of the Grand Ole Opry (just 2 weeks after the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House):

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Truck Stop
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203/Looking Back to See
Willis Brothers: Buying Popcorn

7:00: Rudy's
Archie Campbell (host): (?)
Bob Luman: Lonely Women Make Good Lovers
Tommy Jones: Dixie Hummingbird
Bob Luman: When You Say Love
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Tommy Jones: Orange Blossom Special
Archie Campbell: Make Friends

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: I'm Going Home on the Morning Train
Lonzo  & Oscar: Moving On #2
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Lost Indian
Roy Acuff: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Carol Lee Cooper: Making Plans
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:00: Martha White
Billy Walker (host): I Changed My Mind
Grandpa Jones: Are You From Dixie
Earl Scruggs Revue: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Connie Smith: Dallas
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain
Grandpa Jones: Just Plain Folks
Earl Scruggs Revue: I Shall Be Released

8:30: Stephens
Billy Grammer (host): Detroit City
Stu Phillips: Great El Tigrae
The 4 Guys: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks, Blue Ribbon Beer
Stu Phillips: That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Charlie Walker (host): Wanting My Woman Again
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Connie Smith: Amazing Grace
Charlie Walker: Jambalaya
Ernie Ashworth: Honky Tonk Hardwood Floor
Charlie Walker: Jambalaya
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Doin' My Time
Bob Luman: Today I Started Loving You Again
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Coming Down from God

10:15: Union 76
Roy Acuff (host): Back in the Country
Justin Tubb: Loving Arms
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:30: Trailblazer
Stu Phillips (host): There Must Be Another Way to Say Goodbye
Grandpa Jones: Banjo Sam/Mountain Dew
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Lonzo & Oscar: Rocky Top
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Billy Walker (host): Sing Me A Love Song to Baby
Earl Scruggs Revue: Carolina Boogie
Tommy Jones: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Katy Hill
Earl Scruggs Revue: T for Texas
Sam McGee: Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Devil Woman
The 4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of A Dove
Johnny Russell: Red Necks, White Socks, Blue Ribbon Beer
Ronnie Robbins: Am I Good Enough to Be Your Man/Mama Tried
Marty Robbins: Don't Worry/Love Me/Big Boss Man/I'm Wanting To/El Paso/Singing The Blues

There you have it for this week. Sunday April 1 is Easter Sunday. I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed Easter, and as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!


  1. Jesse McReynolds out for Friday night, replaced by Jim Lauderdale. Lucas Hoge added to first segment on Friday.

  2. I hope Jesse is doing ok. And I wonder why I can post again!

    A couple of thoughts to share.

    Johnny Gimble was, individually, a great musician. So were Don Rich and Oswald. But the two of them were closely associated with the "sound" of their boss. I wonder if that's part of the difficulty they may face getting into the Hall of Fame. It's as if inducting Buck meant inducting Don, and inducting Mr. Acuff meant inducting Os. Not that I feel that way but I'm not a voter!

  3. Byron,

    Who do you see as the early favorites for the Hall of Fame for next year?.

  4. Is an Opry moment only considered a collaboration between two artists?

    I think that was a pretty special moment last night when Bill Anderson spoke of Sir Ken Dodd of England and the fact that Bill's song became his signature song after 1964. I had never heard of Mr. Dodd but from what Bill said, he was quite the performer in England. Anyway, I thought it was a nice gesture to the folks across the pond to remember one of their own with a tie to Nashville, the Opry and Bill through the song.

    You all know I am a big fan of Bill but I still think it was a special moment and I thought Bill sounded great last night.

    Knightsville, IN

  5. "Happiness" was sort of an obscure song on Bill's first album, but one I always personally liked. Was wonderful to hear Bill perform it on the Opry after all these years -----enjoy this treasure of a man while we still have him --- Dashmann, Flushing , Michigan ----

  6. The Midnight Jamborree was very good last night, since David Frizzell was there and Freddie Hart sang a song for him too. Sad, that Freddie is never again on the Opry schedule, same goes for Stonewall Jackson and many others from the good old past...:-(

  7. Thanks for reporting that Freddie Hart was on with David last night. They say if you snooze you loose, well I went to bed and did not listen last night. I wonder if Freddie and David might be on with Eddie Stubbs Monday night to promote the new CD?

    Knightsville, IN

    1. Freddie Hart was on for 5 minutes. He sang "Lefty Frizzell." Bob

  8. What a treat that I stayed up to hear Freddie Hart on the Midnight Jamboree ------ Freddie can still sing !!!!!! Flushing, Mich Dashmann

    1. Especially on Lefty Frizzel's night since I actually WAS born in Saginaw, Michigan !!!!!!!! Flushing , Mich, Dashmann