Monday, April 30, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 5/1 & Opry Country Classics 5/3

The line-up has been posted for the Tuesday Night Opry.

7:00: Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jim Lauderdale; Terri Clark
8:15: Delta Rae; Jason Crabb
8:45: Luke Combs; Exile

Has anyone else noticed that over the past several years, Del McCoury seems to to be limiting his Opry appearances to the Tuesday night shows?

Opry Country Classics will feature Tanya Tucker as the Spotlight Artist this week.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Tanya Tucker
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Jamie O'Neal; T.G. Sheppard; Charlie Worsham

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 4/27 & 4/28


Here are the line-ups:

Friday April 27
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Brooke Eden; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); A Thousand Horses; Eric Paslay
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds; Lynda Carter
8:45: Vince Gill (host); Carson Peters & Iron Mountain; Charles Esten

Saturday April 28
1st show
7:00: John Conlee (host); Lee Roy Parnell; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Mark Wills
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Bobby Bones; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Linda Davis

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee (host); Lee Roy Parnell; Mike Snider
10:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Mark Wills
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Bobby Bones; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Linda Davis

Friday night looks the better of the two nights this weekend and still plenty of tickets available for the 2nd show on Saturday.

As I write this post, the Grand Ole Opry line-ups have not yet been posted for this weekend. There is one show on Friday night and for this weekend, there are two shows on Saturday night, with lots of tickets available for the 2nd show.

Looking at those who are scheduled for the Friday Night Opry, the list is led by Hall of Fame member Vince Gill. Vince might have a tough decision to make as the Nashville Predators open the next round of the NHL playoffs on Friday night, with the game starting at 8:00 at the Bridgestone Arena. Most of you probably know that Vince is a big hockey fan and attends most of the games when he is in town. If he is planning on being downtown by face-off, his Opry appearance might have to be scheduled early in the show.

Other Opry members scheduled to appear include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, and Mike Snider. Guest artists include A Thousand Horses, Eric Paslay, Charles Esten, Carson Peters and Iron Mountain, Brook Eden and "Wonder Woman" herself, Lynda Carter. A pretty solid list of names.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry has Opry members Ricky Skaggs, Riders In The Sky, John Conlee, Mike Snider and The Whites currently listed for both shows. Guest artists include Bobby Bones and Mark Wills. Obviously a few spots to fill.


Wrapping up the month of April, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the final weekend of the month ten years ago, the weekend of April 25 & 26, 2008:

Friday April 25
8:00: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Dailey & Vincent
9:00: Ray Pillow (host); Ernie Ashworth; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys
9:30: John Conlee (host); Eddy Raven; Kathy Mattea

Saturday April 26
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:00: Trace Adkins (host); Ashton Shepherd; The Infamous Stringdusters; Crystal Gayle
8:00: Ray Pillow (host); Jan Howard; Eddy Raven; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: The Whites (host); Elizabeth Cook; The Grascals

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Crystal Gayle
10:00: Trace Adkins (host); The Infamous Stringdusters; Ashton Shepherd
10:30: Ray Pillow (host); Eddy Raven; Rebecca Lynn Howard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: The Whites (host); Elizabeth Cook; The Grascals

Now from 25 years ago, the final Saturday in April 1993:

1st show
6:30: The 4 Guys (host); Teddy Wilburn
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; Billy Walker; Charlie Louvin; Riders In The Sky
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Mark Collie
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Del Reeves; Oswald & Charlie; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Bill Carlisle; Wilma Lee Cooper; Roy Drusky

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; Jeannie Seely; Stonewall Jackson; Mark Collie
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Riders In The Sky
10:15: Charlie Walker (host); The 4 Guys
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Charlie Louvin
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Justin Tubb; Jimmy C Newman
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis; Bill Carlisle; Mike Snider

Looking back to that final weekend in April, it was on Saturday April 28, 1973 that Conway Twitty made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Many have thought it should have come sooner.

And remembering back 52 years to Saturday April 30, 1966 when Ray Pillow became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Ray Pillow recalls it was his Uncle Roger who introduced him to music and was responsible for his first public performance. "I sort of got talked into substituting for a sick member of my uncle's band one night," Ray recalls. "When I walked out on stage to the microphone, I knew that was what I wanted to do for a lifetime! Music!." Thirty five years after joining the Opry, Ray got to introduce his 87-year-old uncle to the Opry stage. "I told the people that my uncle was the person that believed in me and wanted me to come to Nashville. I handed him a guitar and said Uncle Roger, you and I are going to sing." He brought the house down and got a standing ovation.

Ray came to Nashville in 1961 as a regional winner in the Pet Milk Talent Contest. He came in second in the national finals, and his performance landed him a guest spot on the Opry. That stoked his desire even more for a country music career. He soon released his first two singles, "Take You Hands Off My Heart," and "Thank You, Ma'am." In 1965 Capital Records released his first album "Presenting Ray Pillow" and by late 1968 he was a star. That was the year he teamed with Opry member Jean Shepard on a pair of hits, the Top 10 "I'll Take the Dog," and "Mr. Do-It-Yourself." Between those two singles he became an official Opry member.

In addition to his own performing career, Ray has helped shape the professional paths of others including Lee Greenwood. His publishing company published many of Lee's hits including the 1985 Country Music Association Song of the Year, "God Bless the USA." Ray is well known on Music Roy as a publisher who can match the right artist with the right song and recording company. In 1994 the state of Virginia added him to its Country Music Hall of Fame.

Here is the running order from Saturday April 30, 1966, the night Ray Pillow became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Luzianne
Billy Walker (host): How Do You Ask Someone to Love You
George Hamilton IV: Big Steel Railroad
The Homesteaders: Flowers on the Wall
Cousin Jody: Steel Guitar Rag
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Curly Fox: Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey
George Hamilton IV: Write Me a Picture
The Homesteaders: Doing Down the Mountain
Billy Walker: Charlie's Shoes

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): Nine Pound Hammer
Bobby Bare: Four Strong Winds
Grandpa Jones: (?)
Del Wood: Piano Roll Blues
Flatt & Scruggs: I Know What it Means to Be Lonesome
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Bobby Bare: Detroit City
Grandpa Jones: Old Rattler
Flatt & Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

8:30: Stephens
Roy Acuff (host): Tennessee Central No. 9
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
Marion Worth: One Has My Name, The Other My Heart
Archie Campbell: Comedy
Roy Acuff: Wreck on the Highway
Wilburn Brothers: Trouble's Back in Town
Brother Oswald: Roll On Buddy, Roll On

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Jealous Lovin' Heart
Glaser Brothers: A Girl Like You
Ray Pillow: Common Colds & Broken Hearts
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas
Margie Bowes: That Completely Destroyed My Plans
Glaser Brothers: Teardrops Till Dawn
Ray Pillow: Even the Bad Times Are Good
Leon Rhodes: Leon's Guitar Boogie

9:30: Kellogg's
Willis Brothers (host): Give Me 40 Acres
Carter Family: It Ain't Me Babe
Waylon Jennings: Time to Bum Again
June Carter: Tall Loverman
Willis Brothers: Love Thy Neighbor
Harold Weakley: To Mommy, In Care of God
Carter Family: Wildwood Flower
Skeeter Davis: A Maiden's Prayer

10:00: Schick
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Curly Fox: The Old Gray Mule
Cousin Jody: Wabash Blues
Billy Walker: Cattle Call

10:15: Pure
Wilburn Brothers (host): I'm Gonna Tie One on Tonight
Del Wood: Night Train to Memphis
Wilburn Brothers: Someone Before Me
Don Helms: The World is Waiting for the Sunrise

10:30: Harvey's
Bobby Bare (host): Man of Constant Sorrow
Grandpa Jones: I Don't Love Nobody
Bobby Bare: 500 Miles
Grandpa Jones: 8 More Miles to Louisville
Bobby Bare: It Ain't Me Babe/Blowing in the Wind/Worried Man Blues

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): Till My Getup Has Got Up and Gone
Jack Greene: Born to Lose
Crook Brothers: Ida Red
Ernest Tubb: Half A Mind

11:00: Coca-Cola
Roy Acuff (host): The Great Speckled Bird
Glaser Brothers: Same Old Memories
Margie Bowes: Big City
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Sam McGee: Wheels
Ray Pillow: Thank You, Ma'am
Onie Wheeler: Too Hot to Handle

11:30: Lava
Willis Brothers (host): Gonna Swing Till My Rope Breaks
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Waylon Jennings: Anita, You're Dreaming
Archie Campbell: The Men in My Little Girl's Life
Willis Brothers: A 6 Ft 2 by 4
Marion Worth: Cryin' Time
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Willis Brothers: God Walks These Hills with Me

There you have it for this week. Congratulations to Ray Pillow on his 52nd anniversary as an Opry member.

I will be off this weekend, thus the short post. If I get a chance to update, I will try (at least to get the full line-ups posted).

Have a great weekend!!!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 4/24 & Opry Country Classics 4/26

One of the newest Grand Ole Opry members, Chris Young, will be performing on the Tuesday Night Opry this week. Also scheduled are Tommy Emmanuel and Jerry Douglas. I always enjoy both and to see and hear them performing together should be something special.

7:00: John Conlee; Lindsay Ell
7:30: Tommy Emmanuel & Jerry Douglas; Drake White
8:15: Bill Anderson; The SteelDrivers
8:45: Chris Young

The Spotlight Artist this week on Opry Country Classics is Connie Smith. Another pretty good show scheduled:

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Connie Smith
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; David Ball; Elizabeth Cook; Don Schlitz

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 4/20 & 4/21

The line-ups are posted for the three Opry shows this weekend as there will be two shows on Saturday night in addition to the one show on Friday.

The attraction this weekend will be Grand Ole Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show, who will be performing on all three shows this weekend. In fact, on both Saturday shows they have the entire last segment to themselves. Joining OCMS both nights will be Opry members Riders In The Sky and Jeannie Seely, along with guest comedian Dick Hardwick, who suddenly appears to be on the Opry's "frequent guest artist" list.

Additional Opry members scheduled on Friday night include Bobby Osborne, Terri Clark and Hall of Fame member Connie Smith. Saturday night The Whites are on the schedule, along with the fantastic Patty Loveless and the legendary Jesse McReynolds, who will be returning to the Opry after missing last weekend due to illness.

Guesting on Friday night, in addition to Dick Hardwick, will be the legendary Gene Watson, along with Lindi Ortega, Chuck Wicks and Joshua Hedley. Joining Dick on Saturday night will be Sam Lewis and Lucas Hoge.

When looking at the line-ups, there are only 9 acts scheduled for Saturday night. Hopefully this is just a one night deal and not an indication that the Opry is falling back to the old habits they had over the last couple of years. It was nice seeing full line-ups for the past several months.

Friday April 20
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Lindi Ortega; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Terri Clark; Gene Watson
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Chuck Wicks; Dick Hardwick
8:45: Joshua Hedley; Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday April 21
1st show
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sam Lewis
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Patty Loveless
8:00: The Whites (host); Lucas Hoge; Dick Hardwick; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Old Crow Medicine Show

2nd show
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Sam Lewis
10:00: The Whites (host); Lucas Hoge; Dick Hardwick
10:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Patty Loveless; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Old Crow Medicine Show

It seems as if every week there is someone making their Opry debut and this weekend it is Joshua Hedley. Joshua is a native of Florida and began playing the fiddle as a young child. At the age of 12 he joined his first band, playing at the local VFW and American Legion halls. At the age of 19, he moved to Nashville and began sneaking into Robert's Western World, where he went on to become a featured performer and in-demand sideman. Over time, he acquired the nickname "Mayor of Lower Broad."

Joshua will be performing on the Opry in support of his new album "Mr. Jukebox," which will be released the same day as his debut on the Opry. This is Joshua's debut album and features 10 songs.

Now here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the 3rd weekend in April ten years ago, the weekend of April 18 & 19, 2008:

Friday April 18
8:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Suzy Bogguss
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Diamond Rio
9:30: John Conlee (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Avett Brothers

Saturday April 19
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Emily West
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; George Hamilton IV; The Whites; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Mark Lowry
8:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Jan Howard; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del McCoury Band; Lorrie Morgan
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Emily West; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Mark Lowry; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Lee Greenwood

From 25 years ago, Saturday April 17, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Jean Shepard
6:45: Del Reeves (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jimmy C Newman; Stonewall Jackson; Jan Howard; Ray Pillow
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Osborne Brothers; The Whites; Mike Snider
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; Darryl & Don Ellis; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Jim & Jesse; John Conlee; Alison Krauss

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); The 4 Guys; Wilma Lee Cooper; Brother Oswald; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin
10:15: Del Reeves (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Skeeter Davis
10:45: John Conlee (host); Darryl & Don Ellis; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Jan Howard; Bill Carlisle; The Whites
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Alison Krauss; Mike Snider; Johnny Russell

Among the events that took place during the 3rd weekend in April, it was Saturday April 22, 1967 that The 4 Guys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The group made their Opry debut earlier that year in February and quickly became Opry favorites. They came to the Opry from Wheeling, West Virginia and were one of the few groups to join the cast without the benefit of a hit record.

April 17, 1971 saw the return of Connie Smith to the Grand Ole Opry. Connie had originally joined the cast in 1965, however she left the show a few years later to raise her children and to concentrate on gospel music, which really didn't fit in with the Opry. Once Connie returned to the Opry's cast, she stayed and is still with the Opry today.

Let's go back 47 years to that Saturday night when Connie Smith returned to the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Jim Ed Brown (host); Pop A Top
The 4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria/Sweet Caroline
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

6:45: Rudy's
Ray Pillow (host): The Waitress
Del Wood: Psychedelic Mockingbird
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Ray Pillow: You Don't Care What Happens to Me

7:00: Luzianne
Billy Grammer (host): Mountain Dew
Earl Scruggs Revue: Fireball Mail
Justin Tubb: I'm Going Back to Louisiana
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: If I've Gotta Have Your Lovin'
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk with Thee
Earl Scruggs Revue: The Girl from the North Country
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's a Sunday
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Alabama Jubilee

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Stringbean: Eight More Miles to Lousiville
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Roy Acuff: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight
Skeeter Davis: Amazing Grace
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn

8:00: Martha White
Ernest Tubb (host): In the Jailhouse Now
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get
Connie Smith: Louisiana Man
Floyd Tillman: Slipping Around
Ernest Tubb: One Sweet Hello
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Connie Smith: Once A Day

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): Vanishing Breed
Bob Luman: Mona Lisa
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Lost Indian
Hank Snow: So Goes My Heart
Harold Weakley: Crazy Arms
Bob Luman: Sing the Blues to Daddy
Hank Snow: Tammy

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking Back to See
The 4 Guys: One Pair of Hands
Justin Tubb: Free-Born Man
Del Wood: Wesley's Tune
Jim Ed Brown: Angel's Sunday
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
Del Wood: Are You from Dixie
Jim Ed Brown: Morning

10:00: Fender
Hank Locklin (host): Please Help Me I'm Falling
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Hank Locklin: She's As Close As I Can Get

10:15: Union 76
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Honey, Be My Honey Bee
Billy Grammer: What A Friend

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): I Saw the Light
Ray Pillow: The Waitress
Floyd Tillman: Daisy May
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Ernest Tubb (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
Leon Boulanger: San Antonio Rose
Crook Brothers: Sally Ann
Ernest Tubb: Another Story

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Connie Smith: How Great Thou Art
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Take Me Back to Tulsa
Hank Snow: Tangled Mind
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Sam McGee: Wheels
Hank Snow: Mississippi River Blues

11:30: Elm Hill
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Bob Luman: Sing the Blues to Daddy
Diane McCall: Help Me Make It Through the Night
Charlie Louvin: Love Has to Die All by Itself
Bob Luman: I Got a Woman
Charlie Louvin & Diane McCall: Did You Ever/Something to Brag About

Finally, it was Saturday April 19, 1947 that Roy Acuff returned to the Grand Ole Opry after he left the show the year before.

In 1946, Roy was one of the stars of the Grand Ole Opry and as the star of the Prince Albert portion of the show that was broadcast on the NBC Radio Network, Roy felt he was worth more money. "Sponsor," which was the name of a leading radio trade journal, wrote the following: "When Roy Acuff, star for seven years on the Grand Ole Opry decided that he wanted more than folk-music men are usually paid (peanuts) and turned in his notice to the R.J Reynolds Tobacco Company, the tobacco organization had more than usual star aches. Acuff was almost a religion in the mountain music territory. He had sold thousands of song book and a juke box didn't snag its share of nickles unless it had plenty of Acuff discs, and they still say he could have become governor of Tennessee, if he hadn't decided not to run. So, when William Esty and Company, the advertising agency handling the Reynolds account, was told the sad news, it had real trouble, real tall corn trouble. A reasonable facsimile of Acuff, even one better than the original, wouldn't work. The circuit-rider hold that the existing star had on his people wouldn't disappear just because he was playing one-night stands throughout the country to collect upon his reputation. Something new had to be added to the Prince Albert section if the Opry was to hit a 13.1 Hopper rating (a very strong rating) in December, 1945, just as it had in December of the previous year."

It is interesting to note that Roy Acuff didn't just quit the Prince Albert portion of the Opry; he severed all of his connections to WSM and the Grand Ole Opry. Over the years, Roy never talked much about it, but there was hurt pride involved in it all. Roy had worked hard to make himself the heart and soul of the Prince Albert Show and he was the Opry's most prominent star. On the road, he was making good money and had lucrative movie offers. He wanted that recognized by both the Opry and the sponsor. When he was refused what he considered a fair offer, he left and was replaced by Red Foley.

After Roy left, he contended that he connection with the Opry, and Harry Stone at all times. He continued to bill his show as "Roy Acuff and His Grand Ole Opry Gang," which he could not have done without the approval of the Opry. In 1946, he had the Roy Acuff Tent Theater, using his own money to equip the tour. While the show made some money, it was a tough deal for Roy as the tour traveled through Virginia, North and South Carolina, then continuing into Texas and Florida. After reaching Florida, he called it quits. He then went to the West Coast for a three month tour of California that was a huge financial success.

After returning to Nashville, he was hospitalized for a minor ailment and was visited by Harry Stone and Ernest Tubb. According to legend, Harry Stone told Roy that the Opry was losing many of its people and it looked like it was going to go under if he didn't come back. While there is no documentation of any kind that the Opry was going to go under because Roy wasn't there, what Harry said worked on Roy's ego and he came back, first appearing on Red Foley's Prince Albert portion on April 19, 1947.

Here is the program from 71 years ago, Saturday April 19, 1947, the night Roy Acuff returned:

8:00: Purina
Oklahoma Wranglers: Rocky Mountain Express
Eddy Arnold: You're Not My Darling Any More
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Uncle Dave Macon and Dorris: Wish You All Well
Eddy Arnold: Rocking Alone in an Old Rocking Chair
Rod Brasfield: Jokes
Oklahoma Wranglers: Old Indians Never Die
Annie Lou and Danny: Corn Bread and Molasses
Eddy Arnold: Chained to a Memory

8:30: Warren Paint and Color Co.
Lew Childre: Fog on the Rio Grande
Paul Howard: Somebody Else's Trouble
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Milton Estes: Cowboy Has to sing
Clyde Moody: Leaf of Love
Lew and Stringbean: Rabbit in the Log
Chubby Wise: Down Yonder
Marie and Clyde: Railroad Boomer
Possum Hunters: Miss Sally
Robert Lunn: Since They Put a Radio in the Henhouse
Jimmy Walker: Gone, Gone, Gone

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Golden West Cowboys: Alabama Jubilee
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Billy in the Low Ground
Cowboy Copas: Texas Red
Texas Ruby: Kansas City Blues
Curly Fox: Farmer and His Mule
Bradley Kincaid: Billy Richardson's Last Ride
York Brothers: Life Can Never Be the Same
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Johnnie and Jack: This World Can't Stand Long
Shorty Boyd: 8th of January

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley: Tennessee Central No. 9
Square Dance: Turkey in the Straw
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Oak Ridge Quartet: Blind Bartemus
Ernest Tubb: There's Gonna Be Some Changes Made Around Here
Red Foley: I'll Never Let You Go Little Darling
Minnie Pearl: Jokes
Roy Acuff: Wait for the Light to Shine
Instrumental: Careless Love
Square Dance: Leather Britches

10:00: Wall-Rite
Earl Scruggs: Why Did You Wander
Bill and Lester: True Life Blues
Uncle Dave Macon and Dorris: Pleasure Down on the Farm
Quartet: Shining Path
Lester: Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

10:15: Weatherhouse
Paul Howard: There's a Big Rock in the Road
Lew and Stringbean: Roll On Buddy Roll On
Clyde Moody: Where the Old Red River Flows
Johnny and Jack: Sing Tom Kitty
Possum Hunters: Old Rat

10:30: Cherokee Mills
Roy Acuff: No One Will Ever Know
Rachel and Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Curly Fox and Ruby: Did You Ever Go Sailing
Jimmy: My Life's Been a Pleasure
Jug Band: Detour
Arthur Smith: Kicking Mule

10:45: Southern Woodenware
Golden West Cowboys: Tennessee Waltz
Bill Monroe: My Rose of Old Kentucky
Bradley Kincaid: Granny's Old Arm Chair
Crook Brothers: The Old Account Was Settled
Golden West Cowboys: Cowboy's Special

11:00: Eddy Arnold Songbook
Eddy Arnold: I Couldn't Believe It Was True
Lily Belle: You Only Want Me When You're Lonely
Lonzo and Oscar: John Henry
Eddy Arnold: You Can't Break the Chains of Love

11:15: Ernest Tubb Songbook
Ernest Tubb: Rainbow at Midnight
Hal Smith: Joe Turner Blues
Dot and Smokey: Let's Pretend
Ernest Tubb: I'm Telling You

11:30: Saf-Kill
Wally Fowler: Waiting for My Call to Glory
Oklahoma Wranglers: A No good Son of a Gun
Curly Fox: Bully of the Town
York Brothers: Life Can Never Be the Same
Gully Jumpers: Dance All Night

11:45: Michigan Bulb
Milton Estes: I'm Writing You Darling Through Tears
Jimmy Walker and Robert Lunn: I'd Trade All My Tomorrows
Kirk McGee: I'm Gonna Be Boss from Now On
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Chinese Breakdown
Milton Estes: I Don't Care

When Roy Acuff returned it was not as the host of the Prince Albert portion of the Opry as that spot had gone to Red Foley, who was doing a fine job in that capacity. Beginning the following week, Roy would be the host and star of the Royal Crown Cola segment, which followed the Prince Albert portion. However, that segment of the Opry was not broadcast nationally. Once Roy returned to the Opry, he would remain with the show for the rest of his life.

One final note. While it is widely reported that all of those who appear on the Opry do so at union scale under a negotiated contract, that is not the case. The union contract is for the minimum that is paid to the performers, and the vast majority do make the minimum. However, the bigger stars are paid more and that practice started when Roy Acuff returned to the Opry in April 1947.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Some Longtime Opry Members May Get Boot

No, don't get excited!! That was the front page headline that readers of the Nashville Banner woke up to on April 18, 1985. Here is the entire story as written by Clarke Canfield.

About 20 percent of the performers on the world famous Grand Ole Opry will be phased out of the show under a new two-year contract agreed upon Tuesday night. Sources close to the contract negotiations said the move will affect at least 12 acts, all of them longtime show regulars, who will be placed on "Senior Status."

Under the plan agreed upon by Grand Ole Opry management and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA), the performers will be cut to only 14 of the Opry's 187 shows a year. "They (Opry management) say they have too many artists for the show now.," said David Maddox, AFTRA's executive secretary who negotiated the pact. "They say they have more acts than slots. I don't know who it will affect. What that means is those people who are to be terminated from the Opry will be given at least enough employment to be covered by all the benefits when the retire."

Among those artists Opry management wants to phase out, according to knowledgeable sources, Justin Tubb, Ernie Ashworth, Jean Shepard, Vic Willis, Charlie Louvin, Lonzo and Oscar, Teddy Wilburn, Del Wood, Stu Phillips, and Billy Walker. 

Opryland President E.W. "Bud" Wendell and Grand Ole Opry Manager Hal Durham were both out of town and could not be reached for comment. Opry Information Director Jerry Strobel said he was unaware of the contract details.

"Why were we promised we'd be there for life and we're kicked in the teeth?" said one performer who asked not to be identified. "We were the glue that held that place together," declared another." We built the Opry up and bypassed show dates on the road to keep the Opry going. Who are they to judge who is salable and who isn't." "This is nothing but age discrimination," said another.

Maddox would neither confirm nor deny report that only eight Opry members attended the Tuesday meeting and that seven voted in favor of the contract. The other voter reportedly abstained, sources told the Nashville Banner. Along with the possibility of being phased out, several Opry veterans voiced displeasure with the new contract that will give Opry performers a 5 percent pay raise over the next two years. The contract was approved Tuesday between the union members and Gaylord Broadcasting Co,. owners of Opryland USA, WSM-AM, WSM-FM, the Opryland Hotel and The Nashville Network (TNN) and approved by the AFTRA board today.

Contract negotiations had been in the works for about a month, with performers initially seeking 20 percent pay hikes, increased job security and compensation for performances on TNN, which began television some Opry shows nationwide last week. Maddox said that any mention of who would be phased out would be pure speculation on his part, but that under terms of the contract, those who are being kicked off the show will be compensated in the end. Once those performers who are targeted to be phased out of the Opry shows become eligible for the AFTRA pension fund, they will be taken off the show, Maddox said. "A minimum pension is probably not that significant in money, but with the pension they receive the same benefits as if they were employed, "Maddox said, explaining that those on pension receive major medical and hospital insurance. He said that Opry management could have kicked anybody they wanted off the shows but instead gave some performers more security by slowly phasing them out. "I was surprised we were able to negotiate that phase-out plan," he said. "This is experimental. What that means is that we want to try this for two years and see how it works out." Maddox said everybody he had talked to was pleased with the contract. "The reaction I've gotten from those who've heard the contract results is that they're very pleased with it. We had different priorities than just a 20 percent pay raise. You have to look at the package as a whole." But some embittered Opry performers claimed that Maddox had "sold us down the river" and did not look out for their best interest.

That was the Nashville Banner story from that day. For those of you who have read the Porter Wagoner biography, there is also a reference to this situation in the book which included details of a "locker-room" meeting called by Porter, who seemed to be the one taking charge. That meeting took place on May 8 and included Roy Acuff, Ernie Ashworth, Bill Carlisle, The Four Guys, Jack Greene, Jan Howard, Lonzo and Oscar, Jimmy C Newman, Ray Pillow, Del Reeves, Benny Burchfield (Jean Shepard's husband), Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith, Justin Tubb, Billy Walker, Charlie Walker, Teddy Wilburn, Vic Willis, and Del Wood. 

Porter was quoted as saying at this meeting, "I can imagine how humiliated each one of you were that your names appeared in the newspaper. Let me assure you, that article was not authorized by the Grand Ole Opry management. The phasing out of an artist is something we need to discuss deeply, anyone that would be phased out, would be purely because they can't contribute, and there is not a person in this room that can't contribute more to the Opry than you are doing." The entire Porter statement is in the book.

Looking back to 1985 when this story broke, the Opry just about 60 members including the two square dance groups. And Opry management was saying that was too many? Dropping 12 would have brought the membership total to under 50, the lowest in several decades.

Some of the names on the list are interesting, especially considering that several on that list, such as Jean Shepard, Billy Walker and Charlie Louvin to name three, were still actively touring. And it is not like those listed were senior citizens. Most were in the 50's. And if the Opry was going to make a list, notice some of the names that were missing. It could easily have been argued that The Four Guys, Ray Pillow or Bill Carlisle could have been included. Who knows how the Opry management came up with the list of names.

In a way, the Opry's members had only themselves to blame for this mess. While Porter had no trouble gathering a decent group of veteran members for his "locker-room" meeting, only eight bothered to vote on the union contract. It would appear that those who were quoted in the paper were among those who did not vote.

Obviously, and looking back, further discussions took place and all of those listed continued as Opry members. In fact, despite the claim that the Opry had too many members, Hal Durham went on a membership run in the late 80's and early 90's, with membership increasing to over 70. Of course, those who Hal asked to join accepted Opry membership with no appearance commitments, so there was no need to worry about too many members showing up most nights.

One last note: two of those listed, Charlie Louvin and Billy Walker, would lead the veterans who complained about their appearances being cut after Pete Fisher took over in 1999, while Jean Shepard continued to be very vocal about the way the veterans were being treated at the Opry. Obviously time did not change things.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 4/17 & Opry Country Classics 4/19

Another set of mid-week Opry shows are on the schedule for this week. One show on Tuesday night featuring another appearance by Grand Ole Opry member Trace Adkins, who continues with his string of Tuesday night appearances. Also scheduled are Opry members Ricky Skaggs, The Whites and Del McCoury. Among the guests scheduled is Ray Stevens.

Tuesday Night Opry April 17:

7:00: The Whites; Ray Stevens
7:30: Aaron Lewis; Del McCoury Band
8:15: Mickey Guyton; Ricky Skaggs
8:45: Henry Cho; Trace Adkins

Opry Country Classics this week will feature a rare appearance by Country Music Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee, who is the spotlight artist this week. Larry Gatlin is back hosting.

Opry Country Classics April 19

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Brenda Lee
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Darin & Brooke Aldridge; Wade Hayes; William Michael Morgan

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 4/13 & 4/14

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this weekend and during this week's Friday Night Opry, Diamond Rio will be celebrating 20 years as members of the Grand Ole Opry as they joined the Opry cast on April 18, 1998.

Diamond Rio, consisting of Marty Roe, Jimmy Olander, Gene Johnson, Dan Truman, Dana Williams, and Brian Prout, made their first Opry appearance in October 1991 and in 1998 became the first group since The Whites, who joined in 1984, to receive Opry membership. With their lighter-than-air harmonies and intricately woven instrumentation, this six-man group has been turning songs into standards since its 1991 debut album helped define the "young country" movement. Diamond Rio has been awarded Top Vocal Group honors a total of six times from the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. The group has sold more than 10 million records, earning five gold and three platinum albums in the process.

Diamond Rio evolved from the Tennessee River Boys, a band that performed at the former Opryland theme park. Singer Marty Roe, guitarist Jimmy Olander and keyboardist Dan Truman left that group to form their own in 1986. Drummer Brian Prout and mandolin player Gene Johnson joined the new band in 1987. Bassist Dana Williams, a nephew of Opry members Sonny and Bobby Osborne, came on board two years later.

In 1991, Diamond Rio's first single, "Meet in the Middle," went to No. 1, the first group in country music history to top the charts with its debut. The band followed "Meet in the Middle" with the hits "Mirror, Mirror" and "Mama Don't Forget to Pray for Me." In all, Diamond Rio has placed more than 30 singles on Billboard magazine's country charts, including such chart-toppers as "How Your Love Makes Me Feel, "Beautiful Mess," and "I Believe." The 2001 hit ballad "One More Day" became a key song of healing after the September 11 terrorist attacks. The group's members told their story in an autobiography titled after one of their most popular hits, "A Beautiful Mess."

Joining Diamond Rio on the Friday Night Opry will be Grand Ole Opry members Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Riders In The Sky, Crystal Gayle, Craig Morgan, and Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press. Nice to see that 9 of the 12 acts scheduled are Opry members. The three guest artists all have appeared on the Opry before: Delta Rae, Love and Theft, and Mark Wills, who continues to be a regular guest on the Opry.

Friday April 13
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Love and Theft; Mike Snider
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Delta Rae
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Mark Wills; Crystal Gayle
8:45: Craig Morgan (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Diamond Rio

I wanted to mention Opry member Ricky Skaggs. For Ricky, this will be his 15th Opry appearance of the year, with only Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider and The Whites having appeared more. And while Ricky is starting to get up there in age, he still maintains a full touring schedule. It is really nice to see Ricky supporting the Opry as 2018 continues. It is also nice to see one of the Opry's newer members, Crystal Gayle, continue to support the show. Her appearances add a lot to the Opry line-ups.

Now to Saturday night were two artists will be making their Grand Ole Opry debuts. Beth Nielsen Chapman, a veteran in the music city, will be appearing for the first time on the Opry, along with the newest internet sensation Mason Ramsey. Mason has the nickname of "Yodeling Walmart Boy," who at the age of 11 recently appeared on the Ellen show, where he received an invitation to appear on the Grand Ole Opry. His most famous song, so far, is Hank Williams "Lovesick Blues." Dreams do come true and I hope Mason will enjoy this special moment in his young life.

Joining Beth and Mason on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry will be Opry members Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Lorrie Morgan, Jesse McReynolds, Riders In The Sky, The Whites and Ricky Skaggs. Also guesting will be Natalie Stovall, Point Of Grace, and David Ball. David will also be hosting the Midnight Jamboree.

Saturday April 14
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); David Ball; Mike Snider
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Natalie Stovall; Jesse McReynolds
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Beth Nielsen Chapman; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Mason Ramsey; Point Of Grace

As mentioned, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Beth Nielsen Chapman, who is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Her writing credits include Faith Hill's "This Kiss," Martina McBride's "Happy Girl," Lorrie Morgan's "Five Minutes," Willie Nelson's "Nothing I Can Do About It Now," Tanya Tucker's "Strong Enough to Bend," and Trisha Yearwood's "Down on My Knees." That is just a sampling of the hits she has written. She will be making numerous appearances in Nashville over the next several weeks in support of her new album "Hearts of Glass" which will be released later this month.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the weekend of April 11 & 12, 2008:

Friday April 11
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; T.G. Sheppard
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jamey Johnson
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Carolina Rain; Gibson Brothers
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Gene Watson; Josh Turner

Saturday April 12
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Wrights
7:00: Jason Aldean; Jewel; Jason Michael Carroll; John Anderson
8:00: Ray Pillow (host); Charlie Louvin; Jamey Johnson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Joe Nichols

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); The Wrights; Jason Michael Carroll
10:00: Jeannie Seely (host); John Anderson; Jewel
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jason Aldean; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ray Pillow (host); Jamey Johnson; Joe Nichols

From 25 years ago, April 10, 1993, the 2nd Saturday in April:

1st show
6:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); The 4 Guys
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jack Greene; Jean Shepard; David Houston; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Skeeter Davis; Jim & Jesse; Ronnie Milsap
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Charlie Walker; Del Reeves; Stonewall Jackson; Opry Square Dancers; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Brother Oswald; Billy Walker; Jimmy C Newman; Bill Carlisle

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; Ronnie Milsap
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Hank Locklin
10:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); John Conlee
10:30: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; David Houston; Ray Pillow
11:30: Del Reeves (host); Bill Carlisle; Skeeter Davis; Johnny Russell

Let me point out that the only non-Opry member on the show that night was Brother Oswald, who himself would become an Opry member in January 1995.

Looking back, it was 33 years ago, Saturday April 13, 1985 that the Grand Ole Opry was televised on TNN (The Nashville Network) for the 1st time. Those early shows on TNN were very basic. They stuck a couple of cameras on the stage and showed a 30 minute segment as it happened, minus the commercials. Originally, it was the 7:00 segment that was televised, later switching to the 7:30 portion. One special occasions, such as that first night, an entire hour was televised. As time went on, the production qualities got better, and more non-Opry members began appearing on the show. The shows continued on TNN until 2001 when the network switched formats and the Opry moved to CMT (Country Music Television).

For those who remember those early shows on TNN, they were fun to watch as you never knew what might happen. For example, the hosts, particularly Bill Monroe, would sometimes not look at the camera or go to a commercial naming the radio sponsor. Other times the timing would be off, with the segment either signing off in the middle of a song, or early with the television audience staring at at a red curtain. And let's not forget that there were times when the segment before the televised one would run over, with the announcers killing time. Management quickly figured out who made good television hosts and who did not. If it was an important show, such as the birthday bash or a new member, you could count on Roy Acuff hosting. Those were the days.

Here is the running order from Saturday April 13, 1985 when the Opry was first televised on TNN, an hour long show with the first 30 minutes hosted by Roy Acuff, and the second 30 by Porter Wagoner.

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Stonewall Jackson (host): Muddy Water
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Stonewall Jackson: The Rounder Called Cotton-Eyed Joe

6:45: Rudy's
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Wilma Lee Cooper: Bury Me Beneath the Willow
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Joe Edwards: Ida Red

7:00: Shoney's
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
The 4 Guys: Shenandoah
Connie Smith: Once A Day/Louisiana Man
Minnie Pearl: Jealous Hearted Me
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'all Come
Dottie West: Ain't Nothing Like A Woman/A Lesson in Leaving/Here Comes My Baby
Jack Greene: Looking Back is Easier
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Eighth of January
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

8:00: Martha White
Bill Monroe (host): My Rose of Old Kentucky/Blue Moon of Kentucky
Ray Pillow: The Days When You Were Still in Love With Me
Jeannie Seely: (?)
Ed Bruce: When You Fall in Love; Everything's a Waltz. Giving Up Was Easy
Bill Monroe: Little Joe/Wheel Hoss

8:30: Music Valley Merchants
Hank Snow (host): Forever and One Day
Jan Howard: Why Lady Why
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Bill Carlisle: Elvira
Hank Snow: Nevertheless

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Dottie West: It's High Time/Blue Fiddle Waltz
The 4 Guys: Give Me Just One More Chance/Halfway to Paradise
Right Combination: Woke Up in Love
Porter Wagoner: Everything I've Always Wanted

10:00: Little Debbie
Charlie Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Lorrie Morgan: Crazy
Charlie Walker: My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You

10:15: Sunbeam
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Jack Greene: Statue of a Fool

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Roy Acuff: That's the Man I'm Looking For/I'll Fly Away

10:45: Beech-Nut
Bill Monroe (host): The Old, Old House
Connie Smith: Walkin' After Midnight
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Blake Williams: Bluegrass Breakdown

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down the Trail of Aching Hearts
Jan Howard: My Baby's Got Good Timein'
George Hamilton IV: Abilene
Ed Bruce: When You Fall in Love, Everything's A Waltz/Giving Up Was Easy
Hank Snow: There's A Fool Such as I

11:30: Quincy's
Osborne Brothers (host): Listening to the Rain
Ray Pillow: You're One Memory That I'd Like to Make Again
Jeannie Seely: Tell Me Again
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Osborne Brothers: Nobody's Darling But Mine/Katy Hill

Finally, it was 27 years ago, Saturday April 13, 1991 that the Grand Ole Opry had the last of their "official" reunion shows. The first one took place in February 1974 and it allowed the Opry to invite many of the former members to perform on the show one last time before moving to the new Grand Ole Opry House. The show was such a success that it was scheduled every year thereafter, generally in April. Many former Grand Ole Opry members appeared on these reunion shows including Alcyone Beasley, DeFord Bailey, Curly Fox, Kitty Wells, Johnny Wright, Sid Harkreader, Pee Wee King, Duke of Paducah, Clyde Moody, Zeke Clements, and so many others. At times, these shows were referred to as "Old-Timer's Night" as many of those who returned were original members of the WSM Barn Dance. By 1991, most of those old-timers had passed away and there were fewer and fewer former members returning. In fact, the only former Opry members who returned for the 1991 show were Zeke Clements, Faron Young, Margie Bowes and Pee Wee King.

Here is the running order from that final official reunion show, April 13, 1991:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Grandpa Jones (host): Ball Headed End of A Broom
Bill Anderson: Still
Grandpa Jones: Dear Old Sunny South by the Sea

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Bill Monroe (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Ricky Skaggs: Let It Be You/Honey, Open that Door
Bill Monroe: Southern Flavor

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Jan Howard: Heartaches by the Number
Jim & Jesse: It's A Lonesome Feeling
The Whites: He Took Your Place
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Country Boy
Margie Bowes: When I Call Your Name
Zeke Clements: No More Smoke on the Water
Faron Young: Wine Me Up/Hello Walls
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Pee Wee King: Tennessee Waltz
Charlie Louvin: When You Can Only Dream that Far/When I Stop Dreaming
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham

8:30: Pops Rite
Hank Snow (host): Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Skeeter Davis: Who's Gonna Tell Marie
Ray Pillow: That Ain't No Way to Treat My Heart
Riders In The Sky: How the Yodel was Born
John Conlee: Common Man
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Country Music Has Gone to Town
Wilma Lee Cooper: The Picture on the Wall
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He is My Everything
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
The Whites: Doing It By the Book
Porter Wagoner: I'll Go Down Swinging

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Better Time's A' Comin'
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home
Grandpa Jones: The Sweet Sunny South

10:15: Tennessee Pride
Roy Acuff (host): I'll Fly Away
Faron Young: It's Four in the Mornin/After the Loving/Hello Walls

10:30: Pet Milk
Ricky Skaggs (host): He Was Onto Something
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Ricky Skaggs: Lovin' Only Me

10:45: B.C. Powder
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Jim & Jesse: Dream of Me
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Rachel
Bill Anderson: Thank You Darling for Loving Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Frankie & Johnny
Jimmy Dickens: Me & My Big Loud Mouth
Justin Tubb: Keep Me From Blowing Away
John Conlee: Common Man/Rose Colored Glasses
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain

11:30: Creamette
Bill Monroe (host): Old Dangerfield
Mike Snider: Shuckin' the Corn
Charlie Louvin: In the Pines
Riders In The Sky: When the Bloom Is on the Sage
Charlie Walker: Deep Water
Bill Monroe: Dark as the Night; Blue as the Day

Wouldn't it be nice if the Opry would have another reunion show? There are still a few former and retired Opry members around: Barbara Mandrell, Jeanne Pruett, Ricky Van Shelton, Tom T Hall, Stonewall Jackson, Jan Howard, Norma Jean, Jim & Chuck Glaser, Leroy Van Dyke, Doug Kershaw, Don Everly, The 4 Guys, B.J. Thomas, Willie Nelson, Margie Bowes just to name a few.

Take care, have a great week, and enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 4/10 & Opry Country Classics 4/12

After the exciting news that Bobby Bare is back as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, who is ready for some mid-week Opry shows?

Charlie Daniels is scheduled to appear on the Tuesday Night Opry, where he will be recognized for his 10th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. If you remember, Charlie was scheduled last month however had to cancel due to illness. Glad that this legend is recovered and ready to appear on the Opry once again.

Here are the line-ups for this week's mid-week Opry shows:

Tuesday Night Opry April 10

7:00: Terri Clark; T. Graham Brown
7:30: Carly Pearce; Rodney Atkins w/Fisk Jubilee Singers
8:15: Kiefer Sutherland; Trace Adkins
8:45: Charlie Daniels Band

Opry Country Classics April 12

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Oak Ridge Boys
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Moe Bandy; Mandy Barnett; Janie Fricke

Additionally, Grand Ole Opry member Jeanne Pruett will be signing copies of her new book "Satin Sheets, I Remember" in the lobby of the Ryman Auditorium following the show. I received my copy several weeks ago and I recommend the book. Some great stories and remembrances by Jeanne.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Bobby Bare Back As An Opry Member

Tonight on the Grand Ole Opry, Garth Brooks made a surprise appearance and announced that Bobby Bare is back as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby, who is celebrating his 83rd birthday today, was an Opry member for about 10 years, from 1964 to 1974.

Bobby acted very surprised, thanking the Opry, Sally Williams, and Garth. An amazing Opry moment.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 4/6 & 4/7

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend and as usual, there is a lot of variety as  both nights will feature Hall of Fame members, comedy, bluegrass, classic country and newcomers, including one who will be making her Grand Ole Opry debut.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Grand Ole Opry members Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Connie Smith, Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Steve Wariner, and returning to the Opry after being off last week, Jesse McReynolds. Jesse wrote that he was feeling a little under the weather last weekend, which led to his cancellation. The Whites, Jeannie, Mike, and Connie will also be appearing on Saturday night, and they will be joined by Bobby Osborne and Riders In The Sky.

Guest artists on Friday night include veterans Mark Wills, Restless Heart and Chuck Wicks, along with newcomers Cassadee Pope and Charlie Worsham. Charlie will also be appearing on Saturday night, joined by Hall of Famer Don Schlitz (repeating his appearance from last week), Stephanie Quayle, who will be making her Opry debut, and former Opry member and Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare, who will be appearing with his son, Bobby Bare, Jr. While it would be nice to hear them do "Daddy, What If"" again, somehow I don't think it would sound quite the same as it did back in 1974 when Bobby Jr. was eight years old.

Bobby Bare Jr. is now 51 years old and grew up in Hendersonville, Tennessee. He graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in psychology. Bobby Jr. started his professional music career at the age of 30 when he said that he was someone who avoided "working a real job at any cost." In the 1990s, he led the roots rock group Bare, Jr., which was signed to Immortal Records, releasing two records. He also fronted a band called the Young Criminals Starvation League, and they released three studio albums. In 2010 he self-released "Storm-A Tree-My Mother's Head." Most of his songs incorporate humor and references to popular culture (sounds like his dad), with Shel Silverstein being a major influence on his career and songwriting. (Silverstein wrote "Daddy, What If?"). Bobby Jr. continues to record and make music, and has also worked on producing.

Friday April 6
7:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mark Wills
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Cassadee Pope; Restless Heart
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds; Chuck Wicks
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Mike Snider; Charlie Worsham

Saturday April 7
7:00: The Whites (host); Mike Snider; Stephanie Quayle
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Bobby Bare w/Bobby Bare, Jr.
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Don Schlitz; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charlie Worsham

As mentioned, this will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Stephanie Quayle. Stephanie, who is from Bozeman, Montana, was listed by Rolling Stone in May 2017 as one of the Top 10 artists to watch. She has toured with Chase Rice, LoCash, and Trace Adkins among others. In 2016 she released "Drinking with Dolly" which reached the Top 50 on Billboard's Indicator Chart. Her latest studio album, "Love the Way You See Me" was released in September 2017.

Now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the first weekend in April ten years ago, the weekend of April 4 & 5, 2008:

Friday April 4
8:00: John Conlee (host); The Whites; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Mark Wills
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Del McCoury Band
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; Terri Clark
9:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Tim Hensley; Emerson Drive

Saturday April 5
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jeff & Sheri Easter
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Restless Heart
8:00: Mel Tillis (host); Stu Phillips; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Mark Wills

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Jimmy C Newman
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Restless Heart
10:30: Mel Tillis (host); Jan Howard; Jeff & Sheri Easter; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Mark Wills

From Saturday April 3, 1993, the 1st Saturday in April 25 years ago:

1st show
6:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jan Howard
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Brother Oswald; The 4 Guys; Osborne Brothers; Jeannie Seely
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Sons of the San Joaquin; Colin Raye
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Jimmy C Newman

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Stonewall Jackson; The 4 Guys; Charlie Walker; Sons of the San Joaquin
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
10:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Colin Raye
10:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bill Carlisle
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Connie Smith; Jim Ed Brown; Mike Snider
11:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Osborne Brothers; Skeeter Davis; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

For those who do not remember, Sons of the San Joaquin was a Western family band consisting of Jack, Joe, and Lon Hannah. They played in the style of the Sons of the Pioneers, and Roy Rogers called them "the only singing group alive who I feel sound like the original Sons of the Pioneers." They were inducted into the Western Music Association Hall of Fame in 2006, and several of their albums have been given awards by the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum.

Looking back to the first weekend in April, it was Saturday April 3, 1982 that one of the Opry's original members, DeFord Bailey made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance as part of that year's reunion show.

DeFord Bailey was born on December 14, 1899 in Smith County, Tennessee. At the age of three he contracted polio and was confined to bed for a year. It was during this time that DeFord learned to play the harmonica and developed his unique style of playing. In 1918, he moved to Nashville and began to perform locally.

DeFord was discovered on the streets of Nashville by WSM Barn Dance regular Dr. Humphrey Bate, who brought him to the Opry, sponsoring him. He first appeared on June 19, 1926. On December 10, 1927, he debuted his trademark song, "Pan American Blues. It was George D. Hay, who one evening said prior to the start of the WSM Barn Dance on WSM, "For the past hour, we have been listening to music largely from Grand Opera, but from now on, we will present the Grand Ole Opry." After Hay's introduction, DeFord played "Pan American Blues," thus becoming the first performer to appear on the renamed Grand Ole Opry. DeFord was considered one of the Opry's most popular performers and appeared on the show until 1941, when he was fired because of what was described as a licensing conflict between BMI-ASCAP, which prevented him from playing his best-known songs on the radio. However, the feeling is that Hay fired him because of his race. After leaving the Opry, he spent the rest of his life shining shoes to make a living. However, thanks to the continued efforts of Opry stars Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl and Bill Monroe, DeFord was convinced  to return to the Opry, which he did in 1974, when he agreed to make one more appearance on what was the first of the Opry's annual reunion shows, or "Old Timer's Night." DeFord would make several more appearances until his final one on April 3, 1982. DeFord Bailey passed away on July 2, 1982.

Here is the running order from Saturday April 3, 1982, DeFord Bailey's final night at the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Jimmy C Newman (host): Louisiana Cajun Band
Ernie Ashworth: Irene
Jeannie Seely: It Turns Me Inside Out
Jimmy C Newman: Texa-Cajun

6:45: Rudy's
Roy Drusky (host): Billy Bayou
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Closed My Heart's Door
David Houston: Cotton Eyed Joe
Roy Drusky: Blues in My Heart

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'all Come
Kitty Wells: Amigo's Guitar
Johnny Wright: Ashes of Love
Zeke Clements: I'm So Lonesome Since You Went Away/Just A Little Lovin'
Vic Willis Trio: Faded Love
Mack Magaha: Rocky Top

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Connie Smith: I Just Had You On My Mind
Curly Fox: Sweet Georgia Brown/The Old Gray Mule
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Gray Eagle
Bill Monroe: My Florida Sunshine

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jack Shook: Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie
Alcyone Beasley: Meet Me Tonight in Dreamland
Jack Shook & Alcyone Beasley: Let the Rest of the World Go By
DeFord Bailey: Fox Chase/Cacklin' Hen/Pan American Blues/Lost John
Sid Harkreader: Never Alone Waltz/Red Wing Fiddlin'
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Paper Roses
The 4 Guys: It's High Time to Get Back on My Feet
Duke of Paducah: Comedy
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sugar Tree Stomp
Stu Phillips: Have I Told You Lately that I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Hank Snow: Once More, You're Mine Again

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): You Make Everybody Feel Just Like Sunday
The 4 Guys: When Your House is Not a Home
Jeannie Seely: It Turns Me Inside Out
Wilburn Brothers: If I Can't Have All of You
Kitty Wells: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
Johnny Wright: Poison Love
Mack Magaha: Old Flames
Porter Wagoner: The Man in the Little White Suit/Ol' Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Curly Fox: Alabama Jubilee
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
Carl Butler: Don't Let Me Cross Over

10:15: Sunbeam
Jimmy C Newman (host): Colinda
Wilma Lee Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Calvary's Hill
Zeke Clements: God Made it All; It Belongs to Him/Smoke on the Water
Jimmy C Newman: (?)

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Jack Shook: Tumbling Tumbleweeds
Alcyone Beasley: Silver Threads Among the Gold
Jack Shook & Alcyone Beasley: Someone Like You
Sid Harkreader: Amazing Grace/Sally Goodin

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): There'll Be Anyone Else But You For Me
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Cotton Eyed Joe
Lonzo & Oscar: Rocky  Top
Roy Drusky: Just A Closer Walk With Thee

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down the Trail of Aching Hearts
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Duke of Paducah: Comedy
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: I Don't Care Anymore

11:30: Bama
Marty Robbins (host): Don't Worry
Charlie Louvin: I Wonder Where You Are Tonight/We Could
Stonewall Jackson: Angry Words/Muddy Water
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/That's All Right/Don't Let Me Touch You/Good Hearted Woman/18 Yellow Roses/I Don't Know Why/El Paso

What a great collection of former, and in some cases, original Opry members that night. As you would expect, the show ran way over, ending at 12:45 a.m. And it should also be noted that this night was also the final Opry show for Alcyone Beasley, who was a member of his father's Possum Hunters and is considered the first regular female performer to appear on the Opry.

Looking back a few years earlier, it was on Saturday April 5, 1975 that Skeeter Davis returned to the Grand Ole Opry cast after being suspended in December 1973 when she made what were deemed politically inappropriate comments while appearing on the Opry.

As a result of her suspension, Skeeter missed the opening of the new Grand Ole Opry House and also lost a lot of show dates. In her autobiography "Bus Fare to Kentucky" she wrote that she would call the Opry each week to ask if she was scheduled but Bud Wendell would tell her not to come in. She asked if she was fired and was told they would just call it a suspension. She also wrote that while a few Opry members, specifically Teddy Wilburn, others stated that she should not have used the Opry stage to make a religious or political statement.

Skeeter then spent time overseas performing. She returned to Nashville upon the opening of the new Opry House, but was told she didn't need to attend. It was around this time that a number of Opry members started a petition asking that she be invited back. It took many more months, but after Bud Wendell was promoted and Hal Durham took over as the manager of the Opry, Skeeter was invited back. Skeeter specifically mentioned Jean Shepard, Kirk McGee, George Hamilton IV and Teddy Wilburn as those who supported her during the suspension and worked to get her back on the Opry. Once Skeeter returned, she would remain with the Opry until her death.

To remember Skeeter Davis, let's go back to Saturday April 5, 1975, the night Skeeter Davis returned to the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Charlie Louvin (host): Freight Train Boogie
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Charlie Louvin: When You Have to Fly Alone/See the Big Man Cry

6:45: Rudy's
Ray Pillow (host): Countryfied
Stu Phillips: She Thinks I Still Care
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Ray Pillow: The Simple Things of Life

7:00: Rudy's
Bill Grammer (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Skeeter Davis: I Can't Help It
Lonzo & Oscar: When I Stop Dreaming
Ernie Ashworth: The High Cost of Living
Skeeter Davis: Bus Fare to Kentucky
Billy Grammer: What a Friend

7:30: Standard Candy
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Jimmy C Newman: Thibodeaux Cajun Band
Marion Worth: Delta Dawn
Jim & Jesse: Ashes of Love
Charlie Walker: The Last Supper
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Old Joe Clark
Jimmy C Newman: Before the Next Teardrop Falls
Charlie Walker: Good Deal, Lucille

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jeanne Pruett: Just Like Your Daddy
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Justin Tubb: Sunshine Lady
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/Satin Sheets
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: There's A Big Wheel

8:30: Stephens
Jack Greene (host) w/Jeannie Seely: If You're Going Down
Jeannie Seely: Catfish John
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
The 4 Guys: Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: He Can Be Mine

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
The 4 Guys (host): What About Me
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Bill Carlisle: Rough Stuff
Marion Worth: The Hands You're Holding Now
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It To Me Again
Del Wood: Alabama Jubilee
The 4 Guys: Cottonfields/Maria

10:00: Fender
Charlie Walker (host): Stay A Little Longer
Skeeter Davis: I Believe in Music
Lonzo & Oscar: Mountain Dew
Charlie Walker: The Last Supper

10:15: Union 76
Stu Phillips (host): Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/You Win Again/Release Me
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Rosemary Clooney: Half As Much

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Back in the Country
Jim & Jesse: Paradise
Billy Grammer: Peace in the Valley
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Justin Tubb: Loving Arms
Crook Brothers/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Each Season Changes You

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jack Greene (host) w/Jeannie Seely: Take Me Home Country Roads
Jeannie Seely: The First Time
Jimmy C Newman: Potato Song
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin' Hen
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Jeannie Seely: Delta Dirt
Sam McGee: Victor Rag

11:30: Elm Hill
Marty Robbins (host): Don't Worry
Jeanne Pruett: Just Like Your Daddy/Welcome to the Sunshine
Ronnie Robbins: Mama Tried/If You Love Me Let Me Know
Marty Robbins: Love Me/I'm Wanting To/Devil Woman/El Paso/Ka-Lu-A

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone has a very nice week and as always, enjoy the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 4/3 & Opry Country Classics 4/5

The Tuesday Night Opry once again has two shows this week, although the line-ups will have several different artists on each show. Both shows will be highlighted by another Tuesday night appearance by Opry member Trace Adkins, along with a number of fellow Opry members. As with last week, the show is broken down into just two segments.

1st show
7:00: Terri Clark; Bill Anderson; Dustin Lynch; Steven Curtis Chapman
8:00: Craig Morgan; Dailey & Vincent; Trace Adkins

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson; Steven Curtis Chapman; Jeannie Seely; Craig Morgan
10:30: Riders In The Sky; Dailey & Vincent; Trace Adkins

The Grand Ole Opry is wasting no time in spotlighting one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, as on Thursday night Ricky Skaggs will be the spotlight artist on Opry Country Classics.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Ricky Skaggs
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Sarah Darling; Jackie Lee; The Whites

Sunday, April 1, 2018

April Opry Highlights

April showers bring May flowers!!! Welcome to Spring, when the trees begin to bloom, the winter dirt disappears and the start of the major league baseball season. I know everyone has their favorites, but here in Ohio we are Tribe fans and this could be their year. Go Tribe!! Now back to serious business and as I do each month, here are the important and historical events that have taken place at the Grand Ole Opry, or with Opry members, during the month of April.

April 19, 1924: The WLS "National Barn Dance" was aired for the first time in Chicago. The National Barn Dance was the first of what would be many weekly barn dance programs sponsored by various radio stations around the country. Among the performers who were part of the "National Barn Dance" were Lulu Belle & Scotty, Bradley Kincaid, Gene Autry and a host of others. The "National Barn Dance" lasted until 1960 when the station changed formats. As many know, especially my friends in the Chicago area, WLS stood for "World's Largest Store," which was Sears, who were the owners of the station.

April 17, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon became a regular member of the WSM Barn Dance, soon to be known as the Grand Ole Opry. At the age of 55, he was the first performer to join the show that had a national reputation and his hiring, in a way, would start the show on the path of becoming a group of professional entertainers instead of those, who as George D. Hay used to say, "came down from the hills for the weekend." Uncle Dave would remain a popular Opry member until his death on March 1, 1952, at the age of 81.

April 14, 1932: Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn was born in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta joined the cast of the Opry in September 1962. At the age of 86, Loretta continues her recovery following her hip surgery.

April 30, 1932: The Dixieliners, which consisted of Kirk and Sam McGee, along with Arthur Smith, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. All three had been performing on the Opry for several years, but this was the first time that they teamed up as an organized group. Their popularity and reputation grew and within a short amount of time they had two ten-minute segments on the show. It began to end for the Dixieliners in 1938 as Arthur had a drinking problem and was suspended from the Opry. On January 14, 1939, the Dixieliners made their final Opry appearance, after which Arthur left the Opry, while Sam and Kirk would continue on for many years.

April 11, 1933: Grand Ole Opry member Roy Clark was born in Meherrin, Virginia. And yes, it is true. Roy turns 85 this year. Hard to believe.

April 29, 1933: The Delmore Brothers, Rabon and Alton, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. The brothers remained members of the Opry until 1938 when they left to pursue what they felt were better opportunities. Alton would later write an excellent book, "Truth is Stranger" in which he detailed their time at the Opry and the issues that they had with George D. Hay and Harry Stone. After leaving the Opry, the Delmore Brothers moved around the country and had shows at various radio stations until they played out the territory and moved on. They eventually ended up at WLW in Cincinnati, where they got together with Grandpa Jones and Merle Travis and recorded under the name "Browns Ferry Four." Each of these individuals would eventually be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. September 11, 1938 was the final Opry show for the Delmore Brothers and they sang, "What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul."

April 1, 1934: Country Music Hall of Fame member, and former Opry member, Jim Ed Brown was born in Sparkman, Arkansas.

April 15, 1937: Bob Luman was born. Bob gained fame as a member of the Louisiana Hayride, and then came to Nashville, joining the Grand Ole Opry in 1965. When Bob joined the Opry, many felt that he had too much "rock-n-roll" in him, but he was a very popular member of the Opry and fans enjoyed his performances. Bob remained at the Opry until he passed away in December 1978.

April 26, 1941: Ernest Tubb recorded "Walking the Floor Over You" in Dallas, Texas. This recording was also the first to use an electric guitar. The success of this record, which would become Ernest's theme song, led him to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry several years later.

April 14, 1945: Upon the death of President Franklin Roosevelt, a performance of taps was played from the stage of the Opry. This marked the first time that a trumpet was played during an Opry broadcast. Buddy Harroll, part of Pee Wee King's Golden West Cowboys was the performer, and while it was the right thing to do, George D. Hay was not thrilled. Also of note, while there was an Opry performance that night, it was not broadcast on WSM as the station was running NBC network programming commemorating the life and death of the President.

April 6, 1946: Roy Acuff quit the Opry in a salary dispute. At the time, he was the host of "The Prince Albert Show" segment of the Opry that was broadcast on the NBC radio network. He was making $15 per night at the Opry and asked for a raise to $100 per night. When WSM refused his demands, he left the show and went out to California for an extended tour. Over the years, Roy never talked much about the whole episode, but he knew that as the Opry's biggest star, he could make more money out on the road and have extra time to make movies. A year later, Roy would return to the Opry and when he did, he was paid more than union scale.

April 13, 1946: A week after Roy Acuff left, Red Foley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and debuted as the new host of "The Prince Albert Show." There is a story behind this. After Roy quit, William Esty and Company, which was the advertising agency that represented R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, the makers of Prince Albert chewing tobacco, undertook a study to determine how best to replace Roy Acuff as the host of the program. Most listeners wanted the Opry to continue without any changes, but it was clear after all the questioning was done that a large portion of the Opry fans wanted more music and less talk, suggesting that a singer needed to be hired as the replacement. Esty checked all the available data, which included record sales, jukebox plays and radio favorites, and it all pointed to Red Foley. Red would later say, "I guess I was never more scared than that night I replaced Roy Acuff. The people thought I was a Chicago slicker who came to pass himself off as a country boy and bump Roy out of his job." While it is true that Red came to the Opry from WLS in Chicago, he was actually born in Kentucky and had a string of country hits. It is interesting to note that while Red became a member of the Opry, he only appeared on, and hosted, the Prince Albert segment of the show.

April 13, 1946: The same night that Red Foley came to the Opry, so did Chet Atkins, who was introduced that night by Red. Chet stayed at the Opry with Red for just six months, when he left in his own dispute with Esty. Chet would return later and he would continue to make guest appearances until his death.

April 26, 1947: Just over a year after leaving the Opry, Roy Acuff returned as host of the "Royal Crown Cola Show." There is a story that Ernest Tubb and Harry Stone went to see Roy, who was in a Nashville hospital, telling him that the Opry might go under if he didn't return. While there is no evidence that the Opry was about to go under, the words worked and Roy came back, this time to stay for good.

April 3, 1948: The Louisiana Hayride started on KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana. Over the next decade, the Hayride would become known as a farm club of the Opry, with many of the Hayride's biggest stars leaving Shreveport for Nashville. Among those were David Houston, Billy Walker, Webb Pierce, Jim Reeves, Faron Young, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams. The Hayride was also were Elvis Presley got his start. While the Hayride was very successful with Horace Logan at the helm, the lack of a recording industry in Shreveport meant that the stars had to go elsewhere, including Nashville to record. Once there, the Opry grabbed many of them.

April 26, 1952: Martha Carson, the great gospel singer, joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. She came to the Opry on the strength of her hit "Satisfied." Martha remained a member of the Opry until 1957, at which time she took a leave of absence when her first child was born and to spend some time working in New York City. However, when it came time for her to return, the Opry would not hire her back. According to Martha, "I got a leave of absence from the Opry. I didn't quit and I wasn't fired. When I came back to Nashville, Opry manager Ott Devine said they had no openings. I never did go back. I never even got to be a guest." Obviously a poor decision by Ott and the Opry's management.

April 18, 1953: Red Foley made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance as the host of "The Prince Albert Show." Red made the decision to leave Nashville and go to the Ozark Jubilee, which was televised. Red had numerous personal issues when he was with the Opry and when he decided to leave, the Opry had no objections. While many wondered about Red when he first came to the Opry, he become one of the Opry's biggest stars and one of the more popular members. After he left, "The Prince Albert Show" no longer had a permanent host.

April 12, 1957: Grand Ole Opry member Vince Gill was born. Vince has been a loyal and vocal member of the Opry since 1991. Who else finds it hard to believe that Vince will be 61 this year?

April 4, 1959: Bill Anderson made his debut as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry. Several years later, in July 1961, Bill would become an Opry member.

April 30, 1960: The WLS "National Barn Dance" aired for the final time. At one time, the barn dance was considered a major competitor of the Opry, and while it lasted much longer than others, like those others, it could not sustain itself as musical tastes changed.

April 30, 1966: Ray Pillow became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Ray's 52nd year as an Opry member. On the night he joined, Ernest Tubb introduced him. Though he is now on senior status and his Opry appearances are few, he still does a great job each time he is on the show.

April 22, 1967: The Four Guys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They came to the Opry from the Wheeling, West Virginia area and spent 33 years as members of the Opry until they were fired in April 2000. The reason given for their termination was the fact that all four of the original members had left the group. For a number of years, they operated a very successful dinner theater in Nashville and were a popular cruise trip attraction.

April 6, 1968: Following the assassination of Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the city of Nashville imposed a curfew that forced the Opry to cancel the live show for that night. WSM played a previously taped Opry appearance. After being notified that the show was going to be cancelled, Roy Acuff, Sam and Kirk McGee, along with a few others, put on a makeshift show at a nearby square dance hall that afternoon for Opry fans who came to town to attend the Opry. WSM and the Opry claims this was the only time that the Opry was ever cancelled.

April 6, 1968: On that same evening as the Opry was cancelled, Bud Wendall became the new general manager of the Grand Ole Opry. He replaced Ott Devine, who had been in charge of the Opry since 1959.

April 21, 1971: After taking a break to raise her children, Connie Smith returned as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Connie joined the Opry in 1965. At the time she returned, Connie had been gone for about two years.

April 12, 1972: The first "Fan Fair" was held in Nashville. It was so successful that it would become an annual event, eventually moving to June and the summer tourist season. Fan Fair was a chance for the fans to meet their favorite country music stars and the Opry was a big part of the event. It still takes place, although it is now called "CMA Music Fest."

April 27, 1972: Opryland opens for the first time. The park was an immediate hit and within several years, the Opry House would be completed and the Opry would make the move. Opryland shut down at the end of 1997 and replaced by Opry Mills shopping center. Yes, while it may seem hard to believe, Opryland has been closed for 20 years.

April 28, 1973: Conway Twitty performs on the Opry for the first time.

April 5, 1975: After having been suspended from the Opry in December 1973, Skeeter Davis was welcomed back to the show. Several Opry members had gone to Bud Wendall, asking that she be allowed to return to the show.

April 23, 1976: Don Williams is introduced as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jeanne Pruett did the honors. As everyone knows, Don and the Opry experience didn't really work and he left the show several years later.

April 2, 1977: Vito Pellettieri worked his final show as the stage manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Several days later, he suffered a stroke and on April 14 he passed away at the age of 87. While very few people have heard of Vito, he was probably one of the most influential people in the history of the Opry, so much so that he was never really replaced when he passed away. Years after his death, one veteran Opry member said, "I miss Vito. You know, we don't have a marshal anymore. What we have out there is a piece of paper in a box, with a list of acts and when they're supposed to go on. But we don't have anybody encouraging us, goading us, giving us advice on how to do better. Nobody to jack us up." One of Vito's closest friends was Hank Snow and Hank wrote extensively about Vito in his autobiography, including the jokes they used to play on each other. Now for those who do not know, Vito was WSM's librarian and started as the Opry's stage manager in 1934. He was the one who set up the Opry on a schedule, with assigned times and slots for each performer. He broke the show into segments with sponsors. Before that, it had been a free-for-all, with the artists coming and going as they pleased. In 1959, Vito faced mandatory retirement at WSM. However, every one of the Opry's members signed a petition demanding that Vito be allowed to continue working at the Opry and that November at the annual disc jockey convention, Opry members staged a show in Vito's honor. By the way, Vito never drove or owned a car and took the bus to WSM and the Opry each day.

April 13, 1981: Guy Willis of the Willis Brothers died at the age of 65. The Willis Brothers consisted of Guy, Skeeter and Vic. They originally joined the Opry in 1946, but left in 1948 to go on the road with Eddy Arnold. They rejoined the Opry in 1960. Skeeter passed away in 1976, after which Guy and Vic continued on, until Guy retired from performing in 1979 due to illness.

April 3, 1982: DeFord Bailey made his final appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. An early member of the show, DeFord had returned in the 1970s and made several appearances on the Opry's annual reunion shows.

April 13, 1985: The Grand Ole Opry was broadcast for the first time on TNN. The original shows were a half hour in length, later expanding to an hour. In 2001 the broadcast moved to CMT and then later to GAC in 2003. The first televised show was a one hour edition and featured Roy Acuff, as the host for the first half hour, with Connie Smith, Minnie Pearl and the Four Guys as guests. The 2nd half hour was hosted by Porter Wagoner and featured Dottie West, Jack Greene, the Crook Brothers and the Melvin Sloan Dancers. Those original TNN shows were not scripted for television and were nothing more than the radio show with a camera. As a result, the timing was sometimes a little bit off and the hosts forgot they were on television and would mention the names of the radio sponsors.

April 22, 1989: Clint Black made his first appearance as a guest at the Grand Ole Opry. in 1991, Clint would become an Opry member.

April 20, 1991: Emmylou Harris began a three night run at the Ryman Auditorium, during which her recording of "At The Ryman" took place. It marked one of the first uses of the Ryman for a concert performance since the Opry had left in 1974. Due to the condition of the building, only a small portion of the seating was able to be used. Those shows with Emmylou helped to spark the idea of renovating and reopening the Ryman.

April 2, 1994: During the TNN telecast of the Opry, an all-star bluegrass jam took place that featured Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Roy Husky, Jr., Marty Stuart, Alison Krauss and Earl Scruggs. Vince said, "That's what this place is all about. Night that are like that."

April 12, 1997: Lewis Crook passed away in Nashville at the age of 87. The Crook Brothers joined the Opry on July 24, 1926, so it is safe to say that they were original members of the WSM Barn Dance. The Crook Brothers remained at the Opry until 1988, a total of 62 years. Lewis was not with the Crook Brothers when they originally began at the Opry, joining the group later in 1928. After Herman passed away and the Crook Brothers name was retired, Lewis would continue to play and make appearances with the Opry's Square Dance Band. When you add it all up and do the math, Lewis was at the Opry on and off for almost 69 years.

April 6, 1998: Former Grand Ole Opry member Tammy Wynette passed away in Nashville at the age of 55. She had been battling health issues for a number of years. Tammy joined the Opry in 1969 and remained for just a few years.

April 18, 1998: Diamond Rio became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 20th year as Opry members.

April 12, 1999: Lecil Martin, known better as Boxcar Willie, passed away in Branson, Missouri after an extended illness. He was 67. Boxcar joined the Opry in 1981.

April 17, 2004: The Judds made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

April 30, 2004: The Grand Ole Opry took to the road and sponsored the "Grand Ole Opry American Road Show." The appearance took place in York, Pennsylvania and included Vince Gill, Patty Loveless, the Del McCoury Band and Rebecca Lynn Howard.

April 21, 2012: Keith Urban became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 6th year as an Opry member. Sorry to say that Keith hasn't been around much since joining the cast.

April 26, 2013: The Grand Ole Opry dedicated the shows that weekend to Opry member George Jones, who had passed away several days earlier. Those performing included Brad Paisley, Montgomery Gentry and John Conlee.

April 11, 2015: Long time Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown made his final Opry appearance. The newly elected member of the Country Music Hall of Fame had been an Opry member for just over 50 years.

April 30, 2016: Ray Pillow was recognized upon is 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Opry general manager Pete Fisher presented Ray with a gold pocket watch.

There you have it for this month.