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!!!


  1. A 1971 guest appearance by the great Texas country artist Floyd Tillman. I am assuming those were few and far between? Tillman was one of few legends of that 40's and 50's era, not associated with the Opry that became a member of the Hall of Fame. You must be a "true" country fan to enjoy those classic records by Tillman. His style was very unique.

  2. LOVED Joshua Hedley last night. On WSM Friday morning, he said he has three goals in the music business.
    1) appear on WSM radio
    2) appear on the Grand Old 'Opry
    3) sell his CDs at Cracker Barrell.

    This guy is the kind of guy the 'Opry needs to attract and nurture. As much as I love Bobby Bare, I am more excited about young artists like this who "get it" and are in love with traditional country music than I am guys who are older than me.

    Nashville Tennessean ---> "He's really good and really genuine," (Connie Smith) said after Hedley's performance. "To see him walk out in a rhinestone suit and sing a really country song did my heart good. I loved it."

    So did I Connie, so did I.

  3. I know they are progressive, but the Old Crow Medicine Show can command any part of the Grad Ole Opry they want to because of their obvious respect for traditional music, but still reaching for more innovation. "Ketch" Secor is an absolute treasure with his vast understanding of where the music has been. I was there when these kids made their debut on the Opry in their funny clothes over 20 years ago, and still thrill me personally. And the Crows are faithful to the Opry ---- what more could we ask ?????? Dashmann - Flushing, Michigan

  4. Dashmann, I'm with 'ya on Old Crow Medicine Show.
    Friday night's last half hour was one for the ages.
    I'm starting to have some hope for the future of the 'Opry and traditional country music's place in it.

  5. Like others, I really, really like Old Crow Medicine Show. I have been lucky to have seen them probably a dozen times now on the Opry and they have never disappointed. And yes, Ketch has a true understanding of the music and the history of the Opry.

  6. Randy Travis was at the Opry last night. I shared a very nice picture of him, along with Jeannie Seely and Patty Loveless on my Facebook page.