Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 6/1 & 6/2

There are times when I will look at the line-up for the Grand Ole Opry and I will see an artist that brings a smile to my face, and this week it was seeing Mac Davis's name that brought that smile.

Mac Davis will be guesting on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Mac, who is now 78 (if you can believe that) always had that type of personality that showed through whether he was singing on a record, hosting his own network television show, or acting in a movie. He is also noted as a successful songwriter, with several successful songs recorded by Elvis Presley, including "In the Ghetto," "Memories," Don't Cry Daddy," and "A Little Less Conversation." While it is interesting that Mac had no No. 1 country singles, he did hit the No. 1 spot on the pop charts with "Baby, Don't Get Hooked On Me" and "Stop and Smell the Roses." His other Top 10 hits included "One Hell of a Woman," "Rock'N Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)," "It's Hard to Be Humble," "Let's Keep It That Way," "Texas In My Rearview Mirror," "Hooked on Music," and "Your My Bestest Friend."

Joining Mac as guest artists on Saturday night will be "Nashville" star Charles Esten, popular Opry guest Mark Wills, Michael Ray, and Gary Mule Deer, who will also be appearing on Friday night, joined by Billy Dean, Craig Campbell, Rhett Walker Band, and making their Opry debut, Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley.

As to Grand Ole Opry members this weekend, appearing both nights will be Riders In The Sky and Mike Snider. They will be joined on Friday night by Jesse McReynolds (returning after being off for several weeks), Jeannie Seely, Bill Anderson, Diamond Rio and Joe Diffie. Saturday night, in addition to the Riders and Mike, will have Connie Smith, Bobby Osborne, The Whites and Vince Gill appearing.

Friday June 1
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Billy Dean; Jesse McReynolds
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Craig Campbell; Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Mike Snider; Rhett Walker Band
8:45: Diamond Rio (host); Gary Mule Deer; Joe Diffie

Saturday June 2
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mark Wills; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Michael Ray
8:15: Vince Gill (host); The Whites; Gary Mule Deer; Opry Square Dancers; Charles Esten; Mac Davis

Not sure why there are only 3 segments on Saturday night, as The Whites and Mike Snider are on the schedule and certainly capable of hosting. If nothing else, it gives more stage time to Vince.

As mentioned, Friday night will be the Opry debut for Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley. This duo came together in 2015 and after cutting their first album on Compass, "Before the Sun Goes Down," which was nominated for a Grammy, they have continued to tour and make music together. Rob Ickes is an accomplished dobro and lap steel guitar player, while Trey is noted for his acoustic and electric guitar work. The duo has a mutual love of bluegrass, country, blues, western swing, and other string band music of all kinds. Rob and Trey were also part of Bobby Osborne's "Original" album and were nominated, along with Bobby, for the Recorded Event Of The Year Award by the IBMA for their recording of "Got To Get A Message To You." After working individually, and with other individuals and groups for over a decade, this fairly new duo continues to make an impact in Nashville and will be touring this year with David Grisman and Tommy Emmanuel.


And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of May 30 & 31, 2008:

Friday May 30
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jack Greene; Randy Kohrs
8:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chris Young
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Trent Tomlinson
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Emily West; Gene Watson

Saturday May 31
1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jack Greene; Joe Nichols
7:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Kieran Kane
7:30: The Whites (host); Emily West; Del McCoury Band
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Stu Phillips; Carlene Carter; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Gene Watson

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
10:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Carlene Carter
10:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Charlie Nagatani; Kieran Kane; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Emily West; Gene Watson

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday June 5, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jeannie Seely
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Jim Ed Brown; Jim & Jesse
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Del Reeves; Jan Howard; Jimmy Dickens; Connie Smith
7:30: Bill Monroe (host); Riders In The Sky; Stonewall Jackson; Alison Krauss
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Brother Oswald; Jack Greene; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jimmy C Newman; Skeeter Davis; The 4 Guys; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; Jimmy Dickens; George Hamilton IV; Billy Grammer; Mike Snider
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jeanne Pruett; Wilma Lee Cooper
10:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Billy Walker
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Alison Krauss
10:45: Bill Monroe (host); Riders In The Sky; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Osborne Brothers; Bill Carlisle; Ray Pillow; Justin Tubb; Charlie Walker
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Johnny Russell

Only two non-Opry members on that night: Alison Krauss, who would become an Opry member the following month, and Brother Oswald, who would join the cast a 18 months later.

Going way back, 61 years to be exact, it was on Saturday June 1, 1957 that Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers became members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dee Kilpatrick had just taken over from Jim Denny as the manager of the Grand Ole Opry. According to Kilpatrick, in an interview with Jack Hurst, "They asked me what I thought was wrong. Well, back when I was working with Mercury Records I was at the Opry every Saturday night I was in town, and I could look at the audience and see what was wrong. The Opry didn't have the appeal to the younger audience that you have to have if you're going to keep growing. All I could see there were older people and little teeny kids. There weren't any teenagers."

Within the year, Kilpatrick worked to solve the problem. Among his solutions was to hire Ferlin Husky, Rusty and Doug Kershaw and the Everly Brothers, who were very hot at the time. At the time, Don was 20 and Phil 18. The brothers came from an impeccable country music background. Their parents, Ike and Margaret Everly, were country-gospel artists knows throughout the South and Midwest, having toured since 1930. The boys had learned to sing country standards at a very young age. Ike taught them the guitar basics when they were first old enough to hold the instrument.

Don was eight and Phil six when they made their public debut on radio station KMA in Shenandoah, Iowa. They toured with their parents every summer, and when they were both graduated from high school, the parents retired, after which Don and Phil came to Nashville to further their musical careers. Once in Nashville, publisher Wesley Rose put them in touch with songwriters Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, who had just written "Bye, Bye Love." The Everly Brothers recorded it for Cadence Records and it became a smash hit, and was awarded a gold record. "Wake Up Little Susie" quickly followed and in 1958 "All I Have to Do Is Dream," "Bird Dog," and "Devoted to You," all written by the Bryants.

The Everly Brothers, who made their Opry debut three weeks earlier on May 11th, were exactly the kind of act Dee Kilpatrick needed to bring teenagers into the Grand Ole Opry audience. But the Opry couldn't contain them and the lure of the good life in Hollywood was much more exciting. As quickly as the Everly Brothers came, it was as quickly as they left.

The Everly Brothers, who had 26 Top 40 singles during their career, were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001. While Phil passed away in 2014, Don is still alive.

Here is the line-up from Saturday June 1, 1957, the night in which the Everly Brothers were first introduced as members of the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Nabisco
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Ladell Sisters: Gonna Find Me A Blue Bird
Oswald: The Girls Don't Pay Me No Mind
Roy Acuff: Drifting Too Far From The Shore

7:45: American Ace
Jordanaires: Theme
Faron Young (host): I'm Gonna Live Some Before I Die
Odie & Jody: Unpucker
Porter Wagoner: Good Morning Neighbor
Faron Young: Shrine Of St. Cecilia
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

8:00: Martha White
Flatt & Scruggs (host): No Doubt About It
Jim Reeves: Four Walls
Everly Brothers: Bye Bye Love
June & Smokey: Comedy
Flatt & Scruggs: Six White Horses
Justin Tubb: Pepper Hot Baby
Jim Reeves: According To My Heart
Possum Hunters: Billy In The Low Ground
Everly Brothers: I Wonder If I Care As Much
Flatt & Scruggs: Earl's Breakdown

8:30: Prince Albert
Ray Price (host): Crazy Arms
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Merle Travis: Sixteen Tons
Fiddle Tune: Mississippi Sawyer
Ray Price: In The Garden
Chet Atkins: Country Gentleman
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Jimmy Dean: Happy Child
Stringbean: Lonesome Road Blues
Ray Price: I've Got A New Heartache
Fiddle Tune: Katy Hill

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Jordanaires: Theme
Jimmy Dickens (host): Happy Heartaches
Bill Monroe: Fallen Star
Del Wood: Rockin 88
T. Texas Tyler: Oklahoma Hills
Louvin Brothers: Don't Laugh
Jimmy Dickens: I Never Had The Blues
Jordanaires: Sugaree
Bill Monroe: Cheyene
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hollow Poplar
Louvin Brothers: The First One To Love You
Jimmy Dickens: Big Sandy

9:30: Stephens
Lonzo & Oscar: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Music Making Mama
Porter Wagoner: Who Will It Be
Lonzo & Oscar: Charming Betsy
Ladell Sisters: Nighty Nine Ways
Hank Snow: Marriage And Divorce
Maybelle Carter: Gold Watch And Chain
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Crook Brothers: Sally Goodin
Porter Wagoner: Uncle Pen
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

10:00: Wall-Rite
Roy Acuff (host): Streamlined Cannon Ball
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Stringbean: Fireball Mail
Roy Acuff: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again
Howdy Forrester: Money Musk

10:15: Delited
Ladell Sisters: Theme
Ray Price (host): Wasted Words
Odie & Jody: Georgiana Waltz
Ladell Sisters: Love Letters In The Sand
Ray Price: You Done Me Wrong
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

10:30: Hester Battery
Jim Reeves (host): I Know That You Know
Flatt & Scruggs: Salty Dog Blues
June Carter: Comedy
Jim Reeves: Waiting For A Train
Fiddle Tune: Turkey In The Straw

10:45: De Con
Faron Young (host): Until I Met You
Louvin Brothers: You're Running Wild
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Faron Young: I'll Be Satisfied With Love
Fiddle Tune: Cracklin Hen

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Honey Moon On A Rocket Ship
Everly Brothers: Bye Bye Love
Del Wood: After Five
Bill Monroe: Sitting Alone In The Moonlight
Lonzo & Oscar: Blondes Blondes Blondes
Hank Snow: Conscience I'm Guilty
Chet Atkins: Martingale
Mother Maybelle: Wildwood Flower
Gully Jumpers: Leather Britches
Everly Brothers: I Wonder If I Care As Much
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

11:30: Jamison
Jordanaires: Theme
Jimmy Dickens (host): Cornbread And Buttermilk
T. Texas Tyler: Old Blue
Stonewall Jackson: Stop Your Naggin Hoss
Jimmy Dickens: What About Me
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

11:45: Sustaining
Porter Wagoner (host): Uncle Pen
Sam & Kirk McGee: I Was Short Of Wondering
Merle Travis: John Henry
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Fruit Jar Breakdown
Porter Wagoner: What Would You Do

While the Everly Brothers quickly left the Opry, once Mike Snider joined the cast, stayed and on Saturday, Mike will be celebrating his 28th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Mike Snider is known as an accomplished musician and comedian. Among his awards are the Tennessee State Bluegrass Banjo Championship and the winner of the Mid-South Banjo Playing Contest. He capped that in 1983, at the age of 23,  by winning the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. The following year he made his first guest appearance on the Opry. In 1987, he joined the cast of Hee Haw and on June 2, 1990 he was introduced by Minnie Pearl as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Here is the running order from Saturday June 2, 1990, the night Mike Snider became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Jimmy Dickens (host)
Jeanne Pruett

6:45: Rudy's
The 4 Guys (host)
Skeeter Davis

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host)
Jan Howard
Billy Walker
Ray Pillow
Charlie Louvin

7:30: Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Are You From Dixie
Holly Dunn: Don't Worry/You Really Had Me Going
Minnie Pearl
Mike Snider: Alabama Jubilee/Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far to Say Goodbye/Your Cheatin' Heart
George Hamilton IV: Til I Can Gain Control Again/Abilene
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Patti on the Turnpike
Roy Acuff: I'll Fly Away

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Gonna Find Me A Bluebird
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Stu Phillips: The Great El Tigra
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away From Coming Home
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got to See You Once Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
Holly Dunn: Don't Worry
Billy Walker: Tennessee Waltz
Bill Carlisle: Same Old Tale that the Crow Told Me
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Jim Ed Brown: A Child is Born

10:00: Little Debbie
Jimmy Dickens (host): Me & My Big Loud Mouth
Skeeter Davis: If I Don't Have You
Jimmy Dickens: What Will I Do Then

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
The 4 Guys: Catfish John/How Married Are You Mary Ann
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

10:30: Pet Milk
Grandpa Jones (host): Darby's Ram
Mike Snider: Bells of St. Mary's
Grandpa Jones: Chicken, Chicken

10:45: B. C. Powder
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Jean Shepard: Love's Gonna Live Here
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sugar in the Ghoard
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Forever +1; Forever +2
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Roy Drusky: Always
Vic Willis Trio: Colorado
Hank Snow: Ninety Miles an Hour

11:30: Creamette
George Hamilton IV (host): Break My Mind
Stu Phillips: I Shouldn't Have Stayed so Long
Jeannie Seely: One Bad Old Memory
Johnny Russell: No One Will Ever Know
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young

There you have it for this week. Next week will be big one in Nashville and at the Opry as the CMA Music Fest will be taking place. There will be 2 Opry shows on Tuesday and Thursday night, along with an Opry matinee on Saturday. All in addition to the Friday and Saturday night shows. The midweek line-ups look very strong and I am sure the Opry will be sold out for all of the shows this coming week. As for me, I will be taking a pass this year as there are just too many people in town and much too hard to get around that week. However, I know others will be going, many who read this blog, and if you are one of those, please have a safe and fun week and I look forward to any first hand accounts that you might wish to add.

With that, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend!!!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 5/29 & Opry Country Classics 5/31

Coming out of the Memorial Day weekend and the end of May, the Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two mid-week shows. Highlighting the Tuesday Night Opry will be members Rascal Flatts and Chris Janson, while Dailey & Vincent will be the spotlight artists on Thursday night.

Tuesday Night Opry May 29
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Brett Young
7:30: Connie Smith; Chris Janson
8:15: Carly Pearce; Dan + Shay
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Opry Country Classics May 31
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Dailey & Vincent
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; T. Graham Brown; Ashley Campbell; Mo Pitney

A very nice Thursday line-up.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 5/25 & 5/26

Holiday weekends can be interesting at the Grand Ole Opry as a number of acts are on the road most holiday weekends. While Labor Day is the big one, with state and county fairs, Memorial Day can also present challenges as many communities have parades and other events that a number of artists get scheduled for.

Looking at the Opry schedule for this weekend, there are pretty decent line-ups on both days, with some star power on both nights. Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights are Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith and Dailey & Vincent. Joining that group on Friday night will be Lorrie Morgan and Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press. Saturday will feature the Opry's newest member as Bobby Bare will be performing, along with The Whites and Trace Adkins.

After a successful Opry debut earlier in the year, Sister Hazel returns on Friday night for a repeat performance, joined by guest artists William Michael Morgan, Jackie Lee, Holly Williams and Clare Dunn. There was a time when Danny Gokey was making semi-regular guest appearances on the Opry, but that was a few years ago. He is back on the schedule for Saturday night, along with Tegan Marie and David Ball.

Friday May 25
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); William Michael Morgan; Mike Snider
7:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Connie Smith; Jackie Lee
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Holly Williams
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Clare Dunn; Sister Hazel

Saturday May 26
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Mike Snider; David Ball
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Tegan Marie; Bobby Bare
8:15: Connie Smith (host); The Whites; Danny Gokey; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Trace Adkins


Looking back, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up 10 years ago, the weekend of May 23 & 24, 2008:

Friday May 23
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Whites; Gary Mule Deer
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mountain Heart; Jimmy C Newman
9:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Johnny Western; Keith Anderson
9:30: John Conlee (host); Connie Smith; Emerson Drive

Saturday May 24
1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Keni Thomas
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Gary Mule Deer; The Time Jumpers
7:30: The Whites (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jimmy Wayne
8:00: Ray Pillow (host); Jan Howard; Mountain Heart; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Shooter Jennings

2nd show
9:30: The Whites (host); Connie Smith; Keni Thomas
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Mountain Heart; Jimmy Wayne
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Charlie Louvin; Shooter Jennings; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Gary Mule Deer; The Time Jumpers

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday May 29, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Del Reeves; Ramona Jones
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Jack Greene; The 4 Guys; The Whites
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Vic Willis Trio; Jeanne Seely; Ray Pillow; Matthews, Wright & King
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Osborne Brothers; Jean Shepard; Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Wilma Lee Cooper; Jan Howard; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roy Drusky; The Whites; Stonewall Jackson; Matthews, Wright & King
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Bill Carlisle; Ramona Jones
10:15: Charlie Walker (host); Jeanne Pruett
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); George Hamilton IV
10:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host): Osborne Brothers; Jack Greene; David Houston; Jim Ed Brown
11:30: The 4 Guys (host); Jan Howard; Vic Willis Trio; Mike Snider

And from 50 years ago, Saturday May 25, 1968:

7:30: Standard Candy
Tex Ritter (host): (?)
Charlie Walker: (?)
The 4 Guys (host): Woman; Woman
Bill Carlisle: (?)
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Billy Grammer: Money, Love & War
Wilma Lee Cooper: Pirate King
Crook Brothers: Fire on the Mountain
Roy Acuff: I Couldn't Believe it was True
Brother Oswald: Weary, Weary, Blues
Billy Grammer: Gotta Travel On
Roy Acuff: Where Could I Go But to the Lord

8:30: Stephens
Bill Anderson (host): Get While the Getting's Good
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud
Martha Carson: Satisfied
Elton Britt: Chime Bells
Bill Anderson: Still
Henson Cargill: Skip a Rope
Snuffy Miller: Touch My Heart

9:00: Luzianne
Bill Monroe (host): Mule Skinner Blues
Jim Ed Brown: The Enemy
Archie Campbell: The Cockfight
Lorene Mann: Don't Put Your Hands on Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Jim Ed Brown: Cajun Stripper
Archie Campbell & Lorene Mann: The Dark End of the Street
Bill Monroe: Roanoke

9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Make Yourself at Home
Willis Brothers: Diamonds on Your Hands
Stu Phillips: Juanita Jones
Cousin Jody: Mockingbird
Willis Brothers: Cool Water
Stu Phillips: That's A Chance I'll Have to Take
Speck Rhodes: In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree
Porter Wagoner: Dooley

10:00: Fender
Bobby Lord (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Bill Carlisle: Mr. Jones
Wilma Lee Cooper: Shackles & Chains
Bobby Lord: Live Your Life Out Loud

10:15: Pure
Roy Acuff (host): Night Train to Memphis
Bill Monroe: Jimmy Brown the Newsboy
Wilma Burgess: Baby
Larry McNeely: Red Headed Boy

10:30: Buckley's
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Martha Carson: (?)
Bill Anderson: No One's Gonna Hurt You Anymore

10:45: Kent
Porter Wagoner (host) w/Dolly Parton: The Last Thing on My Mind
Billy Grammer: Money, Love & War
Crook Brothers: Lafayette
Porter Wagoner: Be Proud of Your Man
Mack McGaha: Katy Hill

11:00: Coca-Cola
Jim Ed Brown (host): Pop A Top
Archie Campbell: Trouble in Amen Corner
The 4 Guys: Why Can't Be Act Like Little Chidren
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking in My Sleep
Jim Ed Brown: The Enemy
Sam McGee: Wheels
The 4 Guys: Love of the Common People
Jim Ed Brown: Gentle on My Mind

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Singing the Blues
Willis Brothers: Monongahela Valley
Stu Phillips: The Note in Box #9
Cousin Jody: Cripple Creek
Don Winters: Baby, I'm Waitin' for You
Willis Brothers: Four Walls
Marty Robbins: Ribbon of Darkness/Begging to You/Don't Worry/Bouquet of Roses/I Could Never Be Ashamed of You/Take These Chains from My Heart/Lovesick Blues


Finally, it was 19 years ago, Saturday May 29, 1999 that future Grand Ole Opry member Brad Paisley made his debut on the Opry. Coming up from West Virginia, Brad was well received that night, leading to more guest appearances, and finally, Opry membership.

1st show
6:30: Opry Book
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Skeeter Davis: I Can Call Jesus Anytime
Jimmy C Newman: Cochran De Lait
B. Duhon: Texa-Cajun

6:45: The Circle Club
Jack Greene (host): Over Time
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Stay A Little Longer
Jan Howard: My Heart Skips A Beat
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Joni Harms: 2-Steppin' Texas Blues/Catalog Dreams
Porter Wagoner: When the Saints Go Marching In/I'll Fly Away/Amazing Grace/I Saw the Light
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Walker (host): Let's Think About Living
Brad Paisley: Who Needs Pictures/Me Neither
Sherrie Austin: I've Never Been Kissed/Lucky in Love
Billy Walker: Back on the Mountain Again

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): I've Got Too Much Time on My Hands
Jim & Jesse: Blue Ridge Mountain Sunset
Young Guns: Take this Heart
Holly Dunn: Daddy's Hands
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Cherokee Shuffle
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Physicians Mutual
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
Jean Shepard: Tennessee Waltz
Johnny Russell: Got No Reason Now for Going Home
George Hamilton IV & V: Forever Young
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again

2nd show
Porter Wagoner (host): Night Train to Memphis
Jeannie Seely: I'm Almost Ready
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey
Sherrie Austin: Put Your Heart into It/I've Never Been Kissed
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home/Cabin in Gloryland

10:00: Lincoln Mercury
Jim Ed Brown (host): Looking Back to See
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Hero's Death
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells/Pop A Top

10:15: The Circle Club
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleepin' at the Foot of the Bed
Brad Paisley: Who Needs Pictures/Sleeping on the Fold Out
Jimmy Dickens: A Death in the Family

10:30: Epaphone
Holly Dunn (host): That's What Your Love Does to Me
Jack Greene: This One Belongs to Me
Holly Dunn: There Goes My Heart Again

10:45: Joggin' In A Jug
Jean Shepard (host): Gone, Gone, Gone
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Fire on the Mountain
Jean Shepard: Secret Love

11:00: Coca-Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Po' Folks
George Hamilton IV & V: Abilene
Ray Pillow: Cinderella
Joni Harms: Two-Steppin' Texas Blues/Catalog Dreams
Bill Anderson: Deck of Cards

11:30: Opryland Inn
Johnny Russell: Folsom Prison Blues
Stu Phillips: Colorado/Only God
Del Reeves: You Comb Her Hair
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down/There's A Star Spangled Banner Somewhere

There you have it for this week. I hope everyone has a very safe Memorial Day weekend. Please remember why we celebrate this special day.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 5/22 & Opry Country Classics 5/24

While many of us complain at times about the Opry's management and some of the decisions that they make, there are many good things that take place at the Opry and one of those is the annual "Salute to the Troops" which generally takes place the Tuesday before Memorial Day. The show honors members of the United States Military and always draws a great line-up of Opry talent. This year is no different, with two shows scheduled that night.

Tuesday Night Opry 5/22
1st show
7:00: John Conlee; Craig Morgan
7:30: Kellie Pickler; Lee Greenwood
8:00: Chris Janson; Darius Rucker
8:30: Trace Adkins

2nd show
9:30: John Conlee; Craig Morgan
10:00: Kellie Pickler; Darius Rucker
10:30: Lee Greenwood; Chris Janson
11:00: Trace Adkins

As to Opry Country Classics on Thursday night, Larry Gatlin is back as the host with Charlie Daniels in the spotlight.

Opry Country Classics 5/24
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Charlie Daniels Band
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Brooke Eden; Johnny Lee; Charlie McCoy

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 5/18 & 5/19

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend. Both line-ups look pretty solid was we continue to move through Spring.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights this weekend include John Conlee, Riders In The Sky, Mike Snider, and Ricky Skaggs. For Ricky, this continues his string of Opry appearances that have really increased in the past several months. It almost seems like Ricky is there every weekend for at least one of the shows.

Joining that group on Friday night will be members Diamond Rio and Connie Smith, while on Saturday night it will be Jeannie Seely, Bobby Osborne, The Whites and Larry Gatlin (without the brothers) appearing.

Guesting on Friday night will be Eric Paslay (his 3rd appearance in recent weeks), Tyler Childers, John McEuen (formally of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), Parker Milsap, Trent Harmon and The Swon Brothers. Saturday night's guest artists include Jillian Jacqueline, Devin Dawson, Caitlyn Smith, and Charlie Nagatani, who will be making what seems to be his annual appearance on the Opry.

Friday May 18
7:00: John Conlee (host); Eric Paslay; Mike Snider
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Tyler Childers; John McEuen
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Parker Milsap; Trent Harmon
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Swon Brothers; Connie Smith

Saturday May 19
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jillian Jacqueline; Mike Snider
7:30: Larry Gatlin (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Devin Dawson
8:15: John Conlee (host); Charlie Nagatani; Caitlyn Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Ricky Skaggs


And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of May 16 & 17, 2008:

Friday May 16
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Josh Gracin
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Mel McDaniel; Del McCoury Band
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Diamond Rio
9:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jack Greene; Connie Smith

Saturday May 17
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Chely Wright
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jim Ed Brown; Rebecca Lynn Howard
7:30: John Conlee (host); Jack Greene; Jamie O'Neal
8:00: Steve Wariner (host); Mel McDaniel; T.G. Sheppard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Chely Wright
10:00: John Conlee (host); Jeannie Seely; Jamie O'Neal
10:30: Steve Wariner (host); Rebecca Lynn Howard; T.G.Sheppard; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; The Grascals

From 25 years ago, Saturday May 22, 1993: 

1st show
6:30: The 4 Guys (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; Jeanne Pruett; Jim & Jesse; Mike Stephens
7:30: Jerry Clower (host); Stonewall Jackson; Bill Carlisle; Emmylou Harris
8:00: Jack Greene (host); Jimmy C Newman; Brother Oswald; Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jan Howard; The Whites

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeanne Pruett; The 4 Guys; Skeeter Davis
10:00: Emmylou Harris (host); The Whites; Barry & Holly Tashian
10:15: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jim & Jesse
10:30: Jerry Clower (host); Roy Drusky
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Bill Carlisle; Stonewall Jackson; Justin Tubb
11:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jan Howard; Mike Snider


Looking back into the history of the Grand Ole Opry, it was on Saturday May 17, 1969 that Tammy Wynette first joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry, and it was 28 years later,  Saturday May 17, 1997 that Tammy Wynette made her final appearance on the Opry. Of course, she was not a member at the time of her final appearance, in fact, her time at the Opry was fairly short.

Tammy Wynette began developing her natural musical talents at an early age. Urged on by family and friends, she graduated from talent shows and charities to her own local radio show while still a teenager. It was during this time in her life that she began to truly perfect the heart-in-throat song styling that has carried her to the top of the country music world.

Tammy's first trip to Nashville was as a song plugger rather than a singer. She had come to Epic Records to try to interest them in some material a friend had written for one of Epic's top artists. It is not known what became of the songs or the friend, but for Tammy it was the beginning of an entire new life. Within a few weeks she had her first single out "Apartment No. 9" and country music fans, as well as pop fans were proclaiming her a new star. She rose to the top of the charts and polls so quickly that there was no time for her to be proclaimed as best new female vocalist or best upcoming this or that. She was instantly at the top of everyone's list and her unique talent was to know no restrictions. She was a favorite on country, pop and top 40 stations. Tammy Wynette had arrived.

Following her initial hit single, she has been at the top of the charts constantly with singles and albums. Her outstanding singles include, "Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad" (Grammy winner, 1967), "I Don't Wanna Play House," "He Loves Me All The Way," "Run, Woman, Run," "Good Lovin'," "Bedtime Story," and her 1969 Grammy winner, "Stand By Your Man."

Not content to be known solely as a singer, Tammy has written or co-written several of her own hits, including "Stand By Your Man," which recently enjoyed an encore success as a rhythm and blues hit. Tammy's voice has been used for the soundtrack recording of two current contemporary films, "Run, Angel Run," and "Five Easy Pieces." Far more than being just another singer, Tammy Wynette has become a very "in" singer with all audiences. As can be expected, her popularity has begun to spread in Europe. Touched by the despair and plaintive sob in her voice, a top French critic was moved to call her "The Edith Piaf of Country America." She is internationally recognized as America's foremost singer of soul songs, country style.

(From the Grand Ole Opry WSM Picture-History Book, 1976, Volume 6, Edition 2).

Tammy's time at the Opry was short and mirrored that of George Jones. She originally joined the Opry (according to their records) on May 17, 1969. After that, she left. In fact, going through the Picture-History Books, she is not pictured in the early 1969 edition, or the 1972 edition. But she shows up in the 1976 book. What I can tell you is that she rarely played the Opry, having just a handful of appearances along the way.

Here are a couple of line-ups for you. First, From May 17, 1969, the night the Opry lists Tammy Wynette as joining the cast of the show:

Hank Locklin: (?)
Willis Brothers: (?)
Bill Carlisle: (?)

The 4 Guys: (?)
Bobby Lord (?)

7:00: Luzianne
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Charlie Walker: Honky Tonk Season
Stringbean: Ol' Man, Can You Play the Banjo
Del Wood: Ballin' the Jack
Bill Anderson: My Life
Charlie Walker: Jambalaya
Jimmy Gately: Cryin' Don't Pay
Stringbean: Nine Pound Hammer
Bill Anderson: City Lights/I've Enjoyed As Much of This As I Can Stand/I'll Go Down Swinging/I Don't Love You Anymore/Once a Day/Cold Hard Facts of Life/Cincinnati, Ohio/Think I'll Go Somewhere & Cry Myself to Sleep

7:30: Standard Candy
Roy Acuff (host): Once More
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Jean Shepard: I'm Tied Around Your Finger
Archie Campbell: Scarlet Ribbons
Crook Brothers: Eighth of January
Justin Tubb: The Great River Road Mystery
Roy Acuff: Filipino Baby

8:00: Martha White
George Jones (host): White Lightening
Tammy Wynette: D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Grandpa Jones: Old Blue
George Jones: I'll Share My World With You
Tammy Wynette: Stand By Your Man
George Jones & Tammy Wynette: Milwaukee, Here I Come
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Laurell
Tammy Wynette: Singing My  Song
Jones Boys: Fire on the Mountain

8:30: Stephens
Bill Monroe (host): Train 45
Glaser Brothers: California Girl
Margie Bowes: Understand Your Gal/Big City
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Don't Let Your Sweet Love Die
Bill Monroe: I Haven't Seen Mary in Years
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Johnny Cash: Folsom Prison Blues/Orange Blossom Special
Johnny Cash & June Carter: Jackson

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Hank Locklin (host): Geisha Girl
Willis Brothers: Bob
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Hank Locklin: Country Hall of Fame
Willis Brothers: Rambling Boy
The 4 Guys: Daddy Sang Bass
Justin Tubb: Be Glad

10:00: Fender
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Charlie Walker: Little Old Wine Drinker Me
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:15: Pure
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Stringbean: Gonna Make Myself A Name
Jimmy Gately: Heavenly Sunshine
Bill Anderson: My Life

10:30: Buckley's
Stonewall Jackson (host): A Wound Time Can't Erase
Bobby Lord: Yesterday's Letters
Johnny Cash: I Still Miss Someone/Folsom Prison Blues
Johnny Cash &  June Carter: Jackson
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo

10:45: True
Bill Monroe (host): Blue Moon of Kentucky
Margie Bowes: That Completely Destroys My Plans
Crook Brothers: Sally Ann
Bill Monroe: I'm On My Way Back to the Old Home

11:00: Coca-Cola
George Jones (host): The Race is On
Tammy Wynette: Stand My Your Man
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
George Jones: I'll Be Over You When the Grass Grows Over Me
Tammy Wynette: Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
Sam McGee: Uncle Bud
George Jones: Walk Thru This World with Me

11:30: Lava
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): My Georgia Moon
Grandpa Jones: Raining on the Mountain Now My Love
The 4 Guys: Swing Down Chariot
Wilma Lee Cooper: I Don't Care (if Tomorrow Never Comes)
Grandpa Jones: T for Texas
The 4 Guys: Love of the Common People
L. E. White: I'll Love You More Today (Then He Can From Now On)

What stands out from that first show, besides George, Tammy and Johnny Cash, was Bill Anderson doing a medley of hits that he had written. Wouldn't it be nice to hear Bill do that again on the Opry?

And now from Saturday May 17, 1997, the night of Tammy Wynette's final Grand Ole Opry appearance:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy Dickens (host): Family Reunion
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jimmy Dickens: Life Turned Her that Way

6:45: Jogging In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Bill Carlisle: Gone Home
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

7:00: Shoney's
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Jean Shepard: Farewell Party/Second Fiddle
Brother Oswald: Prairie Queen
Grand Ole Opry Staff Band: Buckaroo
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya/Alligator Man

7:30: Standard Candy
Lorrie Morgan (host): I Didn't Know My Own Strength
Anita Cochran: Daddy, Can You See Me
Jan Howard: Take Me As I Am
Tammy Wynette: You Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad/Stand By Your Man/Apartment No. 9
Lorrie Morgan: Good As I Was to You

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Going Home on the Morning Train
Charlie Louvin: Nobody's Darling But Mine
The Whites: Pins & Needles
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Bill Anderson: Still

8:30: Clifty Farm
Mike Snider (host): When You're Smiling
Jack Greene: Follow Me
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
The 4 Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Del Reeves: I Would Like to See You Again

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Lorrie Morgan (host): Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Jan Howard: Oh, Lonesome Me
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Anita Cochran: I Could Love A Man Like You/Will You Be Here in Five Years
Lorrie Morgan: Good As I Was to You

10:00: Massey Ferguson
Jimmy Dickens (host): Country Boy
Jimmy C Newman: Allons, A Lafayette
Jimmy Dickens: I'd Rather Sleep in Peace Than Know You're Gone

10:15: Opry Book
Grandpa Jones (host): Ball-Headed End of the Broom
Jean Shepard: A Phone Call Away
Grandpa Jones: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

10:30: Purnell's
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
Tammy Graham: A Dozen Red Roses/I Know More about Love
Bill Anderson: Bright Lights & Country Music

Mike Snider (host): Black Jack
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/He Is My Everything
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Rachel

11:00: Coca-Cola
Del Reeves (host): Good Time Charlie's
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
The 4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo
Del Reeves: Dang Me
George Hamilton IV: Forever Young
Del Reeves: This Must be the Bottom

11:30: Loreal
Johnny Russell (host): Folsom Prison Blues
Charlie Walker: Right or Wrong
Connie Smith: Where is My Castle
Ray Pillow: Too Many Memories
Stu Phillips: Dust in My Eyes
Johnny Russell: There's A Fool Such As I

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

Monday, May 14, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 5/15 & Opry Country Classics 5/17

Here you go for the mid-week Opry shows this week:

Tuesday Night Opry May 15
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Joshua Hedley
7:30: Walker McGuire; Terri Clark
8:15: Collin Raye; The Isaacs
8:45: Tracy Lawrence; LOCASH

Opry Country Classics Thursday May 17
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Lorrie Morgan
Also Appearing: Jimmy Fortune; Michael Ray; Kalie Shorr

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 5/11 & 5/12

The big news this week at the Grand Ole Opry is Carrie Underwood, who on Friday night will be celebrating her 10th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Carrie Underwood was nervous the night she made her Grand Ole Opry debut. Most singers are, but the naturally shy young woman from Oklahoma had won American Idol just two weeks before, the first country singer to finish first on the top-rated TV show, and she wasn't sure how she'd be accepted at the venerated institution. She needn't have worried. "It's kind of magical," she gushed on the side of the Opry stage just after finishing her two-song set. "I don't feel like I deserve this at all." But Carrie absolutely deserved the thunderous applause that night, and that sense of magic has stayed with her throughout her career, one of the most impressive in country music history.

Since that night in June 2005, Carrie has placed more than 20 singles at the top of the country charts, including "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Before He Cheats," "Cowboy Casanova," the appropriately titled "All-American Girl," "Good Girl," and "See You Again." She has sold millions of albums worldwide. Her debut album, "Some Hearts," is the best-selling album from any American Idol contestant. It spent 27 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard magazine's Top Country Albums chart across a three-year period, and Billboard ranked it as the Top Country Album of the last decade.

Carrie has become one of the most honored young singers in country music today, with a trophy tally that includes over 95 major awards including Grammys and awards from both the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. She has also co-hosted the CMA Awards with follow Opry star Bard Paisley. Of particular significance is the award she was presented on the night of her Opry induction in 2008. "The induction award they gave me says, 'Hey, you're part of the family,'" Carrie says. "It means a lot to me because it's the heart of country music, the church, the sacred place, the super-elite club that says you love this music."

It was on Saturday March 15, 2008 that Opry member Randy Travis surprised Carrie Underwood, while she was performing as a guest on the Opry, inviting Carrie to become the Opry's newest member. Her formal induction took place on Saturday May 10, 2008 with Opry member Garth Brooks surprising Carrie, and doing the formal induction. While I know there are some who do not appreciate Carrie's brand of country music, (and don't put me on that list as I am a Carrie fan), everyone should appreciate her commitment and dedication to the Opry. Among her contemporaries at the Opry, Carrie has set the standard and has always fulfilled her commitment of 10 appearances each year.

Joining Carrie Underwood for both shows on the Friday Night Opry this week will be Grand Ole Opry members Bill Anderson, Riders In The Sky, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites and Old Crow Medicine Show, while Mike Snider is scheduled for just the first show and Jesse McReynolds is set for the late show.

Bill Anderson, Mike Snider, Ricky Skaggs, and The Whites are also scheduled for Saturday night, where they will be joined by members Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Jeannie Seely and Bobby Osborne.

There are only two guest artists on Friday night, Dom Flemons and Ashley Campbell, who will be signing and meeting fans in the Opry Shop. Saturday night, 11 year old Mason Ramsey will be returning, once again appearing on a segment hosted by Ricky Skaggs. Mason was very impressive during his first Opry appearance and he, along with the Opry, received a lot of positive publicity from his appearance. Joining Mason will be Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy, The Nelons, a very popular gospel group, and making his Grand Ole Opry debut, Jordan Davis.

Friday May 11
1st show
7:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Mike Snider
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Ashley Campbell
8:00: Old Crow Medicine Show (host); Dom Flemons
8:30: Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Jesse McReynolds
10:00: Carrie Underwood
10:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Ashley Campbell
11:00: Old Crow Medicine Show (host); Dom Flemons

Saturday May 12
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers (host); Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jordan Davis; Charlie McCoy
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; The Nelons; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Mason Ramsey

While Carrie Underwood will be celebrating her 10th anniversary as an Opry member on Friday night, Jordan Davis will be making his Opry debut on Saturday.

Jordan Davis, who is the brother of country singer Jacob Davis, is from Shreveport, Louisiana. In 2012, after graduating from Louisiana State University, he moved to Nashville. In 2016, Jordan signed a recording and songwriting contract with Universal Music Group Nashville. His debut single, "Singles You Up" was released in mid-2017, while his debut album "Home State" was released this past March. His second single, "Take It from Me" was released this past week.


Here is the Opry line-up from 10 years ago, Saturday May 10, 2008, the night Carrie Underwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Del McCoury Band
7:00: Carrie Underwood; Dierks Bentley; Aaron Tippin; Garth Brooks
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Connie Smith; Mel Tillis; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jimmy C Newman; Jean Shepard; Vince Gill

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; Dierks Bentley
10:00: Marty Stuart (host); George Hamilton IV; Connie Smith; Aaron Tippin
10:30: Vince Gill (host); Del McCoury Band; Carrie Underwood; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Mel Tillis

Two outstanding Opry shows that Saturday night!!

And from 25 years ago, Saturday May 15, 1993:

1st show
6:30: The 4 Guys (host); Ray Pillow
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Jim Ed Brown
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jan Howard; Charlie Walker; Jean Shepard; Hank Locklin
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeanne Pruett; George Hamilton IV: Stu Phillips; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Brother Oswald; Mike Snider
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Roy Drusky; Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Hank Locklin; Wilma Lee Cooper; Rhonda Vincent; Sally Mountain Show
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:15: Jimmy Dickens (host); The 4 Guys
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Bill Carlisle; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; The Whites; Justin Tubb; George Hamilton IV
11:30: Jack Greene (host); Skeeter Davis; Jimmy C Newman; Mike Snider

Looking back at the Opry, it was Saturday May 13, 2006 that Billy Walker performed on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time.

William Marvin Walker was born in Ralls, Texas on January 14, 1929. Billy attended high school in Whiteface, Texas and won a local talent contest which led to a local radio appearance. Billy began his professional career in 1947 at the age of 18 and by 1949 he was performing on the Big D Jamboree in Dallas. It was that same year, thanks to the help of Hank Thompson who worked with Billy in Waco, that he signed with Capital Records. While performing his manager had Billy wear a Lone Ranger style black mask and billed him as The Traveling Texan, the Masked Singer of Country Songs.

In 1951, Billy signed with Columbia Records and then joined the Louisiana Hayride. In 1954 he had his first hit, "Thank You for Calling." By the mid-1950's, Billy had become a member of the Ozark Jubilee, where he became friends with Red Foley. He moved to Nashville in 1959, and by January 1960 he was a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was one of the first artists to record a Willie Nelson song, and although his 1961 version of "Funny How Time Slips Away" only reached No. 23 on Billboard's country singles chart, it helped establish his national reputation. In 1962, he had his only No. 1 record, "Charlie's Shoes." Other Top 10 hits included "Willie the Weeper," "Circumstances," "Cross the Brazos at Waco," "Matamoros," "A Million and One," "Bear with Me a Little Longer," "Ramona," "Thinking 'Bout You Babe," "She Goes Walking Through My Mind," "I'm Gonna Keep On Keep On Lovin' You," "Sing Me a Love Song to Baby," "Word Games," and my personal favorite, "When A Man Loves A Woman (The Way That I Love You."

Billy performed at the Kansas City charity concert in March 1963 that included Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, and others. After the show, Billy received an urgent phone call to return to Nashville and Hawkshaw Hawkins gave up his seat on a commercial flight, giving his ticket to Billy. Hawkshaw ended up on the flight with Patsy, Cowboy Copas and Randy Hughes that crash.

Billy left Columbia in 1965, later recording for Monument Records, MGM, RCA, and his own Tall Texan label. In the late 1960s, he hosted his own syndicated television program "Billy Walker's Country Carnival" that recently aired on RFD-TV.

After his hit making days ended, Billy continued touring and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. On May 21, 2006, he died in a car accident when the van he was driving back to Nashville after a show in Foley, Alabama veered off Interstate 65 and overturned. In addition to Billy, his wife Bettie, and musicians Charles Lilly, Jr., and Daniel Patton also died in the crash.

Here is the running order from Saturday May 13, 2006, the final night that Billy Walker performed on the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host): May the Bird of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose
Connie Smith: Cincinnati, Ohio
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy-Liggy Lo
Keni Thomas: Not Me/Shreveport to L.A.
Jimmy Dickens: I'm Just Blue Enough to Do Most Anything

7:00: Tootsie's
Jeannie Seely (host): It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
The Whites: Blue Letters
Jesse McReynolds: I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby
Pinmonkey: Barbed Wire and Roses/That Train Don't Run By Here No More

7:30: Martha White
Riders In The Sky (host): Ghost Herd in the Sky
Jan Howard: Smoky Mountain Jubilee
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
The Wreckers: Leave the Roses When You Go/My, oh, My
Riders In The Sky: Whoop De Doo/Happy Trails to You

Jean Shepard (host): Silver Threads and Golden Needles
Billy Walker: T for Texas
Buddy Jewell: Help Pour out the Rain/If She Were Any Other Woman
Opry Square Dance Band/ Opry Square Dancers: Snow Flake Reel
Jean Shepard: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray Again

8:30: Tennessee Pride
Bill Anderson (host): If You Can Live With It
Eddy Raven: Who Do You Know in California/I've Got Mexico
Ricky Skaggs: First Corinthians 118/Sally Jo
Bill Anderson: The Corner of My Life

2nd show
9:30: Cracker Barrel
Jimmy Dickens (host): Take an Old Cold Tater
Connie Smith: Did We Have to Come This Far
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mammou
Keni Thomas: Not Me/From Shreveport to L.A.
Jimmy Dickens: Shopping for Dresses

Jean Shepard (host): Head over Heels in Love with You
The Whites: Swing Down Chariott
Eddy Raven: We Rob Trains/Joe Sure Knows How to Live
Pinmonkey: Barbed Wire and Roses/That Train Don't Run By Here No More
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle

10:30: Johnnie Walker Tours
Jeannie Seely (host): Anytime
Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press: West Virginia, My Home
The Wreckers: Leave the Roses When You Go/My, Oh, My
Opry Square Dance Band/Opry Square Dancers: Here & There

11:00: Gaylord
Bill Anderson (host): Don't She Look Good
Jack Greene: Highway to the Sky/This One Belongs to Me
Ricky Skaggs: Mothers Only Sleeping/Uncle Pen
Bill Anderson: Mama Sang A Song

11:30: Night At The Opry
Riders In The Sky (host): Woody's Roundup
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Angels
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain
Buddy Jewell: Help Pour Out the Rain/If She Were Any Other Woman
Riders In The Sky: Mother, The Queen of My Heart/Happy Trails to You

Billy Walker had an amazing career. When you add up the number of hit records and television appearances he had, you can make the case that Billy deserves consideration to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Sadly, it will probably never happen.

Once again, congratulations to Carrie Underwood as she celebrates her 10th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and I am sure everyone will enjoy the Opry this weekend. Three very nice shows.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 5/8 & Opry Country Classics 5/10

Let me state that last weekend was a good one for the Opry. They celebrated Charley Pride's 25th anniversary as a member and had a couple of pretty good shows to go along with it.

As far as the mid-week shows, the Tuesday Night Opry will feature Opry members Rascal Flatts, along with one of the newest members, Chris Janson. Opry Country Classics will feature Opry member Marty Stuart as the spotlight artist and the legendary Leroy Van Dyke is also on the schedule.

Tuesday Night Opry May 8
7:00: Bill Anderson; Kalie Shorr
7:30: Easton Corbin; Chris Janson
8:15: Jesse McReynolds; Steven Curtis Chapman
8:45: Rascal Flatts

Opry Country Classics Thursday May 10
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Marty Stuart
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Shelly Fairchild; Lucas Hoge; Leroy Van Dyke

Sunday, May 6, 2018

May Opry Highlights

Welcome to the month of May, the month where many of us see spring at the beginning of the month and summer by the end. As usual, May is a busy month at the Grand Ole Opry and here are the important and historical events that have taken place during the month involving the Opry or its members.

May 1, 1894: One of the Opry's original members, Sam McGee was born. Sam first appeared on the WSM Barn Dance in 1926. Over the years, Sam would appear with his brother Kirk, and as part of the Dixieliners and Fruit Jar Drinkers. Sam passed away in August 1975, following a tractor accident on his farm near Nashville.

May 12, 1901: The Duke of Paducah, Benjamin Francis Ford, was born in DeSoto, Missouri. This fine comedian joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1942, and remained a member of the Opry until 1959. Even though he gave up his Opry membership to move on to other opportunities, the Duke would continue to return for guest appearances, especially during the Opry's annual reunion shows. Benjamin Ford passed away in 1986, the same year that he was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 30, 1909: Lewis Crook, a member of the Crook Brothers, was born, While not an original member of the group, he performed with Herman Crook and the others, primarily backing up the square dancers. After Herman passed away, Lewis continued on at the Opry as part of the newly named Opry Square Dance Band. Lewis, who was a part of the Opry for over 50 years, passed away in 1997.

May 17, 1912: Grand Ole Opry and WSM announcer Grant Turner was born. Grant joined the staff of WSM on D-Day, June 6, 1944. While the Opry has had many legendary announcers over the years, Grant is considered the Opry's best, so much so that he was called "The Dean of the Opry's Announcers." Grant remained an Opry announcer until his death on October 19, 1991, just hours after finishing his work on the Friday Night Opry. Grant, who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, was with WSM for 47 years.

May 30, 1912: Alcyone Bate Beasley was born. Alcyone was there when it all started in November 1925, performing with her father's group, Dr. Humphrey Bate and His Possum Hunters. After his death in 1936, Alcyone worked to keep the Possum Hunters together, but it was a struggle as the Opry moved to a more professional and modern sound. By the 1960s, the Possum Hunters had been merged with the Crook Brothers. In the 1970s, after over 45 years on the Opry, Alcyone went into semi-retirement, after which she became a fixture at the Opry's annual reunion shows. She passed away in October 1982.

May 9, 1914: The legendary Singing Ranger, Hank Snow was born in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. Hank joined the Grand Ole Opry in January 1950 and would remain one of the Opry's biggest stars until his death in December 1999, just weeks short of his 50th anniversary as an Opry member. In 1979, Hank was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 1, 1926: Uncle Dave Macon joined the cast of the WSM Barn Dance. Uncle Dave was considered the first professional musician to join the cast of the Barn Dance, and he would remain with the show until his death in March 1952. Uncle Dave was a popular Opry member, who always considered himself just a plain old country boy. In 1966, he was one of the early members to be elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 1, 1928: Former Grand Ole Opry member, James Hugh Loden was born. Better known as Sonny James, the Southern Gentleman, he was an Opry member for a few years in the 1960s. A true country legend, Sonny is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 25, 1936: Grand Ole Opry member Tom T Hall was born. Much like Abe Lincoln. Tom T was born in a log cabin in Kentucky. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Tom T originally joined the Opry on January 1, 1971. He left the Opry in March 1974, when the show moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House at Opryland. In 1980, he returned as an Opry member. At the age of 82, Tom T is now retired.

May 31, 1938: Donald Lytle was born in Greenfield, Ohio. Early in his career, he decided upon the name Johnny Paycheck and spent the early part of his career as a band member for Ray Price, Porter Wagoner, George Jones and Faron Young. Once he became a star in his own right, Johnny became one of the first to be considered a country "outlaw." He experienced some pretty serious issues in his life and spent some time in prison. However in 1997, thanks to some help from his friend Johnny Russell, he was asked to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Sadly, just a few years after becoming an Opry member, his health declined and his performing career ended. Johnny passed away in February 2003.

May 2, 1948: Grand Ole Opry member Larry Gatlin was born. Along with his brothers Steve and Rudy, Larry joined the cast of the Opry on Christmas Day 1976. In recent years, Larry has been performing pretty regularly at the Opry and has become the primary host of Opry Country Classics, which takes place at the Ryman Auditorium during the Spring and Fall months.

May 29, 1950: Mother Maybelle Carter and the Carter Sisters, which consisted of Anita, Helen and June, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. When the Carters joined the cast, they also brought along Chet Atkins as their guitar player. For Chet, it was a return to the show as he had originally appeared on the show in the 1940s with Red Foley. While the Carter Sisters would come and go, Mother Maybelle remained with the Opry until the late 1960s. Later in her career, and similar to the experience of other veteran Opry members such as Sam and Kirk McGee, she would complain to the Opry's management about her poorly timed spots and a general lack of respect. When she finally did decide to leave the Opry, it was to become a permanent member of Johnny Cash's road show.

May 16, 1953: Jimmy Dean made his Grand Ole Opry debut, introduced that night by Opry member Carl Smith. While never becoming an Opry member, Jimmy would make occasional Opry appearances throughout his career, including on the night that Jimmy Dickens was honored on his 50th anniversary as an Opry member.

May 23, 1953: Singing "Mexican Joe" future Grand Ole Opry member Jim Reeves made his Opry debut.

May 21, 1955: While several dates are listed, it would appear that this was the date that Opry member Webb Pierce quit the Opry. He was an Opry member for just three years, but over that time he realized  pretty fast how much money he was losing by not being out on the road on Saturday nights. In addition to his Hall of Fame career, Webb was also involved in the music publishing business.

May 11, 1957: Don and Phil, the Everly Brothers, made their first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. They, along with a few others, were brought in as part of a youth movement in an attempt to capture the younger crowd who were not coming to the Opry. They were with the Opry for only a year before moving on. In 2001, they were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

May 18, 1957: Just weeks after the Everly Brothers, Rusty and Doug Kershaw made their Opry debut.

May 20, 1958: Don Gibson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. A fantastic songwriter, Don was an Opry member until December 1964, when he was fired from the cast for not making the required number of Opry appearances. Several years later, Don rejoined the Opry after the attendance requirements were lowered. Elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001, Don remained an Opry member until his death in 2003 after a period of declining health.

May 1, 1960: The WLS National Barn Dance, one of the Opry's early competitors, came to an end as WLS in Chicago changed formats. The Barn Dance originally started on April 19, 1924, a year prior to the start of the Opry.

May 13, 1967: Merle Haggard made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Merle came to the Opry a few times, the last being in October 2015, when he made a surprise appearance on the show.

May 8, 1968: Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay passed away at his home in Virginia Beach, Virginia. He started the WSM Barn Dance in November 1925, several months after joining WSM as the Radio Director. After he started the show, he would frequently clash with WSM management, particularly Harry and David Stone, over the direction of the show. He wanted to keep the Opry "close to the ground" while the Stone's saw the value of the Opry to National Life and WSM and wanted the show to take a more professional approach. Over the years, Hay would suffer periods of ill health and by the time he retired from WSM, he was primarily an announcer with little creative control regarding the show. On Saturday May 11, the  first Opry show following his death, Grant Turner paid tribute to him, saying, "He called himself the Solemn Old Judge. If he was solemn, it was only in the face of those who thought to change or corrupt the purity of the barn dance ballads he sought to preserve. We, the performers and friends of the Grand Ole Opry, salute the memory of one whose influence is felt on the stage of the Opry tonight-the Solemn Old Judge, George D. Hay."

May 10, 1969: Stonewall Jackson rejoined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Stonewall was another of the ones who were fired in December 1964 for failing to fulfill the Opry's attendance requirements. Stonewall originally joined the cast in November 1956. His last Opry appearance was in November 2016 when he was recognized upon his 60th anniversary as an Opry member.

May 1, 1971: Tex Summey, known professionally as Cousin Jody, made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He originally came to the Opry in 1937 with Roy Acuff and later performed with Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys. Later in his career, he appeared with Lonzo & Oscar, in addition to his solo performances. While not always remember, Cousin Jody was Roy Acuff's original dobro player, replaced by Brother Oswald when he left Roy's group. He left the Opry due to his declining health.

May 13, 1972: Gene Watson made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, Gene has actually appeared on the Opry more times than many of the Opry's members. I have been asked many times why Gene never became an Opry member, and it is a question that I have no answer for.

May 22, 1977: In honor of Victoria Day, a national holiday in Canada, the Opry held a special matinee show dedicated to the fans of the Opry from the country up North.

May 11, 1979: Lester Flatt passed away in Nashville at the age of 64. Lester had been in declining health for a number of years. Lester first came to the Opry as a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, later joining with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt & Scruggs. After splitting with Earl, Lester continued as an Opry member, sticking to traditional bluegrass and traditionally hosting the segment hosted by Martha White.

May 15, 1982: Ricky Skaggs became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 36th year as an Opry member. Ricky always dreamed of becoming an Opry member and he has always taken his Opry membership seriously. As Ricky said, "I don't ever, ever want to get to the point where I don't come and play the Opry, while I feel like I'm too good to play the Opry. Mr. Acuff said that I would do that. He said you'll get so big you'll do like all the rest of them. And I said, you don't know me. You just watch and see, I'm not made that way. I didn't join the Opry for that." After that, whenever Ricky played the Opry, he would always make it a point to find Roy and tell him that he was indeed there. And yes, there have been a few bumps in the road, but overall, Ricky has been good for the Opry.

May 26, 1984: Onie Wheeler, a member of Roy Acuff's Smoky Mountain Boys, died of a heart attack while performing on the Grand Ole Gospel radio program that followed the Friday Night Opry.

May 3, 1986: Barbara Mandrell returned to the Opry for the first time following her near fatal car accident.

May 4, 1991: Travis Tritt made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Less than a year later, in February 1992, Travis would become an Opry member.

May 1, 1993: Charley Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Charley's 25th year as an Opry member. Charley first appeared as a guest on the Opry in the late 1960s. Over the following years, Charley was asked numerous times if he was interested in becoming a member of the Opry, but he always declined due to his heavy touring schedule and the fact that he seldom came to Nashville. In 1993, he finally felt that the time was right and he joined the cast.

May 11, 1996: Steve Wariner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Steve first came to the Opry as a member of Dottie West's band, before branching out with his own career. This will be Steve's 22nd year as a member of the Opry's cast.

May 3, 1997: The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree celebrated it's 50th anniversary with a show that took place on Broadway Avenue in Nashville.

May 17, 1997: Former Grand Ole Opry member Tammy Wynette made her final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Tammy had been a member of the Opry in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when she was married to George Jones.

May 31, 1997: Lee Ann Womack made her first guest appearance on the Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, Lee Ann would make guest appearances on the show.

May 9, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Teddy Wilburn made his final appearance on the Opry. Teddy and his brother Doyle, along with other family members, had first appeared on the Opry in 1940 before being forced to leave the show due to child labor laws. In the 1950s, they returned to the Opry as members, with Teddy and Doyle performing as a duo until Doyle's death from cancer in 1982. Teddy continued as a solo member of the Opry, although over time he would reduce his appearances. Health issues forced Teddy to retire from performing and he passed away in November 2003.

May 15, 1998: Grand Ole Opry member Johnny Paycheck made his final appearance on the Opry. Health issues forced Johnny to retire from performing.

May 29, 1999: Future Grand Ole Opry member Brad Paisley made his Opry debut. Brad came to Nashville and the Opry via the Wheeling Jamboree. After numerous guest appearances, Brad would eventually become an Opry member.

May 5, 2001: Blake Shelton made his debut as a guest artist on the Grand Ole Opry. Over the next decade, Blake would continue to appear once in a while on the Opry, eventually joining the cast in the fall of 2010.

May 21, 2006: Grand Ole Opry member Billy Walker, along with his wife Bettie and two members of his band, were killed in a traffic accident on their way back to Nashville after an appearance in Alabama. Billy had joined the Opry in 1960.

May 19, 2007: Porter Wagoner celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was joined that night by Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Marty Stuart and Buck Trent. Marty hosted the televised segment and it marked the final time that Porter and Dolly shared the stage together. Dolly sang a very emotional "I Will Always Love You," which she wrote dedicated to Porter and on that night, it brought tears to Porter's eyes. Porter, who was already in declining health, would pass away in October. And yes, 10 years after his death, Porter is still missed at the Opry.

May 10, 2008: Carrie Underwood became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 10th year as an Opry member. On the night of her induction, Garth Brooks surprised Carrie and the Opry crowd by making a special appearance to induct Carrie. I know I have said it before, but Carrie takes her Opry membership seriously and even with her busy schedule, she has always managed to get in the 10 appearances each year asked of her.

May 30, 2009: Comedian, actor and banjo player Steve Martin made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry, leading an all-star band performing "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." If you have never seen or heard Steve play the banjo, he is fantastic and takes it very seriously.

May 1, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House sustained major damage when the Cumberland River flooded during heavy rains that hit the Nashville area. The Opry House, Acuff Theater, Opry Museum and Opry Mills Mall all were closed due to the damage. The Acuff Theater was torn down, the Museum has never reopened and it took the Mall years to get repaired. In the case of the Opry House, it took until September for the auditorium to be reopened. When it did, it was a star-studded Tuesday Night Opry with Bill Anderson hosting the opening segment. This was fitting as it was Bill that had hosted the final Saturday night segment the night prior to the flood. And even though the Opry House was closed due to the flood, the Opry did not miss one performance as the show relocated to various buildings around Nashville.

May 3, 2011: Alabama made a guest appearance on the Opry, 29 years after they first appeared on the Opry. They were joined on stage that night by Opry member Brad Paisley, and together they sang, "Old Alabama" and "Tennessee River."

May 18, 2013: Retired Grand Ole Opry member Barbara Mandrell made a surprise appearance at the Opry. She did not sing, but came out on stage and waved to the audience.

May 4, 2018: Grand Ole Opry member Charley Pride was honored at the Opry upon his 25th anniversary as a member of the Opry.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 5/4 & 5/5

It will be a big weekend at the Grand Ole Opry as Charley Pride will be in town for both nights and he will be celebrating 25 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

With 36 No.1 hits and more than 25 million albums sold, Charley Pride is a true country music legend. The journey, however, was not without its share of challenges. Born to poor Mississippi sharecroppers, Charley was one of 11 children. At 14, he bought a guitar and taught himself to play. Unofficially starting his music career while playing baseball in the Negro American League with the Memphis Red Sox. Charley sang on the team bus between ballparks. Following a tryout with the New York Mets, Charley returned home, but not before making a trip to Nashville. Manager Jack Johnson heard Charley and promised that a recording contract would follow.

A year later, Charley returned to Nashville and was introduced to producer Cowboy Jack Clement, who asked him to cut a couple of new songs, including one that became his debut hit, "The Snakes Crawl at Night." From 1966 to 1984, the overwhelming majority of his more than 50 singles reached the Top 10, with more than half hitting No.1, including "Kiss an Angel Good Morning," (a pop-country crossover million-seller), "Mountain of Love" and "Is Anybody Going to San Antone?" In 1971, the Country Music Association named him Entertainer of the Year.

"I'm a very fortunate entertainer because a lot of artists don't have but maybe on signature song," Charley says, "I'm fortunate enough to have about four or five. If I leave one or two out of my show, I'm going to hear something about it before the night's over."

In 1993, 26 years after he first played the show as a guest, Charley joined the Grand Ole Opry. Remembering his initial dream of baseball stardom, Charley said, "It's as if I had made it in baseball and they came up to me and took me to Cooperstown and said, 'This is where your plaque is going to be, beside Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron.'"

Charley Pride made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry on January 7, 1967. At the time, he was the first black solo singer to appear on the show (early Opry member DeFord Bailey was in instrumentalist). After that successful first appearance, he was invited back several times and soon was asked to become a member of the Opry's cast. However, citing a heavy touring schedule, Charley declined, as he would on several other occasions. Finally, in 1993 the time felt right for Charley and he joined the Opry.

Joining Charley for both shows this weekend will be Grand Ole Opry members Mike Snider and John Conlee. Joining that duo on Friday night will be members The Whites, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, Jeannie Seely and Dailey & Vincent. Opry members scheduled for Saturday night besides Charley, Mike and John include Bill Anderson, Crystal Gayle, Riders In The Sky and Connie Smith. That comes out to seven members on each show.

Listed as guest artists on Friday night are Deana Carter, Eric Paslay, Aaron Tippin and Jimmie Allen, while on Saturday night Shelly Fairchild, William Michael Morgan and Shane Owens are listed.

Friday May 4
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Deana Carter; The Whites
7:30: John Conlee (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Eric Paslay
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Aaron Tippin; Jimmie Allen
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Charley Pride

Saturday May 5
7:00: John Conlee (host); Shelly Fairchild; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); William Michael Morgan; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Shane Owens; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Charley Pride

While Charley Pride will be celebrating his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Jimmie Allen will be making his Opry debut on this week's Friday Night Opry.

A native of Southern Delaware, Jimmie Allen has been making his presence known in Nashville, and in the country music community. He has performed at the Bluebird Cafe, toured with Toby Keith, wrote a song that was featured in a Super Bowl commercial, appeared in a Diet Coke ad with Taylor Swift, and in October 2017 released his self-titled EP through the BBR Music Group.

Allen's EP is described as "a cutting-edge mix of country, rock, R&B, and pop," produced by Ash Bowers and Eric Torres. Among the songs, "Underdogs" and "Best Shot" reveal his true story of laying it all on the line, while "Back Home to You," "Back of Your Mind," and "Blue Jean Baby" find the singer-songwriter reflecting on his journey to the spotlight, with all the love he left behind and romantic hopes included.

In January, Rolling Stone magazine listed Jimmie Allen as one of the 10 new country artists you need to know.


As mentioned, Charley Pride is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry this weekend and here is a look back at the running order from Saturday May 1, 1993, the night Charley became an official Opry member.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
The 4 Guys (host): If It's From the Country, It's Coming From the Heart
Wilma Lee Cooper: Sweeter Than the Flowers
The 4 Guys: (?)

6:45: Country Music Hall of Fame
Grandpa Jones (host): Don't 'Cha Cry, Melinda
Jim Ed Brown: Lyin' In Love With You/The 3 Bells
Grandpa Jones: Four Stone Walls and a Ceiling

7:00: Shoney's
Del Reeves (host): Lay A Little Lovin' On Me
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Jean Shepard: Many Happy Hangovers to You
Osborne Brothers: Rock of Ages
Eddy Raven: Who Do You Know in California/Bayou Boys Sleep All Day; Run All Night
Del Reeves: The Race is On

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy C Newman (host): Cajun's Dream
Jan Howard: Crazy Arms
Riders In The Sky: Lonely Yukon Stars
Charley Pride: Kiss an Angel Good Morning/Wings of a Dove/Kaw-Liga
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): 'Ol Slewfoot
Charlie Walker: Who Will Buy the Wine
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Porter Wagoner: Happy Birthday Dear Tony
Charlie Cushman: Sally Goodin
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast With the Blues
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Ray Pillow: Invitation to the Blues
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
Hank Snow: I'm Not All that Sorry for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Del Reeves: There She Goes
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues
Charley Pride: Every Heart Should Have One/Mountain of Love/Kiss An Angel Good Morning/Kaw-Liga
Porter Wagoner: On A Highway Headed South

10:00: Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Grandpa Jones: Old Camp Meeting Time

10:15: Sunbeam/Tennessee Pride
Jim Ed Brown (host): Everyday People
Bill Carlisle: Rusty Old Halo
Jim Ed Brown: Will the Circle Be Unbroken/I Saw the Light/Gone at Last

10:30: Picadilly
Billy Walker (host): Charlie's Shoes
Lost & Found: Left-Over Biscuits
Billy Walker: You Gave Me A Mountain

10:45: Opry Book
Osborne Brothers (host): Midnight Flyer
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Liberty
Osborne Brothers: High on a Hilltop
David Crowe: Sally Goodin

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Ramblin' Rose
Riders In The Sky: Son of the Western Soil
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Eddy Raven: Sometimes A Lady/I've Got Mexico
Hank Snow: Old Shep

11:30: General Jackson
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin' Mama
Connie Smith: Then & Only Then
Roy Drusky: All for the Love of a Girl
Mike Snider: Squirrel Hide
Jimmy C Newman: Colinda

While May 1, 1993 is the date that Charley Pride joined the Opry, it was May 1, 1971 that another Opry member, James Clell Summey, better known as Cousin Jody, performed on the Opry for the final time.

James Clell Summey was born on December 11, 1919 near Sevierville, Tennessee. While he was young, his family moved to Knoxville. Both of his parents were musicians and other musicians stayed on a regular basis at their home. As Jody grew up, he learned several different instruments, starting with a guitar before moving on to the dobro, on which he became an accomplished musician. By 1933, he was playing in local clubs with a group known as the Tennessee Crackerjacks, where they were joined by another local fellow, Roy Acuff. Several years later, Roy and the band moved to Nashville where they appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. Performing with Roy on the Opry, Jody became the first musician to play a dobro on the show.

While many people associate Brother Oswald with helping to create the Roy Acuff sound, it was actually Jody who provided the dobro on such classic Acuff recordings as "The Great Speckled Bird" and "Wabash Cannonball." In January 1931, after having a difference of opinion with Roy over material,  Jody left the group and returned to Knoxville. However, he soon moved back to Nashville, this time working for Pee Wee King. He later worked with Lonzo and Oscar, and many of those classic performances can be seen on YouTube. He then performed as a solo member of the Opry, dressing up as a baggy-panted and toothless hayseed. With his comedy and musicianship, he was a popular member of the cast. His comedy dominated his later appearances which caused many fans to forget just how good a dobro player he really was.

Declining health caused Jody to retire from the Opry in 1971 and he passed away at the age of 55 on August 18, 1975.

Here is the running order from Saturday May 1, 1971, Cousin Jody's final night on the Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs Grissoms
Stu Phillips (host): Let the Guitars Play
Peggy Little: I've Got to Have You
Stringbean: Mountain Dew
Stu Phillips: El Tigrae

6:45: Rudy's
Willis Brothers (host): Bob
Justin Tubb: Big Fool of the Year
Willis Brothers: For the Good Times
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey

7:00: Luzianne
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven/Boll Weevil
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nine Pound Hammer
Howdy Forrester: Billy in the Low Ground
Connie Eaton: Take My Hand, Precious Lord
Brother Oswald: Columbus Stockade Blues
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Big Midnight Special
Roy Acuff: Cabin in Gloryland

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks
Stonemans Family:  Looking Out My Back Door
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: If I'm Gonna Have Your Lovin'
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Bill Monroe: Wicked Path of Sin
Stoneman Family: Orange Blossom Special
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: If I've Gotta Have Your Lovin'

8:00: Martha White
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Bill Carlisle: Shanghai Rooster
The 4 Guys: My Special Angel
Bobby Lewis: He Gives Us All His Love
Archie Campbell: Hey Waiter
Del Wood: Kentucky Turnpike
The 4 Guys: Ruby, Don't Take Your Guns to Town

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I've Been Everywhere
Marion Worth: How Great Thou Art
Charlie Walker: My Baby Used to Be That Way
Louie Roberts: Sandy/Cattle Call
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Devil's Dream
Marion Worth: Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Justin Tubb (host): Be Glad
Willis Brothers: Women's Liberation
Peggy Little: Son of a Preacher Man
Stringbean: Ruby
Willis Brothers: Give Me 40 Acres
Peggy Little: I've Got to Have You
Stringbean: Battle of New Orleans
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203

10:00: Fender
Stu Phillips (host): Me & Bobby McGee
Connie Eaton: Take My Hand, Precious Lord
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Stu Phillips: For the Good Times

10:15: Union 76
Bill Monroe (host): I Haven't Seen Mary in Years
Tex Ritter: Wayward Wind
Joe & Rose Lee Maphis: Run That By Me One More Time
Bill Monroe: I'll Never Love No One Else But My Darling

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Del Wood: Are You From Dixie
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird

10:45: Beech-Nut
Archie Campbell (host): Make Friends
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Nobody's Darling But Mine
Crook Brothers: Old Joe Clark
Archie & Phil Campbell: Release Me

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Charlie Walker: My Baby Used to Be That Way
Stoneman Family: White Lightening #2
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Soldier's Joy
Hank Snow: Bluebird Island
Charlie Walker: Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy
Sam McGee: Where the Roses Never Fade
Hank Snow: My Little Old Home Down in New Orleans

11:30: Elm Hill
The 4 Guys (host): Cottonfields/Mariah
Marion Worth: Okie from Muskogee/How Great Thou Art
Louie Roberts: Sandy
Bobby Lewis: From Heaven to Heartache/He Gives Us all His Love
The 4 Guys: Sweet Caroline/One Pair of Hands

Once again, congratulations to Charley Pride upon his 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. And as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.