Thursday, June 28, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 6/29 & 6/30

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the upcoming weekend shows. As they stand right now, the Friday Night Opry looks pretty good. Saturday's Grand Ole Opry looks awful!!!!

Opry members set for both nights are Jeannie Seely and Mike Snider. They will be joined on Friday night by members Riders In The Sky, Bobby Osborne, The Whites and Bill Anderson. Guest artists include three nice veterans: Suzy Bogguss, Tracy Lawrence and Restless Heart. Others scheduled include Drew Baldridge, Kalie Shorr and making his Opry debut, Jake Etheridge.

Jeannie and Mike are the only Opry members currently scheduled for Saturday night. Hopefully it changes but as of right now, the Saturday show is lacking in numbers and in overall quality. Nothing against Chuck Mead, Aaron Lewis, John Jorgenson, Tegan Marie, LEVON or Charlie McCoy, but it is Saturday night, the traditional Opry night.

Friday June 29
7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Kalie Shorr; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Drew Baldridge; Restless Heart
8:15: Mike Snider (host); The Whites; Suzy Bogguss
8:45: Bill Anderson (host); Jake Etheridge; Tracy Lawrence

Saturday June 30
7:00: Mike Snider; Chuck Mead
7:30: Aaron Lewis; John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band
8:15: Jeannie Seely; Tegan Marie; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: LEVON; Charlie McCoy
And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 27 & 28, 2008:

Friday June 27
8:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Jimmy C Newman; Heidi Newfield
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Darryl Worley
9:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Connie Smith
9:30: Trace Adkins (host); T.G. Sheppard

Saturday June 28
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; John Cowan Band
7:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); T.G. Sheppard; Julie Roberts
7:30: Ray Pillow (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rebecca Lynn Howard
8:00: The Whites (host); Jan Howard; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Sarah Buxton; The Time Jumpers

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Rebecca Lynn Howard
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); T.G. Sheppard; Julie Roberts
10:30: The Whites (host); Sarah Buxton; John Cowan Band; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ray Pillow (host); The Time Jumpers

From the last weekend in June 25 years ago, Saturday June 26, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Grandpa Jones (host); Del Reeves
7:00: Jack Greene (host); Jan Howard; Billy Walker; Jeanne Pruett; Ray Pillow
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Louvin; Justin Tubb; Stu Phillips
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); The Whites; Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Roy Drusky; Bill Carlisle; Ernie Ashworth

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Ray Pillow; Jeanne Pruett; Jim Ed Brown; Skeeter Davis
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:15: Del Reeves (host); Jeannie Seely
10:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jimmy C Newman
10:45: Jack Greene (host); Charlie Louvin; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Justin Tubb; The Whites
11:30: The Four Guys (host); Bill Carlisle; Roy Drusky; Mike Snider

A show with all Grand Ole Opry members, with the exception of Brother Oswald, who eventually would be one.

It was 43 years ago, Saturday June 28, 1975 that George Morgan made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

George Thomas Morgan was born in Waverly, Tennessee on June 28, 1924, and grew up in Doylestown, Ohio. George joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1948 and is best known for his Columbia Records recording of "Candy Kisses" which was a No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts in 1949. Among his other Top 10 hits were "Please Don't Let Me Love You," "Rainbow in My Heart," "Room Full of Roses," "Cry-Baby Heart," "I Love Everything About You," "Almost," "I'm in Love Again," and "You're the Only Good Thing That's Happened to Me." "Candy Kisses" and "Almost" were his two biggest records, each selling over a million copies.

When the Grand Ole Opry left the Ryman Auditorium in March 1974, George was the last person to sing on that final Friday Night Opry, hosting the final segment sponsored by Shoney's and closing it out with "Candy Kisses." George Morgan passed away just two weeks after his last Opry appearance, on July 7, 1975 after suffering a heart attack after undergoing open heart surgery. He was just 51.

As mentioned, George Morgan joined the Opry in 1948 and was hired as a replacement for Eddy Arnold, who had recently left the show. George came to the Opry from the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree, after doing radio work in Akron and Wooster, Ohio. There is a great story that when George first came to Nashville, he didn't know where the Ryman Auditorium was. He approached a man standing on the curb on First Avenue and asked, "Can you tell me where the Grand Ole Opry House is?" The man laughed and replied, "It's right behind you." That man was Eddy Arnold!!!

And now, here is the running order from Saturday June 28, 1975, the night of George Morgan's final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Big Midnight Special
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Hallelujah, We Shall Rise/There's A Big Wheel

6:45: Rudy's
Wilburn Brothers (host): Roll, Muddy River
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind
The Four Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Wilburn Brothers: Someone Before Me

7:00: Shoney's
Charlie Louvin (host): Will You Visit Me on Sunday's
Skeeter Davis: Wishful Thinking
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Stu Stevens: Five & Dimers
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Skeeter Davis: Midnight Blue
Narvel Felts: Drift Away

7:30: Standard Candy
Billy Grammer (host): Gotta Travel On
Jan Howard: Evil on Your Mind
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Liberty
Billy Grammer: Family Man
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
Billy Grammer: Just A Closer Walk With Thee
Johnny Carver: Country Lullaby

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Cottonfields/Night Train to Memphis
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/Satin Sheets
Kenny Price: Walking on New Grass
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Roy Acuff: The Great Speckled Bird
Jeanne Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Kenny Price: Birds & Children Fly Away
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Stephens
George Morgan (host): Before You
Willis Brothers: Cimarron
Joe Douglas: Before the Next Teardrop Falls
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Hickory Leaf
George Morgan: From the Moment On
Lorrie Morgan: Smile for Me
Joe Douglas: Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Wilburn Brothers (host): It looks Like the Sun's Gonna Shine
Willis Brothers: Truck Stop
Connie Smith: Dallas
Stu Stevens: Five & Dimers
Connie Smith: Down in the Valley
Wilburn Brothers: God Bless America Again

10:00: Fender
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host): Poor Ellen Smith
Skeeter Davis: If You Love Me, Let Me Know/Midnight Blue
Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

10:15: Union 76
Charlie Louvin (host): When You Have to Fly Alone
Leona Williams: I Can't Help It
Narvel Felts: Reconsider Me
Charlie Louvin: When I Stop Dreaming

10:30: Trailblazer
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jan Howard: You'll Never Know
Del Wood: The Entertainer
Roy Acuff: Carry Me Back to the Mountains

10:45: Beech-Nut
Billy Grammer (host): Family Man
Johnny Carver: Tie A Yellow Ribbon
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Sally Goodin
Billy Grammer: How Great Thou Art

11:00: Coca-Cola
George Morgan (host): You Turn Me On
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Marcalle Dotty: Saturday Night Shuffle
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Gray Eagle
Jeannie Pruett: The Poor Man's Woman
Sam McGee: Weary, Weary Blues
George Morgan: The Last Letter

11:30: Elm Hill
The Four Guys (host): Down by the Lazy River
Kenny Price: She's Got that Easy Look/Sheriff of Boone County
Duke of Paducah: The World is Waiting for the Sunrise
Joe Douglas: Linda on My Mind
The Four Guys: Catfish John

A lot of the Opry's heavy hitters, such as Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, Bill Monroe, Porter Wagoner, Lester Flatt, and Marty Robbins were all missing that Saturday night, but there was a nice collection of guest artists including Johnny Carver, who had the country version of the Tony Orlando and Dawn hit, "Tie A Yellow Ribbon," Leona Williams, Narvel Felts, former Opry member Duke of Paducah, Kenny Price, who in my opinion was really underrated, and on the first show, George's daughter Lorrie Morgan.

There are a couple of names from that night which some folks might not recognize, the first of which is Joe Douglas.

Joe Douglas began singing Cajun music at a very young age, getting his first break when he appeared on a special Wanda Jackson Show in Snyder, Texas. Following that appearance, he met Robin Hood Brians, whom he worked with on his first recording sessions. On the Swamp Fox label, he recorded and released a Cajun Rock version of Cat Stevens' "Wild World" which did very well in the Texas and Louisiana areas. Joe made his first Grand Ole Opry appearance in 1973, and then appeared on the Wilburn Brothers television show. He toured with Merle Haggard, Ronnie Milsap, Eddy Rabbit, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Charlie Rich. He also worked in Las Vegas with Glen Campbell and Mel Tillis. In 1985, he won the Louisiana Entertainment Award for "Male Vocalist of the Year," and in 1991 The Times named him "Male Vocalist of the Year," and his musicians "Band of the Year.
In 2003 he was inducted into the Acadian Museum, located in Erath, Louisiana.

Another one from that night is Stu Stevens, who is considered one of the greatest country music singers to have come out of Britain. Stu was born in 1936 and passed away in Chesterfield, England in 2016 at the age of 79 from heart failure.

Early in his career he recorded for MCA, Young Blood and the Eagle label, all located in England. In
1969, he signed with Columbia Records under the name Stuart Stevens. By the mid 1970s, his career began to take off with visits to America and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry. Among his highlights was meeting Elvis Presley, which inspired him to achieve even higher goals. However, he achieved very little chart success in America, thus focusing on his career in England There, he achieved some modest chart success. By the mid 1980s, his career had pretty much faded away. Nicknamed "The Voice," Stu was a three-time recipient of Male Vocal of the Year Award and in 2014 was inducted into the BCMA Music Hall of Fame.

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 6/26 & Wednesday Night Opry 6/27

Here you go for the mid-week shows:

Tuesday June 26
7:00: Connie Smith; Walker McGuire
7:30: Natalie Stovall; Chris Janson
8:15: Bill Anderson; Lilly Hiatt
8:45: Jackie Lee; Steve Wariner

Nice to see an Opry member on each segment, and great that Chris Janson continues to support the show that made him a member.

For those interested, Lilly Hiatt is the daughter of singer/songwriter John Hiatt, whom I am sure most are familiar with.

Wednesday June 27
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Phil Vassar
7:30: Emily West; Turnpike Troubadours
8:15: Chase Bryant; Molly Tuttle
8:45: Parmalee; Neal McCoy

As with last Wednesday, only one Opry member is scheduled. For Molly Tuttle, this will be her Opry debut. Molly is described as a vocalist, songwriter, banjo player and guitarist, recording artist and teacher in the bluegrass tradition, noted for her flatpicking, clawhammer, and cross-picking guitar prowess. She has cited Laurie Lewis, Kathy Killick, and Hazel Dickens as role models. In 2017, she was the first woman to win the International Bluegrass Music Association's Guitar Player of the Year award.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 6/22 & 6/23

The line-ups have been posted for the two Grand Ole Opry shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Both line-ups feature a pretty solid list of artists.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both nights include the usual regulars Jeannie Seely, The Whites, and Mike Snider, along with Ricky Skaggs and John Conlee. Joining those five on Friday night, and opening the show, will be Connie Smith. Saturday night, Bill Anderson and Bobby Osborne are scheduled.

Mark Willis, who is on the Opry more than the vast majority of its members, is scheduled for both nights this weekend, joined on Friday night by Waylon Payne, Brook Eden, Sirius personality Dallas Wayne, the great gospel group The Isaacs, and making his Opry debut, Paul Cauthen. Saturday night will see the Opry debut of Tenille Townes, along with the Steel Woods, comedian Chonda Pierce and veteran artist Collin Raye.

Friday June 22
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Waylon Payne; Mike Snider
7:30: John Conlee (host); Brooke Eden; Mark Wills
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Dallas Wayne; Paul Cauthen
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; The Isaacs

Saturday June 23
7:00: John Conlee (host); Mark Willis; Mike Snider
7:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Tenille Townes; The Steel Woods
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Chonda Pierce; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); The Whites; Collin Raye

As mentioned, there are two artists who will be making their Opry debuts this weekend, Paul Cauthen on the Friday Night Opry and Tenille Townes on Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

Paul Cauthen grew up in Tyler, Texas, where his grandfather was a songwriter and gospel song leader who, while in Lubbock, worked with Buddy Holly and Sonny Curtis. Cauthen said that it was his grandfather who taught him and his two sisters to sing harmony. His grandfather passed away when Paul was ten and he was so heartbroken that he gave up playing his guitar until his grandmother pushed him to begin playing again. Over time he was a co-founder of the group Sons of Fathers. The band earned glowing praise from Rolling Stone, NPR, and others, thanks to two albums that climbed into the Top 10 of the American Music Chart. Three years ago, he quit the band and went solo, playing a mixture of blues, gospel and rock-and-roll. The result is "My Gospel," and album that features songs about Earthy struggles to love, connect, and just get by. "I am not super religious," he says. "I don't believe God is this guy wearing a white cloak who comes down with wings and beautiful sandals. I do believe that people are put into other people's lives for reasons, and those reasons are unexplained. I believe that is God." Ultimately, Cauthen is on a mission: to make music he can be proud of that also serves a higher purpose. "On this album (of which he co-wrote all of the songs), I wanted to push a message that tells people that life's short. Love the ones you're with. Just take any opportunity to run with it. Don't think twice."

Tenille Townes is from Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada. She released her first single, "Home Now" in 2009 at the age of 15. She wrote the song from the perspective of a daughter whose father is posted in the war in Afghanistan, a topic she learned about in school. In 2011, she released her first album, "Real." That same year, at the age of 17, she was nominated for a Canadian Music Award for Female Artist of the Year. Her second album, "Light" was released in March 2013. Since then, she has not released any new material and this past April she signed a record deal with Columbia Nashville.

I wanted to take a moment and remember the late Roy Drusky, who performed on the Opry for the final time on Saturday June 21, 2003.

Roy, who joined the Opry on June 13, 1959, was known as a singer, songwriter, producer, actor and disc jockey, and was popular from the 1960s into the early 1970s. Known for his baritone voice, he was a fine ballad singer and was known for incorporating the Nashville sound into his recordings. He was also the very first artist to record a song written by Kris Kristofferson, "Jody and the Kid."

Roy was born on June 22, 1930 in Atlanta, Georgia. As a youngster, Roy enjoyed sports and it has been written in several places that he turned down a contract offer from the Cleveland Indians, after which he began his musical career. Roy, who attended Emory University and studied veterinary medicine, first sang while in the US Navy, and later with a country group he founded, the Southern Ranch Boys. In 1953, he signed with Starday Records and released his first single, "Such a Fool."

While establishing his own career, Roy also wrote. Faron Young recorded two of his songs, "Alone With You," and "Country Girl," both of which went to No. 1 on the country charts. He also wrote "Anymore" which was a hit for Teresa Brewer.

In 1960, Roy's own singing career hit the big time, recording "Another," and "Second Hand Rose," for Owen Bradley at Decca Records. In 1963, he moved to Mercury Records and had the hit, "Peel Me a Nanner," which was written by Bill Anderson. That was followed with his only No. 1 record, "Yes Mr. Peters," with Priscilla Mitchell.

In addition to his hit records and songwriting, Roy appeared on a number of country music programs, as well as several movies.

While Roy made his last appearance on the Billboard charts in 1974, he continued to record for smaller independent labels into the 1990s.

Roy passed away on September 23, 2004 at the age of 74, from lung cancer.

Here is the running order from Roy Drusky's last appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, 15 years ago on Saturday June 21, 2003. Roy appeared on the 2nd show that night and it was his only Opry appearance that year.

1st show
6:30: Tennessee Pride
Jimmy Dickens (host): Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed
Connie Smith: Where is My Castle
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Billy Yates: I'm Country/Choices
Jimmy Dickens: Mountain Dew

7:00: WSM Candy
BR5-49: Gone Hillbilly Nuts
Jim Ed Brown (host): (?)/You Can Have Her
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: You Don't Bring Me Flowers
Mandy Barnett: Believe Me
Chuck Mead & Mandy Barnett: Jackson
Steve Azar: I Don't Have to Be Me 'Til Monday/I'm the Underdog
Oak Ridge Boys: I'm Glorybound/Colors/Elvia
Jim Ed Brown & Helen Cornelius: I Don't Wanna Have to Marry You

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Lost All My Money
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Miranda Lambert: Honky-Tonk Blues/The Greyhound Bound for Nowhere
Opry Square Dance Band: Snowflake Reel

8:30: Tootsie's
Brad Paisley (host): Celebrity
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys: As Long As I Live
Jean Shepard: Secret Love
Hal Ketchum: Stay Forever
Brad Paisley: Is it Raining at Your House

2nd show
9:30: Coca-Cola
Hal Ketchum (host): The Point of Rescue
Connie Smith: Ribbon of Darkness/I'm Looking for a Reason not to Love You
BR5-49: She Ain't Talking to Me/Shot Gun Boogie
Hal Ketchum: Dreams of Martina

10:00: Shotgun
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'all Come
Roy Drusky: Have I Stayed Away too Long
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Steve Azar: Indianola/Hey, Baby
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:30: WSM
Jean Shepard (host): Head Over Heels in Love with You
The Whites: Move it on Over
Oak Ridge Boys: I'm Glorybound/Colors
Opry Square Dance Band: Cherokee Shuffle
Jean Shepard: Satin Sheets

11:00: Cingular Wireless
Brad Paisley (host): Celebrity
Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys: Fiddle Patch
Billy Yates: Country
Mandy Barnett: No One Will Ever Know/Faded Love
Brad Paisley & Billy Yates: Farther Along

11:30: Saloon
Jeannie Seely (host): Anytime
Ray Pillow: That's No Way to Treat My Heart/I Wonder Who's Missing You Now
Miranda Lambert: Honky-Tonk Blues/The Greyhound Bound for Nowhere
Jeannie Seely: One Step Away from Coming Home

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

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 6/19 & Wednesday Night Opry 6/20

One of the highlights of the Tuesday Night Opry this week will be the annual appearance by the ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers. Appearing with these delightful youngsters will be Grand Ole Opry members Craig Morgan and Charlie Daniels.

Tuesday June 19
7:00: John Conlee; Dylan Scott
7:30: Jeannie Seely; Rhonda Vincent
8:15: Jillian Jacqueline; Craig Morgan; ACM Lifting Lives Music Campers; Charlie Daniels Band

The Wednesday Night Opry will feature the Opry debut of Glen Phillips.

Wednesday June 20
7:00: Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers; Craig Campbell
7:30: Elizabeth Cook; Glen Phillips
8:15: The Swon Brothers; Henry Cho
8:45: Home Free; Lee Greenwood

It is just me or does it seem like there have been a lot of Opry debuts lately?

Finally, I have not heard from "Fred in Bismark" in a long time. Some were asking about him as he is missed. I hope he is ok, and if he is, please check in. You are missed.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Mid-Week Opry Shows 6/12 & 6/13; Grand Ole Opry 6/15 & 6/16


Here are the posted line-ups for the weekend shows:

Friday June 15
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Sarah Darling; Darin & Brooke Aldridge
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Hilary Williams; Darryl Worley
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Francesca Battistelli; The Wandering Hearts; Charlie Worsham

Saturday June 16
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Shelly Fairchild; Jim Lauderdale
7:30: Connie Smith (host); Love and Theft; Dan Tyminski
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Matthew West; Opry Square Dancers; Nancy and Beth (featuring Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt; Bobby Bare

Really hate to see just 3 segments on each show with only 4 Opry members each night. Just not a good look. And just a note that Jesse McReynolds, who was originally listed as scheduled to appear, is not listed on the final line-up.

Original Post:

This week the Grand Ole Opry begins their series of Wednesday Night Opry shows. This is in addition to the Tuesday Night Opry, with the Wednesday shows replacing Opry Country Classics, which will return in the fall.

Tuesday June 12
7:00: The Whites; Jackie Lee
7:30: Lee Roy Parnell; The SteelDrivers
8:15: Maddie & Tae; Thompson Square; Crystal Gayle

Wednesday June 13
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Exile
7:30: William Michael Morgan; Ricky Skaggs
8:15: Carly Pearce; Riders In The Sky
8:45: Paul Thorn; LOCASH

Two very nice shows with a nice collection of artists. Nice to see that there were a few who were still in town after the CMA Music Festival.

I will be taking the next week off for a much deserved (in my opinion) vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Being in the mountains, I am not sure how much internet access I will have, so while the line-ups are not posted as of yet, here are the artists that are on the tentative schedule:

For the Friday Night Opry, June 15, Opry members scheduled to appear include Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press, and Riders In The Sky. Guest artists include Darryl Worley, Charlie Worsham, Francesca Battistelli, and Hilary Williams, daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. and sister of Holly Williams. Hilary is touring in support of her new album, "My Lucky Scars." She has been doing interviews talking about the album and the life altering accident that she was involved in a decade ago, and the long recovery that led to this most recent album.

Saturday night's Grand Ole Opry has Opry members Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Jesse McReynolds, who has missed the past several weeks, and the Opry's newest member Bobby Bare on the schedule. Guest artists listed include Matthew West, Jim Lauderdale, Love and Theft, and Nancy and Beth (Megan Mullally and Stephanie Hunt).

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 13 & 14, 2008:

Friday June 13
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Carolina Rain
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Little General Cloggers; Mountain Heart
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Rebecca Lynn Howard
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Kathy Mattea

Saturday June 14
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; 3 Fox Drive
7:00: Jean Shepard (host); Stu Phillips; Gail Davies
7:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Ray Pillow; Carolina Chocolate Drops
8:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jan Howard; Ashley Monroe; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Marty Stuart (host); Jack Greene; Jermaine Jackson

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jean Shepard; Gail Davies
10:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Jack Greene; Carolina Chocolate Drops
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Ray Pillow; Ashley Monroe; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Marty Stuart (host); 3 Fox Drive; Jermaine Jackson

And from 25 years ago, Saturday June 19, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: George Hamilton IV (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Jack Greene (host); The Four Guys; Skeeter Davis; Rob Crosby; Stonewall Jackson
7:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Sammy Kershaw; Jan Howard; Charlie Walker
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Brother Oswald; Roy Drusky; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Riders In The Sky; Jeanne Pruett; The Whites; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Skeeter Davis; Charlie Walker; Rob Crosby
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Jan Howard
10:15: Jack Greene (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:30: The Four Guys (host); Charlie Nagatani;
10:45: George Hamilton IV (host); Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Roy Drusky; Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Bill Carlisle
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jeanne Pruett; Riders In The Sky; Johnny Russell

Looking back into the history of the Grand Ole Opry, it was Saturday June 14, 1997 that Opry member Barbara Mandrell made her final performance appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. Barbara had joined the Opry's cast on July 29, 1972 (according to the Opry's records, however the actual date was earlier in the month). Barbara, who was the first person to win the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year award two years in a row, signed with Columbia Records in 1969. After several Top 40 hits, she moved to ABC/Dot Records in 1978, where her career really took off with a number of No. 1 singles and albums. In 2009, Barbara was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Barbara appeared on the Opry fairly regularly early in her career, however once the hits and Barbara became a major star, her Opry appearances dramatically dropped, to just several per year. While Roy Acuff was alive, she always insisted on appearing on his segment of the show. Once Barbara made the decision to retire later that year, she stuck to it. While she has been a backstage visitor to the Opry several times over the years, and has even waved to the audience, she has never taken to the stage to perform.

It should be noted that when Barbara retired, she specifically asked the management of the Opry if she could retain her Opry membership. She was the first to make that request, and since that time, several other Opry members, including Jeanne Pruett, Ricky Van Shelton and Tom T. Hall, have also retired from performing and have kept their Opry membership. Without knowing it at the time, she started a new trend.

Here is the running order from 21 years ago, Saturday June 14, 1997, the final night that Barbara Mandrell performed on the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Jimmy C Newman (host); La Cajun Band
Wilma Lee Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo

6:45: Jogging In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Bill Carlisle: I've Waited too Long
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Anderson (host): Get a Little Dirt on Your Hands
Jeanne Pruett: A Poor Man's Woman
The Four Guys: Amazing Grace
Jeannie Seely: Speaking of the Devil
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Bill Anderson: I Love You Drops

7:30: Standard Candy
Jimmy Dickens (host): Country Boy
Speer Family: After Awhile/I Want to be Ready to Meet Him
Barbara Mandrell: I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool/Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
Barbara Mandrell & Speer Family: The Dearest Friend I Ever Had
Jimmy Dickens: I Love Lucy Brown

8:00: Martha White
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Stonewall Jackson: Side-Steppin' the Blues
Del Reeves: Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through a Windshield
Opry Square Dance Band/Eddie Stubbs/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Wake Up Susan
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

8:30: Clifty Farm
Mike Snider (host); (?)
Roy Drusky: Alone With You
Jean Shepard: Farewell Party
Charley Pride: Crystal Chandeliers/Kiss An Angel Good Morning
Mike Snider: Born to Shop

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Y'All Come
Speer Family: I Remember the Day/I'm Building a Bridge/Surely I Will/What A Day that Will Be/I'll Meet You in the Morning
Barbara Mandrell: Sleeping Single in A Double Bed/Night Life
Porter Wagoner: Freight Train Boogie

10:00: Massey Ferguson
Charley Pride (host): Crystal Chandeliers/Kiss an Angel Good Morning/Heartaches by the Number/Kawliga

10:15: White By MTD
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Jean Shepard: Together Again
Grandpa Jones: Some Little Bug Is Gonna Find You Someday

10:30: Purnell's
Jimmy Dickens (host): Out Behind the Barn
The Four Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Jimmy Dickens: Another Bridge to Burn

10:45: Quality Certified Homes
Mike Snider (host): Lonesome Road Blues
Opry Square Dance Band/Eddie Stubbs/ Melvin Sloan Dancers: Pretty Polly
Mike Snider: Foggy Mountain Breakdown

11:00: Coca Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
Connie Smith: Once A Day
Stu Phillips: Heart Over Mind
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up On Your Way Down
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Bill Anderson: That's What Made Me Love You

11:30: Opry Book/Ryman
Johnny Russell (host): Good Hearted Woman
Charlie Nagatani: Eddie's Song
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Johnny Paycheck: I've Loved A Lot More Then I've Hurt/The Old Violin
Johnny Russell: Act Naturally

Finally, I have seen a lot of comments concerning the Opry's Sunday night show at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. For those who do not know, Bonnaroo is a four day festival in middle Tennessee that began as a Jamband festival featuring artists more associated with the Grateful Dead, but in recent years has expanded to include all types of music. Opry members, along with other country music performers, have appeared at the festival before, but this is the first time that an actual Opry show took place, which was broadcast on WSM. Bobby Bare, Riders In The Sky, Old Crow Medicine Show and Del McCoury were the Opry members that appeared, along with Maggie Rose, Joshua Hedley, Nikki Lane, and Lanco. Bill Cody was the announcer and the Opry Square Dancers performed. And yes, the Opry brought the famous backdrop, the announcer and mic stands. It was truly a special night.

I hope everyone has a great week and I will check in as time allows.

Monday, June 11, 2018

June Opry Highlights

Welcome to the month of June and Summer!!! And as summer rolls around, vacation season goes into high gear which means lots of visitors to Nashville including those who come to town for the CMA Music Fest. As for the Grand Ole Opry, June has always been a busy month and here are the highlights and important events that have taken place regarding the Opry or its members, during the month of June.

June 17, 1910: Clyde Julian Foley was born in Blue Lick, Kentucky. Better known as Red, he joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1946, replacing Roy Acuff as the host of the Prince Albert portion of the show. He stayed at the Opry until 1954 when he left Nashville and went to Springfield, Missouri as the host of the Ozark Jubilee. When Red came to the Opry, it was specifically to host the Prince Albert portion and as such, he did not appear on any other segments of the Opry.

June 19, 1914: Lester Flatt was born in Overton County, Tennessee. Lester would become famous as a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys, then later teaming up with Earl Scruggs in the highly successful Flatt & Scruggs duo. After a very successful run, Lester and Earl split due to creative differences, with Lester favoring a more traditional bluegrass sound. He then formed the Nashville Grass and continued with that group, and at the Opry, until his death in 1979. While on the Opry, Lester traditionally hosted the Martha White portion of the show.

June 17, 1916: David Akeman, better known as Stringbean, was born in Anniville, Kentucky. Stringbean had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for years, and was famous for his comedy and banjo playing. However, it was his role on Hee Haw that brought Stringbean his greatest fame to a national audience. Stringbean died in November 1973 when he, along with his wife Estelle, were murdered upon returning home from an Opry appearance.

June 28, 1924: George Morgan was born in Waverly, Tennessee. George spent several years in Ohio, specifically the Barberton area before becoming a star on the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. In 1948 he came to Nashville and the Opry, as the replacement for Eddy Arnold, who had recently left the show. George would remain a popular Opry member until his death in 1975. On a historical note, it was George who hosted the final segment of the Friday Night Opry prior to the move to the new Grand Ole Opry House in March 1974. George, who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, is also the father of current Opry member Lorrie Morgan.

June 19, 1926: DeFord Bailey made his debut on the WSM Barn Dance. DeFord was a member of the Grand Ole Opry until he was fired by Opry founder George D. Hay in 1941. His song, "Pan American Blues" would often be the opening number on the Opry's early broadcasts. After he was fired from the Opry, DeFord remained bitter toward WSM and the Opry for many years, and declined several invitations to come back and perform on the Opry. Finally, on February 23, 1974, he returned to the Opry for the Old-Timer's Night. He was introduced by Roy Acuff and Minnie Pearl and received a great ovation. He would return for several more Opry appearances, making his final appearance in April 1982, several months prior to his death.

June 2, 1927: Carl Butler was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. Along with his wife Pearl, Carl had one of the biggest hits in the history of country music, "Don't Let Me Cross Over." Carl and Pearl were members of the Grand Ole Opry for several years in the early 1960's. He passed away in 1992.

June 23, 1929: Valarie June Carter was born in Maces Springs, Virginia. She, along with sisters Anita and Helen, and their mother Maybelle, came to the Opry in 1950. While June was not much of a singer, she was a fine comedian and often teamed with Rod Brasfield and Jimmy Dickens.

June 12, 1936: Dr. Humphrey Bate, founder and leader of the Possum Hunters, died at the age of 61. Following Uncle Jimmy Thompson, Dr. Bate is considered the Opry's 2nd original member. In fact, many historians feel that he may actually have been the first rural performer to have been featured on WSM. Either way, Dr. Bate and the Possum Hunters were an important part of the Opry and his contributions are often overlooked.

June 13, 1936: Because of the size of the crowds, the Opry moved to the Dixie Tabernacle, located on Fatherland Street in East Nashville. While sounding impressive, the Tabernacle was actually a very primitive facility with wooden benches, sawdust floors and no dressing rooms. It was basically an old barn that had sides which were opened during the summer to keep the air flowing thru. However, it did seat 3,500 and contributed to the growth of the Opry.

June 5, 1937: Pee Wee King and his Golden West Cowboys became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Pee Wee was one of the first professional entertainers to join the show and he helped to bring a more professional look to the Opry as his Golden West Cowboys were one of the sharpest looking groups around. Pee Wee and the Opry's founder, George D. Hay had many disagreements as the founder felt that Pee Wee's group was not country enough. As mentioned, Pee Wee brought a lot of professionalism to the show including being the first act to be introduced with entry and exit music. Pee Wee stayed at the Opry for a number of years before leaving and moving to Louisville, Kentucky to work in television. He had a successful show that aired live in several markets including Louisville, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Chicago. Later becoming famous for the "Tennessee Waltz." Pee Wee would continue to make guest appearances on the Opry. His autobiography, "Hell-Bent for Music" is excellent and I highly recommend the book.

June 25, 1940: Republic Pictures released the movie "Grand Ole Opry" which starred Roy Acuff, George D. Hay and Uncle Dave Macon. It was considered a basic movie for the times and while it was no means an academy award winner, it offers a great look at an early Roy Acuff. Copies can still be found online.

June 5, 1943: The Grand Ole Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium, which would become known as "The Mother Church of Country Music." The Opry would stay at the Ryman until March 1974, and since 1999 has made annual winter visits back. Many consider the Opry's years at the Ryman as the golden years of the Opry and the show had tremendous growth while at the Ryman. While many were sad to see the Opry leave in 1974, deteriorating conditions in the building and in downtown Nashville made the move a necessity.

June 6, 1944: D-Day and the day that Grant Turner began working at WSM radio. Grant, who would become known as the "Dean" of Opry announcers, would remain at WSM and the Opry until his death in October 1991. Grant, who is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, also hosted served as an announcer for the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, and did the Opry's warm-up show.

June 17, 1944: The Poe Sisters, Ruth and Nellie, became members of the Grand Ole Opry. Their idols were the Delmore Brothers, and George D. Hay would often refer to them as the "female Delmore Brothers." The Poe Sisters performed regionally in the Northeast before coming to Nashville and the Opry. However, their time at the Opry was very short. They originally left the Opry in 1945 when Ruth got married. They were gone for a few months, then came back, however in August 1946 they left again, this time for good.

June 17, 1944: On the same night as the Poe Sisters, Rod Brasfield made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

June 11, 1949: Hank Williams made his Grand Ole Opry debut. The performance was one for the ages as Hank was called back for a reported six encores, an Opry record that still stands to this day. The song that inspired the encores was "Lovesick Blues." Jimmy Dickens, who was there that night, would often say that it was the greatest Opry performance he had ever seen.

June 12, 1954: Ferlin Husky became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Ferlin would stay as an Opry member until December 1964 when he was fired for failing to make the required number of Opry appearances. Like a few of the others who were terminated, Ferlin would not rejoin the cast but would return for guest appearances.

June 1, 1957: As part of the youth movement that was taking place at the Opry, the Everly Brothers became Opry members. The Everly Brothers did not stay long however, as they were destined for bigger and better things.

June 13, 1959: Roy Drusky became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Roy came to Nashville and the Opry from Atlanta, Georgia and would remain an Opry member until his death in September 2004. In my opinion, Roy had one of the smoothest voices in country music and was a terrific ballad singer.

June 17, 1959: Grand Ole Opry member Loretta Lynn Morgan, better known as Lorrie, was born. And no, she was not named after Loretta Lynn.

June 14, 1961: Opry member Patsy Cline was seriously injured in an automobile accident in Nashville. It would take Patsy almost eight months to recover from the injuries, which left a scar on her forehead. Because of that scar, Patsy would wear a wig just about ever time she performed after that accident.

June 29, 1963: Jim Reeves made his final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jim joined the Opry in 1955, coming to Nashville from the Louisiana Hayride. At the time he left the Opry, Jim felt that he had outgrown the show and was already moving toward a more uptown, contemporary sound.

June 8, 1964: Alton Delmore died at the age of 55 in Huntsville, Alabama. The Delmore Brothers were early members of the Opry, performing on the show in the 1930's. Their influence would carry on for many years and in 2001 they were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 12, 1965: Tex Ritter became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. When Tex joined the cast, he was at the tail end of his great western movie career and many wondered why Tex would want to come to Nashville and be a part of the Opry. Tex surprised everyone, becoming one of the Opry's more popular members and becoming very involved in the Nashville community. For a period of time, he co-hosted the overnight radio program with Ralph Emery on WSM. Tex, who was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1964, was one of the early leaders and founding members of the Country Music Association and his wife was considered one of the Opry's ambassadors. Tex passed away from a heart attack in January 1974.

June 20, 1965: Ira Louvin, the older brother of Charlie Louvin and one half of the duo, the Louvin Brothers, was killed in an automobile accident. One of the greatest duos in country music history, the Louvin Brothers were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001.

June 11, 1966: Future Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely made her Opry debut. Jeannie would become an Opry member the following year, in September 1967.

June 25, 1966: Grand Ole Opry member Willie Nelson made his final appearance as a member of the Opry. Willie joined the Opry in November 1964, but things were not working out well for Willie in Nashville, so he left for his home state of Texas. While in Texas, Willie developed a new look and sound and became one of the biggest acts in the history of country music. While never coming back to the Opry as a member, Willie has made several guest appearances.

June 1, 1967: Stu Phillips became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Stu's 51st year as an Opry member, and along with Hank Snow and Terri Clark, are the only two Opry members to join the cast from Canada. While June 1st is recognized as the date Stu joined, Stu did not make his first appearance as an Opry member until June 17.

June 28, 1974: Former Beatles member Paul McCarthy is introduced on the stage of the Opry by Roy Acuff. Paul did not perform but was visiting Nashville as part of a vacation with his family.

June 28, 1974: On that same night, Grand Ole Opry member George Morgan made his final Opry appearance. Included on the show that night was his daughter Lorrie, and they performed a duet together, "Smile for Me." Shortly afterwards, George passed away after suffering a heart attack.

June 17, 1978: Marty Robbins drove his new custom-made Panther Deville onto the stage of the Opry. In a moment of good humor, Roy Acuff found a security guard who wrote out a parking ticket to Marty.

June 20, 1980: Boxcar Willie made his Grand Ole Opry debut. Boxcar would later become a member of the Opry.

June 27, 1981: Buck, Sharon and Cheryl, better known as The Whites, made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Several years later, this popular group from Texas would become Opry members.

June 19, 1982: Riders In The Sky became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 36th year as Opry members. They remain the only members of the Opry keeping the sound of western music alive on the Opry stage.

June 9, 1984: Following in the footsteps of her father, Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Lorrie's 34th year as a member. Lorrie made her Opry debut at the age of 13, singing "Paper Roses."

June 18, 1984: Former Grand Ole Opry member Paul Howard passed away at the age of 75 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Paul joined the Opry in 1942 with his group, the Arkansas Cotton Pickers. The group included Grady Martin and Hank Garland and specialized in western music. Paul stayed with the Opry though the 1940's. He did return later for several of the Opry's reunion shows.

June 20, 1986: Whitey Ford, the Duke of Paducah, died at the age of 85. Whitey joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1942 and remained a member of the Opry until 1959, when he left to pursue other career opportunities. Like others who left the cast, Whitey would return for numerous appearances. Along with Minnie Pearl, Whitey was the featured comedian on the Prince Albert shows before he was replaced by Rod Brasfield. After Rod joined, Whitey was shifted to other segments. In 1986, the year he died, Whitey was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 4, 1988: Herman Crook, the last living link to the start of the WSM Barn Dance and the Grand Ole Opry, performed on the Opry for the final time. Herman was a part of the Opry for 62 years, first appearing in 1926. Herman was a harmonica player and was a part of the Crook Brothers, the last true string band to appear on the Opry. Over the years, the Possum Hunters, Gully Jumpers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers would disappear, with members from those groups merged into the others, until only the Crook Brothers were left. Herman passed away the following week on June 10, after which the Crook Brothers name would disappear from the Opry line-ups.

June 10, 1988: Ricky Van Shelton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Now retired, this will be Ricky's 30th year as a member of the Opry's cast.

June 11, 1988: Patty Loveless became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. At one time, Patty was a part of the Wilburn Brother's television show and performed as part of Porter Wagoner's show. Many times she has talked about how much Porter helped and influenced her career. And on the night she joined, it was Porter who inducted her.

June 11, 1988: On the same night that Patty Loveless became an Opry member, future Opry member Holly Dunn made her Opry debut.

June 24, 1989: Garth Brooks made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Garth would become an Opry member the following year.

June 2, 1990: Mike Snider became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be his 28th year as an Opry member. Mike is a great comedian and also a great banjo player and leads a string band that plays the type of music that the Opry was founded on. In fact, these days Mike is much more serious about the music than the comedy.

June 7, 1991: Alan Jackson became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Alan's 27th year as an Opry member. This will be a big year for Alan as later this year he will become one  of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

June 14, 1991: Future Grand Ole Opry member Clint Black made his Opry debut.

June 15, 1991: Grand Ole Opry legend Minnie Pearl made her last appearance associated with an Opry sponsored show. That night she performed in Joliet, Illinois. Several days later, she suffered a massive stroke that ended her performing days.

June 6, 1992: Grand Ole Opry member Tom T. Hall made his final appearance on the Opry. Tom originally joined the cast in 1971, left in March 1974 when the show moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House, then rejoined the cast in 1980. That decade saw Tom T. make a steady stream of Opry appearances. After he stopped appearing, he told several people that he would not be coming back. Tom T. Hall, who continues to live in the Nashville area, has been retired from performing for several years now.

June 3, 1994: The Ryman Auditorium reopened for the first time since the building was renovated as Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion was broadcast live from the auditorium. After the Opry left in 1974, the building sat basically empty, with the public being allowed in for self guided tours. After a performance and live album by Emmylou Harris, Gaylord Entertainment saw the value and importance of renovating the building. It is now one of Nashville's great treasures and one of the best decisions that Gaylord ever made.

June 3, 1994: Former Grand Ole Opry member Wally Fowler passed away at the age of 77. Wally came to Nashville in 1948 with his Oak Ridge Quartet and was a part of the Opry until 1950. During the time they were at the Opry, the Oak Ridge Quartet was featured on the Prince Albert portion of the show and Wally would many times host the final Opry segment. Over time, the Oak Ridge Quartet would become the Oak Ridge Boys, and the focus of the group would go from gospel to country. By then, Wally had long left the group. Coming full circle, the Oak Ridge Boys have become Opry members.

June 4, 1994: Former Opry member Zeke Clements died at the age of 82. Zeke came to the Opry in the 1930's as a member of the Bronco Busters, which were led by Texas Ruby.

June 17, 1994: Sarah Wilson of Sarie and Sallie, who were Opry members from 1934-1939, passed away at the age of 97. And yes, they were really sisters, Edna Wilson and Margaret Waters.

June 23, 1995: Current WSM personality and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs became an Opry announcer.

June 14, 1997: Grand Ole Opry member Barbara Mandrell made her final appearance as a performer on the Opry. Barbara retired from performing and asked Opry management if she could keep her Opry management, which they agreed to. While not knowing it at the time, this started a trend where retired Opry members were allowed to continue to be Opry members.

June 29, 1999: Pete Fisher became the general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, the first person hired specifically for that position. Pete would remain with the Opry until January 2017 when he left to become the head of the Academy of Country Music.

June 10, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry introduced a new Opry backdrop. The new state of the art lighting replaced the old red barn that had been used in various forms since the Opry moved to the Opry House in 1974. It was reported at the time that the old backdrop was being donated to the Country Music Hall of Fame, however if it has, it has never been put on display.

June 17, 2000: The Opry begins streaming shows live on the internet, giving those around the world an opportunity to listen to the show live. For many, it was the first chance to hear the show without static interference.

June 14, 2003: While Trace Adkins was making a guest appearance on the Opry, Jimmy Dickens came out with a ladder, climbed it and asked Trace if he would like to become a member of the Opry's cast. Trace, of course, said yes, and was inducted several months later.

June 21, 2003: Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Roy Drusky made his final appearance on the show. Roy Drusky passed away just over a year later, on September 23, 2004 as a result of lung cancer.

June 12, 2004: Terri Clark became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be her 14th year as an Opry member, and was the third person from Canada to join the cast.

June 10, 2005: Carrie Underwood made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. She was the recent winner of that year's American Idol. Carrie became an Opry member in May 2008 and recently celebrated her 10th anniversary as an Opry member.

June 9, 2007: Mel Tillis became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, being introduced on the Opry's stage by his daughter Pam. This will be his 10th year as an Opry member. Mel has not been on the Opry in over a year as he continues to recover from a serious illness. Mel had actually been a part of the Opry before, as a member of Porter Wagoner's Wagonmasters and there is a belief that Mel was actually asked to become an individual member during that same time period, accepted but then backed out. He even made it into one edition of the Opry's History Picture Book as a member. However, it wasn't until 2007 that it became official.

June 6, 2008: The Four Guys made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, in what would prove to be their final Opry appearance. They had been fired from the Opry in 2000 as all of the original members of the group had moved on or retired. They were introduced that night by Bill Anderson and received a nice response from the audience.

June 28, 2008: This was the final night that the Grand Ole Opry began its Saturday night first show at 6:30. The following week, the show was scheduled for 7:00, where it has been since. The show length was also cut 30 minutes, down to a two hours show.

June 23, 2009: Montgomery Gentry became members of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be their 9th year as Opry members. This popular duo were brought to the show upon the recommendation of fellow Opry member Charlie Daniels, who had joined the cast the previous year.

June 15, 2013: Patty Loveless was honored upon her 25th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Vince Gill was the host for the segment, which finished with "Go Rest High On That Mountain." A great moment and night at the Opry.

June 6, 2014: Long time Grand Ole Opry member Jimmy C Newman made his final Opry appearance. Jimmy joined the Opry in 1948. He passed away several weeks later.

June 11, 2015: Grand Ole Opry member, and newly elected Country Music Hall of Fame member, Jim Ed Brown passed away. Jim Ed had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for over 50 years and had one of the great voices in country music.

June 19, 2015: Garth Brooks made a surprise appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, his first Opry appearance since he inducted Carrie Underwood as an Opry member in 2008, and his first singing appearance on the Opry since 2005. He was joined by his wife Trisha Yearwood.

June 23, 2016: Grand Ole Opry member Ralph Stanley passed away after a period of declining health. Ralph joined the Opry cast in 2000.

June 4, 2017: Grand Ole Opry member Stu Phillips was honored for 50 years of Opry membership. Stu joined the Opry on June 1, 1967. As part of this appearance, Stu gave a very emotional tribute to those who had helped him during his career.

June 10, 2018: The Grand Ole Opry went on the road with a special Sunday Night Opry at the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Among the acts performing were Opry members Del McCoury, Old Crow Medicine Show, Bobby Bare, Riders In The Sky, and the Opry Square Dancers.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 6/8 & 6/9

With the CMA Music Festival wrapping up this weekend, the Grand Ole Opry will be presenting one show on Friday and Saturday night, along with a special Opry Country Classics show at the Ryman Auditorium on Saturday afternoon.

Grand Ole Opry members appearing both nights include Jeannie Seely, Mike Snider, Bill Anderson and Riders In The Sky. They will be joined on Friday night by The Whites, Connie Smith and Marty Stuart. Saturday night, Charley Pride is scheduled, along with Dailey & Vincent and Bobby Osborne.

As to guest artists, Heather Land, who is making her Grand Ole Opry debut, is scheduled for both nights, while The Wandering Hearts will be making their Opry debut on Friday night, as special guests of Marty Stuart. Joining those two on Friday will be Easton Corbin and Trent Harmon. Along with Heather Land on Saturday night will be The Sisterhood, "Nashville" star Charles Esten and Jamey Johnson.

Friday June 8
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Easton Corbin; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; Trent Harmon
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Heather Land
8:45: Marty Stuart (host); The Wandering Hearts; Connie Smith

Saturday June 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); The Sisterhood; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charles Esten
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Heather Land; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Dailey & Vincent (host); Charley Pride; Jamey Johnson

As mentioned, the Wandering Hearts will be making their Opry debut on Friday night, at the special invitation from Marty Stuart. When Marty did his tour of England last year, this group opened for Marty and he was so impressed that he invited them to Nashville.

London country-folk-pop quartet the Wandering Hearts became a part of the British Americana scene in the mid 2010s. The group began in 2015 when Tim Prottey-Jones and Tara Wilcox met. Shortly thereafter, they were introduced by mutual friends to A.J. Dean and Francesca "Chess" Whiffin. They got together to visit and immediately hit it off. Originally named Paper Hearts, they recorded two demo songs "Today Is Ours" and "Sunshine." The group made an immediate impression, with their deft finger picking, rousing choruses, dark-hued lyrics, and sweet, close vocal harmonies being compared to groups such as Fleetwood Mac, The Civil Wars, Tom Petty, and Simon & Garfunkel. Re-branding themselves as the Wandering Hearts, to avoid confusion with other groups that had similar names, they began playing at a number of high-profile festival shows and in 2017 released their first single "Wish I Could." Their debut album was released later that year.

Also making her Grand Ole Opry debut this weekend is Heather Land, who is scheduled for both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. Heather is described as a comedian with "wit, peppered with some sarcasm and a whole lot of truth." She is from Tennessee and as a writer and has a blog that features an ongoing series of "I Ain't Doin It" videos, that have been viewed by millions. On a video that she has posted regarding this week's appearances, she said that the Opry has given her eight minutes for her comedy. She said perhaps the Opry doesn't know what it is in for. Hopefully, something good.

Besides the Opry shows, there will be several autograph signings taking place. After the Opry Country Classics show on Saturday, Jeanne Pruett will be signing her book "Satin Sheets, I Remember," while Charles Esten will be at the Opry Shop signing copies of his various CDs.

And speaking of Opry Country Classics, there will be a special classics show taking place Saturday afternoon at the Ryman Auditorium.

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Charley Pride
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Mandy Barnett; William Michael Morgan; Mark Wills

And for those headed to the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree, Jeannie Kendall will be the host.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from 10 years ago, the weekend of June 6 & 7, 2008:

Friday June 6
8:00: Charley Pride (host); Connie Smith; Riders In The Sky
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Mark Wills
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely; The Four Guys
9:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Jack Greene; The Whites

Saturday June 7
1st show
6:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jim Ed Brown; Sunny Sweeney
7:00: Dwight Yoakam; Joe Nichols; Jennifer Hanson; Charley Pride
8:00: Mel Tillis (host); Jan Howard; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jean Shepard; Riders In The Sky

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Charley Pride
10:00: Mel Tillis (host); Jack Greene; Jennifer Hanson
10:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jean Shepard; Joe Nichols; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Bill Anderson (host); Sunny Sweeney; Riders In The Sky

What was special about that weekend was the appearance of The Four Guys. The group had been fired from the Opry by Pete Fisher in April 2000. Sam Wellington writes about the firing and his feelings about it in his excellent book, "In the Beginning, There was the Men's Room." The 2008 appearance was the first, and only time that the group has appeared on the Opry since being terminated. For those who did not listen that night, Bill Anderson gave a very nice introduction and the group was well received.

Now from 25 years ago, Saturday June 12, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Skeeter Davis
6:45: The Four Guys (host); Bill Carlisle
7:00: Del Reeves (host); Charlie Walker; Jeannie Seely; The Whites; Connie Smith
7:30: George Jones (host); Lorrie Morgan; Johnny Russell
8:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jean Shepard; George Hamilton IV; Brother Oswald; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jeanne Pruett; Roy Drusky; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Roberta Rast; Ray Pillow; Lorrie Morgan
10:00: The Four Guys (host); The Whites
10:15: Billy Walker (host); Connie Smith
10:30: Del Reeves (host); Stonewall Jackson
10:45: Jim Ed Brown (host); Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jean Shepard; Justin Tubb; Brother Oswald; Bill Carlisle
11:30: George Hamilton IV (host); Jeanne Pruett; Roy Drusky; Charlie Walker

Finally, it was 34 years ago, Saturday June 9, 1984 that Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

"You can't imagine how it felt the night I became a member of the Opry," Lorrie Morgan says. "The first time I could really call this place home. I couldn't stop shaking or trembling or crying." That Saturday night more than 30 years ago might have been Lorrie's first night as an official member, but it certainly wasn't her first night at the Grand Ole Opry. Lorrie grew up backstage at the Opry, the daughter of Country Music Hall of Famer George Morgan, a 26-year member known everywhere for his smash 1949 hit "Candy Kisses."

Born in 1959, Lorrie made her Opry stage debut early, introduced at the Ryman Auditorium by her proud father. "My little 13-year old knees were absolutely knocking," she recalls. "But Dad was standing there right beside me with big tears in his eyes, and those people gave me a standing ovation. I thought, this is what I'm going to do the rest of my life. This was a dream of my dad's long before it was my dream. I have all of this because of Dad. We're very blessed to be a musical family here at the Grand Ole Opry. What more could you ask for?" George Morgan died when Lorrie was 16, but she still carries in her heart two pieces of advice he left her: "Never say, I Can't" and "Always remember your manners."

Morgan's vocal style, combining country sincerity and pop sophistication, really took off in 1989 with the emotion-filled hit "Dear Me." She won a CMA award in 1990 for her work with her late husband, Keith Whitley, the great country traditionalist who had died the year before. Subsequent albums "Leave the Light On," "Something in Red," and "Watch Me," all sold more than a million copies.

Throughout her career, Morgan says, she has thought of the Opry as home. "The Opry gave me my start in country music. It's a place we all need to go from time to time to remember why we're here and what gave us the opportunity to be here."

Loretta Lynn Morgan was born in Nashville, Tennessee and on that first Opry appearance at age 13 sang "Paper Roses." After her father died in 1975, she took over his band, and then joined Little Roy Wiggins group in 1977. After leaving that group, she worked as a receptionist and demo singer at Acuff-Rose Music, where she, also wrote songs. In the 1970s, she was the featured vocalist on Ralph Emery's morning television show in Nashville. Lorrie had her first minor hit in 1978, after which she toured with a number of different acts including Jack Greene, Jeannie Seely and George Jones. She also performed at Opryland. Finally, in 1989 she had her first Top 10 single, "Dear Me." The chart hits followed through the 1990s. More recently, Lorrie has been touring with Pam Tillis and continues to make new music.

Here is the running order from Saturday June 9, 1984, the night Lorrie Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Connie Smith: Had a Dream
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at a Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Jeannie Seely: You're Sweet Lies Just Turned Down the Sheets Again
Del Reeves: Don't You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me

7:00: Shoney's
Jim Ed Brown (host): Lying in Love With You
Billy Grammer: Homestead on the Farm
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Jean Shepard: Virginia
Jim Ed Brown: Pop A Top

7:30: Standard Candy
Bill Anderson (host): Po Folks
Lorrie Morgan; Candy Kisses/Stand By Your Man
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sally Goodin
Billy Walker: Funny How Time Slips Away
Bill Anderson: Still

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
The Whites: Forever You/Swing Down Sweet Chariot
Dan Kelly: Sally Goodin
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
Howdy Forrester: (?)
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Acme
Hank Snow (host): Forever and One
Dottie West: It's High Time/Crazy/I Fall to Pieces/Sweet Dreams
The Four Guys: Cottonfields/Mariah
Roy Drusky: The Last Farewell
Bill Carlisle: I'm Moving
Hank Snow: I Don't Hurt Anymore

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Jim Ed Brown (host): Southern Loving
The Four Guys: How Married Are You Mary Ann
Jeannie Seely: When You Hearts Been Stepped On
Del Reeves: Good Hearted Woman
Wilma Lee Cooper: A Daisy A Day
Jim Ed Brown: You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
Jan Howard: Lord, I Hope this Day is Good
Ray Pillow: Julie Loved Boston More than Me
Bill Anderson: Southern Fried

10:15: Sunbeam
Billy Walker (host): Cross the Brazos at Waco
Hank Locklin: Danny Boy
Skeeter Davis: Turning Away
Billy Walker: He Sang the Songs About El Paso

10:30: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Roy Thackerson: Eighth of January

10:45: Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Jeanne Pruett: Satin Sheets
Crook Brothers/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Gray Eagle
Roy Drusky: One Day at a Time

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Dottie West: It's High Time/Here Comes My Baby
The Whites: Hangin' Around
Jerry Douglas: Cincinnati Rag
Hank Snow: Born for You

11:30: Quincy's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Why I'm Walking
Bill Carlisle: Too Old to Cut the Mustard Anymore/Oh, What a Party
Lorrie Morgan: What I've Got in Mind/Crazy
Stonewall Jackson: Old Chunk of Coal

There you have it for this week and the CMA Music Fest comes to an end. I am sure it was a great week and we will all be hearing about it. Finally, and as always, I hope everyone enjoys the Opry this weekend.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 6/5 & Thursday Night Opry 6/7

It is the week of the CMA Festival in Nashville, which means all of the stars will be in town, performing at various venues and meeting their fans. Always one of the biggest weeks in country music, and the Opry has always taken advantage of it with a very strong Tuesday Night Opry. As in past years, Carrie Underwood is the featured attraction, along with Darius Rucker and Chris Janson.

Tuesday June 5
1st show
7:00: Terri Clark; Bill Anderson; Ashley McBryde; Ricky Skaggs
8:00: Darius Rucker; Chris Janson; Carrie Underwood

2nd show
9:30: Darius Rucker; Terri Clark; Carrie Underwood
10:30: Bill Anderson; Ashley McBryde; Ricky Skaggs; Chris Janson

What I really like about that line-up is the variety. A veteran artist, bluegrass, established star and new star. Something for everyone and both shows are sold out.

This year, thanks to the availability of Opry member Blake Shelton, two Thursday night shows have been added, and as with the Tuesday night show, a lot of variety.

Thursday June 7
1st show
7:00: Josh Turner; Maggie Rose
7:30: Charley Pride; Sarah Evans
8:00: Luke Combs; Oak Ridge Boys
8:30: Blake Shelton

2nd show
9:30: Josh Turner; Maggie Rose
10:00: Charley Pride; Sarah Evans
10:30: Luke Combs; Oak Ridge Boys
11:00: Blake Shelton

Besides the Opry, Marty Stuart will be hosting his late night jam on Wednesday night, with a solid line-up of artists.

For those headed to Nashville, have fun and be safe.