Sunday, September 30, 2018

October Opry Highlights

October has traditionally been one of the more active months in the history of the Grand Ole Opry. It is the month in which the Opry traditionally celebrates its anniversary with the Opry's birthday weekend, usually held the 1st weekend of the month. Lots of important and historical events have taken place during October involving the Opry or its members, and here are a few of them:

October 25, 1912: Sarah Ophelia Colley was born. Known to the world as Minnie Pearl, she first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in November 1940 and was an Opry member for over 50 years. Comedy has become a lost art at the Opry, but during her time Minnie was one of the best. Minnie passed away in March 1996 from complications of an earlier stroke.

October 20, 1913: Louis Marshall Jones was born in Henderson County, Kentucky. Like Minnie Pearl, Louis was an Opry member for over 50 years, and was known for his humor along with his banjo playing. He was also nationally known for his work on Hee Haw. A member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, you might know him better by his stage name: Grandpa Jones.

October 5, 1925: WSM radio went on the air. Edwin Craig was given the honor of starting off that first broadcast, and he did it with a few simple words: "This is WSM. We Shield Millions. The National Life and Accident Company." National Life President C.A Craig dedicated the station to public service. Among the guests that night was George D. Hay, who would later be hired as the program director at WSM, after which he started the WSM Barn Dance.

October 27, 1934: The Grand Ole Opry moved from Studio C at the National Life Building, home of WSM, to the Hillsboro Theater. The move was made because of the large number of people who were coming down to the National Life building to watch the show. The Hillsboro Theater was an upgrade for the Opry, as it sat 2,400 and also had dressing rooms for the performers. Because the Opry was now being performed before a live audience, the artists were told to dress for their performances, meaning rural clothes that would reflect the proper image for a country show. That night also was the beginning of Vito Pellettiere as the Opry's stage manager. Vito would hold that position until 1977 and he was responsible for bringing order and organization to the show, including breaking the show into segments with sponsors, and establishing a schedule, with specific times for each act to appear.

October 9, 1937: Roy Acuff made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. He was invited to appear on the program in what was basically an audition. While his initial performance was nothing to write home about, he was invited back and would join the Opry cast the following year.

October 14, 1939: The NBC Radio Network began to carry a half hour segment of the Opry, sponsored by the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company to promote its Prince Albert brand. Roy Acuff was the host, with David Stone as the announcer. On that first night, Roy and his group were introduced and played the theme song, "Have A Big Time Tonight." Along with George D. Hay, that first show included Uncle Dave Macon, George Wilkerson and his Fruit Jar Drinkers, DeFord Bailey, Brother Oswald, and the rest of Roy's group. Over time, the Prince Albert segment would become the Opry's most famous segment. Beginning initially on 26 network stations, primarily in the south, the segment would soon expand nationwide across the entire NBC Radio Network.

October 28, 1939: Bill Monroe became a member of the Grand Ole Opry, performing "Muleskinner Blues." Opry founder George D. Hay was so impressed with Bill and his new bluegrass sound that he told Bill that if he ever wanted to leave the Opry, he would have to fire himself. Thankfully, that never happened and Bill would remain an Opry member for over 50 years, until his death in September 1996.

October 17, 1953: Carl Butler made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Later, along with his wife Pearl, the Butlers would be Opry members.

October 2, 1954: Elvis Presley made his first and only appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He sang Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Reports had said that Elvis received only modest applause from the Opry audience, which was not that unusual. Legend has it that when he was finished and walking off the stage, Opry manager Jim Denny told Elvis that he should go back to driving a truck. While Elvis's truck driving days were over, he never came back to the Opry. Over the years, there has been some doubt if Jim Denny actually made those comments to Elvis. Either way, Elvis never was invited back. One person who was impressed that night was Bill Monroe, especially after seeing the size of the royalty checks he began to receive after Elvis recorded Bill's song.

October 22, 1955: Jim Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Over time, Jim would become one of the Opry's biggest stars, but like so many others, he came to realize the limitations of being an Opry member and would move on. His last Opry appearance was in June 1963.

October 29, 1955: For what would be a very short run, Slim Whitman became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He came and went pretty quickly.

October 19, 1956: Stonewall Jackson was given an audition at the Opry. He passed with flying colors and was invited back to perform on the show, eventually becoming a member on November 3, 1956. Stonewall came to town in his pick-up truck, without a hit record, and stuck it big.

October 15, 1960; While a few different dates have been given over the years, it would appear that Loretta Lynn made her first Opry guest appearance on this date. The Wilburn Brothers were instrumental in getting her that guest spot and she appeared that night on a segment hosted by Ernest Tubb. At the time, Loretta did not have a band so Leslie Wilburn played base and Lester Wilburn played rhythm guitar. Just like in the move, she sang "I'm A Honky-Tonk Girl." The Opry was impressed, and after numerous guest appearances promoted by the Wilburns, Loretta was asked to become an Opry member, which took place in 1962.

October 20, 1962: Leroy Van Dyke became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Like many others, Leroy would only remain with the Opry for a couple of years before moving on. However, after he left, Leroy would occasionally come back for guest appearances.

October 27, 1962: One week after Leroy became an Opry member, Sonny James joined the Opry's cast. Like Leroy, Sonny would leave a few years later as he developed a more sophisticated country sound.

October 23, 1965: Roy Acuff, Jr. made his first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. With his father closely watching, Roy Jr. sang "Baby Just Said Goodbye." His recording and performing work showed the promise of a career in country music, however he preferred to work behind the scenes and his public performing soon ended.

October 14, 1966: Del Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Introduced by Opry member Porter Wagoner, it was a very emotional night for Del as his parents were in the audience to witness the event. Del was so overcome with emotion that he was unable to make it though his song, breaking down in tears. Del was a popular member of the Opry's cast, and would remain so until his death in January 2007.

October 7, 1967: Dolly Parton made her first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry while appearing with Porter Wagoner. Dolly and Porter did not do a duet that night, that would happen a month later. Dolly sang "Dumb Blonde" that night. It was Dolly's first Opry appearance since her debut on the Opry in 1959.

October 21, 1967: The Browns: Jim Ed, Maxine and Bonnie, gave their final performance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. While Bonnie and Maxine would retire to raise families, Jim Ed continued on as a solo member of the Opry's cast, until his death in 2015. Even though they retired, the sisters would come back many times to appear with Jim Ed at the Opry, and other venues. The Browns had a big impact on country music, and a string of hits. In 2015, the year Jim Ed passed away, Jim Ed Brown and The Browns were elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

October 6, 1968: Former WSM executive Harry Stone passed away at the age of 70. The influence that Harry Stone had on WSM and the Grand Ole Opry was great, perhaps even more so than the Opry's founder George D. Hay. While the founder wanted to keep the Opry simple and down to earth, featuring local and regional musicians, Harry saw the value on the Opry to WSM and National Life. He began to add professional musicians and singers to the Opry cast, including Pee Wee King, Roy Acuff and Eddy Arnold. There was a lot of conflict between George D. Hay and Harry Stone, and in 1932 it reached its high point as Harry became the general manager at WSM, putting him ahead of Hay in the pecking order at the station. Many should thank Harry for his leadership at the Opry, as many of the decisions he made allowed the show to survive while other barn dance shows failed.

October 19, 1968: In an interview published in the Nashville Tennessean, WSM President Irving Waugh said that the Opry's days at the Ryman Auditorium were numbered. The article stated, "The initiation of plans for the relocation of the Opry, possibly as the center of a multi-million dollar hotel and amusement complex, was announced at a breakfast at Municipal Auditorium sponsored by WSM." Irving Waugh said, "Our feeling is that the Grand Ole Opry needs a new, modern facility. It is estimated the center, which would be called Opryland USA, would require between one hundred fifty and two hundred acres of land. The location would not be in the Music Row area." Over time, details would be announced and the Opry would leave downtown and the Ryman for a rural location that became Opryland USA.

October 16, 1971: Freddie Hart made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. This was also the night of the Opry's 46th birthday celebration.

October 27, 1973: Comedian and story teller Jerry Clower became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was the last member to join the Opry while the show was still located at the Ryman Auditorium. When Jerry joined the cast, comedy was still a big part of the show, as Jerry joined fellow comedians Minnie Pearl, Archie Campbell, Grandpa Jones and Lonzo & Oscar as active Opry members.

October 18, 1975: The Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 50th anniversary with a star studded weekend at the Grand Ole Opry House. Looking back, the 50th is considered one of the biggest shows in the history of the Opry.

October 16, 1982: Grand Ole Opry member Doyle Wilburn passed away in Nashville at the age of 52. The Wilburn Brothers, Teddy and Doyle, first appeared on the Opry with the rest of their siblings in the 1940s, however child labor laws sent them away from Nashville and the Opry. They came back, and in 1953 became Opry members. After Doyle's death, Teddy continued on as a solo member of the cast.

October 17, 1982: Alcyone Bate Beasley died. While the name might not mean a lot to some people, Alcyone was there when it all started in 1925 as a member of Dr. Humphrey Bate's Possum Hunters. Dr. Bate was Alcyone's father. After he died, Alcyone worked to keep the Possum Hunters going, but years later,when the square dance bands were merged, the Possum Hunters name disappeared from the Opry's programs. Even in her final years, Alcyone would always appear on the Opry's annual reunion shows.

October 19, 1982: Alabama traveled up to Nashville and made their first appearance on the Opry.

October 24, 1983: Grand Ole Opry member, and one of the originals, Kirk McGee passed away. Along with his brother Sam, Kirk made his first Opry appearance in 1926, back when the show was called the WSM Barn Dance. Over the years, he would be a part of the Dixieliners and the Fruit Jar Drinkers, in addition to performing with his brother. His last Opry show had been the previous Saturday night.

October 19, 1985: Lonzo & Oscar made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. Rollin Sullivan, who was Oscar, originally came to the Opry in 1942. Over the years there were three different Lonzos, starting with Ken Marvin, followed by Rollin's brother Johnny, and finally David Hooten.

October 3, 1989: Grand Ole Opry member Del Wood passed away in Nashville after suffering a stroke several weeks later. Del, whose real name was Adelaide Hazelwood, came to the Opry in 1953 and was famous for her ragtime piano playing and her No. 1 hit 'Down Yonder." Much like others, with Del's passing the ragtime piano playing has disappeared from the Opry stage.

October 14, 1989: Holly Dunn became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Holly would remain an Opry member until she left the music business and moved to New Mexico to concentrate on her art work. Holly, who was not happy with her firing from the Opry, passed away from cancer in November 2016.

October 28, 1989: Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass Music, celebrated 50 years as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Among those appearing on the televised portion that night to honor Bill, which was hosted by Grant Turner, were Emmylou Harris and Larry Cordle.

October 9, 1990: Garth Brooks became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Garth's 28th year as an Opry member, an honor that he considers one of the most important in his professional career. While Garth's Opry appearances have been few over the past several decades, he always brings excitement each time he appears on the Opry stage.

October 4, 1991: Diamond Rio made their first guest appearance on the Opry. 7 years later, in 1998, they would become Opry members.

October 19, 1991: Legendary Grand Ole Opry announcer Grant Turner passed away, just hours after announcing the Friday Night Opry. Grant was the dean of Opry announcers and started at WSM on D-Day in 1944. Over the years, he also hosted the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree and the Opry's warm-up show. Grant is also a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

October 24, 1991: Gaylord Entertainment Company, owners of WSM and the Grand Ole Opry, listed its stock on the New York Stock Exchange for the first time. Many have said that this is the event that started the downfall of the Opry as the company went public after years of private ownership, and the focus changed. From that point forward, decisions were made based on the effect on the bottom line of the company.

October 23, 1992: Roy Acuff made his final Grand Ole Opry appearance. It was a Friday night show and Roy, in declining health, hosted his segment while sitting in a director's chair. He was scheduled for the following Saturday night, however he took a nap that afternoon and his family decided not to wake him. Days later he entered the hospital for what would be the final time.

October 14, 1996: Bob Whittaker, Vice President and General Manager of the Grand Ole Opry was named President of the Grand Ole Opry Group of Gaylord Entertainment Company. He replaced Hal Durham, who was retiring.

October 15, 2000: The Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 75th birthday with four shows that weekend, including two on Saturday night that featured a majority of the Opry's members including Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Alison Krauss. On a personal note, we attended the shows that weekend and they were probably the best, and had the strongest line-ups of any Opry show that I have attended.

October 17, 2002: Grand Ole Opry member Brother Oswald passed away. Beecher Ray Kirby first came to the Opry with Roy Acuff on January 1, 1939. After Roy's death in 1992, Brother Oswald was asked to become an Opry member, a well deserved honor in recognition of over 50 years already appearing on the Opry. Usually during his segment Oswald would perform his dobro with Charlie Collins on guitar.

October 4, 2003: The Grand Ole Opry is televised on Great American Country (GAC) for the first time, moving over after spending several years on Country Music Television (CMT).

October 25, 2003: Del McCoury became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Del's 15th year as an Opry member. Del, who usually appears on the weeknight shows, was formally inducted by Patty Loveless.

October 1, 2005: Dierks Bentley became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. For Dierks, this will be year number 13 of Opry membership. Dierks, who is a former employee of The Nashville Network, made his Opry debut in April 2003. On the night of his induction, it was Porter Wagoner doing the honors.

October 15, 2005: The Grand Ole Opry celebrated its 80th birthday. Garth Brooks marked the occasion by coming out of retirement and joining Jimmy Dickens, Porter Wagoner and Bill Anderson on stage. For Garth, it was his first Opry appearance in five years. Also on board that night was Garth's friend Steve Wariner.

October 9, 2007: Grand Ole Opry member Porter Wagoner made his final appearance during that night's Tuesday Night Opry. Porter was in declining health and would pass away several months later.

October 27, 2007: Josh Turner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Josh's 11th year as a member of the Opry's cast. Josh had made numerous guest appearances on the Opry, performing his hit "Long Black Train." It was during one of those appearances that Roy Clark surprised Josh with an invitation to join the cast.

October 28, 2007: Grand Ole Opry legend Porter Wagoner passed away in Nashville at the age of 80. One of the most popular members in the history of the Opry, Porter had just celebrated his 50th anniversary as a member of the Opry several months before. Not only was he a great solo artist, but he made some great duets with Dolly Parton. Porter died as a result of lung cancer.

October 10, 2008: Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Ernie Ashworth made his final appearance on that evenings Friday Night Opry. Ernie, who passed away in March 2009, was an Opry member for over 40 years, joining the cast in March 1964. 

October 25, 2008: Craig Morgan became a member of the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Inducted by John Conlee, Craig will be celebrating 10 years as a member.

October 22, 2010: Blake Shelton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Blake's 8th year as an Opry member.

October 8, 2011: During the Opry's 86th birthday celebration, Rascal Flatts were inducted as the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Among those on hand that night to welcome the group to the cast was Opry member Vince Gill.

October 16, 2012: Darius Rucker became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was surprised during a guest appearance by an audience member, who happened to be Brad Paisley, to come and join the cast. This will be his 6th year as an Opry member.

October 23, 2012: On what would have been the 100th birthday of Minnie Pearl, the Grand Ole Opry honored her memory with a special tribute show. Among those appearing that night were Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Pam Tillis and her dad, Mel.

October 3, 2014: During a guest appearance on the Friday Night Opry, Little Big Town was surprised when Reba McEntire walked out on stage during their performance to ask the group if they wished to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, they said yes, and on October 17th, they were formally inducted.

October 17, 2015: Country music Hall of Fame member Merle Haggard made a surprise appearance on that night's Grand Ole Opry. Introduced by Connie Smith, it would be Merle's final appearance on the Opry. 

October 17, 2017: Chris Young became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Wow. There you have the highlights for this month.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 9/28 & 9/29

Can you believe it is the end of September already? Where did the month go? Before you know it, we will be talking about Thanksgiving and Christmas. While fall rolls on, so does the Grand Ole Opry and the schedule has been posted for the weekend shows. One show on Friday and one show on Saturday.

Grand Ole Opry members scheduled for both shows this weekend include Connie Smith, Mike Snider and Jeannie Seely. Friday night, that trio will be joined by Bobby Osborne and Steve Wariner, while on Saturday night Dailey & Vincent, The Whites and Bill Anderson will join the trio, giving us five Opry members on Friday and six on Saturday.

The guest list this weekend is led by the legendary Tony Joe White. Now 75, he is best known for his 1969 hit "Polk Salad Annie," which was a Top 10 single and recorded by numerous other artists including Elvis Presley, and for writing the Brook Benton classic "Rainy Night in Georgia." Since then, he has released dozens and dozens of albums on various labels, and while not having any monster hits, has developed a following and a reputation for experimenting with various types of music and recording with dozens of artists including Jessi Colter, Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams.

Joining Tony Joe White on Friday night will be Kalie Shorr, Runaway June, LEVON, Shelly Fairchild, and the ever popular Hunter Hayes. Saturday night will feature guest artists Lindsay Ell, Brent Cobb, Maggie Rose, Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy, and making his Grand Ole Opry debut, Brandon Lay.

Friday September 28
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Kalie Shorr; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Runaway June; LEVON
8:15: Connie Smith (host); Shelly Fairchild; Tony Joe White
8:45: Steve Wariner (host); Hunter Hayes

Saturday September 29
7:00: Connie Smith (host); Mike Snider; Lindsay Ell
7:30: Dailey & Vincent (host); The Whites; Brent Cobb
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); Brandon Lay; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Maggie Rose; Charlie McCoy

As mentioned, Saturday will be the Grand Ole Opry debut for Brandon Lay.

Growing up in Jackson, Tennessee, Brandon Lay lived out the songs of John Mellencamp, Alan Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen. He played sports during the day, fixed cars after school and eventually wrote down his experiences in song, telling not only his story, but the story of other kids raised in small town America.

Now signed to EMI Records Nashville, he's able to share those songs on a grand scale, beginning with his autobiographical debut single "Speakers, Bleachers and Preachers." Inspired directly by Brandon's life, the song spells out right in its title the three chief influences that shaped him. There was always country music on the radio, he played basketball, football and baseball, and his dad spread gospel on Sundays as a minister. "Between going to church and playing sports, there was always a lesson to be learned," says Brandon. "And country music lyrics are all about life lessons. All of that helped me figure out who I am in the world and what I wanted to do."

At first, he thought his path would lead him to sports, but music won out, thanks in part to a guitar teacher who inspired him in college and the luck of where he was born, halfway between Memphis and Nashville. "Growing up in Jackson, you were hearing out of each ear: Rock & Roll and R&B to the west in Memphis, and country to the east in Nashville," he says. "But country is the only genre I wanted to be a part of."

Brandon's commitment to music was cemented, however, when he performed at his first open-mic night, at a cinder block roadhouse near the Tennessee River. He sang jukebox staples "Keep Your Hands to Yourself" and "Brown Eyed Girl," and despite an initial crowd of only eight people looking on, he returned each week and discovered he had a knack for commanding an audiences attention.

Other than perhaps the basketball court, there's nowhere Brandon feels more at home than in a recording studio. Upon signing a publishing deal with Warner/Chappell in 2013, he absorbed all he could about studio production and when it came time to cut his own music, teamed up with producer Paul Digovanni to co-produce all of his songs, a rare feat for a new artist.

With his album already finished, Brandon, who cites class of '89 alums like Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson as country heroes, is focusing on taking the songs on the road. He's already opened for artists like Dierks Bentley and Old Dominion, and is playing fairs and festivals around the country. And Saturday night, he will be playing the Grand Ole Opry.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the 10 years ago, the final weekend in September 2008:

Friday September 26
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jack Greene; Suzy Bogguss
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Del McCoury Band; Terri Clark
9:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; The Whites; Darryl Worley
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Stonewall Jackson; Connie Smith; The Grascals

Saturday September 27
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely; Jimmy C Newman; Del McCoury Band
7:30: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Tennessee Mafia Jug Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Marty Stuart (host); Keith Urban; Carolina Chocolate Drops; Connie Smith; Sharon & Cheryl White

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jeannie Seely; Del McCoury Band
10:00: Marty Stuart (host); Jan Howard; Tennessee Mafia Jug Band; Connie Smith
10:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Keith Urban; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Ricky Skaggs (host); Jean Shepard; Carolina Chocolate Drops

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday September 28, 1968:

1st show
6:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); The Four Guys
6:45: Willis Brothers (host); Ernie Ashworth
7:00: Roy Acuff (host); Charlie Walker; Del Wood; The Harden Trio
7:30: Bill Anderson (host); Archie Campbell; Lorene Mann; Stringbean; Crook Brothers
8:00: Hank Locklin (host); Bill Carlisle; George Morgan; Cousin Jody
8:30: Charlie Louvin (host); Jim and Jesse; Penny DeHaven; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Jim Alley

2nd show
9:30: Bill Anderson (host); Willis Brothers; Ernie Ashworth
10:00: Roy Acuff (host); Bill Carlisle; Jimmy Martin
10:15: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Bill Carlisle; Del Wood
10:30: Hank Locklin (host); Charlie Walker; Stringbean
10:45: George Morgan (host); Harden Trio; Crook Brothers
11:00: Archie Campbell (host); Jim and Jesse; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Lorene Mann; Sam McGee
11:30: Charlie Louvin (host); Penny DeHaven; Cousin Jody

It was nice to see the Harden Trio listed on the Opry that night. The trio consisted of Bobby Harden and his sisters Robbie and Arlene. Originally from England, Arkansas, the trio began performing on the Louisiana Hayride while still teenagers.

Robbie was the first to move to Nashville as part of The Browns, filling in for Bonnie Brown on the Grand Ole Opry and on most road dates. Bobby and Arlene followed and the trio began working together again. In 1964 the signed with Columbia Records and released their debut single "Poor Boy." That was followed by "Tippy Toeing" which spent 21 weeks on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at No. 2. Before disbanding in 1968, the trio had four more singles and three albums on the country charts.

After the trio broke up, Arlene and Robbie charted as final single as The Hardens in 1968 with "Who Loves You." Bobby briefly formed a new trio with Karen Wheeler and Shirley Michaels before going solo and recording on several different labels. His greater success was as a songwriter, with songs recorded by George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Reba McEntire, among others. Bobby passed away on May 30, 2006.

Arlene also went solo and released several albums on various labels and had a total of 18 singles released between 1967 and 1978. Robbie joined the Johnny Cash show in 1969 as part of the Carter Family, replacing June Carter who was pregnant with John Carter Cash.

Looking back in Opry history at the last weekend of September, it was on Saturday September 29, 1956 that Rose Maddox became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

You can't tell the story of Rose Maddox without first discussing the Maddox family.

The Maddox Brothers and Rose advertised themselves as "the most colorful hillbilly band in America." During their prime years from the mid-40's through the mid-50's, they lived up to their publicity, which not only featured colorful costumes but loads of talent and humor in various vocal and instrumental combinations. The Maddox Family offered West Coast Country fans an exciting alternative to Western Swing and Cowboy music.

The Maddox family hailed from the Sand Mountain country of Appalachian Alabama where the family, which included seven children and were sharecroppers, struggled to survive during the Great Depression. When cotton prices dropped, Mom Maddox determined to better the family's condition and decided to fulfill her lifelong dream of taking them to California. Selling their few possessions gained the parents $30 in cash. With the two older children remaining in Alabama, the rest of the family walked and hitchhiked to Meridian, Mississippi. From their, freight trains provided the rest of the transportation, taking the family to Oakland, California. As to other homeless families in California, the family worked picking fruit, traveling as farm laborers up and down the interior valley of the state.

The Maddox family had taken their musical instruments on their journey to California, and in 1937 older brother Fred decided to form a family band and talked a Modesto business man to sponsor them on local radio, provided there was a girl singer. Named the Alabama Outlaws and fronted by eleven year old Rose, the family hit the airways and quickly received thousands of letters of fan mail. By the end of the year, they renamed themselves Maddox Brothers & Rose and with their mix of southern folk music, contemporary western song, and roguish, the group built up a avid following. In 1939 they took first place in a hillbilly band competition at the California State Fair, winning a two-year contract on the McClatchy Broadcasting network based in Sacramento.

With the brothers fighting overseas during World War II, the group broke up, however in December 1945 the band was back on the air and recording for Four Star Records. They hired rodeo tailor Nathan Turk to create some of the most elaborate and striking costumers worn by a country music act to date. With their unorthodox, high volume honky-tonk music, matched by their legendary show and dance presentation, group became legendary. Records such as "Alimony," "Single Girl, " and "Hangover Blues" established Rose as an independent, almost protofeminist figure, and by the time the family guested on the Grand Ole Opry in February 1949, she was possibly the leading national female star in country music.

In 1950, disgusted with the financial arrangements at Four Star, where the group never was paid, the family, with the help of union intervention, was released from their contract. They immediately signed with Columbia Records. Rose was so popular that by the mid-1950s, Columbia held three separate contracts on her (one with her brothers, one as a single, and one as a short-lived duet act with her sister-in-law). Due to a combination of producer Don Law wanting the family to tone down their sound, and Rose's ambition to cut more pop-slanted records, in 1956 the group disbanded.

This led to Rose returning to the Grand Ole Opry on September 29, 1956, this time as a member, and making an appearance that would become legendary in Opry history. That night, after changing into a risqué, bare-midriff cowgirl suit, Rose hid until her name was called, then appeared to a tumultuous reception to sing "Tall Men." It was a performance for the ages.

Rose was at the Opry less than 6 months. While political tensions between California-based and Tennessee-base musicians ultimately led to her dismissal in March 1957, it was reportedly at the request of Roy Acuff that she was fired. He felt her act was a little too much for the Opry's conservative audiences.

In 1959, after Rose left Nashville and the Opry, she signed with Capital Records and had her biggest chart successes: "Sing a Little Song of Heartache" which went to #3 in 1962, and with Buck Owens, "Loose Talk" which reached #4 in 1961. In By 1967 she was recording for Starday, followed by various independent labels with little national success.

Rose suffered several heart attacks from the late 1960s onwards, but continued to record and perform. In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy award for her Arhoolie bluegrass album, "$35 and a Dream." Her final album, "The Moon is Rising" was released in 1996. In her later years, she lived in Ashland, Oregon. She died in Ashland on April 15, 1998 due to kidney failure. She was 72.

Here is the running order from 62 years ago, Saturday September 29, 1956, the night Rose Maddox joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry:

7:30: Federal Fertilizer Company
Jim Reeves (host): According to My Heart
Del Wood: Intermission at the Opry
Justin Tubb: Lucky Lucky Someone
Jim Reeves: Oklahoma Hills
Fiddle Tune: Arkansas Traveler

7:45: American Ace
Marty Robbins (host): Singing the Blues
Jean Shepard: You Are Calling Me Sweetheart
Benny Martin: Lover of the Town
Marty Robbins: Who At My Door is Standing
Fiddle Tune: Turkey in the Straw

8:00: Martha White
Ray Price (host): Crazy Arms
Flatt and Scruggs: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Carter Sisters: Sweet Talking Man
Possum Hunters: Fire in the Mountain
Ray Price: You Done Me Wrong
Martha Carson: Let the Light Shine
George Morgan: Stay Away from Me Baby
Flatt and Scruggs: Give Mother My Crown
Ray Price: Release Me

8:30: Prince Albert
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Jordanaires: When I Move
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Sunny Side of the Mountain
Fiddle Tune: Mississippi Sawyer
Hank Snow: Farther Along
Moon Mullican: Blue Tears
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Hawkshaw Hawkins: If It Ain't on the Menu
Chet Atkins: Avalon
Hank Snow: Conscience I'm Guilty
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin

9:00: Jefferson Island Salt
Jimmy Dickens (host): Big Sandy
Ferlin Husky: Imitations
Goldie Hill: I'm Beginning to Feel Mistreated
Bill Monroe: Blue Moon of Kentucky
Jimmy Dickens: Cornbread and Buttermilk
Rose Maddox: Tall Men
Ferlin Husky: That Big Old Moon
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Cacklin Hen
Jimmy Dickens: I Never Thought it Would Happen to Me

9:30: Stephens
Carl Smith (host): You Are the One
Jim Reeves: If You Were Mine
Lew Childre: Southern Hospitality
Anita Carter: One Heart Ache at a Time
Carl Smith: If You Do Dear
Jean Shepard: It's Hard to Tell
Justin Tubb: Lucky Lucky Someone
Crook Brothers: Black Mountain Rag
Jim Reeves: Highway to Nowhere
Carl Smith: Don't Tease Me

10:00: Wall-Rite
George Morgan (host): Rainbow in My Heart
Martha Carson: Satisfied
Moon Mullican: You Don't Have to Be a Baby to Cry
George Morgan: Take A Look at Yourself
Fiddle Tune: Devil's Dream

10:15: Delited
Marty Robbins (host): Call Me Up and I'll Come Calling on You
Benny Martin: Whipper Will
Marty Robbins: Singin' the Blues
Fiddle Tune: Bill Cheatham

10:30: Hester Battery
Jimmy Dickens (host): Blackeyed Joe
Bill Monroe: I Believed in You Darling
Goldie Hill: Sample My Kisses
Jimmy Dickens: It Scares Me Half to Death
Fiddle Tune: 8th of January

10:45: D-Con
Hank Snow (host): Would You Mind
Rose Maddox: (?)
Crook Brothers: Tom and Jerry
Hank Snow: Why Do You Punish Me
Fiddling Fish and Stick: Back Up and Push

11:00: Coca-Cola
Carl Smith (host): Doggone it Baby, I'm in Love
Jim Reeves: My Lips are Sealed
Jean Shepard: It's Hard to Tell the Married
Flatt and Scruggs: What's Good for You Should be Alright for Me
Carl Smith: Before I Met You
Jordanaires: Shaking Bridges
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Rattle Snake Daddy
Gully Jumpers: Durang Horn Pipe
Jim Reeves: Waiting on Top of the World
Carl Smith: Go Boy Go

11:30: Jamison
Ray Price (host): Crazy Arms
Ferlin Husky: Waiting
Justin Tubb: You Nearly Lose Your Mind
Sam and Kirk: Milk'em in the Morning
Ray Price: Release Me
Lew Childre: Hang out the Front Door Key
Ferlin Husky: Imitations
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Ray Price: I'll Be There
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Mid-Week Opry Shows

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

Tuesday September 25
7:00: Bill Anderson; Clare Dunn
7:30: Tyler Rich; The SteelDrivers
8:15: Eddy Raven; Craig Morgan
8:45: Trace Adkins

Wednesday September 26
7:00: Riders In The Sky; Point of Grace
7:30: Jonathan Jackson; Dan Tyminski
8:15: Holly Williams; Chuck Mead & His Grassy Knoll Boys
8:45: Mandy Barnett; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Opry Country Classics, Thursday September 27
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Connie Smith
Also Appearing: Gatlin Brothers; Ashley Campbell; Dillon Carmichael; Mark Wills

Some solid shows this week with a lot of variety. Nice to see Eddy Raven back making an appearance.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 9/21 & 9/22

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the two shows this weekend, the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry. While the Opry's newest member, Dustin Lynch, is not scheduled this weekend, there are other Opry members who are.

Scheduled to appear both nights are Opry members Mike Snider, Riders In The Sky and Dailey & Vincent. That trio will be joined on Friday night by Bobby Osborne and Connie Smith, while on Saturday Jeannie Seely, The Whites and Lorrie Morgan are on the schedule.

Guesting both nights will be The Swon Brothers. Joining them on Friday night will be a couple of names from the past: John Schneider and Debby Boone. Also scheduled is A Thousand Horses, Mandy Barnett, Aaron Lewis and one of the newest female stars, Kelsea Ballerini.

In addition to The Swon Brothers, Saturday night will feature Darin & Brooke Aldridge, comedian Karen Mills, Waylon Payne and Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy.

Friday September 21
7:00: Mike Snider (host); John Schneider; The Swon Brothers
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); A Thousand Horses; Debby Boone
8:15: Dailey & Vincent (host); Mandy Barnett; Aaron Lewis
8:45: Connie Smith (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Kelsea Ballerini

Saturday September 22
7:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Darin & Brooke Aldridge; Mike Snider
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); The Whites; The Swon Brothers
8:15: Dailey & Vincent (host); Karen Mills; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Lorrie Morgan (host); Waylon Payne; Charlie McCoy

So the question has come up. Who is Karen Mills?

According to her website, Karen has been nationally touring comedian for 25 years and can be heard daily on Sirius/XM comedy channels. She has appeared on ABC, GAC, and most recently on season 12 of America's Got Talent.

Karen is also a cancer survivor, who in 2013 was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Now cancer free, Karen believes her mission is to inspire people to love, laugh and approach everything life hands you with hope, humor and a positive attitude.

Karen is also a pretty good basketball player. Told she was too short to play college basketball, in 1981 he led the nation in assists and became the first division 1 first team All-American in UT-Chattanooga history. Her uniform is retired and she was the first female inducted into Chattanooga's Basketball Hall of Fame.

And now, the posted Grand Ole Opry schedule for 10 years ago, the weekend of September 19 & 20, 2008:

Friday September 19
8:00: George Hamilton IV (host); The Whites; Carolina Rain
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Connie Smith; Jennifer Hanson
9:00: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Chris Young
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Jan Howard; Jimmy C Newman; Sierra Hull

Saturday September 20
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Connie Smith
7:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jean Shepard; Charlie Daniels Band; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Alan Jackson; Little Big Town; Darius Rucker; Kathy Mattea

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; The Whites; Alan Jackson
10:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Darius Rucker; Little Big Town
10:30: Jean Shepard (host); Jack Greene; Kathy Mattea; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Charlie Daniels Band

From 25 years ago, Saturday September 18, 1993:

1st show
6:30: Grandpa Jones (host); Charlie Louvin; Hank Locklin
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Jeanne Pruett
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Stonewall Jackson; Ray Pillow; Jimmy C Newman
7:30: Charlie Walker (host); Jean Shepard; Mac Wiseman; Stephanie Davis
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Brother Oswald & Charlie Collins; Jim Ed Brown; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Roy Drusky; The Four Guys; Billy Walker; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Charlie Louvin; Jan Howard; Mac Wiseman; Wilma Lee Cooper
10:00: Grandpa Jones (host); Hank Locklin
10:15: Bill Monroe (host); Jean Shepard
10:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jeannie Seely
10:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Mike Snider; Opry Square Dance Band; Melvin Sloan Dancers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Jack Greene; Justin Tubb; Billy Walker; Stephanie Davis
11:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); The Whites; Roy Drusky; Johnny Russell

Some might remember Stephanie Davis, who was a guest on the Opry that night. Stephanie is from Montana, later moving to Tennessee where she worked as a songwriter, having her songs regarded by Shelby Lynne, Waylon Jennings, Martina McBride and Garth Brooks, among others. Among the songs that Garth recorded were "The Gift," "Wolves," "We Shall Be Free," "Learning to Live Again," and "The Night Will Only Know." In 1993, Garth signed her as his opening act and she was also a member of his road band.

In 1993 she released an album on Asylum Records, which did not get many positive reviews. The only single that was released from the album was "It's All in the Heart" which only reached #72 on the country charts. Shortly there after, she moved back to Montana, saying that she was dissatisfied with the country music scene. Since then, she has recorded several albums for Recluse Records, which is her own label.

Looking back, it was on Saturday September 20, 1997 that Johnny Paycheck was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

In 1977 "Take This Job and Shove It" made Johnny Paycheck a country superstar seemingly overnight. Yet by the time that blue-collar anthem hit the airways, Johnny had been through twenty years worth of career ups and downs. He had worked as a front man for some of the top talents in the country business, and he had recorded some of the most vigorous, fascinating honky-tonk music ever produced. Along the way he had also co-written such country classics as "Apartment #9" and "Touch My Heart."

Born Donald Eugene Lytle, he received his first guitar when he was six, and he was entering talent contests by age nine. He left home while still a teenager, traveling throughout Ohio and nearby states until he enlisted in the navy. Court-martialed in 1956 for slugging a superior officer, he spent two years in military prison. After his release, he took to the highway again, eventually landing in Nashville.

Adopting the professional name Donny Young, he signed as a songwriter with Tree Publishing and as a singer with Decca Records. He also began a succession of jobs as bass player, front man, and harmony vocalist for such stars as George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Faron Young, and Ray Price. After recording for Mercury in 1962, he was discovered by industry veteran Aubrey Mayhew, who took over management of his career, changed his stage name to Johnny Paycheck, and recorded him for Hilltop Records in New York. Johnny's first Top Forty Single, "A-11," was released on Hilltop in 1965.

Early in 1966, Johnny and Mayhew started Little Darlin' Records and moved their operations to Nashville. Johnny's Little Darlin' catalog stands out as one of the most musically audacious of its era, typified by such hits as "The Lovin' Machine" and such non-hits as "(Pardon Me) I've Got Someone to Kill." Unfortunately, Johnny's health and personal well-being were in decline throughout this same period. By the close of the 1960s he and Mayhew had fallen out, and Johnny had been reduced to living on skid row in Los Angeles. Tracked down by industry insider Nick Hunter, he moved to Denver to dry out and eventually hooked up with producer-executive Billy Sherrill, who signed him to Epic Records. In 1971, Johnny's Epic debut, a cover of the Freddie North r&b hit "She's All I Got" hit #2 on the charts and was nominated for a Grammy. Johnny stayed with Epic into 1982, marketed first as a love balladeer and later as a so-called Outlaw. Along the way he scored such memorable hits as "Someone to Give My Love To," "Slide Off of Your Satin Sheets," "I'm the Only Hell Mama Ever Raised," "Me and the IRS" and his career record "Take This Job and Shove It."

However, his personal life remained tumultuous. He had drug problems and legal problems, and on December 19, 1985, he shot a man (not fatally) during a barroom confrontation in Hillsboro, Ohio. Sent to prison in February 1989, he was released two years later. Completely straight, he picked up the pieces of his career and remained active as a performer until declining health forced his retirement. Among his later hits was "Old Violin," which Johnny would sing quite often while performing on the Opry.

Johnny Paycheck passed away on February 19, 2003 at the age of 64 after a period of declining health due to emphysema and asthma. Dying broke, Johnny's burial plot was donated by George Jones and his funeral and burial expenses were paid by his former manager Glenn Ferguson.

While September 20, 1997 is the date Johnny was asked to become the Opry's newest member, his formal induction took place several months later, on November 8.

Johnny certainly did not fit the image of an Opry member. Earlier in his "outlaw" days, Johnny was not invited to sing on the show, something he wanted. So how did Johnny become an Opry member? Reports at the time stated that Opry member Johnny Russell worked hard to convince Opry general manager Bob Whittaker that Johnny had indeed cleaned up his act and wanted very much to join the Opry. And while his days as an Opry member were pretty short, Johnny was always proud and thankful for his Opry membership.

Here is the running order from 21 years ago, Saturday September 20, 1997, the night that Johnny Paycheck was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
Bill Anderson (host): Family Reunion
Bill Carlisle: Hand Me Down My Walking Cane
Bill Anderson: Orange Blossom Special

6:45: Jogging In A Jug
Grandpa Jones (host): Fifteen Cents is All I Got
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Grandpa Jones: Eight More Miles to Louisville

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slewfoot
Jeanne Pruett: Back to Back
The Whites: San Antonio Rose
Ray Pillow: Cinderella
Jimmy C Newman: Big Mamou
Christie Lynn/Dennis McCall/Carol Lee Cooper: Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine
Porter Wagoner: Sugarfoot Rag

7:30: Standard Candy
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Country Rose Barbie: You're Looking at Country
Johnny Paycheck: Love's on Fire/The Old Violin/A-11
Steve Wariner: Big Old Empty House

8:00: Martha White
Jack Greene (host): Walking on New Grass
Hal Ketchum: I Know Where Love Lives/Stay Forever
Wilma Lee Cooper: Matthew 24
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durango's Hornpipe
Jack Greene: Follow Me

8:30: Clifty Farms
John Conlee (host): Friday Night Blues
Roy Drusky: Second Hand Rose
Jean Shepard: Live and Let Live
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down/Smoke, Smoke, Smoke
John Conlee: I Don't Remember Loving You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Coming
Brother Oswald: Mansion on the Hill
Wilma Lee Cooper: Coming Down from God
Country Rose Barbie: You're Looking at Country
Porter Wagoner & Christie Lynn: Milwaukee, Here I Come
Porter Wagoner: Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Massey-Ferguson
Grandpa Jones (host): Apple Jack
Hal Ketchum: The Way She Loves Me
Grandpa Jones: Any Old Time

10:15: Banquet
Steve Wariner (host): On Life's Highway
Roy Drusky: Jody and the Kid
Steve Wariner: Big Old Empty House

10:30: Purnell's
Jean Shepard (host): I'll Said My Ship Alone
Stu Phillips: Colorado
Jean Shepard & Jeannie Seely: Live and Let Live/Farewell Party

10:45: Certified Homes
Jimmy C Newman (host): La Cajun Band
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bill Cheatham

11:00: Coca Cola
Bill Anderson (host): Did She Mention My Name
The Whites: Hanging Around/He Took Your Place
Johnny Paycheck: Love's on Fire Again/Old Violin
Bill Anderson: The Unicorn

11:30: Opry Book
John Conlee (host): Common Man
Jeannie Seely: Burning that Old Memory/Too Far Gone
Billy Walker: Come a Little Bit Closer/Jesus Walks In
John Conlee: Rose Colored Glasses

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Jamey Johnson & Luke Bryan

Tonight Dustin Lynch will be inducted as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. I offer Dustin my congratulations and sincere hope that Dustin takes his Opry membership seriously and fulfills the commitments of joining.

Apparently Dustin is not the only country music artist who had expressed interest in becoming an Opry member, as two others, Jamey Johnson and Luke Bryan, have expressed the thought that they also should become members of the Grand Ole Opry.

Dustin Lynch received his surprise Opry invitation when guesting on the Tuesday Night Opry, August 21. A week and a half later, Friday August 31, Jamey was making a guest appearance on the Friday Night Opry, and when he came out on stage he said the following:

"I was just talking to Bill Anderson over there on the side and I said, I'm gonna come out here and make this announcement tonight. I'd like to announce that I'm the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry." That was exactly what Jamey said, and after a round of applause from the audience, he followed it up by saying, "I would like to announce that, but it's not true. I've signed my part of the contract. If we can get them to sign their part, it'll be a done deal. We're working on it. We're getting there. 13 years now I've been playing this ol' Opry." Jamey concluded by thanking everyone.

It would be interesting to know what Bill Anderson, who is a friend and co-writer with Jamey, thought of all of this. Even more interesting would be to wonder what Sally Williams and the other members of the Opry's management thought of Jamey's statement. In all my years of following the Opry, I have never heard of any artist coming out on stage and saying what Jamey said. In a way, he put the Opry in a spot.

For the record, over the past three years, Jamey has made 15 guest appearances on the show. It will be interesting to see when his next one will be.

Then you have Luke Bryan, one of the biggest acts in country music today, and apparently he also wants to be an Opry member.

Luke told Country Countdown USA's Lon Helton that he's happy his friend Dustin Lynch is the Opry's newest member. "I called Dustin Lynch this morning and I congratulated Dustin. These are hard working guys out there that when they get these Opry nods, it changes their life. I've got to put in some good words with them, maybe I can be a member one day. The Opry, what they do for country music is amazing. I sit down with my manager and I'm like, 'I've got to get my butt down to the Opry and play more,' so Opry, save me some dates. I'm comin.'"

Luke added, "I asked my manager, 'Can I just take my guitar and drive out and show up and play?' And she said, 'They want to be able to promote that you're gonna be there.' So maybe I should just show up with my guitar and play some songs. I just always feel you owe the Opry that. They don't ask for it, but you owe that. It's a fun thing to be out there and give a night to the Opry."

Somehow I have a feeling that if Luke drove out to the Opry some night and showed up at the back door, they would let him in and allow him to play a couple of songs with his guitar.

And for the record, over the past three years, Luke has been at the Opry just once and that was on a Wednesday night in September 2017.

So as the Opry expands it's membership with the addition of Dustin Lynch, there seems to be interest from at least a couple of others.

But what about Rhonda Vincent? I know she would definitely wants to be an Opry member and she would be a good one. Jamey talks about guesting on the show for the last 13 years. I think Rhonda has been around longer than that.

In thinking about new Opry members, here is a fact for you. The last young female artist that the Opry has added to it's membership was Carrie Underwood and that was back in 2008. Over 10 years ago. The only other female added since then was Crystal Gayle, and this country music veteran was added early last year.

Seems to me there is an opportunity there for the Opry.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Mid-Week Opry Shows

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the mid-week shows for this week. The big event will take place during the Tuesday Night Opry as Dustin Lynch will be inducted as the Opry's newest member.

Tuesday September 18
7:00: Dailey & Vincent; Walker McGuire
7:30: Dustin Lynch
8:15: Elizabeth Cook; Bobby Bare
8:45: Luke Combs; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Interesting that the put Dustin's induction during the segment before intermission and not at the end of the show. Also will be curious to see which Opry member will surprise the audience and formally induct Dustin. Garth has been involved in the last several. In case anyone has forgotten, it was Trace Adkins who invited Dustin to join.

Wednesday September 19
7:00: Riders In The Sky; Sarah Darling
7:30: Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley; Steven Curtis Chapman
8:15: Seth Ennis; Henry Cho
8:45: Thompson Square; Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers

Nice lineup but certain not as strong as we have seen on some of the recent mid-week shows.

Opry Country Classics: Thursday September 20
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Crystal Gayle
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Jim Lauderdale; Michael Ray; Jeannie Seely

Seems like Crystal is one of the spotlight artists on each of the classic series. Always a good choice.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 9/14 & 9/15

After a couple of questionable weekends, the Opry seems back on track this week with a full lineup of artists for both the Friday Night Opry and Saturday's Grand Ole Opry.

The Friday Night Opry will feature Grand Ole Opry members the Oak Ridge Boys. Duane Allen has posted on his Facebook page that this will be the final Opry appearance for the group in 2018. Looking at their tour schedule I can see that they will be busy the rest of the year. For the Oaks, this will be their 10th appearance of the year, fulfilling their membership requirements.

Joining them on Friday night will be Grand Ole Opry members John Conlee, Mike Snider, Diamond Rio, Bobby Osborne, Riders In The Sky, Connie Smith, and one of the Opry's newer members, Crystal Gayle. That comes out to eight members on Friday night, one of the better efforts in recent months. John, Mike and Crystal will also be appearing on Saturday night, joined by members Bill Anderson, The Whites and Jeannie Seely.

Guesting on both nights will be frequent Opry guest Mark Wills. Joining Mark on Friday night will be William Michael Morgan and Asleep At The Wheel, who will be closing out the show and also signing in the Opry Shop afterwards. Joining Mark on Saturday night will be Levi Hummon, Jim Lauderdale, Rachel Wammack, Charles Esten, and someone I am very happy to see appearing, the legendary Billy Joe Shaver.

Friday September 14
7:00: John Conlee (host); William Michael Morgan; Mike Snider
7:30: Diamond Rio (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Connie Smith; Mark Wills
8:45: Oak Ridge Boys (host); Asleep At The Wheel

Saturday September 15
7:00: John Conlee (host); Levi Hummon; Mark Wills
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Jim Lauderdale; Crystal Gayle
8:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Whites; Billy Joe Shaver; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Jeannie Seely (host); Rachel Wammack; Charles Esten

All in all, two very good shows. I especially like the Friday night show. Some great traditional acts and lots of good country music.

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from the 10 years ago, the weekend of September 12 & 13, 2008:

Friday September 12
8:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Cherryholmes
8:30: Jeannie Seely (host); Jack Greene; Adam Gregory
9:00: George Hamilton IV (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Restless Heart
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Rhonda Vincent; Gene Watson

Saturday September 13
1st show
7:00: Jim Ed Brown (host); George Hamilton IV; Danielle Peck
7:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Connie Smith; Jim Lauderdale
8:00: Lorrie Morgan (host); Ray Pillow; Gene Watson; Opry Square Dancers
8:30: Dierks Bentley (host); Jeannie Seely; Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys

2nd show
9:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Connie Smith; Danielle Peck
10:00: Dierks Bentley (host); George Hamilton IV; Jan Howard
10:30: Lorrie Morgan (host); Stu Phillips; Jim Lauderdale; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jeannie Seely (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Gene Watson

Now from the second weekend in September 25 years ago, Saturday September 11, 1993. This was also the night that the Stoney Mountain Cloggers made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

1st show
6:30: The Four Guys (host); Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Jim Ed Brown; Stonewall Jackson; Del Reeves; Jeannie Seely
7:30: Vince Gill (host); Barry & Holly Tashian; The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
8:00: Bill Anderson (host); Riders In The Sky; Jimmy C Newman; Brother Oswald; Charlie Louvin
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Connie Smith; Roy Drusky; Mike Snider

2nd show
9:30: Porter Wagoner (host); Jeannie Seely; Jim Ed Brown; Ray Pillow; Charlie Louvin
10:00: Jack Greene (host); Jean Shepard
10:15: Bill Anderson (host); The Four Guys
10:30: Charlie Walker (host); Mike Snider
10:45: Vince Gill (host); The Whites; Opry Square Dance Band; Stoney Mountain Cloggers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Billy Walker; Roy Drusky; Riders In The Sky
11:30: Jimmy C Newman (host); Justin Tubb; Connie Smith; Johnny Russell

For many years, Ben Smathers and his troupe, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers, delighted Grand Ole Opry audiences with their impeccable and colorful routines. Ben utilized the high-stepping clogging style that could be traced back to German, Irish and Dutch immigrants that located themselves in western North Carolina.

Ben began dancing at the age of 14 and formed the Stoney Mountain Cloggers four years later in 1946. The group became regulars on Promenade Party from Greenville, South Carolina from 1956 to 1958, and then on September 13, 1958 they became members of the Grand Ole Opry. They had appeared on the show before then, and during the 1950s, Ben commuted to Nashville from North Carolina, where he worked as a railroad switch-man. He continued to work for the railroad until 1966.

From 1960 to 1964, they toured with Red Foley. In 1961, Ben and his Cloggers appeared on the Opry with Jim Reeves and Patsy Cline, and in 1962 they appeared with Roy Acuff and other Opry stars at Carnegie Hall, becoming the first square dancers to perform at that venue. From 1967 through 1969 they toured with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, as well as with the Charlie Daniels Band. Additionally, the Cloggers appeared at numerous state and county fairs. The group made over 100 television appearances, which included the Ed Sullivan Show, Hollywood Palace, Dinah Shore Show, Jimmy Dean Show and the Mike Douglas Show. They also made several appearances on Hee Haw. They also appeared in several movies, including Tennessee Beat and Country Music on Broadway. Ben also had a secondary career as an actor and appeared in several movies and TV series.

Ben Smathers died in Nashville in 1990, at the age of 62 following complications from open-heart surgery, on the 32nd anniversary of his membership on the Opry. Following his death, his widow, Margaret kept the Stoney Mountain Cloggers going until that final show on September 11, 1993, which was also their 35th anniversary as members of the Opry.

Here is the actual running order from September 11, 1993, the final night that the Stoney Mountain Cloggers were members of the Grand Ole Opry:

1st show
6:30: GHS Strings
The Four Guys (host): Turn Your Radio On
Wilma Lee Cooper: Give Me the Roses While I Live
The Four Guys: All Tied Up

6:45: Hall of Fame
Jack Greene (host): Until My Dreams Come True
Jean Shepard: Wabash Cannonball
Jack Greene: You Are My Treasure

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Company's Comin'
Jim Ed Brown: Lying in Love With You
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
Del Reeves: Luckenbach, Texas
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles to Poplar Bluff

7:30: Standard Candy
Vince Gill (host): Give Me One More Last Chance
Barry and Holly Tashian: I Dreamed of an Old Love Affair/If I Knew then What I Know Now
The Whites: House of Gold
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Bill Cheatham

8:00: Martha White
Bill Anderson (host): Southern Fried
Riders In The Sky: Blue Montana Skies
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun's Dream
Brother Oswald: Mountain Dew
Charlie Louvin: Will You Visit Me on Sundays
Bill Anderson: The Touch of the Master's Hand

8:30: Kraft
Hank Snow (host): Breakfast with the Blues
Billy Walker: Cross the Brazos at Waco
Connie Smith: I Never Once Stopped Loving You
Roy Drusky: I Really Don't Want to Know
Mike Snider: Battle Cry of Freedom/Get Your Hand Off My Knew and Load the Cannon
Hank Snow: I've Cried A Mile

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Jeannie Seely: When He Leaves You
Jim Ed Brown: The 3 Bells
Ray Pillow: Someone Had to Teach You
Charlie Louvin: The Hand that Rocks the Cradle
Porter Wagoner: Ol' Slewfoot

10:00: Little Debbie
Jack Greene (host): I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
Jack Greene: Ever Since My Baby Went Away

10:15: Tennessee Pride/Sunbeam
Bill Anderson (host): Wild Weekend
The Four Guys: Shut the Door
Bill Anderson: Golden Guitar

10:30: Picadilly
Charlie Walker (host): Right or Wrong
Mike Snider: Bells of St. Mary
Charlie Walker: Smoke, Smoke, Smoke

10:45: Opry Book
Vince Gill (host): Take Your Memory With You When You Go
The Whites: Keep on the Sunny Side
Opry Square Dance Band/Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Vince Gill: I've Been Hearing Things About You

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Geisha Girl
Billy Walker: A Million and One
Roy Drusky: Mississippi
Riders In The Sky: Cowboy Jubilee/Riding Down the Canyon
Hank Snow: The Third Man

11:30: General Jackson
Jimmy C Newman (host): Big Mamou
Justin Tubb: Walkin', Talkin', Cryin' Barely Beatin' Broken Heart
Connie Smith: Sing, Sing, Sing
Johnny Russell: In A Mansion Stands My Love/He'll Have to Go
Jimmy C Newman: Jambalaya

On that final night, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers were featured on the televised segment during the first show, and Vince Gill specifically asked to host the segment on their final night.

As mentioned, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers became members of the Grand Ole Opry on September 13, 1958. Here is the line-up from the night they joined the Opry:

7:30: Sessions Peanut Butter
Marty Robbins (host): Just Married
Porter Wagoner: Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy
Jordanaires: Little Miss Ruby
Jean Shepard: Secret of Life
Marty Robbins: I Can't Quit
Carlisles: Leave That Liar Alone
Porter Wagoner: Haven't You Heard
Square Dancers: Sally Goodin
Stringbean: Shotgun Boogie
Jean Shepard: Sweet Temptation
Marty Robbins: Story of My Life
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs (host): I Don't Care
Jimmy Newman: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
Carl Butler: The Blues Come Around
Benny Martin and Jo Ann: My Fortune
Flatt and Scruggs: Heaven
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Hylo Brown: Stonewall
Possum Hunters: Bill Cheatham
Jimmy Newman: The One You're Loving
Flatt and Scruggs: Dear Old Dixie
Fiddle Tune: Devil's Dream

8:30: Prince Albert
Hawkshaw Hawkins (host): I'll Get Even With You
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Don Gibson: Look Who's Blue
Tommy Jackson: Katy Hill
Hawkshaw Hawkins: If I Could Hear My Mother Pray
Chet Atkins: Bells of St. Mary
June Carter: Comedy
Don Gibson: I'm Gonna Give Myself A Party
Grandpa Jones: Daylight Saving Time
Hawkshaw Hawkins: I Don't Apologize
Tommy Jackson: Wake Up Susan

9:00: Jefferson Island
Jordanaires: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): Two Glasses Joe
Bill Monroe: Sitting on Top of the World
Porter Wagoner: Turn It Over in Your Mind
Cousin Jody: Television Set
Ernest Tubb: Half A Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Sally Johnson
Bill Monroe: Sally Jo
Stonewall Jackson: Grieving in My Heart
Porter Wagoner: Satisfied Mind
Ernest Tubb: Hey Mr. Bluebird
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

9:30: Stephens
Coopers: Theme
Hank Snow (host): The Woman Captured Me
Cowboy Copas: Won't You Ride In My Little Red Wagon
Carl Butler: Nothing Can Stop Me
Wilma Lee and Stoney: Loving You
Hank Snow: I'm Hurting All Over
Crook Brothers: Bile Them Cabbage Down
Benny Martin: Border Baby
Cowboy Copas: Don't Shake Hands with the Devil
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: We Live in Two Different Worlds
Hank Snow: Big Wheel
Fiddle Tune: Forked Deer

10:00: Standard Brands
Marty Robbins (host): Sweet Lies
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Sensation
Don Gibson: Blue Blue Day
Jean Shepard: Sad Singing Slow Riding
Marty Robbins: I'll Step Aside
Del Wood: Echo Waltz
Grandpa Jones: Mountain Dew
Jordanaires: In the Great Getting Up Morning
Marty Robbins: Singing the Blues
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

10:30: Delited
Carlisles: Theme
Ernest Tubb (host): You Don't Have to Be A Baby to Cry
Stonewall Jackson: Living this Way
Carlisles: Zat You Myrtle
Ernest Tubb: Driftwood on the River
Fiddle Tune: Patty on the Turnpike

10:45: De Con
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper (host): Cheated Too
Jimmy Newman: Why Baby Why
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Walking My Lord Up Cavalry Hill
Fiddle Tune: Buffalo Gal

11:00: Coca Cola
Jordanaires: Theme
Hank Snow (host): Caribbean
Carl Butler: I Know What it Means to Be Lonesome
Benny Martin and Jo Ann: My Fortune
Flatt and Scruggs: Before I Met You
Hank Snow: Whispering Rain
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Stringbean: Nine Pound Hammer
Gully Jumpers: Grey Eagle
Carl Butler: Jealous Heart
Hank Snow: Rumba Boogie

11:30: Jamison Bedding
Jordanaires: Theme
Porter Wagoner (host): Trade Mark
Don Gibson: Oh Lonesome Me
Bill Monroe: Brand New Shoes
Porter Wagoner: Eat Drink and Be Merry
Fiddle Tune: Flop Eared Mule

Cowboy Copas: Feeling Low
Sam and Kirk: I Wish I Had a Nickel
Cousin Jody: Dear John
Fruit Jars: Ida Red
Cowboy Copas: The Man Upstairs

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Mid-Week Opry Shows

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line-ups for the shows this week. In addition to the Tuesday Night Opry, the Opry once again will be presenting a series of Wednesday night shows in September and Opry Country Classics begins its fall run this week.

Tuesday September 11
7:00: Bill Anderson; Dailey & Vincent
7:30: Eric Paslay; Charlie Daniels Band
8:15: Kacey Musgraves; Brad Paisley; Little Big Town

A very, very strong line-up for the Tuesday night show this week. When you see names such as Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Kacey Musgraves and Charlie Daniels listed, it almost makes you wonder why the Opry did not schedule two shows for that night. I would think they could have easily sold both out.

Wednesday September 12
7:00: Del McCoury Band; Linda Davis
7:30: Frankie Ballard; Maggie Rose
8:15: Easton Corbin; John Conlee
8:45: Sister Hazel; Chris Janson

Certainly not as strong of a line-up as is listed for Tuesday night, but still decent with Chris Janson closing out the show.

Opry Country Classics for Thursday September 13

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Joe Nichols
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; T. Graham Brown; Brooke Eden; The Whites

Not sure what the thinking is to have Joe Nichols as the spotlight artist. Nothing against Joe, but I don't think of him in the "classic" sense and he really did not have a recording career that would qualify him as a spotlight artist. That said, I have seen Joe several times and have always enjoyed his performances.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Grand Ole Opry 9/7 & 9/8-Updated #2

 Update #2: The line-up for Saturday has now been posted and a little better in quality and numbers. Yet, only four Opry members scheduled:

7:00: Connie Smith (host); T. G. Sheppard; Devin Dawson
7:30: Mike Snider (host); Williams & Ree; Don Schlitz
8:15: Riders In The Sky (host); Abby Anderson; Opry Square Dancers
8:45: Ricky Skaggs (host); Michael Ray; Kathy Mattea

 Update #1: As I feared, the Friday Night Opry has only two segments, with just three Opry members appearing:

7:00: Riders In The Sky (host); Love and Theft; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Drew Baldridge; Delta Rae

8:15: Ricky Skaggs (host); Lucie Silvas; Jeff Allen; William Michael Morgan; Trampled by Turtles

The Grand Ole Opry, as I type this, has not posted their schedule as of yet for this weekend. However, as I will be traveling this week and not sure of internet access, I wanted to put out briefly what I have.

What I can tell you is that on the Friday Night Opry, Opry members Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky are scheduled to appear, along with guest artists Trampled by Turtles, Drew Baldridge, Delta Rae, Lucie Silvas, Jeff Allen and William Michael Morgan. Hopefully a few more Opry members get put on the schedule or else there will not be four segments.

Saturday's Grand Ole Opry has members Ricky Skaggs and Riders In The Sky listed, along with Mike Snider, Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith. Guest artists include Devin Dawson, Michael Ray, Williams & Ree, Kathy Mattea, and making her Opry debut, Abby Anderson.

I will update as the week goes on and the line-ups are posted (hopefully).

And now, here is the posted Grand Ole Opry line-up from ten years ago, the first weekend in September 2008:

Friday September 5
8:00: John Conlee (host); Jimmy C Newman; Aaron Tippin
8:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; The Road Hammers
9:00: Bill Anderson (host); Connie Smith; Andy Griggs
9:30: Riders In The Sky (host); Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys; Jean Shepard; John Anderson

Saturday September 6
1st show
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); The Whites; Jean Shepard
7:30: Roy Clark (host); Jim Ed Brown; Connie Smith; Opry Square Dancers
8:00: Patty Loveless; Jessica Simpson; Crystal Shawanda; Loretta Lynn

2nd show
9:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jimmy C Newman; Loretta Lynn
10:00: Jean Shepard (host); The Whites; Patty Loveless
10:30: Roy Clark (host); Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Jessica Simpson; Opry Square Dancers
11:00: Jim Ed Brown (host) w/Helen Cornelius; Crystal Shawanda; Connie Smith

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday September 7, 1968:

1st show
6:30: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); The Four Guys
6:45: George Hamilton IV (host); Margie Bowes
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips; Cousin Jody; Johnny Darell
7:30: Hank Locklin (host); Glaser Brothers; Ernie Ashworth; Crook Brothers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Loretta Lynn; Archie Campbell; Lorene Mann
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Marion Worth; Charlie Walker; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Hank Locklin (host); Margie Bowes; Johnny Darrell; Jay Lee Webb
10:00: Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper (host); Wilma Burgess; Cousin Jody
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); Loretta Lynn; Ernie Ashworth
10:45: Glaser Brothers (host); Archie Campbell; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); The Four Guys; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Marion Worth; Charlie Walker; Wes Buchanan

Some Opry members are more well known than others, and one of those who seems to have been forgotten over the years is Del Wood, who graced the Opry stage for 36 years with her ragtime piano playing.

Polly Adelaide Hendricks was probably the foremost female instrumentalist in country music history. Prior to the rise of Floyd Cramer in the 1960s, Del, who joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1953, was probably the most significant country instrumentalist on the keyboard, other than those associated with Western Swing bands, such as Moon Mullican.

Del began playing the piano at the age of 5 and became quite skilled by the time she reached her teens. She took her stage name by contracting her middle and married names. As a substitute staff pianist in 1950 at WLBJ in Bowling Green, Kentucky, she began playing "Down Yonder," subsequently recording it for the Tennessee label. It became a surprise hit, peaking in the Top 5 on the Country and Pop charts in 1951, going Gold in the process. Del guested on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in 1952 and became cast member the next year.

Del recorded many instrumental albums for major record labels although "Down Yonder" was her only hit. She worked many package shows over the years, including a six-week tour of Vietnam in 1968. She became known as "Queen of the Ivories." Like many Grand Ole Opry regulars of the older generation, she became somewhat disgruntled in her later years over reduced airtime. She was a long-time active member of AFTRA, the AFM and later R.O.P.E. A divorcee, Del, according to close friend Patsy Stoneman, took a great deal of pride in her adopted son, Wesley, and was quite thankful that she had raised, educated and settled him before her death at the age of 69 on October 3, 1989.

It was about a month before she passed away, on Saturday September 9, 1989, that Del Wood appeared on the Grand Ole Opry for the final time. Here is the running order from that night, 29 years ago:

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
Stonewall Jackson (host): Me & You & A Dog Named Boo
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around (When It's Over)
Stonewall Jackson: Muddy Water

6:45: Rudy's
Bill Anderson (host): Before I Met You
Stu Phillips: Blue Canadian Rockies
Bill Anderson: A World of Make Believe

7:00: Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Del Reeves: Bad News
Ray Pillow: I Guess He Knows Something I Don't Know
Dottie West: Are You Happy Baby/Together Again
Porter Wagoner: Forty Miles from Poplar Bluff

7:30: Standard Candy
The Four Guys (host): Baby, You Look Good to Me Tonight
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Jean Shepard: Slippin' Away
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/Mountain of Love/There Goes My Everything
The Four Guys: My Special Angel

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Connie Smith: I've Got My Baby on My Mind/Once A Day
Jimmy C Newman: La Cajun Band/Cajun Stripper
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Patti on the Turnpike
Roy Acuff: Once More

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Mama Tried
Skeeter Davis: I Ain't Never
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Hank Snow: I'm Not At All Sorry for You

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): (?)
Wilma Lee Cooper: I'm Picking Up the Pieces
Stu Phillips: If Loving You Means Anything
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Ray Pillow: The Kind of Love I Can't Forget
Porter Wagoner: What Ain't to Be Just Might Happen/Y'All Come

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Anderson (host): Son of the South
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Bill Anderson: Still

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Sunshine Special
Charley Pride: Looking Through Amy's Eyes/Mountain of Love/Kiss An Angel Good Morning

10:30: Pet Milk
Del Reeves (host): Two Dollars in the Jukebox/A Dime at A Time/Looking at the World Through A Windshield
Jean Shepard: I'll Sail My Ship Alone
Del Reeves: There She Goes

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jimmy C Newman (host): Pistol Packin' Mama
Connie Smith: Your Cheatin' Heart
Opry Square Dance Band/Melvin Sloan Dancers: Durham's Bull
Jimmy C Newman: Cajun Honey

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Skeeter Davis: Silver Threads & Golden Needles
Charlie Walker: Don't Squeeze My Sharmon
Justin Tubb: What's Wrong with the Way that We're Doing it Now
Hank Snow: Among My Souvenirs

11:30: Creamette
The Four Guys (host): Tennessee
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Bill Carlisle: Happy Birthday Sheila/Too Old to Cut the Mustard
Charlie Louvin: New Dreams & Sunshine
The Four Guys: I'm All Tied Up

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Tuesday Night Opry 9/4

Here you go for this Tuesday night:

7:00: John Conlee; Steven Curtis Chapman
7:30: Rascal Flatts
8:15: Collin Raye; Bellamy Brothers
8:45: Muscadine Bloodline; Dailey & Vincent

Nice to see Rascal Flatts back on the schedule after last week's cancellation.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

September Grand Ole Opry Highlights

It is hard to believe that summer is just about over and it's time for football. For those of us in Ohio, that means The Ohio State Buckeyes are #1 in our eyes and will once again be contending for a national championship. It also means another year of frustration for the Cleveland Browns. For everyone else, I am sure each of you have your own local professional or college team that you will be following. While the seasons change, it is business as usual at the Grand Ole Opry and as I do each month, here are the important and historical events that have taken place during the month of September, either involving the Opry or Opry members.

September 15, 1903: The "King of Country Music" Roy Acuff was born in Maynardsville, Tennessee. Roy came to the Opry in 1938, and except for a brief period of time, would remain a part of the Opry until his death in 1992. I think it is safe to say that Roy has been the most influential member in the history of the Opry.

September 13, 1911: Bill Monroe, "The Father of Bluegrass Music" was born in Rosine, Kentucky. Bill came to the Opry in October 1939 and never left.

September 17, 1923: Hank Williams was born, Really nothing else needs to be said. While his time at the Opry was relatively short, it was very eventful and historical in many ways.

September 26, 1925: One of the most popular members in the history of the Grand Ole Opry, Marty Robbins was born near Glendale, Arizona. Marty came to the Opry in 1953, and shortly after that first appearance, he became an Opry member. Marty, who made the 11:30 segment into his own personal concert, stayed with the Opry until his death in December 1982.

September 26, 1926: Jerry Clower was born near Liberty, Mississippi. This former fertilizer salesman joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1973, and was the last member to join the cast before the Opry moved to the new Grand Ole Opry House in March 1974. Jerry, who was a great comedian and story teller, passed away in 1998 following heart surgery.

September 1, 1931: Lecil Travis Martin, better known as "Boxcar Willie" was born in Sterratt, Texas. Boxcar made his debut on the Opry in 1980 at the age of 49. Roy Acuff loved him, and Boxcar became an Opry member the following year. One of the early performers who operated his own theater in Branson, Boxcar passed away in 1999.

September 12, 1931: The "Possum" George Jones was born in Saratoga, Texas. George originally came to the Opry in 1956, and throughout his career, he would come and go. He was still an Opry member when he passed away in 2013. Although his Opry appearances were few and far between, George was always proud of his Opry membership and it is noted in one of the displays at the George Jones Museum in downtown Nashville.

September 8, 1932: Probably the greatest female singer in the history of country music, Patsy Cline was born in Winchester, Virginia. Patsy joined the Opry in January 1960, simply by asking, as being an Opry member was one of her earliest dreams. Patsy, who influenced so many other females, passed away in March 1963 at the age of 30.

September 11, 1938: Country Music Hall of Fame members, The Delmore Brothers, made their final appearance as members of the Grand Ole Opry. One of the early members, this duo influenced many other brother acts that followed. While popular at the Opry, they left due to a disagreement with Opry founder George D. Hay

September 5, 1945: Wally Fowler became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Wally was the founder of the Oak Ridge Quartet, who eventually became known as the Oak Ridge Boys. After Wally joined the Opry, he was frequently featured on the Prince Albert portion, where he would traditionally sing a gospel song. Later in life, Wally ran into some financial problems that led to him selling the rights to the Oak Ridge Quartet name. Wally passed away in 1994.

September 18, 1947: The Grand Ole Opry brought a country music show for the first time to Carnegie Hall in New York city. Opry members featured on that first show included the headliners, Ernest Tubb and Minnie Pearl. The show as scheduled for a two night run and both nights were sold out. Here is how Ernest Tubb remembered those nights, "The radio and newspaper people ignored us the first night we were there, but we turned away six thousand people and the next night, every reporter was there." Billboard magazine reported that "such screaming and wild applause after each number hasn't been heard in town since Frank Sinatra brought out the bobbysoxers at the Paramount." The shows were so successful that country music, and the Opry, would make a return visit.

September 11, 1948: It would appear that this was the last night that Eddy Arnold appeared as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. At the time, Eddy was the Opry's biggest star and he left the Opry to headline his own CBS network radio show. Eddy would later do an interview with Ralph Emery in which he talked about leaving the Opry. "I thought I had done as much as I could do there. I had two network radio programs outside the Opry." On his final night as a member, Eddy finished his set and stood on the stage looking out over the Ryman Auditorium. He thanked Harry Stone, WSM, and the Opry fans, and then turned to walk away from the microphone. Harold Bradley, who backed Eddy on guitar that night, would say, "We went around the curtain and he and Minnie Pearl hugged and both of them cried like babies because he was leaving." Eddy also created some controversy because he was the first "star" to leave the Opry and not return. Irving Waugh of WSM said, "We hated to see Eddy leave. But, as I recall, it didn't make that much difference to the Opry. At that stage, people were lined up all the way around the block to get in. New people, including Hank Williams were coming all the time." By the way, after Eddy left the Opry, he never came back.

September 24, 1948: WSM began the Friday Night Frolics, later to be known as the Friday Night Opry. The show took place from Studio C at WSM, where it would remain until moving to the Ryman Auditorium in 1964. The show was created originally as a way to keep Eddy Arnold on WSM radio.

September 25, 1948: George Morgan became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He was brought to the show specifically to replace the recently departed Eddy Arnold. George came to the Opry from the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree.

September 13, 1952: Webb Pierce made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Webb would become an Opry member a year later to help fill the void after Hank Williams was fired. Webb was an Opry member until February 1957, when he left after a dispute with management over booking fees and commissions that were being charged for road shows.

September 26, 1953: Skeeter Davis made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Skeeter would later become an Opry member, joining in 1959.

September 10, 1955: Justin Tubb became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This popular singer and songwriter was the youngest member of the cast when he joined. The son of Opry legend Ernest Tubb, Justin would remain an Opry member until his death in 1998 at the age of 62.

September 24, 1956: WSM radio fired Grand Ole Opry manager Jim Denny. Jim had started with WSM and the Opry back in the early days of the show and was involved behind the scenes in various capacities including being in charge of the Opry's concession business, where he saw for the first time how much money the Opry was making and how much more potential there was. Over time, he became not only the Opry's manager, but a powerful force at WSM and the Opry. In fact, too powerful for some. He was fired from the Opry because he refused to give up his ownership of Cedarwood Publishing Company, which the Opry viewed as a conflict of interest. Shortly after his death, Jim Denny would become one of the early members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

September 25, 1956: Following the firing of Jim Denny, Dee Kilpatrick was names the Grand Ole Opry's "general director," a new title. He was also named the manager of the WSM Artists' Service Bureau, which was the Opry's in-house booking agency. Dee, a former record company executive, said at the time, "They asked me what I thought was wrong. We'll, back when I was working with Mercury Records, I was at the Opry almost every Saturday night I was in town, and I could look at the audience and see what was wrong. The Opry didn't appeal to the younger audiences that you have to have if you're going to keep growing. All I could see were older people and little teeny kids. There weren't any teenagers." Kilpatrick would begin to add younger acts to the Opry's cast, including the Everly Brothers and Porter Wagoner. If nothing else, Dee recognized one of the Opry's biggest problems, which would continue on for many, many years.

September 29, 1956: Rose Maddox joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Rose did not stay at the Opry for very long, as several of the Opry's members, including Roy Acuff, did not care for her style or stage appearance.

September 6, 1958: Grand Ole Opry member Rod Brasfield made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

September 13, 1958: Ben Smathers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers became members of the Grand Ole Opry. For most of their years, the Stoney Mountain Cloggers would rotate every other weekend as the featured square dancers, backing up groups such as the Crook Brothers and the Fruit Jar Drinkers. Ben Smathers passed away in 1990, and the Cloggers would remain a part of the Opry until 1993.

September 30, 1958: Grand Ole Opry member Marty Stuart was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Before beginning his solo career, Marty was a part of Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass and Johnny Cash's touring band. Marty joined the Opry in November 1992.

September 17, 1960: Loretta Lynn made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Loretta, who would go on to have one of the most amazing careers of any female in the history of country music, would become an Opry member several years later, in 1962.

September 25, 1962: Country Music Hall of Fame member, and legend, Loretta Lynn became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Loretta's 56th year as a member. Currently, Loretta has been recovering after suffering a stroke and then having hip surgery. However, she has a new album coming out and seems well on the road to recovery.

September 27, 1963: The National Life and Accident Insurance Company purchased the Ryman Auditorium from the city of Nashville for a reported $200,000. WSM, which operated the building, immediately changed the name of the building to the Grand Ole Opry House, even though everyone still called it the Ryman. By becoming the owners of the building. National Life was able to make some much needed repairs to the place to bring it up to code.

September 11, 1964: The Friday Night Frolics moved from WSM Studio C to the Ryman Auditorium, and renamed the Friday Night Opry.

September 18, 1965: While the Opry recognizes an August date as to when she became a member of the Grand Ole Opry,  this is the date that Connie first appeared on the Opry as a member.

September 16, 1967: Jeannie Seely became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Jeannie was one of the first female artists to host a segment at the Opry on a regular basis. Now entering her 51st year as an Opry member, Jeannie has become one of the most reliable regulars on the show.

September 19, 1968: Former Grand Ole Opry member Red Foley passed away in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Red came to the Opry in 1946 and stayed for a decade before moving on to Springfield, Missouri. While at the Opry, he was the host of the Prince Albert portion of the show. He passed away while on a tour.

September 13, 1969: Earl Scruggs made his first appearance as a solo member of the Grand Ole Opry. Earlier in the year, he and Lester Flatt ended their partnership, with each pursuing solo careers. On the Opry that night, Earl performed "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" with his sons Gary and Randy.

September 17, 1977: Reba McEntire made her first guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Several years later, Reba would become an Opry member.

September 15, 1979: Stevie Wonder made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. He sang "Behind Closed Doors" in a duet with Skeeter Davis.

September 6, 1984: Ernest Tubb passed away in a Nashville hospital after a long illness. Ernest had been in declining health for a number of years and had last appeared on the Opry in August 1982. He joined the Opry in 1943 and in 1965 Ernest was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame.

September 9, 1989: Del Wood made her final appearance as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Del, who had joined the Opry in the early 1950s on the strength of her hit, "Down Yonder" passed away a month later at the age of 69 after suffering a stroke.

September 4, 1991: Grand Ole Opry member Dottie West passed away in a Nashville hospital as a result of injuries suffered in an earlier car accident. Dottie had been a part of the Opry's cast since 1964. She had a great career and influenced a number of female artists.

September 4, 1992: Former Grand Ole Opry member Carl Butler died in Franklin, Tennessee. Carl first appeared on the Opry in 1948 and along with his wife Pearl, joined the cast in 1962. Not only was Carl a great singer, but he was also known as a fine songwriter. Carl and Pearl did not say as Opry members for very long, and after leaving the Opry the couple continued to tour. After Pearl's death, Carl would occasionally appear on the Opry.

September 11, 1993: The Stoney Mountain Cloggers made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

September 6, 1996: Grand Ole Opry legend Hank Snow made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Hank was in declining health and made a low key decision to retire. Hank passed away in 1999, just two weeks short of his 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

September 9, 1996: Grand Ole Opry, and bluegrass legend, Bill Monroe passed away, Bill had been in declining heath since suffering a stroke earlier in the year. Bill had been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1939 and he brought the sound of bluegrass to the Opry stage.

September 20, 1997: During a guest appearance on the Opry, Johnny Paycheck was asked by Opry general manager Bob Whittaker if he would like to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, Johnny said yes and was inducted later in the year.

September 12, 1998: President of the Grand Ole Opry Group Bob Whittaker announced his retirement. Bob had replaced Hal Durham as the Opry's general manager and later as Opry group president. Bob would eventually be replaced as the Opry's general manager by Pete Fisher, who took over the following June.

September 28, 2002: After an absence of 10 years, Tanya Tucker made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. She was joined on stage by the Jordanaires.

September 13, 2003: The United States Postal Service unveiled a stamp featuring Roy Acuff. The ceremony took place at the Grand Ole Opry House.

September 20, 2004: Grand Ole Opry member Skeeter Davis passed away in Nashville at the age of 72. Skeeter had battled cancer and other health related issues for a number of years. Skeeter was always known for her bright outfits and her big smile that brought a lot of joy to those watching her perform.

September 23, 2004: Just days after the death of Skeeter Davis, another long time Grand OleOpry member passed away as Roy Drusky died after a battle with lung cancer. Roy joined the Opry in the late 1950s and was known for his smooth voice and great ballad songs.

September 8, 2007: Grand Ole Opry member Hank Locklin made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry.

September 29, 2007: During a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry, Josh Turner was asked by Roy Clark if he would like to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, Josh said yes and would join the cast a month later. Also, on the same night, Porter Wagoner made his final Saturday night appearance on the Opry.

September 28, 2010: The Grand Ole Opry House reopened after being renovated following the flood that stuck Nashville the previous May. Since the flood, the Opry had moved around to several different venues, with the majority of time spent at the Ryman Auditorium. On the reopening night, the final hour was televised by GAC and the segment opened with the cast coming out and singing "Will The Circle Be Unbroken." Brad Paisley and Jimmy Dickens led the way. Also during that night's show, Blake Shelton was asked by Trace Adkins to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

September 13, 2011: Grand Ole Opry legend Wilma Lee Cooper passed away. Wilma and her husband Stoney joined the Opry in 1957, coming to Nashville from the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. After Stoney's death, Wilma Lee continued on as a solo member of the Opry. In February 2001, she suffered a stroke while performing on the show, which ended her performing career. She did return to the Opry stage in 2007 upon her 50th anniversary as an Opry member, and again in September 2010 upon the reopening of the Grand Ole Opry House.

September 13, 2011: George Jones made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. It was a show that celebrated George's 80th birthday and included Alan Jackson, Joe Diffie, Lee Ann Womack and the Oak Ridge Boys.

September 27, 2011: Rascal Flatts was invited to become the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry. They were officially inducted in October during the Opry's 86th birthday weekend. This will be their 7th year as Opry members.

September 27, 2011: Johnny Wright passed away in Nashville. He was the husband of Kitty Wells and a former member of the Grand Ole Opry.

September 6, 2014: Long time Grand Ole Opry member George Hamilton IV appeared on the Opry for the final time. During his performance, he sang his big hit "Abilene." After a short illness, George passed away several weeks later, on September 17.

September 25, 2016: Grand Ole Opry legend, and Country Music Hall of Fame member Jean Shepard passed away. Jean last appeared on the Opry in November 2015, when she was honored on her 60th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, becoming the only female to have been an Opry member for that period of time.

September 8, 2017: Grand Ole Opry member Troy Gentry passed died as a result of a helicopter crash. Troy, who was half of the duo Montgomery Gentry, was 40. Along with Eddie Montgomery, the group joined the Opry on June 23, 2009. On the same day, former Grand Ole Opry member Don Williams passed away. Don had been a member in the 1970s, however he left the cast a few years after joining.

September 16, 2017: Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely celebrated her 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Even after 50 years of membership, Jeannie can be found most Friday and Saturday nights hosting a segment of the Opry, as she remains popular with fans and her fellow artists.

There you have it for this month!!