Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 10/15 & 10/16

The countdown to #5000 continues this week as the Grand Ole Opry will be presenting it's 4,998 Saturday night broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry. 

This weekend will see Grand Ole Opry members Connie Smith and John Conlee scheduled for both nights. They will be joined on Friday night by Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Bobby Osborne and Country Music Hall of Fame members Oak Ridge Boys, while on Saturday night Jeannie Seely is one the schedule. While it would be nice to see more Opry members on the schedule, it is wonderful that Connie and Jeannie continuing to support the Opry, with more appearances lately from John and Bobby. 

For those wondering where Bill Anderson has been lately, he posted in his October newsletter that he will be having some surgery and will not be appearing on the Opry until (hopefully) October 30, giving him time to recover. 

The guest list on Friday night is very interesting. One of the highlights is Jim Peterik making his Opry debut. Also scheduled are the fabulous Malpass Brothers. For those who are not familiar, these guys are very, very good. Erin Enderlin, one of the bright young songwriters in Nashville is also listed as is Stephanie Urbina Jones. All together, this makes for a very good lineup. 

In addition to the Opry members previously listed for Saturday night, comedian Henry Cho is on the schedule, along with Deana Carter. Personally, I am happy to see Deana listed as she is very talented. They will be joined by Stephanie Quayle, Elvie Shane and Tyler Farr. 

As with last weekend, there will be no live Circle TV this week.

Friday October 15
7:00: John Conlee; Erin Enderlin; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press; Connie Smith
8:15: Stephanie Urbina Jones; The Malpass Brothers; Jim Peterik; Oak Ridge Boys

Saturday October 16
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; Stephanie Quayle; John Conlee; Elvie Shane
8:15: Connie Smith; Henry Cho; Tyler Farr; Deana Carter

As mentioned, this will be the Opry debut for Jim Peterik, and while this will be his Opry debut, he is certainly a veteran in the music business as it was in the 70s that he released his first solo album "Don't Fight The Feeling." and for over 55 years Jim has been the driving force of The Ides Of March. Their timeless hit “Vehicle” is played daily all over the world; and their live show remains a juggernaut featuring all the original members. 

In the seventies, Jim combined his love for melody with driving rock in the band Survivor. Their phenomenal rise to the top was borne on the back of the amazing songs that Jim co-wrote. The Eye Of The Tiger from the film Rocky III, has become an indelible classic, and garnered Jim Grammy and People’s Choice awards; as well as an Oscar nomination. Other Billboard chart-toppers followed: The Search Is Over, High On You, and I Can’t Hold Back. Further hits from films followed, too. Burning Heart from Rocky IV topped the charts; and Jim co-wrote the theme of the seminal animation hit Heavy Metal with Sammy Hagar.  

A long lasting and fruitful relationship started in 1980 between Jim and the southern-rock group .38 Special. Jim co-wrote their platinum hits Hold On Loosely, Caught Up In You, Wild-Eyed Southern Boys, Fantasy Girl, and Rockin’ Into The Night. Their collaboration continues to this day. Jim has also written with the beloved Lynyrd Skynyrd. 

n September of 2014, Jim’s Autobiography “Through The Eye Of The Tiger” was released. The book traces Jim’s path from humble beginnings in Suburban Chicago to his stellar career as a Platinum Hit Songwriter, Successful Musician and In-Demand Producer. In 2016 Jim released “The Songs”, taking his top hits to Nashville in an entirely new light, working with some of Music City’s greatest. Recently, Jim has worked with Dennis DeYoung, formerly of Styx on his 2 acclaimed solo releases; and is working with Chicago’s Robert Lamm. Jim has also produced “Tigress: Women Who Rock The World” which will be released 5 November 2021. 

Now from 50 years ago, Saturday October 16, 1971. This was also the Grand Ole Opry's 46th birthday celebration: 

1st show
6:00: Tex Ritter (host); Dolly Parton; Jim Ed Brown; Stonewall Jackson; Roy Drusky; Willis Brothers
6:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Ray Pillow; Ernie Ashworth
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Stu Phillips; Bill Carlisle
7:00: Roy Acuff (host); Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper; Tom T. Hall; Del Wood; George Morgan
7:30: Ernest Tubb (host); Loretta Lynn; Charlie Louvin and Melba Montgomery; Crook Brothers; Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Charlie Walker
8:00: Lester Flatt (host); Grandpa Jones; Dottie West; Billy Walker; Del Reeves; Justin Tubb
8:30: Hank Snow (host); Wilburn Brothers; Connie Smith; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Bob Luman; The 4 Guys

2nd show
9:30: Tex Ritter (host); Willis Brothers; Dolly Parton; Jim Ed Brown; Roy Drusky; Stonewall Jackson; Jimmy C Newman; Del Wood
10:00: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Grandpa Jones; Ray Pillow
10:15: Roy Acuff (host); Stu Phillips; George Morgan
10:30: Lester Flatt (host); Tom T. Hall; Dottie West; Justin Tubb; Bill Carlisle
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Loretta Lynn; Billy Walker; Crook Brothers
11:00: Hank Snow (host); Earl Scruggs Revue; Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Del Reeves; Freddie Hart; Sam McGee
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Wilburn Brothers; Connie Smith; The 4 Guys; Bob Luman

What a line-up!! Certainly a few more Opry members then they had at this year's birthday weekend. 

A couple of notes from that show: Porter Wagoner was originally scheduled to host the 6:00 and 9:30 segments but was sick and did not appear, thus Tex Ritter hosted. Also scheduled but failing to appear were Tompall and The Glaser Brothers, Jim and Jesse and Cousin Jody. Ernie Ashworth, Bill Monroe, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Charlie Louvin and Charlie Walker only appeared on the first show, while Jimmy C Newman and Earl Scruggs only on the second. 

While that is an impressive list of Opry members, there were a few who did not appear that night: Bobby Bare, Margie Bowes, Archie Campbell, Skeeter Davis, Billy Grammer, Hank Locklin, Lonzo and Oscar, Bobby Lord, Osborne Brothers, Jean Shepard, Stringbean, Marion Worth and George Hamilton IV. Also not appearing was Mel Tillis, who many feel was actually an Opry member during this period. 

The first show actually stayed pretty much on time, however the second show did not end until 1:00 a.m. 

Looking back, it was 55 years ago, Saturday October 15, 1966 that Del Reeves became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. 

Del first appeared as a guest on the Grand Ole Opry in 1958 while still in the Air Force. When Del joined the Grand Ole Opry, it was an emotional night for Del and he later said: 

"And in 1967 I finally joined the Opry, during the DJ convention week. Porter Wagoner introduced me. And my mother and daddy were in the audience to see one of their seven sons make the Opry. I don't even think I got out Doodle-do-do-do, which has been my trademark with me, before I started cryin.' Porter came up and put his arms around me. And when he done that I laid my head on his shoulder, and the band kept playin', an' Porter started gettin' tears in his eyes, an' it was just one big cryin' mess. I think I finally did begin to compose myself." (Interesting that Del's memory faded a little bit: the year was actually 1966 and the DJ convention was actually the following week). 

What is also interesting is that Del's manager Hubert Long, had been asked a year earlier if Del was interested in joining the Opry, however Hubert turned the Opry down as Del was very busy on the road and wasn't going to be able to meet the Opry's 26 Saturday night appearances that were required at the time. But Hubert told Del not to worry, the Opry would call back, and they did. 

Here is the running order from Saturday October 15, 1966: 

7:30: Luzianne
Jimmy C Newman (host): Back Pocket Money
Willis Brothers: A 6ft 2 by 4
Bob Luman: Come On & Sing
Jean Shepard: If Teardrops were Silver
Jimmy C Newman: Cry, Cry Darling
Del Wood: Melinda
Ernest Ashworth: Pushed in a Corner
Willis Brothers: Big Daddy's Alabammy Bound
Jimmy C Newman: Bring Your Heart Home

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs (host): Wonder If You're Lonesome Too
Tex Ritter: High Noon
Bill Anderson: I Get the Fever
Stringbean: Hot Corn; Cold Corn
Flatt and Scruggs: Houston
Crook Brothers: 8th of January
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Flatt and Scruggs: Mama, You've Been on My Mind
Earl Scruggs: Lonesome Road Blues

8:30: Stephens
Porter Wagoner (host): Ol' Slew Foot
George Morgan: Almost
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Archie Campbell: Most Richly Blessed
Porter Wagoner: The Green, Green Grass of Home
Del Reeves: Girl on the Billboard
Jeannie Seely: It's Only Love
Mac McGaha and Buck Trent: Turkey in the Straw

9:00: Pet Milk
Ernest Tubb (host): Driving Nails in My Coffin
Bill Monroe: The Walls of Time
Wilburn Brothers: Hurt Her Once for Me
Marion Worth: More Than You'll Ever Know
Ernest Tubb: Another Story
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything
Ernest Tubb: Slipping Around

9:30: Kellogg's
Bobby Lord (host): Cash on the Barrel Head
Willis Brothers: Diamonds on Your Hands
Ray Pillow: Volkswagen
Dottie West: Here Comes My Baby
Bobby Lord: Losers Like Me
Del Wood: Cajun Stripper
Cousin Jody: On Top of Old Smokey
Bobby Lord: That's All Right

10:00: Schick
Bill Anderson (host): I Love You Drops
George Hamilton IV: Truck Driving Man
Stringbean: 20cent Cotton and 90cent Meat
Bob Luman: Memphis

10:15: Pure
Porter Wagoner (host): Dooley
Jimmy C Newman: A Fallen Star
Ernest Ashworth: At Ease, Heart
Leon Butler: He'll Have to Go
Porter Wagoner: Howdy Neighbor Howdy

10:30: Harvey's
Flatt and Scruggs (host): Petticoat Junction
Jean Shepard: Second Fiddle
George Morgan: You're the Only Good Think
Flatt and Scruggs: Ballad of Jed Clampett

10:45: Newport
Ernest Tubb (host): Thanks a Lot
Dottie West: Let Me Talk to You
Ray Pillow: I'd Fight the World
Crook Brothers: Greenback Dollar
Ernest Tubb: I'll Step Aside

11:00: Coca Cola
Bill Monroe (host): Uncle Pen
Tex Ritter: I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven
Wilburn Brothers: It's Another World
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Walking In My Sleep
Bill Monroe: Live & Let Live
Jeannie Seely: Don't Touch Me
Sam McGee: Steel Guitar Rag
Bill Monroe: A Used to Be

11:30: Lava
Marty Robbins (host): Ribbon of Darkness
Marion Worth: Ever Since My Baby Went Away
Charlie Louvin: See the Big Man Cry
Billy Grammer: The Real Thing
Marty Robbins: The Shoe Goes on the Other Foot Tonight
Del Reeves: The Belles of Southern Bell
Cousin Jody: Mocking Bird
Marty Robbins: Devil Woman/Bouquet of Roses/I could Never be Ashamed of You/Take These Chains from My Heart/Lovesick Blues/El Paso

I always enjoyed seeing and hearing Del on the Opry as he was a real showman and I enjoyed his many imitations that he would do, among them being Roy Acuff, Hank Snow and Walter Brennen. I also find it hard to believe that "Girl on the Billboard" was Del's only #1 record. 

Del Reeves would remain a member of the Grand Ole Opry until his death on January 1, 2007. Sadly, Del's final years were not kind to him at the Opry as he was one of the veterans that had been singled out by Pete Fisher, thus leading to a reduction in his Opry appearances. In his last year he entered a period of declining health leading to his retirement and eventual death. 

Finally, on Saturday October 16, 1976, the Grand Ole Opry paid tribute to Vito Pellettieri, who at that time had been the stage manager of the Opry for 42 years. At the time, Vito was 87 years old and was described as "the man who stood in the shadows of the Opry's dark curtain, and became one of the brightest personalities in country music." 

Vito Pellettieri was born in Nashville in 1889 and in his younger days was a musician and dance band leader. In 1934, George D. Hay, the founder of the Grand Ole Opry, hired Vito to help him run the show. As Vito said, "I helped originate the Grand Ole Opry. Mr. Hay called me and wanted me to help him with some music shows. I told him I didn't know anything about them hillbillies. First off, we started puttin' on shows at Hillsboro Theater, outside of Nashville. But it got rough. They'd all come in drunk and have orgies. So we moved, and it got yonder worse! A whole lot of drinkin' and all. They drank a lot in those days."

After the Opry moved to the Ryman Auditorium, Vito said that his duties were "Posting up programs, making sure the show ran smoothly and on time; continually watching the clock, and making sure the acts were ready to go on when their time came." Whether they were superstars or just starting out, Vito treated each one as if they were his children. If an act wasn't performing up to standards, no matter the star, Vito would pull him or her into a dressing room and hold them accountable. 

Vito was the one who organized the Opry into commercial segments with each act given a time slot in which to perform. Up until then it was disorganized chaos. And if an act didn't show up on time, they didn't go on. As he stated, he also added professionalism to the show, making sure each act was properly dressed and behaved. 

Vito never drove, taking the bus downtown each Saturday night to the Ryman Auditorium. In his later years, Vito would be driven to the new Grand Ole Opry House from his home. 

Roy Acuff was Vito's favorite Opry member, however Hank Snow and Vito had a special relationship that Hank wrote about extensively in his book. 

While never having been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame (and he should have been), in 1974 and 1975 he was one of the finalists. In 1971, Vito received from BMI, a special Commendation of Excellence as "The man who made it his personal responsibility to see that Grand Ole Opry performers were presented in their proper light." 

Here is the running order from Saturday October 16, 1976, which was also the Opry's 51st birthday celebration: 

1st show
6:30: Mrs. Grissoms
Charlie Walker (host): Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Guy Willis and C.W. Mitchell: Home on the Range
Bill Carlisle: Have a Drink on Me

6:45: Rudy's
Del Reeves (host): Girl on the Billboard
Hank Locklin: Please Help Me, I'm Falling
Del Reeves: Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song

7:00: Shoney's
Ernest Tubb (host): Letters Have No Arms
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Poor Ellen Smith
Stonewall Jackson: Don't Be Angry
George Hamilton IV: Break My Mind
Oswald: Mountain Dew
Roy Clark: Little Old Log Cabin In the Lane/A Pain in My Heart & Blues on My Mind
Roy Clark and Jimmy Henley: Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Ernest Tubb: Another Story; Another Time; Another Place

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): On A Highway Headed South
Wilburn Brothers: Country Kind of Feelings
Dottie West: Here Come the Flowers
Jimmy C Newman: Thibodeaux & His Cajun Band
Roy Drusky: Deep in the Heart of Dixie
Crook Brothers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Black Mountain Rag
Porter Wagoner: When Leah Jane Would Sing

8:00: Martha White
Grandpa Jones (host): A Pretty Little Girl
The 4 Guys: Top of the World
Jerry Clower: Selling Possum For a Dime
David Houston: Come on Down
Lonzo and Oscar: Rocky Top
Marion Worth: Burning Bridges
Grandpa Jones: Night Train to Memphis

8:30: Stephens
Hank Snow (host): I Don't Hurt Anymore
Jeanne Pruett: Hold to My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/Satin Sheets
Stu Phillips: Have a Nice Day
Del Wood: Down Yonder
Jimmy Dickens: The Preacher Man
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Hank Snow: She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye

2nd show
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Tennessee Sunshine
Charlie Walker: Pick Me Up on Your Way Down
Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper: Bury Me Beneath the Willow
Dottie West: Country Sunshine
Guy Willis and C.W. Mitchell: Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Mac Magaha: Orange Blossom Special
Porter Wagoner: When Leah Jane Would Sing/Cold Hard Facts of Life/Carroll County Accident/Green, Green Grass of Home

10:00: Fender
Ernest Tubb (host): If You Don't Quit Checking on Me
Bill Carlisle: No Help Wanted
Kitty Wells: It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels
Johnny Wright and Kitty Wells: Ashes of Love
Ernest Tubb: Waltz Across Texas

10:15: Union 76
Stonewall Jackson (host): Washed My Hands in Muddy Water
Hank Locklin: Send Me the Pillow You Dream On
George Hamilton IV: Early Morning Rain
Stonewall Jackson: Waterloo

10:30: Trailblazer
Grandpa Jones (host): I Don't Love Nobody
Lonzo and Oscar: Crawdad Song
The 4 Guys: Hello Walls/Big Bad John/Wings of a Dove
Roy Clark: A Sweet Bunch of Daisies/Rollin' In My Sweet Baby's Arms
Jimmy Henley: Orange Blossom Special/Bluegrass Breakdown

10:45: Beechnut
Wilburn Brothers (host): It's Another World
Jerry Clower: Selling Butter to See Tarzan
Oswald: The End of the World/The Great Speckled Bird
Crook Brothers and The Stoney Mountain Cloggers: Lafayette

11:00: Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): I'm Moving On
Jimmy C Newman: Diggy Liggy Lo
Jeanne Pruett: Hold To My Unchanging Love/Love Me/You Don't Need to Move a Mountain/Satin Sheets
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Nubbing Ridge
Del Wood: Chosen Children
Kirk McGee: While I'm Away
Hank Snow: I Almost Lost My Mind

11:30: Elm Hill
David Houston (host): Almost Persuaded
Stu Phillips: Have a Nice Day
Jimmy Dickens: Family Reunion
Marion Worth: Afraid
Stu Phillips: Let Me Love You All Over Again
Jimmy Dickens: The Preacher Man
David Houston: Come on Down

In 1959 it was announced that Vito faced mandatory retirement from both of his positions as the music librarian at WSM and as the stage manager of the Grand Ole Opry. Immediately, every single member of the Grand Ole Opry signed a petition demanding that he be allowed to continue at the Opry. WSM officials relented, and while he retired as the WSM librarian, he was allowed to continue at the Opry. Later that year, at the annual disc jockey convention, hosted by WSM and the Opry, Vito was honored with a surprise program. That night, Roy Acuff said, "He is one of the men who made the Opry what it is today." Vito received a five minute ovation after which he said, "This is the most impressive moment of my life."  

On Saturday night April 2, 1977, Vito worked his final night at the Grand Ole Opry. By that time, his duties had become largely "honorary" as age took its toll. A few days after that final show, Vito suffered a stroke and passed away on April 14. At the Opry, Vito was never replaced. As one Opry member said several years later, "I miss Vito. You know, we don't have a marshal anymore. What we have out there is a piece of paper in a box, with a list of the acts and when they're supposed to go on. But we don't have anybody encouraging us, goading us, giving us advice on how to do better. Nobody to jack us up."

Vito Pellettieri. One of those who helped to make the Opry what it is today. 

There you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Tuesday Night Opry 10/12 & Opry Country Classics 10/14

Looks like a very good lineup for the Tuesday Night Opry this week. There are two outstanding Opry members (Dailey & Vincent, Old Crow Medicine Show), along with a Hall of Fame member (Ray Stevens), and an outstanding Americana artist (Dom Flemons).

7:00: Dailey & Vincent; Smithfield; Dom Flemons; LOCASH
8:15: Maggie Rose; Ray Stevens; Henry Cho; Old Crow Medicine Show

Opry Country Classics promises to be another outstanding show. 

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: The Bellamy Brothers
Also Appearing: The Malpass Brothers; Maggie Rose; Wilson Fairchild 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

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 7, 1870: One of the early stars of the Grand Ole Opry, Uncle Dave Macon was born. Uncle Dave usually appeared on the Opry with his son Doris and was known as "The Dixie Dewdrop." After coming to the WSM Barn Dance, Uncle Dave would remain with the Opry until his death in 1952. He was also one of the early inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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 30, 1926: The Binkley Brothers and Theron Hale made their first appearances on the WSM Barn Dance. 

October 11, 1932: Dottie West was born in Smithville, Tennessee. Dottie joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1964 and would remain an Opry member until her tragic death in 1991. I find it hard to believe that if Dottie was still alive that she would be 89 years old. Time certainly does fly. After what many considered a huge oversite, Dottie was finally elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2018. 

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 16, 1937: Bradley Kincaid made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. In my opinion, one of the great oversites by the CMA and Country Music Hall of Fame is the lack of election of Bradley to the Hall of Fame. 

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 featured star, with David Stone as the announcer and George D. Hay as the Master of Ceremonies. 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 23, 1939: Bill Monroe came to Nashville and auditioned for George D. Hay and the Grand Ole Opry. He sang "Mule Skinner Blues," which was the same song that he sang later when he was welcomed as a new cast member.

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 15, 1955: "Grand Ole Opry" begins on ABC-TV. The show would run once a month on the network. 

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 8, 1960: Buck Owens made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. While never becoming an Opry member, and being based in California, Buck would continue to make occasional Opry appearances throughout his life.

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 21, 1961: After overcoming a serious car accident, Patsy Cline returns to the Opry and performs "Crazy" for the first time. 

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 being suspended from the show for failing to meet the required number of annual appearances. 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 17, 1964: Willie Nelson made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. Willie would join the cast later on but like others of that time period, found that the Opry was really not for him and moved on, in Willie's case, back to Texas.

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 14, 1967: Dizzy Dean, Perry Como and Phil Harris all made surprise guest appearances on the Grand Ole Opry that night. Yes, even back in the 60s, there were appearances on the Opry by artists not considered country. 

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. Why Harry Stone has never been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame is a mystery to me. 

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. Of course, Freddie sang his classic hit, "Easy Loving." 

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. Sadly, those days have passed. 

October 25, 1974: The Pointer Sisters made a guest appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

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. This was also the final night that Tammy Wynettte performed on the Opry as a member.

October 16, 1976: During the Opry's annual birthday celebration, which would have been their 51st. veteran Opry stage manager Vito Pellettieri was honored. In many ways, Vito did more to establish the Opry than any other individual. Among Vito's many contributions to the show was the establishment of an actual schedule for each performer and breaking up the Opry into 15 or 30 minute segments. Vito, who passed away the following year, was with WSM and the Opry for over 40 years. And by the way, Vito never drove or owned a car, taking the bus to the Opry each weekend. 

October 6, 1977: The Grand Ole Opry put on a special Grand Ole Opry show at the Boston Gardens. The show featured a full Opry cast and was broadcast on WSM.

October 10, 1977: The Grand Ole Opry presented its 52nd birthday show with a special three hour Opry for the visiting disc jockeys in town for their annual convention. 

October 3, 1981: Roy Rogers, Dale Evans and the Sons of the Pioneers made a guest appearance on the Opry. While Roy Acuff was listed as the host of the segment, after Roy did his opening number, he turned the segment over to Roy Rogers, who handled it from there. 

October 2, 1982: Grand Ole Opry member Doyle Wilburn made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Doyle would pass away several weeks later from cancer. 

October 9, 1982: George Strait made his Grand Ole Opry debut. There are many who believe that George never appeared on the Opry, but he did. Over the years there have been rumors and stories regarding George and the Opry's management, especially in regards to the lack of future appearances or Opry membership. However, with George based in Texas and really having no Nashville connections, there was no reason to believe that George would ever become an Opry member.

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 29, 1982: Alabama traveled up to Nashville and made their first appearance on the Opry. While it was their first appearance, it would not be their last.

October 22, 1983: The Fruit Jar Drinkers made their final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. With the death of Kirk McGee several days later, the group disbanded, however most of the members of the group continued playing on the Opry in other capacities.

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. In addition to being on the Opry that evening, the duo also hosted the Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree. The night also marked the return of Roy Acuff to the Opry. Roy had been missing for the past 18 weeks following the discovery of a blood clot. 

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. And yes, she was fired.

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 6, 1990: Garth Brooks became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Garth's 31st 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 and I have been told numerous times that Garth helps out the Opry whenever they call. 

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 2, 1995: Grand Ole Opry member Porter Wagoner rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to mark the 70th year of the Grand Ole Opry. 

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. Bob would remain in that position until retiring in 1998.

October 31, 1997: Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with son Bobby Wright as they celebrate their 60th anniversary. Kitty sang "Makin' Believe" and does one verse of "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."

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 25, 2000: CBS-TV taped "Grand Ole Opry 75th--Celebration" at the Grand Ole Opry House, featuring Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Porter Wagoner, as well as several other members of the Opry's cast. 

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. Beecher "Pete" Kirby is another of those who have been overlooked for the Country Music Hall of Fame. 

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 18th 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 16 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 20, 2007: XM Satellite Radio begins airing the Grand Ole Opry. The first broadcast features Carrie Underwood, Ronnie Milsap and Travis Tritt. 14 years later, the Opry is still replayed weekly on satellite radio. 

October 27, 2007: Josh Turner became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Josh's 14th 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 11, 2008: Marshall Barnes passed away. To some of the more recent readers, the name may not mean much, but Marshall was a part of the Opry for many years, first with Cowboy Copas, and later with Grandpa Jones, Roy Acuff and Bill Carlisle. Marshall was a great bass singer who also played the fiddle and guitar.

October 25, 2008: Craig Morgan became a member of the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. Inducted by John Conlee, Craig will be celebrating 13 years as a member.

October 22, 2010: Blake Shelton became a member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Blake's 11th year as an Opry member. Sadly, Blake has been very busy and seldom makes his way to the Opry.

October 4, 2011: Randy Travis was honored upon his 25th year in the  music business with a special show on the Tuesday Night Opry. He performing "Diggin' Up Bones" with John Anderson. Joining in the celebration were Carrie Underwood, Connie Smith, Gene Watson, Joe Stampley and Josh Turner.

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. Last year, Rascal Flatts announced that they would no longer be performing as a group, however since that time, several of the members have appeared on the Opry in support of their own individual projects.

October 2, 2012: Darius Rucker was invited by Brad Paisley, who was sitting in the audience, to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry. The formal induction would take place two weeks later. 

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 9th 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. This will be their 7th year as Opry members.

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. Of course, one of the songs he sang was his classic "Okie From Muskogee." 

October 24, 2015: Grand Ole Opry member Jan Howard made her last singing appearance on the Opry. Jan joined the Opry in March 1971 and continued as a member until her death in 2020. 

October 29, 2016: Luke Combs made his debut on the Grand Ole Opry. While Luke did not make many future guest appearances, in 2019 he was invited to become an Opry member.

October 17, 2017: Chris Young became the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. This will be Chris' 4th year as an Opry member.

October 28, 2017: Newly inducted Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Schlitz made his first appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. Since then, Don has been back to the Opry many, many times. 

October 11, 2019: Garth Brooks introduced former President Jimmy Carter to the sold out audience at the Friday Night Opry. Jimmy, along with his wife Roslyn, was in Nashville as part of Habitat for Humanity. Also appearing that night were Emmylou Harris, Bill Anderson, Dierks Bentley and Margo Price. 

October 12, 2019: Dolly Parton was honored upon her 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry. While the actual induction date was in January, it took until the October date for everything to be planed out. Dolly made her Opry debut in 1959, and then returned in 1967 as a part of Porter Wagoner's outfit. The show was filmed that night as part of an NBC special that aired on a later date. 

October 3, 2020: For the 1st time since March, live audiences returned to the Grand Ole Opry House as the Opry celebrated its 95th birthday before an audience of 500. Opry members Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Terri Clark and Dierks Bentley were featured. As part of the 95th Opry birthday, Dierks celebrated 15 years as an Opry member. 

October 22, 2020: Former Grand Ole Opry member Margie Bowes passed away after a period of declining health. Margie joined the Opry in 1958 and was a member of the cast until leaving the show in November 1971. After she left as a member, Margie would occasionally make an appearance, usually on one of the reunion shows. 

There you have the highlights for this month.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 10/8 & 10/9

The countdown to the 5,000th Saturday night Grand Ole Opry show continues, and coming off of the Opry's 96th Birthday Bash last weekend, this week will mark show #4,997. 

Just taking a moment to comment on the birthday weekend shows: I thought both the Friday Night Opry and the two Saturday nights were good. In fact, given what the Opry had to work with both nights, better than expected. T. Graham Brown and Don Schlitz were both outstanding, with Don receiving a standing ovation after each of those appearances. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I think both T. Graham and Don would make great Opry members. 

Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith did their usual fine jobs, and while a little bit of Gary Mule Deer goes a long way, I will admit he is funny and those who were seeing him for the first time really enjoyed his appearance. Opry member Connie Smith had the honor of bringing out the cake on Friday night, while Rhonda Vincent handled the duties on Saturday. You could tell the younger fans knew who Riley Green was and he received a wonderful ovation. 

While none of the shows were sold out, the crowds were wonderful and enthusiastic and gave each performer a fine ovation. Each time I go to the Opry I am amazed that over half the audience is there for the first time. 

I did see some comments regarding Yola. I thought she was very, very good. Just not country and certainly not everyone's cup of tea. She is amazingly talented. While it was nice seeing her on the Opry, her style of music is probably more appropriate for the jam band festivals that my wife attends. You could tell those in the audience who were familiar with her work, and those who were not. I am sure we will see her on the Opry more, as she is this month's Opry Next Stage artist. 

Overall, a good weekend and I look forward as the countdown to 5,000 continues. 

Now looking at the Grand Ole Opry shows for this weekend, and seeing that Opry members Old Crow Medicine Show is scheduled for both Friday and Saturday night. Joining the group both nights will be Opry member Jeannie Seely. Looking at who else is scheduled, the Friday Night Opry will include Opry members Connie Smith and Marty Stuart, while Riders In The Sky, Bobby Osborne and Lorrie Morgan are listed for Saturday night. 

Guesting on Friday night will be veteran country artist Lee Greenwood, along with Alex Hall, Sister Sadie, and making their Opry debut, Kat & Alex. Saturday night's show will include Sam Outlaw, Brook Eden and Lee Roy Parnell. 

Friday October 9
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Alex Hall; Sister Sadie; Kat & Alex; Lee Greenwood
8:15: Connie Smith; Marty Stuart; Old Crow Medicine Show

Saturday October 10
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; Sam Outlaw; Riders In The Sky; Brooke Eden; Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Lee Roy Parnell; Lorrie Morgan; Old Crow Medicine Show

Looks like no live TV this week. 

As mentioned, Friday will be the Opry debut for Kat & Alex. 

Kat & Alex are a husband-and-wife pair who perform with a full-bodied soulful delivery, inventive live instrumentation, and bilingual lyrics. Amassing nearly 20 million streams independently and receiving acclaim from Billboard, CMT, and more, they introduce a scorching signature style in 2021 with new music for Sony Music Nashville.

“We both grew up simultaneously listening to country and Spanish songs, so this is completely natural,” says Alex. “This is who we’ve been for our entire lives. It’s great to be able to share that. There’s no better feeling than when somebody sends us a message like, ‘When I heard you, my two worlds collided’.”

Before their paths finally crossed, Alex worked as a police officer for two years and logged time as a social media influencer for Harley Davidson Corporate in Milwaukee, WI, before he created art around Miami as “Space Cowboy.” Meanwhile, Kat honed her voice and took advantage of any opportunity to perform. She witnessed Alex sing one day, and the two forged an eternal bond after one date. They appeared on American Idol before returning home to focus on writing and recording original music.

“It was a dream,” admits Alex. “One day, I was thinking to myself, ‘How cool would it be if Kat and I went to Nashville and started singing Country songs with Spanish lyrics?’”

In 2020, they signed to The AMG for management and inked a publishing deal with Warner Chappell between numerous sessions with producer Brad Hill [Maren Morris, Brothers Osborne]. Kat & Alex made their official debut with the single “How Many Times” and its accompanying Spanish Version. Right out of the gate, it gathered 7.9 million Spotify streams as they claimed coveted real estate on playlists such as “Hot Country” and “New Boots” in addition to rubbing elbows with Bad Bunny and Camilo on Latin playlists. At the top of 2021, they married and signed to Sony Music Nashville. Now, Kat & Alex kick off their next chapter with the single “Heartbreak Tour.” Airy guitar gives way to a traffic-stopping vocal performance from Kat. Her robust timbre echoes as Alex answers with a gentle twang on the second verse. Their voices entwine on the hook above a skyscraping guitar solo and crashing percussion.

“Our relationship is everything to this music,” Kat leaves off. “There’s so much love that goes into every single song. This wouldn’t work if we didn’t love each other as much as we do and put God first in all we do.”


Now from 50 years ago, Saturday October 9, 1971: 

1st show
6:30: Tompall Glaser (host) and The Glaser Brothers
6:45: Bill Monroe (host); Earl Scruggs Revue
7:00: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton; Ray Pillow; Speck Rhodes
7:30: Roy Acuff (host); Skeeter Davis; Del Reeves; Willis Brothers; Crook Brothers
8:00: Lester Flatt (host); Jimmy C Newman; Stu Phillips; Uncle Josh
8:30: Ernest Tubb (host); Jack Greene; Jeannie Seely; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Leon Boulanger

2nd show
9:30: Tompall Glaser (host) and The Glaser Brothers; Willis Brothers; Skeeter Davis
10:00: Bill Monroe (host); Ray Pillow
10:15: Porter Wagoner (host); Dolly Parton
10:30: Lester Flatt (host); Uncle Josh
10:45: Ernest Tubb (host); Jack Greene; Jeanne Seely; Crook Brothers
11:00: Roy Acuff (host); Del Reeves; Bob Luman; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee
11:30: Bill Anderson (host); Jan Howard; Stu Phillips

Now going way back 73 years ago, Saturday October 9, 1948:

7:30: American Ace Coffee
Roy Acuff: It's So Hard to Smile
Tommy Magness: Blackberry Blossom
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Jimmy Riddle: Listen to the Mockingbird
Roy Acuff: Waltz of the Wind
Jug Band: Call Old Rattler
Roy Acuff: Take My Hand Precious Lord
Sonny: Red River Valley
Dot and Smokey: To Be Announced
Oswald: Coming from the Ball
Roy Acuff: Will the Circle Be Unbroken

8:00: Purina Show
Ernest Tubb: Long Gone Daddy
Bill Monroe: The Girl With the Blue Velvet Band
Mel and Stan: I've Lost All
Jimmy Dickens: John Henry
Crook Brothers: Billy in the Low Ground
Ernest Tubb: Seaman's Blues
Blue Grass Quartet: He'll Set Your Fields on Fire
Velma: Mother's Old Sunbonnet
Butterball: There'll Be No Tears Tonight
Ernest Tubb: Darling What More Can I Do
Hal Smith: Tennessee Wagoner

8:30: Warren Paint
Cowboy Copas: Believe It Or Not
Lew Childre: Dis Train
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Uncle Dave Macon: Hesitation Blues
Possum Hunters: Old Joe
Cowboy Copas: The Hope of a Broken Heart
String Beans: Crazy War
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Rusty and Dusty: The Farmer's Daughter
Cowboy Copas: Kentucky Waltz
Red Herron: To Be Announced

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Roy Acuff: Little Moses
Jimmy Riddle: You Call Everybody Darlin'
George Morgan: Please Don't Let Me Love You
Lonzo and Oscar: I Didn't Know the Gun Was Loaded
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Old Joe Clark
Pap and Jug Band: Roly Poly
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Roy Acuff: This World Can't Stand Long
Oswald: Nobody's Business
Tommy Magness: Grey Eagle

9:30: Prince Albert
Red Foley: Tennessee Saturday Night
Red Foley: I Just Can't Keep from Crying
Red Foley: No One Will Ever Know
Bradley Kincaid: Blue Tail Fly
Old Hickory Quartet: Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Wally Fowler: I Got Faith
Floyd Ethridge: Mississippi Sawyer
Floyd Ethridge: Leather Britches

10:00: Wallrite
To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Bradley Kincaid: The Miner's Song
To Be Announced

10:15: Gaylark
Roy Acuff: The Heart That Was Broken for Me
Oswald: Roll On Buddy, Roll On
Uncle Dave Macon: Rock of Ages
Roy Acuff: Poem
Gang: Precious Memories
Tommy: Bully of the Town

10:30: Fletcher-Wilson
Cowboy Copas: Too Many Tear Drops
Lazy Jim Day: Singing the News
Lew and String Beans: Working on a Building
Cowboy Copas: Tragic Romance
Okey Dokies: To Be Announced
Red Herron: To Be Announced

10:45: Royal Flour
Milton Estes: Life Gets Tedious
Mel and Stan: God's River of Blessing
Jimmy Selph: I Got a Hundred and Sixty Acres
Milton Estes: Lay Down Your Soul

11:00: Jefferson Island
George Morgan: Petal from a Faded Rose
Crook Brothers: Dust on the Bible
To Be Announced
George Morgan: Lonely River
Crook Brothers: Ida Red

11:15: Ernest Tubb Songbook
Ernest Tubb: When a Soldier Knocks and Finds Nobody Home
Velma: Warned Me About You
Drake Brothers: Highways Are Happy Ways
Ernest Tubb: I'll Get Along Somehow

11:30: Farmers Wholesale Nursery
Jimmy Dickens: Wedding Bells
Gully Jumpers: To Be Announced
Lonzo and Oscar: To Be Announced
To Be Announced
Jimmy Dickens: Tramp on the Street

11:45: Bob West Guitar
Wally Fowler: One Has My Name, the Other Has My Heart
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Bailey
Wally Fowler: Ten Commandments
Robert Lunn: To Be Announced
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Going Up Town

Finally, while never becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Buck Owens would occasionally stop by as he did on Saturday October 8, 1988. Buck really didn't come to Nashville often and when it did, it would usually pertain to Hee Haw or other personal business he had. Buck liked to stay in Bakersfield, where he had his radio stations to take care. 

Here is the running order from 33 years ago, and as you would expect, Buck was featured on the TNN televised portion that night: 

1st show
6:30: Bonanza
The 4 Guys (host): Turn Your Radio On
Lorrie Morgan: So Wrong (For So Long)
The 4 Guys: Fox on the Run

6:45: Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything

7:00: Shoney's
Bill Monroe (host): Why Did You Wander
Jean Shepard: Are You Teasing Me
Ray Pillow: I Couldn't Leave You If I Tried
Vern Gosdin: Set 'Em Up Joe/Chiseled in Stone
Bill Monroe: A Beautiful Life

7:30: Standard Candy
Porter Wagoner (host): I'm Gonna Feed You Now
Dan Seals: Three Time Loser/Everything That Glitters is Not Gold
Buck Owens: Hot Dog/Act Naturally/Together Again/Love's Gonna Live Here/Crying Time/I've Got a Tiger By the Tail/Together Again
Porter Wagoner: Dooley

8:00: Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Roy Drusky: Too Old to Die Young/One Day at a Time
Riders In The Sky: Tumbling Tumbleweeds/When Payday Rolls Around
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Bile Them Cabbage On
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Roy Acuff: I Saw the Light

8:30: Music Valley
Hank Snow (host): Tangled Mind
Charlie Louvin: The Precious Jewel
Patty Loveless: Lonely Side of Love
Osborne Brothers: Rocky Top
Bill Carlisle: Leave that Liar Alone
Hank Snow: Where Romance Calls

2nd show
9:30: Dollar General
Porter Wagoner (host): Sugarfoot Rag
The 4 Guys: What'll You Do About Me
Del Reeves: A Dozen Pair of Boots
Dan Seals: Big Wheels in the Moonlight/God Must Be a Cowboy at Heart
Porter Wagoner: Y'All Come

10:00: Little Debbie
Bill Monroe (host): Molly & Tenbrooks/Blue Moon of Kentucky
Jeannie Seely: I'll Be Around When Its Over
Bill Monroe: The Bluest Man in Town

10:15: Sunbeam
Roy Acuff (host): Meeting in the Air
Billy Walker: You Gave Me a Mountain

10:30: Pet Milk
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
Stonewall Jackson: Me & You & A Dog Named Boo

10:45: B.C. Powder
Jack Greene (host): The Devil's Den
Opry Square Dance Band and The Melvin Sloan Dancers: Sail Away Ladies
Jack Greene: If It's Love Your Playing For

11:00: Coca Cola
Hank Snow (host): Filipino Rose
Jean Shepard: Someone's Gotta Cry
Roy Drusky: Don't It Make You Want to Go Home
Justin Tubb: As Long As There's A Sunday
Osborne Brothers: Pathway of Teardrops
Hank Snow: Among My Souvenirs

11:30: Creamettes
Charlie Louvin (host): I Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow
Patty Loveless: Lonely Side of Town/Blue Side of Town
Riders In The Sky: Yonder Comes the Santa Fe/Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie
Charlie Louvin: In the Cross

As you can see, Buck only did the first show that night

And there you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys The Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tuesday Night Opry 10/5 & Opry Country Classics 10/7

Coming off the Grand Ole Opry's 96th Birthday Bash, Tuesday will mark the 96th anniversary of radio station WSM going on the air. While some confuse the date as the start date of the Grand Ole Opry, that event would not happen until the end of November. 

With the ending of the Wednesday Night Opry, there are just two mid-week shows: the Tuesday Night Opry and Opry Country Classics. 

Looking at the Tuesday show, there are 4 Opry members on the schedule including an appearance by The Isaacs, which will be their first appearance as Opry members. They will be joined by Jeannie Seely, Riders In The Sky and Hall of Fame member Connie Smith. 

Tuesday October 5
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Parmalee; Riders In The Sky; Tenille Towns
8:15: Connie Smith; Gary Mule Deer; Matt Stell; The Isaacs

Opry Country Classics will again be hosted by Larry Gatlin, with another strong line-up. 

Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Josh Turner
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Linda Davis; Jim Lauderdale; Emily West

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Grand Ole Opry 10/1 & 10/2

Welcome to October and what is usually a very busy month at the Grand Ole Opry, more so this year as on October 30, the Opry will be celebrating its 5000th Saturday night Grand Ole Opry show. But until then, there are a few more weeks to get through, beginning with this weekend and the Grand Ole Opry's 96th Birthday Bash. There is one show scheduled for Friday night and two shows for Saturday, along with the usual Opry Plaza events. 

Before getting into the lineups for Friday and Saturday night, let me offer my congratulations to Mandy Barnett on being invited to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. As most of you know, Connie Smith surprised Mandy on Tuesday night, which was also Mandy's birthday, with the invitation to join. Mandy is a wonderful choice as an Opry member and in my opinion, the invitation was long overdue. Mandy has supported the show over the past several decades, with right around 500 guest appearances. While Mandy has never had that breakout national hit, she has a wonderful voice and has made some of the best records Nashville has seen. And of course, she was the star of "Always Patsy Cline."

So for in 2021, the Opry has inducted Lady A, Rhonda Vincent, Carly Pearce, The Isaacs, and now Mandy as new members. With the exception of Lady A, all have supported the Opry over the past several years and will certainly help will the lineups as more of the veterans retire or pass away.

So, will Mandy be the final new member for 2021 or could we see another one before the end of the year? There are a couple of potential new members performing on the Opry this weekend, which leads me to the lineups.

Appearing on all 3 shows this weekend will be Grand Ole Opry members Jeannie Seely and Connie Smith. The only othe Opry member on the schedule is Rhonda Vincent, and she is listed for both shows on Saturday night.

Guesting on all 3 shows are two individuals who I think would make good Opry members: T. Graham Brown and Don Schlitz. Don has appeared on as many Opry shows this year as anyone and is always well received, while T. Graham is one of the legendary veterans in the business. Also appearing on all the weekend shows is comedian Gary Mule Deer.

Filling out the line-up on Friday night will be Jake Hoot, Sister Hazel, and one of the bright young talents in the business, Charlie Worsham. Appearing on both shows Saturday night will be Riley Green and Yola.

Friday October 1
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Jake Hoot; T. Graham Brown; Sister Hazel
8:15: Connie Smith; Gary Mule Deer; Charlie Worsham; Don Schlitz

Saturday October 2
1st show
7:00: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; T. Graham Brown; Connie Smith; Gary Mule Deer
8:00: Riley Green; Don Schlitz; Yola Vincent

2nd show
9:30: Opry Square Dancers; Jeannie Seely; Riley Green; Connie Smith; Yola
10:30: Don Schlitz; Gary Mule Deer; T. Graham Brown; Rhonda Vincent

Sadly, considering that this is the Grand Ole Opry's 96th birthday weekend, the shows are not anything special. Maybe we have been spoiled over the years, or many more effort is being put into the 5000th show at the end of the month, but I know many of us were expecting a big name or two. Not happening this year. I don’t mean to be critical as I do believe that the Opry is doing the best they can in booking the shows. There still are artists that are not actively performing, and some who are have limited their schedules. Regardless, I am sure with the plaza parties and the other activites taking place, it will be a great weekend to be in Nashville, and I am happy to be here.


Now from Saturday October 2, 1971: 

1st show
6:30: Ernie Ashworth (host): Wilma Lee Cooper
6:45: Jimmy C Newman (host); Del Wood; David Rogers; Ed Hyde
7:00: Bill Monroe (host); Skeeter Davis; Stu Phillips; Johnny Russell
7:30: George Morgan (host); Stringbean; Jimmy Dickens; Crook Brothers
8:00: Roy Acuff (host); Penny DeHaven; Billy Grammer; Merle Kilgore; Howdy Forrester
8:30: Bobby Lord (host); Marion Worth; Louie Roberts; Fruit Jar Drinkers

2nd show
9:30: Stu Phillips (host); Wilma Lee Cooper; Skeeter Davis; Spider Wilson and Jimmy Capps
10:00: Jimmy C Newman (host); Del Wood; David Rogers
10:15: Billy Grammer (host); Stringbean
10:30: Bill Monroe (host); George Morgan; Jimmy Dickens
10:45: Roy Acuff (host); Merle Kilgore; Crook Brothers
11:00: Bobby Lord (host); Penny DeHaven; Johnny Russell; Fruit Jar Drinkers; Sam McGee; Jerry Whitehurst
11:30: Marty Robbins (host); Marion Worth; Louie Roberts

(remember that Johnny Russell and Jimmy Dickens were not Opry members in 1971)

Looking back, it was on Saturday October 2, 1982 that Grand Ole Opry member Doyle Wilburn made his final appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. 

Virgil Doyle Wilburn and he was born on July 7, 1930 in Hardy, Arkansas. Doyle, along with his siblings Teddy, Lester, Leslie and Geraldine, first performed publicly on Christmas Eve in 1937. This performance took place on a street corner in Thayer, Missouri. They were brought to the attention of Roy Acuff, who brought them to Nashville in 1940 to perform on the Grand Ole Opry. However, child labor laws prevented them from joining the cast.

The story on how Roy Acuff brought them to the Opry is an interesting one. Roy was always looking for new acts to bring to the Opry and through his touring and recording, he was known as one of the hardest workers at the show. The Wilburn's were dirt poor during the depression. Their father could not work due to his poor health. He and his wife decided to make the family into a musical group and he ordered instruments from the Sears catalog, built a stage in the backyard, and had the kids practice. That let do their first street appearance in 1937. The local merchants got behind the children and raised money to send them to a talent contest in Jonesboro. They won first prize. They performed everywhere and Pop Wilburn borrowed money against his home to buy a $100 car to travel in. In 1939, their home burned down and the family had to live in a chicken house and then a tent. Then a year later, came the big break and Roy Acuff.

The Wilburn Children were playing at a radio station in Dothan, Alabama, when Pop heard that a Birmingham radio station was having a talent contest that would feature Roy Acuff, Bill Monroe and some other Opry acts. On the way to the contest, a tire blew out on the car and the family arrived too late. As Teddy remembered, "My dad situated us at the side door of the auditorium and when Roy came out Pop had us performing the song, 'Farther Along'. Roy stood there watching us and with tears in his eyes." Roy had the children come up on stage with him that night and had them sing the song and it brought the house down. When Acuff got back to Nashville, he told David Stone, WSM program manager, about the Wilburns. Stone sent them a telegram to come to Nashville for an audition. They rushed to Nashville, did the audition and got hired at the Opry. Mail came in by the sacksful and the fans loved the children. But, the child labor laws were very restrictive at the time and after trying to work around them, it got to much for the Opry and after six months, they had to leave. The Wilburn Children left Nashville, but continued on with their career.

After signing a recording contract with Four Star, the four brothers went to Shreveport, Louisiana, where from 1948 until 1951, they were featured on KWKH radio and the Louisiana Hayride. In 1951, Doyle, along with his brother Teddy, were drafted and both served in the Korean War. One interesting side note to their time in Shreveport is that the brothers invited an unknown Webb Pierce to be a guest on their radio program, which led to Webb's career-launching Louisiana Hayride stint, and eventually Doyle and Teddy played guitar and bass on his first Decca recording session.

After being discharged from the military, Doyle and Teddy, by then a duo, toured with Webb, who was by then a member of the Opry and one of its bigger stars. On November 10, 1956 Doyle and Teddy became members of the Grand Ole Opry. The had also signed a recording contract with Decca Records.

During the late 1950s and 1960s, the Wilburn Brothers recorded such hits as "I'm So In Love With You," "Trouble's Back In Town," "Roll, Muddy River," "Let Me Be The First To Know", and "Somebody's Back In Town." Despite all of these great hits, the Wilburn Brothers never hit #1 on the Billboard charts. They also displayed strong songwriting talents. and were known for their vocal harmonies, singing back up on other artists's recordings.

The Wilburn Brothers were also successful businessmen. They owned and operated the Sure-Fire music publishing firm and the Wil-Helm Talent Agency. That talent agency was also co-founded with Don Helms. While Sure-Fire published early songs by Loretta Lynn, whose Decca contract was negotiated by the Wilburns, Wil-Helm booked top country acts such as Jean Shepard, Sonny James and the Osborne Brothers. In 1963 the Wilburn Brothers also began a highly successful syndicated TV show, which featured Loretta Lynn, who had been part of their road show in the 1960s. The program, which can still be seen today on RFD-TV, was one of the first syndicated programs to be in color. After Loretta left the show in the early 1970s, the duo signed 15-year-old Patty Ramey, who appeared on their TV shows and toured with them on her summer vacation. Patty Ramey would go on to have a very successful career as Patty Loveless. Their television show lasted until 1974.

Doyle was married for a brief time to fellow Opry member Margie Bowes. On October 16, 1982, he passed away from cancer at the age of 52. His brother Teddy would continue on as a solo artist and Opry member, and would remain with the show until his death in 2003. Doyle is buried in the Nashville National Military Cemetery, next to his brother Teddy. 

Here is the running order from Saturday October 2, 1982, the final night Doyle Wilburn performed on the Grand Ole Opry: 

1st show:
6:30 Mrs. Grissoms
4 Guys (host): I Don't Want Your Love Forever
Justin Tubb: Lonesome 7-7203
4 Guys: Catfish John

6:45 Rudy's
Jack Greene (host): I've Still Got Room For One More Heartache
Lonzo & Oscar: Take Me Home Country Roads
Jack Greene: There Goes My Everything/Statue of a Fool

7:00 Shoney's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
Skeeter Davis: The End of the World
Ernie Ashworth: There's No Place I'd Rather Be Tonight
Charlie Louvin: Mama's Angels
Jeannie Seely: You Don't Need Me, But You Will
R.E. Hardaway: N.Y. City Song
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand/Ole Slewfoot

7:30 Standard Candy
Grandpa Jones (host): Eight More Miles to Louisville
Charlie Walker: T for Texas
Jean Shepard: Alabama Jubilee
Ray Pillow: She's Doing It to Me Again
Billy Grammer: Homestead on the Farm
Crook Brothers/Tennessee Travelers: Cotton-Eyed Joe
Joe Carroll: Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party

8:00 Martha White:
Roy Acuff (host): Wabash Cannonball
Jan Howard: You Don't Know Me
David Houston: Almost Persuaded
Stonewall Jackson: Life to Go
Wilburn Brothers: The Light House
Roy Acuff: Jesus Will Outshine Them All

8:30 Acme
Hank Snow (host): Right or Wrong
Vic Willis Trio: Old Flames Can't Hold A Candle To You
Bill Carlisle: Have A Drink On Me
Roy Drusky: What About You
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Saturday Night Hop
Hank Snow: I'm Glad I Got To See You Again

2nd show:
9:30: Kellogg's
Porter Wagoner (host): Howdy Neighbor, Howdy
4 Guys: Turn Your Radio On
Jeannie Seely: I'm All Through Crying Over You
Ernie Ashworth: Talk Back Trembling Lips
Lonzo & Oscar: I Can Hear Kentucky Calling Me
R.E. Hardaway: N.Y. City Song
Porter Wagoner: I've Enjoyed As Much Of This As I Can Stand

10:00 Little Debbie
Grandpa Jones (host): Banjo Sam
Skeeter Davis: I'll Fly Away
Charlie Louvin: Northwind
Grandpa Jones: It's Raining Here This Morning

10:15 Sunbeam
Charlie Walker (host): San Antonio Rose
Jean Shepard: Too Many Rivers
Ray Pillow: One Too Many Memories
Charlie Walker: Waltz Across Texas

10:30 Martha White
Roy Acuff (host): Low & Lonely
Wilburn Brothers: Arkansas
Roy Acuff: Farther Along

10:45 Beech-Nut
Roy Drusky (host): Chattanooga Shoe Shine Boy
Billy Grammer: I'm Letting You Go
Crook Brothers: Billy In The Low Ground
Roy Drusky: Blues In My Heart

11:00 Coca-Cola
Hank Snow (host): Down The Trail Of Aching Hearts
Jan Howard: Where No One Stands Alone
Justin Tubb: Pull The Covers Over Me
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
David Houston: I'm Gonna Hire A Wino
Kirk McGee: Blue Night
Hank Snow: Old Doc Brown

11:30 Hardee's
Stonewall Jackson (host): Don't Be Angry
Vic Willis Trio: Last Cheater's Waltz/Let It Be Me
Bill Carlisle: Same Ol' Tale That The Crow Told Me
Sheila & Bill Carlisle Jr: In The Pines
Stonewall Jackson: Ol' Chunk Of Coal/Waterloo

To finish it up on this birthday weekend, let's go back 61 years to Saturday October 1, 1955:

7:30: Federal Fertilizer Co. 
Old Hickory Singers: Theme
Marty Robbins: Maybelline
Fiddle Tune: Leather Britches
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
George Morgan: Ain't Love Grand
Fiddle Tune: Old Hen Cackled

7:45: American Ace
Faron Young: Go Back You Fool
Bill Monroe: I'm Sorry I Stayed Away Too Long
Louvin Brothers: Make Him a Soldier
Faron Young: God Bless God
Fiddle Tune: Bill Cheatham

8:00: Martha White
Flatt and Scruggs: Theme Song
Hank Snow: To Be Announced
Ray Price: Sweet Little Miss Blue Eyes
Flatt and Scruggs: Have You Come to Say Goodbye
Hawkshaw Hawkins: Car Hoppin' Mama
Carlisles: Lil Liza Jane
Possum Hunters: Black Berry Blossom
Hank Snow: To Be Announced
Flatt and Scruggs: Is There Room For Me
Ray Price: One Broken Heart
Fiddle Tune: Soldier's Joy

8:30: Prince Albert
Ernest Tubb: The Yellow Rose of Texas
Rod Brasfield: Comedy
Goldie Hill: Ain't Gonna Wash My Face
Fiddle Tune: Mississippi Sawyer
Ernest Tubb: Stand By Me
Del Wood: Rocky Mountain Express
Minnie Pearl: Comedy
Goldie Hill: Why Don't You Let Me Go
Grandpa Jones: Kitty Clyde
Ernest Tubb: I'm Gonna Make My Home A Million Miles from Here
Fiddle Tune: Old Joe Clark

9:00: Royal Crown Cola
Lonzo and Oscar: Theme Song
Roy Acuff: Little Moses
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Bill Cheatham
Lonzo and Oscar: Skunk Skin Britches
Johnny and Jack: South of New Orleans
Jug Band: Shot Gun Boogie
Kitty Wells: Making Believe
Roy Acuff: Lights in the Valley
Bashful Oswald: Curly Headed Baby
Jimmy Riddle: Bill Bailey
Big Howdy: Indian Creek

9:30: Jefferson Island Salt
Old Hickory Singers: Theme Song
Carl Smith: Don't Tease Me
Jimmy Dickens: We Could
Crook Brothers: Mississippi Sawyer
Old Hickory Singers: I Want a Girl
Carl Smith: I Just Dropped In to Say Goodbye
Chet Atkins: Spaghetti Rag
Jimmy Dickens: A Ribbon and A Rose
Fiddle Tune: Ragtime Annie

10:00: Wall-Rite
George Morgan: The Best Mistake I Ever Made
Bill Monroe: Wait a Little Longer Please Jesus
Carlisles: Knot Hole
George Morgan: I Think I'm Gonna Cry
Fiddle Tune: Blackeyed Susie

10:15: Dr. Le Gear
Marty Robbins: Maybelline
Goldie Hill: Cry, Cry Darling
Justin Tubb: All Alone
Marty Robbins: Call Me Up and I'll Come Calling on You
Fiddle Tune: Sally Goodin

10:30: Hester Battery
Ernest Tubb: Kansas City Blues
Jimmy Dickens: When I Play the Fiddle
Del Wood: Smoky Mountain Polka
Ernest Tubb: Journeys End
Fiddle Tune: Turkey in the Straw

10:45: D Con
Hank Snow: To Be Announced
Red Sovine: A New Love Affair
Gully Jumpers: (?)
Hank Snow: To Be Announced
Fiddle Tune: 

11:00: W. E. Stephens
Lonzo and Oscar: Theme Song
Carl Smith: (?)
Ray Price: Let Me Talk to You
Lonzo and Oscar: Skunk Skin Britches
Crook Brothers: Chicken Reel
Carl Smith: Lonesome Old Town
Grandpa Jones: Lonesome Road Blues
Ray Price: I'll Be There
Lonzo and Oscar: Cold Tater Pie
Carl Smith: Kisses Don't Lie
Fiddle Tune: Wake Up Susan

11:30: Delited
Faron Young: Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young
Louvin Brothers: The Family Who Prays
Hawkshaw Hawkins: The Love You Steel
Sam and Kirk: You Won't Be Satisfied that Way
Lew Childre: Hang Out the Front Door Key
Faron Young: Satisfied Mind
Fruit Jar Drinkers: Grey Eagle
Louvin Brothers: Love Thy Neighbor
Hawkshaw Hawkins: (?)

There you have it for this week. As always, thanks for reading and commenting and I hope everyone enjoys the Grand Ole Opry this weekend. 

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Mid-Week Opry Shows 9/28; 9/29; 9/30

The line-ups have been posted for the mid-week Opry shows leading up to the weekend when the Grand Ole Opry will be celebrating its 96th anniversary with the annual "Birthday Bash." 

The Tuesday Night Opry will feature 3 Opry members: Riders In The Sky, Dailey & Vincent and Connie Smith, along with a couple who would make good Opry members: T. Graham Brown and Mandy Barnett. Comedian Henry Cho is on the schedule along with Hannah Ellis, who will be making her Opry debut. 

Tuesday September 28
7:00: Riders In The Sky; Hannah Ellis; T. Graham Brown; Dailey & Vincent
8:15: Ryan Griffin; Henry Cho; Connie Smith; Mandy Barnett

Hannah Ellis is from Campbellsville, Kentucky and currently records for Curb Records. Her latest project "Home and a Hometown" was released August 27. 

According to Hannah, “I was driving to my hometown, and realized that I always speed on that drive because I just can’t wait to be there,” shares the humble woman who’s already been named one of Rolling Stone Country’s Artists To Watch and CMT’s Next Women of Country. “I then thought about the fact that I do the same thing when I am driving back home to Nashville because I just wanna be there, too. I realized that I love both places so much for different reasons and it occurred to me that I have a Home AND a Hometown. I came home to Nashville and wrote the song that week.” 

Beyond the full-scholarship to the University of Kentucky, where she graduated in less than four years with a degree in Integrated Strategic Communications, the girl raised in a quiet town took her deep curiosity about life, love and people — and has turned it into becoming one of the most affirming voices to hit modern country music since CMA Female Vocalists of the Year Mary Chapin Carpenter, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood and Lee Ann Womack ruled the radio.

The Wednesday Night Opry has just one Opry member on the schedule, Jeannie Seely. Also scheduled is very frequent Opry guest, Charles Esten, who has appeared on the Opry over 150 times, Country Music Hall of Fame member Jimmy Fortune, comedian Dusty Slay and making his Opry debut, Kameron Marlowe. 

Wednesday September 29
7:00: Jeannie Seely; Kameron Marlowe; Tenille Arts; Charles Esten
8:15: Jimmy Fortune; Sunny Sweeney; Dusty Slay; Michael Ray

Kameron Marlowe, who is from North Carolina, records for Columbia Nashville, and has had  over 148 million on-demand streams over a dozen digital tastemakers – Spotify, Amazon Music and Pandora among them. 

He loved music from a young age – schooled by his grandfather on the ‘90s country giants, and captivated by high-energy rockers like Stone Temple Pilots, Puddle of Mud and Kings of Leon. Plus, he sang in church and loved classic vocalists like Ray Charles and BB King, even forming a teenaged cover band that turned heads (the wrong direction, he jokes).

A hint of what could have been came in 2018, with a Top 24 appearance on Season 15 of NBC’s The Voice. But even with a resonate baritone as inviting as a Southern breeze, and a genuine small-town swagger, Marlowe left with nothing more than some new friends in Nashville – plus an interest in songwriting. It seemed like music had passed him by, and to be honest, he was fine with that. 

By 21, he was back home and back on the job, ready to settle down with a white-picket future. He was ready to put a ring on his girlfriend’s finger. But when she abruptly ended the relationship, telling him she wanted a different future, his whole world shook. Suddenly adrift and questioning the path he’d chosen, Marlowe put pen to paper for just the third or fourth time in his life … and that musical therapy session changed everything.

After signing with Columbia and releasing a self-titled EP in 2020, Marlowe tapped another electrifying power ballad as his single debut, sending the buzzed-and-broken “Sober as a Drunk” to country radio. In response, he was named to more than a dozen “ones to watch” lists, opened for stars including Lee Brice, Dustin Lynch, and Chris Young, and sold out headlining club shows throughout the Southeast. He’ll join Brad Paisley for his TOUR 2021 beginning in July. And now by working with mega-producer Dann Huff (Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, etc.), he’s being challenged to believe in himself like never before.

Finally, Opry Country Classics will be taking place this week at the Grand Ole Opry House instead of its traditional home at the Ryman Auditorium. Once again, Larry Gatlin is the host, with a very solid line-up of artists. 

Opry Country Classics Thursday September 30
Host: Larry Gatlin
Spotlight Artist: Sawyer Brown
Also Appearing: The Gatlin Brothers; Carlene Carter; Emily Ann Roberts; Charlie McCoy

As I have done for the past 30+ years, I will be heading down this week for the birthday weekend, taking in all of the shows next weekend along with a few of the mid-week shows. Hopefully the weather will be good as will the shows. Looking forward to seeing some of you over the next week.