Dear Sally Williams, To begin, let me offer my sincere congratulations to you for ascending to the position of not just the new General Manager of the most esteemed and storied institution in all of country music, but as the General Manager, and Senior Vice President of Ryman Hospitality’s new Programming and Artist Relations Division.
As the most storied institution in country, the direction of the Grand Ole Opry is always a hot topic, especially among traditional country fans. And many were unhappy with how the Opry functioned under the Pete Fisher regime. Of course the biggest question for Grand Ole Opry fans is who will be Pete Fisher’s replacement, and what direction will the new leadership take the institution?
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those died during the year. 11 members didn’t make any appearances at all. But what may be more interesting is who is appearing on the Opry to take up the slack. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old.
Bill Anderson, Blake Shelton, Bobby Osborne, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Carrie Underwood, Chris Jansen, Connie Smith, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Elizabeth Cook, George Hamilton IV, Jean Shepard, Jeannie Seely, Jesse McReynolds, Jim Ed Brown, Jimmy C. Newman, John Conley, Little Big Town, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lorrie Morgan, Mike Snider, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Riders In The Sky, Sarah Darling, The Grand Ole Opry, The Henningsens, The Whites, Vince Gill, WSM
Membership to the Grand Ole Opry is seen a one of the most prestigious accolades a country music artist can be bestowed, and the recognition is sought after by performers both big and small, mainstream and traditional because it is one of the hardest gets in music. But the cavalcade of mainstream pop country music stars recently added as members are not fulfilling the Opry obligations.
Barbara Mandrell, Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Byron Fay, Darius Rucker, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Grand Ole Opry, Hank Williams, Keith Urban, membership rules, Nashville, Neko Case, Old Crow Medicine Show, Pete Fisher, Rascal Flatts, Trace Adkins