The Opry Trends Older As Newer Stars Shirk Obligations
Where the Grand Ole Opry took a hit to its reputation amongst traditional country music fans in the late oughts for trying to get too young and too quickly, the last couple of years have seen a resurgence of interest in the institution from traditionalists as it seems to have shifted to making sure the roots of the genre are well exposed on its slew of weekly shows. The quote attributed to Opry General Manager Pete Fisher for years was that he wanted to see less gray hairs on the stage and in the audience, but in the last few years the trend has been anything but.
This may not be a symptom of a change of heart in the Opry management however. It may be out of necessity as more an more of the Opry’s newest members continue to shirk their obligations to the show, and older artists who are more available and willing to play the hallowed stage for minimal pay slide in to fill the void.
Grand Ole Opry historian Byron Fay runs the always curmudgeoney, but equally well-researched Fayfare’s Opry Blog, and his yearly recap is always a must-read for Opry fans and industry types. In 2014’s installment, Byron explains that the Opry performances continue to be handled more and more by older artists—something older country fans may applaud, but something that may not bode well for the institution moving forward.
Every Opry member is expected to make at least 10 appearances on the show each year. That’s way down from previous requirements. For example in 1963, the requirement was 26 appearances, and by 2000 the number had dropped to 12. Though the exact way appearances are tabulated depends on who you talk to, with some saying weekend performances by a big star can count for additional appearance credits, when some younger artists are appearing only once or twice, it becomes pretty clear their obligations aren’t being met.
For example in 2014, Darius Rucker, the former frontman of Hootie & The Blowfish who was a controversial pick in 2012 as a new inductee, only appeared twice at the Opry, despite the adulation he spilled out when his membership was announced. Blake Shelton, who might be the Opry’s most famous side stepper of duties amongst recent inductees, also made only 2 appearances, as did Dierks Bentley and Brad Paisley. And Rascal Flatts, 2011’s controversial pick for induction, made 6 appearances. The newest inductee Little Big Town made 8, but wasn’t inducted until later in the year.
Out of the 67 current members of the Opry, only 25 of them fulfilled their 10 appearance obligation, and three of those (“Little Jimmy Dickens, Jimmy C. Newman, and George Hamilton IV), 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. Out of the Top 11 members of the Opry in 2014 in regards to the number of appearances made, calculated by Opry historian Byron Fay, there were no artists who were in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s in age, and there were only three artists in their 60’s out of the Opry membership. That means the majority of the top Opry performing members are in their 70’s or older. Of the Top 11 performing members at the Grand Ole Opry in 2014, the average age was 79-years-old, taking in account that a couple of the top performers are groups and can change the math with individual members.
- Jeannie Seely -88 Appearances – Age: 74
- Riders In The Sky-68 Appearances – Age: (Leader Doug Green) 68
- Bill Anderson -67 Appearances – Age: 77
- John Conley -67 Appearances – Age: 68
- The Whites-67 Appearances – Age: (Leader Buck White) 84
- Connie Smith-64 Appearances – Age: 73
- Jim Ed Brown-50 Appearances – Age: 80
- Bobby Osborne-47 Appearances – Age: 83
- Little Jimmy Dickens-39 Appearances – Age: 94 (deceased)
- Jesse McReynolds-37 Appearances – Age: 85
- Jean Shepard-34 Appearances – Age: 81
So much for Pete Fisher’s plan to reinvigorate the Opry with younger talent.
Zooming out even farther and looking at the 25 members who played the Opry their appropriate 10 times, only one is below 50-years-old, and that’s Carrie Underwood at 31. She is the only current top tier mainstream artists who consistently meets her Opry obligations. No other member in the Top 25 in appearances is even in their 40’s, and only 4 of them (Vince Gill, Lorrie Morgan, Craig Morgan, and Mike Snider) are in their 50’s.
Old Crow Medicine Show, who was 2013’s new inductee, played the Opry 9 times in 2014.
Meanwhile as many Opry members are shirking their duties, non members are also taking up much of the slack. Chris Jansen made 32 appearances in 2014, and The Willis Clan made 30. But they are not members. Elizabeth Cook, Sarah Darling, and The Henningsens made 16 appearances each throughout the year. As historian Byron Fay points out, “Would the Opry be any worst having these folks as members versus those who are members and do not show up?”
So what does this all mean? It’s sort of a mixed bag, depending on your perspective. In the end, the word out on the street is that The Grand Ole Opry remains profitable, and so as long as that’s the case, the higher ups are likely to be happy with the way Pete Fisher is managing the institution. And older artists playing the Opry generally means a more traditional sound emanating from WSM come Opry time. But for the institution to remain viable, it must bring in new blood, and it must entice mainstream-relevant talent to at least pay attention to the institution. What good are rules if nobody follows them? There may be a lot of loyal Opry listeners and attendees who are happy Darius Rucker and Blake Shelton aren’t making more appearances, and that older artists are getting more opportunities. But that doesn’t make it right that these artists have signed up to be members, and are not fulfilling their quota to country music’s most storied institution.
January 6, 2015 @ 7:24 pm
Blake Shelton is too busy with The Voice and being a jackass.
I honestly expected better from Brad Paisley, though. Guess he thinks since he’s got LL Cool J he doesn’t need the Opry anymore.
January 6, 2015 @ 9:13 pm
Mr. Shelton doesn’t have time to play the Opry, but he can squeeze in an appearance on Saturday Night Live.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:16 am
I don’t think Blake has a lack of time, I bet he’s just embarrassed after his “old farts & jackasses” comments and the fracas that erupted as a result. After all, wouldn’t that comment apply to a fair share of the audience there?
January 7, 2015 @ 8:10 pm
Blake actually did a “damage control” appearance at the Opry in March 2013, his 1st in about 18 months, after the “old farts & jackasses” comments broke and after Jean Shepard called him out while on the Opry stage. Nothing more than PR move to show penitence and to lend fodder to a story that all had been forgiven.
He may spent most of his time in LA for The Voice and in Oklahoma, but he’s in Nashville often enough to play the Opry more than he does. He goes there to record his albums, he goes there to play LP Field during CMA Fest, he goes there for his own headlining shows, and so on.
This is a simple matter of treating the Opry membership as a feather in his cap and not also as a commitment and responsibility. Because if Carrie Underwood can do 10 shows in a year (2013) when she was doing heavy touring from February through May – not just weekend warrior touring like Blake does, but touring the whole stretch, promoting her album with TV appearances, cohosting the CMA Awards, and then preparing for The Sound Of Music Live in New York City for 10 weeks, then nobody has any excuse not to live up to their commitment. And it’s not as if these people aren’t making enough money through these other endeavors that they can’t afford to play the Opry for scale a few nights each year.
January 11, 2015 @ 5:30 pm
I happened to hear Carrie Underwood on the Opry a couple weeks ago, when she appeared on the same show with Kacey Musgraves and Emmylou Harris. Bill Anderson was the host of her segment, and in introducing Carrie, he said something to the effect that she could be performing on any stage in any city in the world for more money, but that she chose to spend her Saturday night performing at the Opry. (Byron Fay quoted this comment on his blog as well.)
Anyway, I’ve never really been a Carrie fan per se, but her genuine respect for the Opry as an institution and continued dedication to it has earned a great deal of respect from me.
January 14, 2015 @ 2:55 pm
I’m Sorely Disappointed to read that the Country stars, of today can’t Stand up and be real stars. it hurt to read that they have become members to the mother church of country music. Blake very disappointed in him we all thought he would stand beside Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins, Tracy Lawrence & Tracy Byrd!!!! And some of the young Ladies Step in the footsteps that went Before them.. Who Kill Country Music??????
January 6, 2015 @ 8:01 pm
Elizabeth Cook should be a member. There’s no excuse. The only reason that she is not an Opry member is that she has refused to compromise, refused to kowtow to Music Row, refused to overtly sexualize her image, refused to be anything less than a fantastic artist and beautiful human being. The Opry should be ashamed.
January 9, 2015 @ 5:47 pm
Here , here !! Couldn’t agree more!!
January 6, 2015 @ 8:49 pm
If I were Pete Fisher, I’d be ramping up Sturgill’s appearances & gauging audience reaction for potential membership.
Since the rumor has been that George Strait refused membership because he knew he wouldn’t be able to make the required number of appearances, I’d see if he’d be interested now that he’s retired from touring. Not under 50, but he’s still singing.
January 8, 2015 @ 6:04 pm
Pretty sure he retired so as to avoid leaving the places he likes to be. Nashville doesn’t seem to be one of those places.
Truth No. 2
January 6, 2015 @ 9:24 pm
I might respect the Opry if they invited Strait, Haggard, Nelson, Cook, Corbin, etc. The Opry should not be viewed as a storied institution in country music. It is presently just another brick in Scott Borchetta’s wall. And, before anyone complains that Merle and Willie can’t meet the performance obligations, I will put as much worth in the performance requirements as Blake Shelton does.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:37 am
Why wouldn’t Willie and Merle be able to meet the performance obligations? They’re both still Road-Dogs to a degree. I don’t see any reason they couldn’t stop into Nashville with a once-a-month average.
January 6, 2015 @ 10:38 pm
Super article, Trigger.
I am shocked that Elizabeth Cook wasn’t inducted last year, she most definitely should be invited to become a member.
It would be great if Opry management would consider allowing the fans of The Grand Ole Opry to nominate and vote for new inductees.
January 7, 2015 @ 7:35 am
By her estimate, she has played there over 400 times and I would guess that would be over not much more than a 15 year period, if not less. But I guess she’s not a big enough “star” for Opry membership.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:32 pm
How? Internet voting? Hello Luke Bryan and the rest of Trashville, et al.
January 6, 2015 @ 11:12 pm
So my question is why don’t they just become a beacon of light for traditionalist country? There are artists out there, that once the Opry crowds hear them, would fill seats and likely keep commitments. It could be their grand stage. This pandering to the low hanging fruit that Nashville puts out there is getting old. Obviously these guys do not respect the institution, so why not boot them and reorganize? They aren’t getting the financial bump from those big names if they do not show.
Enjoy Every Sandwich
January 7, 2015 @ 7:03 am
There’s a lot of sense in that. Rather than trying to “borrow” stars from pop country, maybe the Grand Old Opry should create new young stars of its own. Granted, such stars may not rival the pop country artists in terms of sales and the like, but it could still be a significant boost for fine traditional artists who can’t get the time of day from “country” radio.
January 7, 2015 @ 1:28 pm
The Opry used to be where stars are made. Now they want to take on established talent, but that system is not working because there’s no incentive for that talent to keep performing once they’ve earned the distinction of being members.
January 7, 2015 @ 5:19 pm
Wow! good comment! Great article! If they were not instrumental in giving a star his or hers start, or at the very least contributing to a star’s career, then they should not very well expect a singer to feel any real loyalty to them. I am sure one of the reasons why they received such loyalty to singers in the past, is/was because they earned it. Seems to me they want to eat the cake without baking it.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:57 pm
Seems to me that if somebody accepts Opry membership knowing the 10 annual performance request, then one should honor that commitment.
Besides, I don’t think it’s too much for the Opry management to ask that, as part of the process of making a person an official part of the Opry tradition, a tradition that is supposed to honor and connect the past, present and future of country music, that person would do their part by performing at the Opry. If people venerate the Opry and country music as much as they say, then they should want to play the Opry and be part of those nights where everybody from Bill Anderson to the Del McCoury Band to Elizabeth Cook to Carrie Underwood represent country music. For the mainstream acts in particular, they’ve been given more than enough by the country world to give back a little, and it shouldn’t be necessary for the Opry to have contributed directly to their success for them to want to contribute to the Opry’s ongoing legacy.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:00 pm
That’s my point. With all the discontent with the music being put out in the mainstream, the Opry could help make stars of the traditional variety. We all know the music is out there. Now with the emergence of these NASH Legend artists, you would think the Opry could be home for that. I dunno it just flabbergasts me to see such and option for great artists going unused. Especially knowing there are young artists that are probably lost in the shuffle that could be used here, and be greatful for the opportunity.
January 15, 2015 @ 7:55 pm
Great article Trigger. I was a dj for 40+years, the majority of which was spent playing country. The Grand Ol’ Opry was hallowed ground back then and should always be considered such.
95% of today’s country acts could care less about the Opry. I remember when you had the chance to audition for the Opry, unless you were invited by a member. I have been told now you have to have accomplished something “outstanding” in country music. (A singing cashier at Wal Mart…really?)
Kick the no-shows out, bring back the auditions for the very talented new artists who would give everything for a chance to play there. I guarantee I know one right now that would jump at the chance and if she made it, she would be there to perform anytime they would let her.
The Grand Ol’ Opry is where “Stars” were discovered and made. They didn’t have the major label deals, the big buses or reality tv as springboards…they had TALENT.
January 7, 2015 @ 12:42 am
Personally I think I’d rather see the Old Guard. Last time I was at the Opry (it was a Saturday night) we had Bill Anderson, Charley Pride, Jim Ed Brown, Ricky Skaggs, The Whites, Bobby Osborne, and Mel Tillis. It was a great show until the last act, Craig Morgan, where it went from a classic, traditional country show to naff sub-rock posing!
January 7, 2015 @ 2:02 am
The thing I like about Carrie Underwood is that she at least tries to act like a country singer. Sure, her songs ain’t country enough. I hate her ‘ex-boyfriend revenge’ songs but still its better than bro-country. And Blown Away and Something in the Water were quite decent country pop songs.
Above all she is the only singer under the age of 50 who made 10 appearnces at the grammys.
LBT and OCMS, the newest members did appear quite a few times so I think we should see about that.
But its a shame for other members who couldn’t fulfill their obligation.
I second that Cook should be a new member
January 7, 2015 @ 5:56 am
So Sturgill made more appearances than Blake Shelton in 2014?
Count me blessed!
January 7, 2015 @ 8:12 am
(From the linked blog):
Old Crow Medicine Show; Marty Stuart-9
Trace Adkins; Terri Clark; Charley Pride; Little Big Town-8
Diamond Rio; Oak Ridge Boys; Pam Tillis-7
Rascal Flatts; Josh Turner; Steve Wariner-6
Joe Diffie; Ralph Stanley-5
Montgomery Gentry; Stu Phillips-3
Dang. Is the Opry losing its prestige among the country music establishment? That’s to be expected among those that we think don’t really care about country music or its roots, but many of the names I reposted here and on the blog had me surprised. One of those was Montgomery Gentry; say what you will about their last few songs or their entire career, but when they were inducted by Charlie Daniels a few years ago the two middle-aged men shed TEARS on stage. Obviously, a lack of appearances doesn’t mean that said performers don’t treasure it, but what’s the deal? Are touring schedules just not adding up or something?
January 7, 2015 @ 8:17 am
Does the Opry ever revoke memberships anymore? If a member fails to meet the minimum number of obligations for a certain number of consecutive years (2 or 3, IMHO), then their membership should be revoked. That would send a clear message to artists that the Opry takes their obligations seriously and they should as well. Maybe then more people would follow George Strait’s example rather than Blake Shelton’s.
January 7, 2015 @ 1:25 pm
They’re not revoking memberships, and that’s part of the problem. When Willie moved to Texas and could no longer fulfill his obligations, he walked away no harm no foul. It should be the same for younger artists who are all excited about singing on, but are unwilling to fulfill their commitments.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:18 am
Not sure what to think about the fact that there are a couple names on the list of those not fulfilling obligations that I tend to respect – Emmylou Harris especially. I imagine tour schedules make it hard for some, and she and Rodney were still touring on Old Yellow Moon early in the year. The article does say that not all actually are under the same obligation, depending on when they joined.
I also wonder if someone like Willie, who don’t actually live in Nashville, would really want the membership/obligation. What is the benefit (other than the historical prestige) of membership, particularly if you are invited to play without membership.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:19 am
doesn’t not don’t – I do know English grammar
January 7, 2015 @ 11:45 am
You do? I doesn’t.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:27 am
Not exactly surprising. The younger big names are spending a lot of their time either in studio or out touring and probably aren’t in Nashville enough on nights with no other obligations to do ten performances. On the other hand for people like Elizabeth Cook or Teea Goans it’s one of the best tools available to them to get more exposure.
January 14, 2015 @ 3:05 pm
And don’t forget Naomi Bristow
January 15, 2015 @ 6:45 am
Naomi Bristow is Canada’s PRIDE & JOY! As a personal friend, I feel I know quite a bit about Naomi’s climb to Stardom! She has been to Nashville at least twice to record her Albums, doing duets with the famous Vince Gill & Jim Ed Brown! At age 5 yrs. old she taught herself to Yodel! I 1st met Naomi when she was 10 yrs. old & now at the ‘ripe’ young age of 16 she had 6 C.D’s to her credit & has traveled extensively throughout Canada & the U.S. Naomi is known as ‘Canada’s Yodeling Sweetheart’ & every appearance she has made she receives a standing ovation including at least 2 Country TV programs. This young lady is well on her way to Stardom world-wide!! With her undying Faith in God, she WILL ‘Reach the Top’! Best of Luck, Naomi~~
January 7, 2015 @ 9:03 am
I still have no idea why Darius Rucker should have ever stepped foot on the Opry stage.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:02 pm
Well, his music is a heck of a lot better than Blake Shelton’s.
Case in point: Darius’s top song of the last couple years has been “Wagon Wheel”, while Blake’s top songs have been “Sure Be Cool If You Did” and “Boys Round Here”. Darius Rucker has been mostly steadfast in refusing to join bro-country, and he has actually sacrificed some popularity in the process.
January 7, 2015 @ 8:20 pm
Thats the thing, wagon wheel is not his song. The stupid schmuck recut a recent song and seems that he thinks that he is some sort of country hero for putting out a cover. Wagon wheel is perhaps the only country song he has ever heard of. His music is the same shitty hootie and the blow hard pop shit music with a “fake country twist”. I will agree Shelton is bro to the bone but and a complete walking douche but so is Rucker. Besides, the popularity you speak of isnt from real country fans, its the new generation of dumb asses that think Garth Brooks is Classic Country.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:12 pm
I will repeat: Darius Rucker is better than the vast majority of current male country stars, including Blake Shelton. Simply refusing to change his style to bro-country puts him above the others.
As for “Wagon Wheel”, it does not matter who originated the song. The point is that it was essentially unknown (outside of maybe a few social circles in the South) until Darius sent it to #1 on country radio. The person who probably benefited the most from Darius’s action here was OCMS’s Ketch Secor, who may have made more money from this song alone than from many of their albums combined and whose fame also shot up dramatically.
Above all, it shows that Darius’s musical tastes are superior to those of his male colleagues. As such, your singling out and harsh criticism of him is just not warranted.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:41 pm
A song which “he learned about” at some high school band practice, so the story goes. A few social circles in the South? Please. While OCMS’ version wasn’t “mainstream,” it received plenty of airplay in every barroom I was ever in, and I don’t live anywhere near the South. Rucker [Hootie] is a newer version of Richie McDonald [Lonestar]. Soccer mom crap might be slightly less offensive than bro-country crap, but it’s still *complete* crap.
January 8, 2015 @ 12:16 am
Do you honestly think that “Wagon Wheel” is soccer mom music? The verses are about as country as it gets.
January 8, 2015 @ 12:19 am
Also, OCMS did not even release “Wagon Wheel” to radio. It was very much a niche song until Darius Rucker made it widely popular.
January 8, 2015 @ 4:46 am
You are missing the point, HIS MUSIC ISN’T COUNTRY, HE ISN’T A COUNTRY ARTIST, THEREFORE HE HAS NO RIGHT TO PERFORM ON THE OPRY! As for you comment about the chorus being as country as it gets…I’m assuming you haven’t listened to a lot of real country music in your lifetime.
January 8, 2015 @ 8:12 am
I would defend Darius Rucker, including his Opry membership more than most people here. However, this idea that his taste is superior to the bros goes away when you consider his current single “Homegrown Honey,” which can be seen as little more than a total concession to bro country in a time when, ironically, it is receding at country radio.
I believe Darius has a truly great country record in him. I want to hear that album full of Vern Gosdin tear-in-your-beer ballads that Mike Dungan told him to scrap because George Strait couldn’t get them on the radio. But the quality of his country-targeted albums has declined with each release. He is also on the record that the new album is more of a fun record, which seems like a misread of where country is headed. Not that fun records can’t be well written, but “Homegrown Honey” is not grounds for optimism.
I’ve compiled a list of known cuts/cowrites for his upcoming album and am reserving judgment. I’d love for Darius to live up to his potential and make a great country-soul album. But I don’t think the direction in which his output has trended recently justifies putting him on a higher plane than the Blake/Lukes of the world. I’d love it if he learned the right lessons from “Wagon Wheel”‘s success though, and am glad he insisted on cutting and releasing it.
January 8, 2015 @ 12:36 pm
I agree that his most recent single is a concession to bro-country. This is why I said that he has been *mostly* steadfast in avoiding the trends, but not entirely. Blake Shelton has dipped into the bro-country well far more often, with at least three #1 songs in that style.
January 8, 2015 @ 12:39 pm
As I said, the verses are thoroughly country, not the chorus. They are very much in the travel-based storytelling tradition of the genre.
Toby in AK
January 8, 2015 @ 6:39 pm
This thread is not the best place for me to elaborate, but I don’t understand the intense dislike for Darius Rucker that occasionally surfaces here. He’s not the only one who get’s it, just the one that I notice the most.
Sure his music is country, it is pop country. Dare I say it? About as country as most of what George Strait puts out these days. “Don’t think I won’t think about it” and “It won’t be like this for long” are good country pop songs. I haven’t checked him out much beyond what’s played on the radio, but I suspect he might have better songs buried between his singles. He just doesn’t appeal to me enough to check (which I usually only do if I think I’ll be buying the album).
I’ve heard various reasons for disliking the guy; he used to be a rock singer, he covered “Wagon Wheel”. These are not unusual things. I’d point out that in the “old days” these things were more common not less, and I’m prepared to back that statement up if need be.
Everyone dislikes certain artists and I get that. I’m just curious about this one.
January 7, 2015 @ 10:15 am
I know a lot of people on here hate Carrie music. She even when touring does as many Opry appearances as she can. She takes Opry seriously.
January 7, 2015 @ 10:38 am
The Grand Ole Opry had its greatest modern misstep when they lost it being broadcast on TV. When it was a weekly staple on CMT, it was more beneficial for artists. The Opry don’t pay the artists, and barely pay the musicians on the radio broadcast, so as a promotional tool, it was good. Since that avenue was swept away through limited, and eventually no, shows on GAC; it’s not worth doing as it once was. Maybe if they stop playing age elitists with regulars and staff band and worry more about promoting The Grand Ole Opry as an American brand, broadcasting it through the States and beyond, it would become so much more and beneficial to all involved.
January 7, 2015 @ 3:06 pm
Charles has a very strong point here. Today’s music business isn’t like yesterday’s. A lot of the money being made for artists these days is in being out on the road. Putting in the hard miles. That, and HUGE TV performances (of which there are more now than ever before). That puts a serious premium on their time. As such, playing at Opry loses its attractiveness when it’s “for the glory of the music”. It’s not a national showcase anymore, so it’s really just supporting a musical institution that was very important in the building of the genre which is now tops in the land. But hey, who has any regard for history? You have to do whatever’s gonna get the tweets, right?
Sometimes I hate our business.
Invite me to the Opry. I live in Los Angeles, and I promise you, I’ll pay for my whole band to fly there and play… just “For the glory of the music.”
January 7, 2015 @ 3:13 pm
The big stars shirking their responsibilities is completely understandable. But if you can’t fulfill your obligations, then don’t sign up for it and let someone else get the distinction that will appreciate it more and fulfill their obligations.
January 7, 2015 @ 3:15 pm
January 8, 2015 @ 3:42 pm
“But if you can”™t fulfill your obligations, then don”™t sign up for it and let someone else get the distinction that will appreciate it more and fulfill their obligations”
That is a decision that the Opry should make. Not to condone these singer’s negligence, but of course the stars are going to accept the induction. The induction is prestigious. The fact that these stars has or feel no real connection to the Opry is the Opry’s fault. It is more a reflection of their lack of contribution to the careers of today’s country artist than it is that artist negligence in honoring that contract. Seems to me the only thing the Opry wants to do is cash in. No offense to Darius Rucker, but he does not deserve that honor. The only reason why the Opry bestow that honor on him, is to capitalize on his fortune. meanwhile there are underground country artist who are being true to the country roots, even to their own financial detriment, yet for the most part, deliberately, they go unnoticed by the Opry. Why don’t the Opry support those individuals?
January 11, 2015 @ 4:48 pm
To be fair, the Opry does feature independent country artists in its shows; perhaps not as regularly as some would like, but they’re not necessarily neglected either. In the last few months, for example, they’ve had Sturgill Simpson on a couple times, Old Crow Medicine Show, Shovels & Rope, Holly Williams, The Black Lillies, Amanda Shires, Amber Digby, Doug Seegers, and others, just going off the the top of my head. I know Caitlin Rose has been on a couple times this year, for another example.
I share many of the same criticisms of the Opry’s current management as other commenters here, but when it comes to contemporary artists, I do give the Opry credit for including independent country, Americana, and bluegrass acts alongside popular artists, which is more than I can say for the overwhelming majority of radio programming in the country. Of course, that’s setting the bar pretty low, and some might say featuring a diverse array of country artists is the least the Opry could do, but in this day and age, I just don’t take anything for granted.
January 7, 2015 @ 11:47 am
Saw Chris Jansen at the Opry. He is very talented and fun to watch! Very energetic guy!
January 8, 2015 @ 12:32 am
I think people travel to the Opry to see the old-timers. At least when they were somebodies. I wish I’d have traveled to Nashville to see Acuff and Minnie Pearl and Porter and Jimmy Dickens on the Opry stage. And if I went there now, it would be to see Bill Anderson and Jean Shepard and Connie Smith .
But John Conlee? I don’t think so.
January 8, 2015 @ 7:08 pm
I guess your dog has a pedigree.
January 8, 2015 @ 4:16 pm
I don’t have an opinion on the people that don’t play.
John Conley is great, he has a really nice, immediately recognizable voice.
I’d like to see any of the people in the top 11 group.
January 8, 2015 @ 5:41 pm
Not internet voting … that would be a disaster.
Maybe something like a ‘suggestion box’ at The Opry, where the folks who attend can nominate their favorite artists.
January 8, 2015 @ 7:12 pm
Hate to bring this guy up but. Alan Jackson…. Member since 1991.. I do not see him listed on that blog but he is listed as a member on the opry website.
He needs to step it up
January 9, 2015 @ 5:50 am
Country or rock’n’roll etc,etc Its all about making money at bigger venues.60 + years ago transporting to venues across the country were limited to big cities unless you wanted to travel by bus,which some did. Now there are venues in so many places and it is next to impossible for the younger artists to pass up the money that is out there.Obviously the Grande Ole Opry has’nt kept pace with the growth.The second and hardest thing to deal with is old folks.I am an old folk that likes change and I like the old ( a memories thing I guess ) too. Youth will be served ,other old people get over it. Country has gone through changes toward the rock side since the fifties and I never heard many comments when Dolly P did 9 to 5 or the Islands in the Stream w/ Kenny R..big big hits…what is country about those tunes???? Do whats popular and it will all work out..,.
January 11, 2015 @ 3:38 pm
doz peeples whats alla time ona Opry is their becuse theys not out ona road. Theys to old an got no place else ta play.
January 11, 2015 @ 4:34 pm
Mandy Barnett has long been overlooked. She certainly is a crowd pleaser and is always there when asked.
January 11, 2015 @ 5:14 pm
In fact, Mandy Barnett is going to be on the Opry this Saturday. (1/17)
Texas country red dirt music fan
January 11, 2015 @ 4:38 pm
Everyone needs to quit worrying about east of the Mississippi river. Texas music and the red dirt movement is the new country music. Country music didn’t die….it just has a new address. And its in Texas and Oklahoma. I refuse to go to watch and or listen to mainstream *choke* country. But I travel hundreds of miles to see my texas red dirt music artists. Go to lonestarmusic.com radiofreetexas.org Texas monthly and get with the movement that is trying to save not only country music but also the state and the respect country music had. I’m serious folks….Google texas country music chart. Its not 40 of the same junk….it’s over 100 plus songs on a chart because the movement is so big. One artist doesn’t just have one song….they may have 2 at one time. Start with Aaron Watson….Cody Johnson….Kevin Fowler….Josh Abbott band….Randy Rogers band….wade Bowen…..Roger creager…..Cory morrow…..those are the big shooters in Texas and red dirt country but follow the list of you may also like and it goes on forever. This movement deserves needs and should be covered more and give this garbage they play now on radio a run for its money. Texas has its own music videos for artists….the show texas music scene is awesome hosted by Ray Benson of asleep at the wheel. I could go on forever but I’m sure my point is made.
January 13, 2015 @ 1:14 am
there are so many great artists that arent mentioned at all on this blog just my opinion but I have a lot of favorites over the last 45 years including Gene Watson ( A Texan) Darrel Singletary Rhonda Vincent, and on and on! I think if the radio played more Tradional country there is a lot of younger people that like that as well but in my opinion most of this newer stuff isnt country at all and some of these award shows are just gong shows and not even worth watching!!! Thank God for you-tube!!!
January 11, 2015 @ 6:34 pm
Some new- old country, check him out at http://www.cjgarton.com
January 13, 2015 @ 12:47 am
Put Larry Cordle on singing his song (of the year) “Murder On Music Row” for there’s blood on Pete Fisher’s hands.
East Nash Bass
January 13, 2015 @ 6:39 am
Two words: Mandy Barnett
January 13, 2015 @ 6:39 pm
Someone who I think needs to be inducted into the grand ole opry is Wade Hayes, he has been in the industry for years and seems to love and respect traditional music. I hope he becomes a member soon.
January 14, 2015 @ 7:51 am
Give these People a call to play the Opry….. Daryle Singletary,John Anderson, Lynn Anderson, Kathy Mattea, Lee Ann Womack, Billy “Crash” Craddock, Tanya Tucker, Connie Smith, Hank Williams Jr., Reba McEntire, Tom T Hall, Jan Howard, Moe Bandy, Don Williams, Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Tracy Lawrence, Tracy Byrd, Mark Chesnutt, Gene Watson, Patty Loveless, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Pride, Lorrie Morgan, Jim Ed Brown, Debbie Horton, Pam Tillis, Bobby Bare, Doug Stone II, Stonewall Jackson (musician), Jean Shepard, Tg Sheppard, Georgette Jones, Ricky Van Shelton, Jeannie Seely, Jeannie C. Riley, Jett Williams, Martina McBride, Kelly Lang, Barbara Fairchild, Sammy Kershaw, Robyn Young, Rhonda L Vincent, The Charlie Daniels Band, The Roys, Willie Nelson, Teea Goans, Bobby Lewis, Donna Fargo, Leona Williams, Ron Williams, Stella Pardon, David Frizzell,Mel Tillis, Loretta Lynn, Alan Jackson, Bill Anderson, Joey and Rory, Kenny Rodgers. WHO have I missed that is still performing?
January 14, 2015 @ 2:24 pm
Those young “country” singers only care about what is in it for them today and not about what the Grand Ol’ Opry has done to keep country music together for all these years. They don’t care about standing on the spot that Hank Williams stood, or where Stringbean sang his last song. There are many others who would play in their place like Wilson Fairchild (Harold and Don Reid’s sons). Fire all those that don’t fulfill their commitments and replace them.
January 16, 2015 @ 9:10 am
My date and I looked at getting opry tickets when we came in to Nashville watch a football game. After looking at the schedule we did not recognize any of the names. All too new for us, because we did not know any of the headliners. We are in our 30’s and would had more enjoyed more traditional country headliners. One night I could had went last year when I was in Brittney Spear’s sister, Jamie, was the headliner… Really. I know several others that have done the same thing and opted out of going or would go to other places such as Renfrow Valley.
January 26, 2015 @ 10:38 am
REINSTATE HANK! That’s all I have to say.
January 13, 2016 @ 6:22 am
There is a beautiful young lady from East Tennessee that is a non member that loves and appreciates what the Opry is and what it stands for. She has met your required commitment plus some. Emi Sunshine is as Marty Stuart said “THE FUTURE OF COUNTRY MUSIC”. She has thousands upon thousands of fans across this GREAT NATION and Canada. If anyone deserves to be a MEMBER of the Opry She does.