Blake Shelton Invited to Join Opry; ‘Country Strong’ Tracklist Announced; Nashville Venue Plans Austin Location

Brody Vercher | September 29th, 2010

  • It only took the Opry 69 characters of the allotted 140 on Twitter to invite Blake Shelton to become a member during last night’s Opry House reopening ceremony. Watch video of the invitation on YouTube »
  • Tom Roland recapped the events of the Grand Ole Opry House reopening.

    But the night also included performances that offered a smattering of country music history — of which, the Opry has been central. Dierks Bentley and Del McCoury injected bluegrass into the proceedings with a cover of Bill Monroe’s “Roll On, Buddy, Roll On.” Martina McBride and Connie Smith traded lines in the 1964 classic “Once A Day.” Charlie Daniels teamed with Montgomery Gentry on a sizzling version of “The Devil Went Down To Georgia.” And Josh Turner and Lorrie Morgan turned in a stunning version of the George Jones & Tammy Wynette hit “Golden Ring.” (Lorrie, incidentally, wore a leopard-patterned dress — not something in red…)

  • Walmart’s Soundcheck has a new video interview with Jamey Johnson.
  • The Nashville venue The Stage on Broadway plans to open a sister venue in Austin to help reintroduce country music to 6th Street. It’ll be called The Stage on Sixth and will open New Year’s Eve.
  • In light of the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass going on this week, Craig Shelburne created a playlist of bluegrass songs.
  • The Tennessean‘s Cindy Watts shared reactions to the Opry House’s renovations from Opry members Brad Paisley, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and Little Jimmy Dickens.

    “It went from Brady Bunch to Extreme Home Makeover,” said [Brad Paisley]. “And the stage, (which went from a light wood to darker teak), before you couldn’t really see the (historic) circle,” he said pointing to a picture of the stage hanging in a backstage hallway. “Maybe it’s there, maybe it’s not. Man, now you can’t miss it.”

  • The Bluegrass Blog has nine pages of coverage for the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass so far.
  • The list of songs and artists on the soundtrack to the movie Country Strong has been released and it includes stars performing songs written by popular songwriters and produced by popular producers. Some of the names include: Chris Young, Patty Loveless, Sara Evans, Lee Ann Womack, Ronnie Dunn [who produced his own cover of “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Double)”], Hank Jr., Trace Adkins, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw, who also serves executive producer. The soundtrack is scheduled for an Oct. 26 release.
  • NPR posted a couple of performances: Chatham County Line on World Cafe and Jeff Bridges on Mountain Stage.
  • Awaiting the Flood’s Jason Estopinal published a Q&A with Emmylou Harris that took place prior to last week’s All for the Hall benefit.
  • Del McCoury‘s radio show is making the move from Sirius/XM satellite radio to syndication.
  • Merle Haggard on outlaw country artists:

    Outlaw country artists are people like Willie Nelson who write music their way and not because of some special grooming. Johnny Cash wasn’t made in a grooming school and the next Johnny Cash won’t be found that way. The writers now pick about two guys at a time and [work with them] and come back with a song at five that evening. That is the way they like to see [country stars made]. Sometimes it works. But I don’t think they found Elvis Presley that way and I don’t think Hank Williams was found that way. Hank didn’t do it that way at all.

  • In an interview with Peter Cooper, Sam Bush talked about the state of bluegrass music, the limiting aspect of the term “bluegrass,” and Bill Monroe’s distaste for “newgrass” music.
  • Filmmakers Joel and Ethan Cohen, who you might recognize as the brothers responsible for O Brother, Where Art Thou, are working on a remake of the movie True Grit and they’ve enlisted the Peasall Sisters who can be heard performing “Where No One Stands Alone” in the film’s trailer.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yj-nt_v2xFI

  1. Matt Bjorke
    September 29, 2010 at 11:09 am

    Also, the Zac Brown Band held-off Maroon 5 to score the #1 album in the country this week.
    http://www.roughstock.com/blog/zac-brown-band-has-1-album-in-the-usa

  2. Waynoe
    September 29, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Good to see Jamey’s album hanging strong. Hope it goes gold legitimately rather than counting an album sale for 2 discs but good to see regardless.

    Am completely weary with Lady A on the charts.

  3. Noeller
    September 29, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    Kinda cool to watch that clip of Blake being inducted by Trace. Very few of today’s artists have as much reverence for the Opry as Blake does — he’ll be a great member.

  4. numberonecountryfan
    September 29, 2010 at 4:01 pm

    For Waynoe: If the Jamey Johnson CD went gold ‘legitimately’, that means it would be at the platinum mark per the RIAA.
    For Noeller: Provided that Blake Shelton makes regular visits to the Opry, that would determine if he is a ‘great member’. How many of the newer Opry members (those who have been with the Opry for five years or less) honor their commitments to the hallowed institution?

  5. Barry Mazor
    September 29, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Most of the more recent Opry members, in fact, honor those commitments. That “accept induction, don’t show” tendency was a lot stronger 15 years ago than today–because the management at the time just wanted to announce names. They actually commit again now. And Blake has been a very regular performer there–though mainly when he was living nearby. We’ll see how that goes now..

  6. Rick
    September 29, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    Tonight’s “Music City Roots” show will be an IBMA special! Artists scheduled include The Grascals, The Infamous Stringdusters, Newfound Road, Barry Scott & Second Wind, and….Riders In The Sky(?). The fun starts online at 7 PM Nashville time!
    Link: http://www.musiccityroots.com/

    WOW, nine pages of IBMA coverage at The Bluegrass Blog! That’s about eight more than is really necessary. Well for anyone but Jon W. that is…(lol)

    If Del McCoury’s show is moving off Sirius/XM to syndication, is there any chance “Willie’s Place” or Elizabeth Cook’s “Apron Strings” might do the same? I’d sure like to be able to hear those shows for free!

    Thanks for the links to the Jamey Johnson and Sam Bush interviews. Good stuff!

  7. Ollie
    September 30, 2010 at 5:44 am

    What commitment do artists make when they accept membership in The Opry? Are members currently obligated or expected to make a minimum number of appearances per year or per time period?

  8. PaulaW
    September 30, 2010 at 8:45 am

    From Wikipedia (sometimes accurate, sometimes not):

    In the mid-1960s management decided to more strictly enforce the requirement that members must perform on at least 26 shows a year to keep their membership active. This imposed a tremendous financial hardship on members who made much of their income from touring and could not afford to be in or near Nashville every other weekend. This was aggravated by the fact that the Opry’s appearance fee paid to the artist was essentially a token ($44 at the time). This requirement has been lessened over the years, but artists offered membership are expected to show a dedication to the Opry with frequent attendance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Ole_Opry
    (the above quote came from the “controversies” subtopic)

  9. Lewis
    September 30, 2010 at 8:48 am

    I would make a case for people like Barbara Mandrell (yes I know that she’s retired), Ronnie Milsap (still active), Larry Gatlin/The Gatlin Brothers (still active) who are still listed as Opry members but rarely ever make an appearance on the show. I have an Opry book from the mid 1970’s which listed Tammy Wynette and Don Williams as members of the Opry but Tammy made more appearances I believe than Don as a member and I think that Don quit the Opry in the late 1970’s because he had to make appearances on the Opry ever so often but couldn’t do it because of touring commitments.

  10. Waynoe
    September 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    Lewis,

    Interesting. I did not know that Don Williams was ever part of the Opry. His significant overseas touring probably kept him from his committments there.

  11. Barry Mazor
    September 30, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    The Opry policy today, I’m told on very good authority, is not to contract for any specific X number of appearances a year, but to be more careful in who they select in the first place. The artists that you see being taken into the cast these days have all appeared regularly for some time before they;re asked. In short: they show that they aean it. And that seems to work.

  12. Lewis
    September 30, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Waynoe,

    Another surprise name that was a member of the Grand Ole Opry at one time is B.J. Thomas as he was inducted as a member in 1981 but left before his mid 1980’s run of hits on the country charts.

    Years ago becoming a member of the Grand Ole Opry was like a badge of honor as it kind of escalated you to the next level in country music. But nowadays it’s a come when you can policy and a far cry from when it was you had to perform a certain amount of Opry dates or you were fired policy. Besides that, times change. For instance, there was a time when long hair was a no-no on the Opry, now it’s common among members and guests and another time when rock music of any sort was forbidden (example: The Byrds being on the Opry while a short haired at the time Tompall Glaser introduced them), now it’s virtually accepted.

  13. Ken Morton, Jr.
    September 30, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    I thought this would be relative in this conversation- Opry historian did an analysis of 2009 Opry members and how many appearances they made last year: http://fayfare.blogspot.com/2009/12/2009-grand-ole-opry-appearances.html

  14. Barry Mazor
    September 30, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    I’m doubting some of those numbers. Alan Jackson and Dolly have apepared semi-regularly, like Loretta. Dierks and Brad more than listed. I wondre if they didn’t count Tuesdays, for instance?

    In any case, I think you can see the pattern of a certain era of inductees being seen rarely.

  15. Karen J. Raufeisen
    October 2, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    I, too, find the statisics for performances by Opry members @ The Grand Ole Opry for 2009 a bit flawed too. I do believe that Alan Jackson was there several times in 2009!!

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