We’re so excited about what 2012 will bring and that it’s a new year – and another year of Opry shows. But we are still reminiscing about how great 2011 was, especially the Opry Live shows on GAC-TV. Did you see all of them? There’s nothing like being in the audience at the show that made country music famous, but when time or location don’t allow, the next best thing is always to catch the Grand Ole Opry on the radio or sometimes even on television! The shows feature a who’s who of new stars, superstars, and legends, and some celebrate Opry member anniversaries and some birthdays. Here’s a what’s what of some of the Opry Live shows and performances you’ll see.
George Jones‘ 80th birthday celebration show, featuring Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, Jamey Johnson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Joe Diffie and Eric Lee Beddingfield, was a blast. The entire evening was certainly a birthday party for the Opry member and Country Music Hall of Famer with tributes to George by friends and fellow Opry performers. Alan Jackson performed “He Stopped Loving Her Today” and together with Lee Ann Womack sang “Golden Ring.” Jamey Johnson performed “Whose Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” while The Oak Ridge Boys entertained with “Same Ole Me.” George Jones became an Opry member 55 years ago, and his classics have stood the test of time, to say the least. George watched from the front row but couldn’t let the show conclude until he joined his friends on stage to sing “I Don’t Need Your Rocking Chair.” Eric Lee Beddingfield made his Opry debut that night, and has quite the story behind his first single, “The Gospel According To Jones.”
“I couldn’t make it up,” Eric told us backstage. “I knew that I wanted George to hear the record, and never in a million years thought he’d be singing on it, but since it was a song written in his honor and a tribute to him, I wanted him to hear it. Me, my manager, and my producer went to Logan’s Steakhouse to eat lunch with a sole purpose to talk about who knows who to get this song to George. We sat there and ate, and as we were getting up, two tables away from us George and Nancy were sitting there eating. We didn’t have a copy of the song, but we jumped in the car, ran over to the studio, burned a disc, and they were still there. I walked up and told him what a huge influence he was on me and I wanted this to be my first single and I wanted him to hear it and tell me what he thought.”
Just a comment on the song would have been enough for Eric, but he got much more.
“To have him listen to it and tell me he liked it would have meant everything to me,” he said. “He called back and said he really liked it and he’d also like to sing on it. Of course, I was just floored. A couple months later there we were in the studio together.”
Watch what happened when George took the stage, and click here for air times on GAC-TV.
The Grand Ole Opry joined Women Rock For The Cure™ in the fight against Breast Cancer for the third annual “Opry Goes Pink” show. Opry member Martina McBride “flipped the switch” at the beginning of the show to turn the Opry barn backdrop pink for the night and ABC’s Good Morning America co-host Robin Roberts was on hand as a guest announcer, herself a breast cancer survivor.
“The Opry is an institution and is so important to our genre of music and really to this country,” Martina said. “I’m so proud of the Opry for being involved in breast cancer awareness month and I feel really honored to be the one who gets to flip the switch.”
Martina performed her current single, “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” which is a song that offers hope to those affected by cancer and is included on her latest album, Eleven. Lauren Alaina and Kellie Pickler also joined the fight.
“I’m really blessed,” Lauren said backstage. “Just to be in this building is such an honor to me because I grew up wanting it so badly. And then to be able to be here for such a good cause is really great. I feel honored to be here to just give a hug or a smile to somebody who needs just a little bit of positivity in their life.”
Also in October, we celebrated 86 years of the Grand Ole Opry with a birthday bash. Rascal Flatts was inducted as a member of the Opry that night and Ronnie Dunn made his solo debut.
Prior to taking the stage, Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts said, “it is so humbling to carry the Opry flag. There’s no higher pinnacle.”
Jay DeMarcus added, “one of the titles we’re most proud of is member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Joe Don Rooney, meanwhile, said he began to reflect on Opry membership after a conversation with his dad earlier in the day. “I remember when I was growing up, I would watch the Grand Ole Opry on TV. He remembers when he was growing up listening to it on the radio. Now here we are in the year 2011 watching and listening online. … We are humbled by this and can’t wait to see what the future has in store for us and the Grand Ole Opry. … Tonight is a great platform from which to set sail.”
Here’s your front row seat for the induction moment:
Be sure to check the TUNE IN page for all the ways to hear and see the Opry. Click here for GAC-TV schedules for more Opry Live show dates and airtimes so you don’t miss a moment. Click here to visit our YouTube Channel for hundreds more videos and Opry moments. Sit back and enjoy the show!