Grand Ole Opry 2016 Year in Review
So how did the members do this past year as to appearances? Here is the list, starting with the Top 10 and the number of appearances increased or decreased from 2015:
1) Mike Snider-121 (+33)
2) Connie Smith-97 (+9)
3) Jeannie Seely-96 (+12)
4) John Conlee-81 (+26)
5) Bill Anderson-77 (-5)
6) The Whites-72 (+9)
7) Riders In The Sky-67 (-3)
8) Bobby Osborne-55 (+1)
9) Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers-53 (-23)
10) Jesse McReynolds-44 (+3)
There were no changes in the list from a year ago, but it is interesting to see the huge increase in appearances by Mike Snider and John Conlee. And while Larry, Steve and Rudy are down from a year ago, the number of appearances is still significant.
While it is not officially written down, Pete Fisher has been quoted as saying that he would like commitments from new Opry members to appear 10 times per year. So outside of the Top 10, who made the cut in 2016? Let's take a look:
Ricky Skaggs-31 (-4)
Vince Gill-23 (-9)
Del McCoury-22 (-7)
Lorrie Morgan-14 (-2)
Montgomery Gentry-11 (+8)
Carrie Underwood-11 (+1)
Pam Tillis-11 (+3)
Diamond Rio-10 (-3)
Adding it all up, 18 of the Opry's 61 members made the cut. That is down 4 from last year. (It should be noted that those members who were added to the cast prior to Pete Fisher becoming general manager in 1999 have not been held to those standards set).
So what about the rest?
Charlie Daniels; Craig Morgan; Old Crow Medicine Show; Marty Stuart-9
Little Big Town; Ray Pillow; Rascal Flatts-8
Trace Adkins; Darius Rucker; Josh Turner; Steve Wariner-7
Oak Ridge Boys-6
Roy Clark; Terri Clark; Brad Paisley-5
Dierks Bentley; Alison Krauss; Loretta Lynn-3
Patty Loveless; Martina McBride; Ronnie Milsap; Charley Pride; Keith Urban-2
That accounts for 24 more, bringing the total to 42. As bad as it might sound, I really have no issue with those who at least made 5 or more appearances. While nothing to be proud of, at least they made the effort to come out.
Then there are those who just came out one time: Garth Brooks; Alan Jackson; Hal Ketchum and Trisha Yearwood.
And to finish it off, here are the "actively performing artists" who are Opry members but made zero Opry appearances in 2016:
For a couple of those on that list, it has been years since they have appeared on the Opry. In the case of Travis Tritt, he hasn't appeared since Porter Wagoner passed away in 2007. However, Travis is on the current schedule to perform on the Opry at the end of February while Clint Black is scheduled for a show in April.
Finally, there are those who are retired or had health issues and did not appear in 2016: That list includes Tom T. Hall, Jeanne Pruett, Barbara Mandrell and Ricky Van Shelton. You can also add Jan Howard and Stu Phillips, neither of whom appeared in 2016 and have left indications that they do not currently plan on returning. Mel Tillis was ill and medically unable to appear, while Stonewall Jackson did make one appearance for his 60th Opry anniversary. The last person I will name is Randy Travis, who while unable to perform, did come to the Opry twice and was introduced on stage.