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Thread: Hear Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood rehearse their unforgettable Opry duet

  1. #21
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    It's interesting to get people's differing reactions to this question. I think much of the debate arises from the two main views about the place of the Opry in the Country Music spectrum today. Nearly everyone recognizes its history - but the differences tend to arise over those who emphasize its traditional role as a live radio show, and those who see it as a sort of "Hall of Fame", with membership being regarded as recognition of the artist's prominent role in the genre. I do think that many artists today do see the latter role as the important one - if they're invited to be a member, they regard that as one of the genre's biggest honours - and, because of the history, and the sense of recognition, the emotion they usually feel, and the mixture of humility and pride at standing in the traditional circle , are probably genuine. But that feeling is often transient. They don't make light of the honour - but they tend to see it as a career accolade, and go back to their everyday, more commercially based, careers, without taking on the long term regular obligations of membership.

    But the management do, at least, retain the notion that it is a live radio show - and maintain the idea of a regular obligation (even though that has been reduced in latter years, and no action is normally taken when members only put in an appearance rarely). I think quite a few enthusiasts do see it as still a live show - though any steps to remove artists would always be controversial. Hank Williams was removed from membership when substance abuse and difficulties in his personal life caused him to miss dates - the intention was to reinstate him when he cleaned up, but he died before this was possible. There is a long term movement to reinstate him posthumously - which conflicts directly with the idea of it being a live performance show - and his grandson sings a very uncomplimentary song, "The Grand Ole Opry Ain't So Grand Anymore", which is popular on the Outlaw circuit. Johnny Cash was banned for a while after smashing the footlights, while allegedly drunk - but later welcomed back. Neko Case is allegedly banned (as a guest artist) for removing her shirt on a hot night (she still wore a vest). Stonewall Jackson, a member for 50 years, sued the Opry (and eventually settled) for supposed age discrimination, claiming that Pete Fisher was trying to squeeze out the older artists (a claim the management contested). (That dispute, in 2008, was probably the last membership controversy to date).

    My own view is that members should make regular appearances - obviously, exceptions could be made for advanced years or frail health, but, if still otherwise active, I think they should decline membership, or later withdraw, if they put other career commitments first. Willie Nelson was only a member in his early Nashville days - he's not been listed as a member on the site for many years - as far as I know, that was not the result of any controversy, and probably reflects a mutual view that that was the right course to take, when his musical priorities changed. I'm not particularly a fan of Reba McEntire - but others I'm a fan of - notably Emmylou - don't appear as regularly as I'd like, so I can understand people defending artists we admire. It shouldn't be a source of rancour - but I do believe membership should be seen as an on-going commitment. I don't really buy the "too busy" argument - it should be possible to find a few dates a year, especially doing two shows on the same day, as Carrie does. The Opry performances are always a mix of member and guest artists - and anyone, however famous, who doesn't feel able to be a member, can always come occasionally as a guest, which I feel is more in the spirit of a radio show.

    Carrie has been easily the most successful of Pete Fisher's new signings. The most obvious sense is that she has spearheaded the drive to include more contemporary artists, relevant to many of today's audience. But I'd like to mention two other senses. One is that Carrie, for all her contemporary chart success, also embodies a long standing Nashville tradition. She is very much the musically accessible, gifted song interpreter, who brings personal enthusiasm and genre loyalty to the Country Mainstream. In that sense she is an artist in the tradition of Connie Smith and Barbara Mandrell - today's bearer of a line of legacy - and I'm sure that is how the management and many Opry enthusiasts see her. The other sense is that Carrie's successful embracing of the Opry tradition has made it that much easier for the management to give guest spots to many young women breaking into Country Music. Many of these - whom regular listeners to the Opry, or You Tube watchers must see regularly through the year - will probably never be as famous as Carrie. But the fact that she has shown such loyalty, and been accepted by the regular audience and many of the "oldie" performers has helped to open the doors to a wide range of other younger performers.

    I've already posted this recent video in the "Women" thread - but for anyone who didn't see it there, it may be worth a look. It shows how important the institution is to "breakout" artists, and how variety of style is made possible by the management's willingness to back newcomers. (The ending, in particular, captures the emotion). No slur intended to individuals, but, personally, I see guest spots like this as more in the spirit of the institution, rather than members who rely on their name to maintain a position they seldom otherwise honour

    Last edited by Farawayhills; 12-08-2017 at 07:02 PM.

  • #22
    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    Chills, Faraway!! Loved her! I'm going to play it again!! She was so thrilled to be there!

  • #23
    Obsessed Carrie Fan
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    Quote Originally Posted by rainbow1 View Post
    Chills, Faraway!! Loved her! I'm going to play it again!! She was so thrilled to be there!
    Me too! She was so overcome with emotion being there, and brought me right along on her journey.
    rainbow1 and Farawayhills like this.

  • #24
    Carrie Fans Legend teesharky's Avatar
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    ^ I like Ashley too! Tax for posting!

    gosh it’s so dead there is nothing to talk about right now. If you search Carrie’s live twitter feed it’s dead as dirt- just the same stuff as days ago.

    All I want for Christmas is for this dead zone period to be over. Lol
    rainbow1 likes this.

  • #25
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    There are so many great stars out there now, who still have their wonderful voices, that I agree that a few performances at the Opry a year would not be asking that much. People make a point to go to the Opry when they visit Nashville and yes, there is usually a noted singer headlining but it ends pretty much there. Not that you don't love hearing and seeing the older ones but how many young people are even going to know who they are? This isn't a problem I put on the Opry as they are only offering what is given to them. The Opry isn't free but you'd really like to get something more than a headliner singing 3 songs. There are too many gifted singers in Nashville that it couldn't be filled with more. We are given a whole lot more at our state fairs so you'd expect even more when you attend the Grand Ole Opry. To land on a night when you had the opportunity to see Dolly, Reba and Carrie had to be beyond earth moving to say the least but there are a lot talented B singers trying to get to the A list that should be encouraged to perform. Wish the Opry was back on TV and maybe then there would be more artist willing to stand on that circle and be thankful for how they've been blessed.
    ethelu, rainbow1 and Kizmet311 like this.


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