(Thurs., Dec. 20)
Charles "Skeeter" Willis was born in Coalton, Okla., in 1917.
Banjo player Bill Keith was born in Boston, Mass., in 1939.
Lefty Frizzell debuted on the Grand Ole Opry in 1950.
Kitty Wells recorded the top five single, "I Can't Stop Loving You," for Decca in 1957.
Johnny Cash recorded "Orange Blossom Special" for Columbia in 1964.
Johnny Horton achieved gold record status with "Battle of New Orleans" in 1966.
Ernest Tubb recorded "Saturday Satan, Sunday Saint" for Decca in 1968.
Jack Stapp, long-time WSM executive and music publisher, died at the age of 68 in Nashville in 1980.
Producer Don Law died in La Marque, Texas, in 1982.
Randy Travis joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1986.
Eddy Arnold was awarded a National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton in Washington, D.C., in 2000.
COUNTRY MUSIC TRIVIA
Q: What Canadian family trio recorded the hit song "26 Cents"?
A: The Wilkinsons, who return to the Opry stage on Jan. 4-5 along with Andy Griggs, Collin Raye, Blake Shelton and many others. Log on to opry.com to chat with the Wilkinsons and Blake on Jan. 4 (at 8 p.m. CST).
MUSIC AND MORE
OPRY ON THE CHARTS
The O'Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack has made the list of the Billboard's Top 25 Country Albums for 2001 checking in at number two. Alan Jackson's When Somebody Loves You takes the number 11 spot while Travis Tritt is at number 14 with Down the Road I Go. Martina McBride and Diamond Rio also made the top 25. Martina's Greatest Hits is at number 21 and Diamond Rio is at 22 with One More Day.
On the weekly Billboard Album charts, O' Brother also has the number two slot while Martina's Greatest Hits is at number five. Garth Brooks is at number eight with The Magic of Christmas -- Songs From Call Me Claus and Reba's Greatest Hits III -- I'm A Survivor is at number 10. Alan's When Somebody Loves You checks in at number 15 and Clint Black appears on the charts at number 19 with his Greatest Hits II CD.
Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" is at number two on the Billboard Singles charts for the week. Garth Brooks is at number eight with "Wrapped Up In You" and Travis Tritt's "Love of a Woman" takes the number 12 slot. Joe Diffie's "In Another World" moves up five to number 16 and Alan Jackson's "Where I Come From" is at number 19.
OPRY MEMBERS IN BLUEGRASS CELEBRATION
Opry members Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill, Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Patty Loveless and Travis Tritt will perform at the All-Star Bluegrass Celebration scheduled for Jan. 16 at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Other artists include the Dixie Chicks, Earl Scruggs, Del McCoury Band, Nickel Creek and Bruce Hornsby. The event will air in March 2002 on public television stations and is produced by Terry Lickona, producer of Austin City Limits. (A limited number of tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster outlets, at the Ryman box office or by phone at 615-255-9600 beginning Jan. 5. Proceeds will benefit an Appalachian children's charity.)
O'NEAL EVERYWHERE AS NEW YEAR NEARS
Jamie O'Neal has positioned herself well to grab a lot of media attention as the calendar rolls into 2002. Her manager has scheduled her onto the "Tonight Show with Jay Leno" on Jan. 2.
The news provider country.com reports O'Neal's appearance on the late-night NBC broadcast will be just one of many interview and performance dates set for the Los Angeles area when she is in the City of Angels the first week of the new year. The day after the Leno appearance, she will appear at the House of Blues in Los Angeles. On the 4th she'll be part of the ceremonies announcing the Grammy nominations.
By the way, O'Neal is up for "Favorite New Country Artist" at the American Music Awards on Jan. 9, also to originate in Los Angeles.
O'Neal first came to the attention of country music promoters when she was heard as a studio singer on many demo tapes produced in Music City.
BUCK & DWIGHT
Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakam will team up for a New Year's Eve celebration at Owen's Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, Calif. Tickets will range from $75-$250 and guests can purchase a dinner and champagne for an additional $150-$250.
Coming Soon To The Opry Stage:
Dec. 21: Dale Watson, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Phil Vassar, Ricky Skaggs, Clark Family Experience
Dec. 22: Dale Watson, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Phil Vassar, Ricky Skaggs, Clark Family Experience, Linda Davis, Sonya Isaacs
Dec. 28: Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Riders in the Sky, Hal Ketchum, BR549, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury Band
Dec. 29: Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn, Riders in the Sky, Hal Ketchum, BR549, Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent
Jan. 4-5: T. Bubba Bechtol, Andy Griggs, Blake Shelton, The Wilkinsons, Collin Raye
Jan. 11: Mark Wills, Terri Clark, Joe Diffie
Jan. 12: Mark Wills, Terri Clark, Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson
Jan. 18: Phil Vassar, T Bubba Bechtol
Jan. 19: Phil Vassar, T Bubba Bechtol, Andy Griggs
Jan. 25: Rhonda Vincent
Jan. 26: Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent
(For Opry tickets, log on to opry.com or call 615-889-3060 or TicketMaster at 615-255-9600. Artists and schedule subject to change.)
By Opryland USA in Nashville and UPI