Opry Membership for Stanley?

Has bluegrass patriarch Ralph Stanley’s time finally come at the Grand Ole Opry? Friends and colleagues have speculated for some time that Stanley would be invited to become a member of the show’s cast. Stanley is scheduled to appear on the Opry January 14 and 15, the second weekend of the Opry’s month-long stay at the Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville. Last January when the Opry returned to the Ryman for a special homecoming engagement after a 25-year absence, Trisha Yearwood accepted an invitation to become a member of the cast. No doubt, the Opry wants its return to the Ryman again this year to be something special and memorable. As is traditional, Opry executives remain tight-lipped about their plans. Asked about Stanley’s prospective membership, Opry General Manager Pete Fisher offered a “no comment.” Stanley deserves Opry membership; we’re betting he might be invited to join the cast next weekend. Clearly, the Grammy-nominated musician has a special place in his heart for the Opry, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year. In recent years, Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys have been frequent and welcomed visitors to the show.