William Shatner To Make Grand Ole Opry Debut
Actor William Shatner released his first country-inspired album in 2018
In February, actor William Shatner will make his way to Music City for a once-in-a-lifetime experience: his Grand Ole Opry debut. The actor will take to the famed stage alongside Alabama member Jeff Cook in support of their collaborative project Why Not Me, which debuted in August 2018.
The record follows a long line of other musical projects from Shatner, including Has Been, Seeking Major Tom and Shatner Claus. The decision to take a more country approach on this album was easy for the actor who has been a longtime friend of Brad Paisley. (He appeared in Paisley’s 2003 “Celebrity” music video.)
“Brad Paisley has become a really good friend of mine over the years, and I’ve been an admirer of his and country music for the longest time, and when Brian Curl [of Heartland Records] asked me if I would like to make a country music album I jumped at the chance,” Shatner told Sounds Like Nashville previously
Grand Ole Opry makes for Career Milestones on Tuesday Show
Dustin Lynch Invited To Become Official Opry Member. Trace Adkins Marks 15 Years of Opry Membership. Dillon Carmichael Makes Opry Debut Alongside His Uncle Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry
The show that made country music famous made for a number of life and career milestones tonight during two star-packed shows. Among the excitement on stage and backstage: Dustin Lynch was invited to become the newest member of the Opry family by Opry member Trace Adkins; Adkins celebrated his 15th Opry Anniversary; Opry member Eddie Montgomery introduced his nephew Dillon Carmichael for his Opry debut appearance, with Carmichael’s mom performing background vocals; and longtime Opry Entertainment Group President Steve Buchanan celebrated his retirement with remarks by Opry member Vince Gill along with friends, family and Opry members during a backstage reception.
After joining country group Exile on stage for a surprise performance of the group’s hit “Kiss You All Over,” Adkins returned to the stage for another surprise, inviting Lynch to become an official part of the Opry family. “Being a member of the Grand Ole Opry is at the top of my list of achievements in my career and always will be,” Adkins said. “We want people to be members of the Grand Ole Opry that will have a respect for this institution that it deserves, that it has earned for 92 years,” he added. “We think that Dustin Lynch is going to carry on in that proud tradition.”
Lynch, who made his Opry debut in 2012, replied to Adkins, “Thank you! I wish you weren’t so big. I want to pick you up, but I couldn’t!” Thanking his family and friends, Lynch concluded his portion of the show “with a frog in my throat and tears in my eyes,” singing his current single “Good Girl.”
Lynch will be officially inducted into the Opry family on Tuesday, Sept. 18.
Adkins closed each show watching a retrospective of some of his most unforgettable Opry moments and performing hits including “There’s A Girl In Texas,” “Ladies Love Country Boys,” and “You’re Gonna Miss This.” UMG’s Mike Dungan also surprised the Opry member on stage with double Platinum certifications for his singles “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and Platinum certification of “Ladies Love Country Boys.”
Earlier in the night, newcomer Dillon Carmichael was introduced for his official Opry debut by his Opry member uncle Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry. Carmichael—whose mother Becky joined him on background vocals—had once worked in the Opry’s security department, but had not allowed himself to step inside the Opry’s famed circle of wood center stage until tonight’s official debut.
– Grand Ole Opry (Photos courtesy Grand Ole Opry | Photos by Chris Hollo and Rachael Black)
Dustin Lynch Inducted into Grand Ole Opry by Reba McEntire
The Grand Ole Opry was abuzz with excitement on Tuesday, Sept. 18 as the famed institution prepared to induct the newest member into its organization. Surrounded by family and friends, Dustin Lynch was a bundle of nerves and anticipation as he awaited his moment in the spotlight. “I’m excited and anxious to get out there and celebrate and looking forward to just seeing all the faces out there–all the smiling faces,” Lynch said ahead of his induction. “I’m hoping I can sing and put on a decent performance and not get too lost in celebrating on stage. I just took it all in, that’s really what I’ve been telling myself the last few weeks, since I was invited, is just to be in the moment with the moment, enjoy, and enjoy the memories.”
Having his friends and family in from nearby Tullahoma (Lynch’s hometown) was a dream come true for the “Good Girl” singer, but the icing on the cake was when a legendary icon came out to surprise him for his induction. That singer was none other than Reba McEntire, longtime Opry member and Lynch’s celebrity crush. Reba began her presentation by sharing that 41 years and one day ago, she made her debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage.
Dustin Lynch; Photo courtesy of Grand Ole Opry, LLC/Chris Hollo, Photographer
Wrapping an arm around his shoulders, she continued, “I know this means a lot to you,” she said, before wiping away tears. “Welcome to this family. It’s wonderful. The first time I ever went to the Ryman Auditorium, I was seven years old. And, I thought then, it’s such an institution. And what these folks have done for us, they have paved the way, and now it’s our job to pave the way for the ones that are sitting out in the audience or listening on the radio or watching us when we perform each night. When they say they want to do what you do, what I do, we’re paving the way like Minnie, Roy, Porter, and all the greats before us paved the way for us. Congratulations and welcome to one of the best families in the world.” The sentiment of family was echoed throughout the evening, with Lynch recalling the numerous calls and texts he received when it was revealed he’d join the hallowed institution.
Dustin Lynch; Photo courtesy of Grand Ole Opry, LLC/Chris Hollo, Photographer
“I got back to my phone after it happened and social media is a beautiful thing. I had eighty text messages from when it happened to when I got back to my phone,” Lynch recalled of his invitation. “A lot of the members, believe it or not, that I’ve become friends with over the years. I hate to start naming names ’cause I’m gonna forget some people, but Darius Rucker and Brad Paisley, Chris [Janson], were a few of the names. I think that hit me right away that night. It’s just very cool. I know I’m forgetting some because it was just, still is a blur… And it just puts a smile on your face whenever the craziness of it all is coming down that those guys and girls are truly happy for me and welcoming me.” Lynch was first invited to join the Grand Ole Opry in August, when fellow member Trace Adkins surprised him onstage.
Do You Remember When Hank Williams Was Fired From The Grand Ole Opry?
Hank Williams is universally regarded as one of the progenitors of country music, but in a bitter irony, the legendary singer-songwriter was actually fired from one of the genre’s greatest institutions just months before his death, after missing too many shows at the Grand Ole Opry.
Williams made one of the most legendary debuts in Opry history on June 11, 1949. Performing “Lovesick Blues,” as well as “Mind Your Own Busines,” Williams earned six encores from an audience that had never heard anything quite like his music before, and thereafter he became a regular performer on the show, which also broadcast live on the radio all over the country.
The country legend had already earned a reputation for hard drinking in the years prior to his Opry debut, and as time went on, that only increased. Williams also began to abuse painkillers, and as a consequence, he became less and less reliable as the years went on, missing shows at the Opry more than once. He missed yet another show on Aug. 9, 1952, and two days later, on Aug. 11, Williams was fired from the Grand Ole Opry.
The Opry has maintained over the years that Williams’ firing was meant as a warning to the increasingly erratic artist, but it turned out to be permanent. Williams never played the Opry stage again before his death on Jan. 1, 1953. Williams’ death was attributed to a heart attack, but over the years, many reports have speculated that a combination of alcohol and morphine contributed to his demise.
An uncompromising singer whose style is rooted in the classic country of Patsy Cline, Jim Reeves, Webb Pierce, and Brenda Lee, Mandy Barnett’s keen interpretive sense enables her to delve into a song, study the intricacies of its emotional content, and render a powerful performance through her full-bodied voice. Her torchy delivery on her contemporary yet retro-sounding country and pop-tinged material harkens back to the likes of all-time great female singers and timeless sounds.
Mandy has starred as Patsy Cline in the musical production Always…Patsy Clineat the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville on and off since 1994 – most recently in Summer 2011. Mandy tours regularly in concert, nationally and internationally, and is a frequent guest on the Grand Ole Opry.
She has released critically applauded albums, including her self-titled debut, I’ve Got a Right to Cry produced by Owen Bradley, the Christmas album Winter Wonderland, Sweet Dreams, and I Can’t Stop Loving You: The Songs Of Don Gibson. Mandy has also been featured on movie soundtracks. Reviewers have heralded Mandy’s talents as “one of the most beautiful ‘classic country’ female voices of all time. She has total control of her voice and sings effortlessly. Barnett is a true master of her craft.”
– Opry News 2018
Marty Stuart to Celebrate 25th Anniversary as a Member of the Grand Ole Opry
Grammy® Award-winning multi-talented Marty Stuart will celebrate his 25th Anniversary as a Grand Ole Opry member with appearances on two Opry shows Friday, December 1 at the Ryman Auditorium. Stuart was inducted in the Opry family on November 28, 1992, some 20 years after he first played the Opry at 13 years old as a band member for legendary Country Music Hall of Famer and Opry member Lester Flatt.
Stuart is widely regarded as one of country music’s biggest champions worldwide. The Mississippi native has said, “The Opry is a way of life. It’s an institution that gets passed on every weekend. If you’re going to be a country performer, the Opry is the place to be.”
The five-time Grammy winner continues to record and release keenly relevant music, records that honor country’s rich legacy while advancing it into the future.
Earlier this year he released his 18th studio album, Way Out West. It was named one of the “Best Americana Albums of 2017” and NPR Music proclaims “is Marty Stuart’s album-length paean to the myth and magic of the American West.”
Among those scheduled to be on hand to celebrate with Stuart are his wife, Opry member Connie Smith, Old Crow Medicine Show (who Stuart invited to become Opry members in 2013), Charlie Worsham, and Stuart’s band, The Fabulous Superlatives. Among others coming soon to the Opry are Dailey & Vincent, Radney Foster, Gaither Vocal Band, Drew and Ellie Holcomb, Alison Krauss, LoCash, Martina McBride, Carly Pearce, and Chris Young.
Opry Entertainment rolls out the next of its eight new digital series this week with the release of Better Half. The program puts the spotlight on the husbands and wives of country artists who may not usually be in the limelight, but manage busy careers of their own. The first two episodes feature Shelly Brown, wife of Grammy® Award-winning superstar Zac Brown, and can be seen now on PEOPLE.com as well as the Opry YouTube Channel. In the episodes, Brown introduces viewers to two of her passions, her namesake jewelry brand and Camp Southern Ground, the facility she founded with her husband to give children of all abilities the opportunity to experience the magic of the outdoors.
Upcoming Better Half series installments are set to premiere on the Opry YouTube Channel and will feature other “better halves” including Brittany Layne, wife of Jason Aldean, and Caroline Hobby, wife of Michael Hobby of the group A Thousand Horses.
Better Half is produced by Opry Entertainment’s Jill Wilderman. “With Better Half, we show viewers the untold stories of the spouses of country music stars including their independent pursuits and endeavors as entrepreneurs, creatives and professionals,” Wilderman says.
A twice Emmy-nominated producer for her work on the hit TV show Judge Judy, Wilderman spent ten years in Los Angeles producing shows for FOX and CBS Television as well as developing, producing, and hosting several digital series for platforms VEVO, ClevverTV and Young Hollywood. While at VEVO, the Indiana native developed and hosted a country music news show which was the first of its kind for the platform.
Tracy Lawrence Gives Fans a Look at His Forthcoming
Collaboration Album with Craig Morgan on The Grand Ole Opry
The new duet appears on Lawrence’s forthcoming album featuring collaborations with fellow country music artists on some of his most iconic hits.
Tracy Lawrence, country music star and award-winning radio host of the show “Honky Tonkin,’” invited fellow country star Craig Morgan to join him onstage at the Grand Ole Opry on Tuesday night to debut the song “Finally Home. ”
A portion of the proceeds from “Finally Home” will be donated to Operation FINALLY HOME, a national, non-profit organization providing mortgage-free, custom-built homes to wounded, ill and injured veterans or widows of the fallen, thanks to their unique network of experienced builders, suppliers, and supporters dedicated to honoring heroes with homes.
Walker McGuire Duo Makes Grand Ole Opry Debut
Wheelhouse Records breakout duo Walker McGuire made its momentous Grand Ole Opry debut July 14
Walker McGuire (comprised of Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire) performed two songs in the legendary hallowed circle, including its debut single, “Til Tomorrow,” and crowd-pleaser “Lost” (from its forthcoming album) for a sold-out audience on a bill that also featured Opry members Connie Smith and Jeannie Seely, Carly Pearce, and genre mainstay Jamey Johnson.
Rounding out the monumental evening, Walker McGuire invited longtime friend and producer Mickey Jack Cones to play guitar alongside them as part of the duo’s backing band.
Walker McGuire has been busy crisscrossing the U.S. touring in support of “Til Tomorrow,” which continues its ascent at Country radio and has garnered 20 MILLION Spotify streams to date. They were recently lauded as a Rolling Stone Country “Top Ten New Country Artist You Need To Know.”
Wednesday Summer Nights Opry Returns Today
Country music fans in Nashville are about to get another night of Opry to enjoy this summer. The Grand Ole Opry® presented by Humana® is adding nine weeks of Wednesday night shows to its schedule June 14 – August 9, joining the Opry’s Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday performances on the Opry’s show calendar.
Wednesday shows kick off this week with Grammy®-winning Opry members Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, Riders In the Sky, and Ricky Skaggs, as well as Charlie Worsham, CeCe Winans, and more.
Ten-time Grammy®-winner Winans, who made her Opry debut earlier this year, is scheduled to return each Wednesday throughout June as part of her celebration of Black Music Month.
Among others scheduled for Wednesday shows later in the summer are Charlie Daniels Band, Eli Young Band, Brett Eldredge, Chris Janson, Thompson Square, A Thousand Horses, Josh Turner, and Rhonda Vincent. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit to www.opry.com.