Chris Young Becomes the Grand Ole Opry’s Newest Member
The “Losing Sleep” singer is the latest artist to join the coveted society after his longtime friend and hero, Brad Paisley, welcomed him into the family.
Before his official induction, the Murfreesboro, TN native walked out on stage to a standing ovation from the excited Opry crowd. “I haven’t even done anything yet,” he said with a laugh as anticipation built. Young started his set with his smash “Gettin’ You Home,” before deciding to switch up his set and honor the Opry’s long-lasting legacy.
To honor his grandfather, who was in attendance and introduced him to country music, and pay homage to those who’d come before him, Young sang a cover of Marty Robbins’ “Devil Woman,” which was followed up with a cover of his hero Keith Whitley’s “When You Say Nothing At All.”
It was after his third song that Paisley joined him at the famed circle onstage to welcome him to the Opry family.
“I quickly, after joining, was asked to come to the hospital for a couple of members that were on their last legs and that’s what we do,” recalled Paisley. “And Jeannie Seely put her arm around me once as I was leaving a hospice room of one of our members and she said, ‘you wanted to be a part of this family. Well, you are. This is what we do. It’s what you’ll do too.”
And in true Paisley fashion, he couldn’t give a speech without throwing in a few laughs.
“The thing about this, when you look around at the history in this place… I’ve always considered the Opry unique in any format of music. Every format has its Hall of Fames and its museums and artifacts. I don’t know any that have a zoo besides us. This is a zoo,” he joked. “It’s not a museum full of inanimate objects. This is a zoo. You can come see the animals live, in their cages. Some of them will let you pet them. It’s truly a unique organization, but I’m serious when I say that you are a part of something that is living and breathing. You will have a home on this stage for the rest of your life. You can come out and sing any song you want to sing and we will be so proud to have you here. I love you and I can’t wait for you to be… I guess I get to say this. Chris Young is the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry!”
Forgoing a long speech in hopes to ‘not say something stupid,’ Young simply said “thank you” before dashing to his mother, who was seated in the onstage pews, for a quick hug and to pass off his Opry trophy.
While his speech onstage was short and sweet, Young had a few more things about becoming a member of country music’s most prestigious association during a backstage press conference. The honor was not lost on the singer, who’d been coming to see Opry shows since he was a young boy.
“I would say that pretty much any given show of the Grand Ole Opry is not only a snapshot of the present and a look at the future, but it’s also that respect of the past,” said Young. “And you know, you can’t ever talk about a genre you aren’t in, but as far as being an artist in country music and this being my eleventh year or RCA and everything that I’ve experienced and I’ve been through, there’s just always such a respect for where we came from, and what our music started as, whether it’s going back to, you know, ten years ago, 20 years ago, 30 years ago, however far back you go, looking at the thread of where you’re at now, where that got started. And I think that that’s something you get a glimpse of. You get a glimpse of kind of all sides and all parts of country music in every show of the Opry. And that’s one of the reasons that I love it.”
Young closed the night with his first performance as an Opry member with his No.1 song “Think of You,” and was joined by Cassadee Pope, who played earlier in the evening.