Why Inviting Songwriters to Perform on Opry Stage Was Important to Luke Combs

This was the first time songwriters were invited to play the Opry.

Written by Lauren Laffer
Why Inviting Songwriters to Perform on Opry Stage Was Important to Luke Combs
Luke Combs; Photo courtesy of Sony Music Nashville

Playing the Grand Ole Opry is a moment nearly every country singer strives to attain. Stepping into the famed circle like the legends before them is a moment they treasure for the rest of their days. Luke Combs has been invited to stand on the iconic stage several times, even headlining a recent show, and knows just how special it truly is. But it was during that headlining show that the North Carolina native decided to share his moment with people who may never get the invitation to play the Opry… the songwriters who contributed to his major label debut and deluxe album, This One’s For You.

It was during an Opry retreat with fellow artists that Combs had the idea. Sick for the first several days of the trek, he had time to kill in the lodge. As he regained his health and strength, he got to talking with executives from the legendary organization and pitched them the idea of his songwriters joining him on the Opry stage.

“I said, ‘Ya know, there’s so many guys that move to town, they just wanna move to Nashville and just do country music and they don’t know what that means or how they’re gonna do it. And a lot of times that transitions from, ‘Oh, I’m gonna be this big artist’ to ‘I don’t really wanna do that, I’m gonna be a songwriter,’” Combs explained to Sounds Like Nashville and other media during a recent No.1 celebration. “Some of those guys have come to be some of the most prolific songwriters in the history of country music and have never had an opportunity to play on the Opry stage but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t wanna play on the Opry stage when they moved to Nashville and that that’s not something that’s still important to them.”

The higher-ups agreed with Combs’ sentiment and began tossing around ideas for an unprecedented evening.

“I found it interesting that that had never been done and I wanted to see if they would be receptive to the idea of me bringing some guys that I had written songs with who had not necessarily gotten the opportunity to play or hadn’t played in a long time,” he continued.

The moment finally came to fruition after months of planning. It was August 7 that Combs stood beside Jonathan Singleton (“Houston, We Got a Problem” “Must’ve Never Met You”), Randy Montana (“Houston, We Got a Problem”), Channing Wilson (“She Got the Best of Me”), Rob Williford (“One Number Away,” “Don’t Tempt Me”), Wyatt Durrette (“Beautiful Crazy”) and Rob Snyder (“She Got the Best of Me”) for their moment in the most famous spotlight.

“It was a really cool moment. I’m super glad that they trusted me with doing that, letting me headline the Opry that night and I hope to do it again soon,” Combs concluded.