Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Keith Urban Invited to Join Grand Ole Opry

At last night's "All for the Hall" show in Nashville, Vince Gill surprised Keith Urban with an invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. The induction will take place on Saturday April 21. When he officially becomes the Opry's newest member, he will become the first Opry member not be have been born in North America.

After Vince made the surprise invitation, Keith responded by saying,"I don't know what to say. Gosh, man, thank you to everyone at the Grand Ole Opry tonight. I'm shocked. It's a huge honor and how beauiful to have this happen tonight of all nights. I so appreciate this." As he made those comments he was joined on stage by Opry members Oak Ridge Boys, Diamond Rio and Rascal Flatts, all of whom had participated in the show.

While Keith may have claimed he was surprised by the invitation, those of you who have kept up on my comments know that this was something that I had speculated would happen at some point. I have sure Keith will be a fine Opry member. As with all new Opry members, my hope is that they will support the show and actually appear on the Opry stage. Only time will tell.

Congratulations to Keith and I am sure all of us will have more to say on this.


  1. For whatever reason, I suspect that, unlike Blake Shelton and Randy Travis and Reba McEntire and Clint Black and, unfortunately, so many others, Keith will take his Opry membership seriously.

  2. I tend to agree with you, Michael. What a great addition to the 'Opry.

  3. I hope he does, but like they say in Missouri, "show me".

    Anyways, I think he appreciates the honor and will try to support the show, but there are others I would have asked first. But by inviting Keith Urban, the Opry will get publicity that it needs and I would not be surprised if they tried to get GAC to televise it.

    To be honest, much like the Blake Shelton invitation, I have mixed feelings on this one.

  4. They need the publicity but it's a darn shame they have more "guests" that play on a regular basis than the people who get asked to be "members." Come on Fisher and let Mandy Barnett, Rhonda Vincent, Gene Watson, Holly Williams, Daily & Vincent -- some of those "go to" acts you turn to when you need to fill a out a line up come on as members!

  5. Keith Urban's Opry induction is going to be televised by GAC as part of their new series, "Noteworthy at the Opry." At this point, I do not know what this show from GAC is going to be all about, but I would assume they are going to highlight important events and activities at the Opry.

  6. It would be even better if played country music.

  7. Let's talk!

    First Anonymous, I am with you. Furthermore, Fisher is better in his treatment of many guest acts than he is of the members, and he (and/or his boss, Steve Buchanan) already desecrated the Opry by giving equal billing to guests on the Opry website.

    Second Anonymous and Byron, I have mixed feelings in the sense that acts like Rhonda Vincent are far more deserving. My feelings about Keith Urban's music are mixed; I am not a big fan. But I also have come to grips with an unavoidable fact: what I like and what everybody else likes may not be the same thing. I see this as similar to Ira Louvin throwing his mandolin a hundred feet or whatever it was when he heard the crowd go crazy for the Everly Brothers. What they were doing in the late 1950s was not country music as Ira defined it, and I understand that. But others do define it differently or more broadly than I do.

    So then I come to the question of whether this helps the Opry. It can and may, IF Urban is as into the Opry as he professes to be. Blake Shelton was and is an unmitigated disaster. But, by contrast, Carrie Underwood has been a mostly pleasant surprise. Keith Urban seems to me to have talked the talk. Now he'd better walk the walk.

  8. I personally like Trisha Yearwood but I remember when Billy Walker was interviewed once and said she told him if she got to be an Opry member she would play at least once a month. Talk is cheap. Lorrie Morgan had no trouble playing the Opry when she was a nobody but she's virtually nonexistent and not exactly out burning up the charts or the road dates. And Charlie Louvin once told me Reba wouldn't play because she didn't want to be seen standing in front of a little barn! No doubt country music sure isn't what I like these days but I'd at least settle for some acts to come along and give the Opry more than lip service. If the Opry had to rely exclusively on the members from the last 10 years every week the show would be nonexistent. I especially have a hard time with Rascal Flatts and their boy band pop. Real country music is still out there, but thanks to big money, management companies you sure won't hear it on the radio. Go listen to new Texas artists they mix in on Willies RoadHouse on satellite radio or somebody like Iris Dement or heck three fourths if what the pass off as bluegrass is more like Acuff or Louvin country music. So while I understand Fisher and Buchannan (who better hope He doesn't run into Bill Monroe some day in heaven after he produced Monroes album) have little choice but to try to build a new audience I think they are symptoms of the problem too. Oh and "Noteworthy" from the Opry just means you'll never see any regulars, very few members and mainly the latest guests that the record companies pay to have on. They are so hungry for any kind if exposure since TNN switched formats years ago.

  9. In today's definition of country music, Keith Urban is country. In my definition of country music, he is not country. That does not make him a bad person or a bad entertainer. It just means to me he is not country.

    Now, only time will tell if he will be a good Opry member or not, If he shows up 5-10 times a year, I will consider it a success. If he follows the lead of Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson and a few others, he will be considered another member who does not really care about the Opry.

    My big issue with Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher is the number of non-Opry members who are invited to do the show and make more appearances than the actual Opry members. People like Mandy Barnett, Holly Williams, Gene Watson, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent, James Wesley, Restless Heart and Exile to name a few.

    With all the appearances that these groups make, I do not understand why they are not made Opry members. If nothing else, you know they are supporting the show. Granted, some of them are not the biggest stars in country music, or are past their prime, but that doesn't stop the Opry from inviting them on.

    I just think that the way the Opry is today and the fact that Steve and Pete want to, and need to keep the Opry relevant and front and center, they know that they will get much more publicity and fan support by naming Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban as Opry members, while ignoring the others.

    I am starting to question if Steve and Pete are picking the newest Opry members, or if it is Vince Gill. I know Vince had a heavy hand in Rascal Flatts becoming a member and I think also he had a big influence on Keith Urban joining the cast.

  10. Byron, your closing lines bring up an interesting point. We have talked on here about how Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, and Ernest Tubb had influence behind the scenes--they apparently did a great deal to contribute to forcing out Jim Denny, for example. IS Vince Gill powerful behind the scenes? And if he is, why isn't he using that power to better purposes? Or could it be that he IS, and things would be a lot worse if he were not?

  11. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Interesting thought about Vince Gill; but, if he were in charge of the invitations, wouldn't you expect people like Daily & Vincent, Rhonda Vincent, Gene Watson and other of the more-country acts to be members by now?

    I chuckled while agreeing with Byron that Keith Urban can be, at the same time, not country and not a bad person. At same time, his joining the Opry belongs, to me, to the Big-Whoop Dept. I believe these sops to the pop-country crowd are a temporary fix at best that, in the long run, work against the Opry and what remains of its unique appeal.

    But what do I know? Days go by without my phone being jingled by the consultants and marketers.

  12. Like I mentioned, it was just a thought about Vince. I know he carries some influence, but how much I do not really know. I just find it hard that we are talking about a person having influence at the Opry yet he is there only about 20-25 times per year. But of course, that is more than most of the artists.

    The last 4 new Opry members have been Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts, Oak Ridge Boys and Blake Shelton. I think it might be time for a new female member. I just hope it is someone country.


  13. I hope it's another female member too.

  14. Funny, Fred in Bismarck...'Days Go By' is a keith urban song, a concert favorite! Was that tongue-in-cheek on your part (Apr. 13)? My feeling is that keith is country enough to not just be a 'temporary fix' and that in the 'long run' he will be an asset to the Opry. He recognizes and appreciates the 'unique appeal' and has pledged to uphold it. I believe him! mj