Legendary country superstar Charlie Daniels was surprised with an invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry this evening. Daniels was hosting his annual Christmas For Kids benefit show at the historic Ryman Auditorium when Opry member Martina McBride delivered the surprise Opry invitation. After McBride walked on stage with what appeared to be a Christmas gift for Daniels, she opened the small box she was holding to reveal a Christmas card reading:“Peace, joy, love, and wishes fulfilled. These are the timeless treasures of Christmas.Thank you, Charlie, for all you’ve done to make Christmas wishes come true for thousands of children through the years.Now it’s time to make a wish come true for you, too. You’re officially invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.Merry Christmas!”
Daniels backed away, overcome with emotion while the crowd exploded with applause.
“I can not even begin to tell you folks…this is very emotional for me,” said Daniels. “I never ever in my wildest dreams when I came to Nashville with my precious wife and son dreamed that this would happen. To think that now my name will be added along with all these great country artists. Thank you.”
Following the Opry invitation, the Ryman’s stage curtains were pulled to reveal the Opry’s classic barn backdrop, and an Opry microphone stand was added center stage. Daniels performed the rest of the benefit show in front of the famous backdrop. Daniels will be officially inducted into the Opry during an Opry at the Ryman performance later this winter.
“Charlie Daniels’songs and musicianship are nothing less than legendary,” said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. “He’s known worldwide as one of country music’s true icons, and all of us with the Opry are excited to welcome him into our family of new stars, superstars and legends.”
Daniels has been a music icon for more than 40 years. Born in Wilmington, N.C., he was raised on a musical diet that included Pentecostal gospel, local bluegrass bands, rhythm & blues, and country music from the radio, including Nashville’s 650 WSM. During his career, Daniels has been awarded a Grammy, three CMA awards, the ACM Pioneer Award, and the TNN/Music City News Living Legend award for his musical contributions. His signature song, “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” topped both country and pop charts, bringing him international acclaim.
The artist’s current Blue Hat/Koch Records CD release, Deuces, is his first duet album and features guest artists Brad Paisley; The Del McCoury Band ; Gretchen Wilson; Earl, Gary & Randy Scruggs; Bonnie Bramlett; Travis Tritt; Dolly Parton; Brooks & Dunn; Marty Stuart; Darius Rucker; Brenda Lee; Vince Gill; and Montgomery Gentry.
The Grand Ole Opry® is presented by Cracker Barrel Old Country Store®. Opry performances are held every weekend of the year, and the Tuesday Night Opry continues through Dec. 18. To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or log on to opry.com. About the Grand Ole OpryThe Grand Ole Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn. A uniquely American experience for more than 80 years, the Opry can be heard on 650 WSM-AM, XM Satellite Radio, and opry.com. The syndicated weekly program, America’s Grand Ole Opry Weekend, airs on more than 200 country radio stations across the country and on the Armed Forces Radio Network, and Opry Live airs each weekend on Great American Country (GAC). The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Gaylord Entertainment (NYSE: GET), a Nashville-based hospitality and entertainment company that also owns and operates Gaylord Hotels. For more information, visit opry.com or www.gaylordentertainment.com