Popular modern-day string band Old Crow Medicine Show was formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry this evening by Opry members Dierks Bentley and Marty Stuart. Among the award-winning group's first performances in Nashville were on the sidewalks outside the Opry House in Summer 2000, playing for fans entering and exiting Opry performances. The band graduated to the Opry stage for its official Opry debut on Jan. 13, 2001, quickly became a fan favorite during dozens of Opry performances since, and was invited by Stuart to join the Opry on Aug. 16 in Cleveland, Ohio.
Just before show time, the band reprised its Opry Plaza performances from more than a dozen years ago, walking outside the Opry House and playing tunes including "Brave Boys" and "Hesitation Blues" for surprised fans waiting outside for the evening's Opry show.
On stage later in the night, Opry Vice President and General Manager Pete Fisher and Opry members Dierks Bentley and Stuart took the stage alongside Old Crow Medicine Show, presenting the group with its Opry member award. "Congratulations, Old Crow, on being a part of the coolest club there is," Bentley said.
Addressing the band, Stuart added, "You offer a whole new energy and love for country music in the 21st century."
Speaking on behalf of the group, Ketch Secor related that years ago members of the band asked themselves if they'd ever make it big in TV. Secor recalled having said, "I don't know about TV, but we might make something of ourselves on radio." Fast forwarding to tonight's show, Secor concluded, "We're standing out here on the most beloved broadcast anywhere on earth. I think we made it big on radio! … We the Old Crows are just so proud to be entrusted to carry on the traditions of the Grand Ole Opry's good-natured riot."
After tearing into the band's signature "Wagon Wheel," the group invited fellow Opry members Bentley, Stuart, Connie Smith, and the Del McCoury Band to join them on the standards "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" and "I Saw The Light."
"Old Crow has over the years become a favorite of Opry audiences and everyone backstage, as well," said Fisher. "It's fun for so many of us that in many ways Old Crow looks and sounds a lot like some of the great early Opry bands like Roy Acuff and his Smoky Mountain Boys—bands which helped propel the Opry to national prominence. Tonight represents a great full circle, and as the great Jimmy Dickens says, 'The circle can't be broken.'"
After the induction, the group added a plaque bearing its name to the Opry Member Gallery backstage at the Opry House.
Old Crow Medicine Show is scheduled to perform concerts on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31 at the Ryman Auditorium. Tickets will go on sale Sept. 27 at 10:00 a.m.
[Photos by Chris Hollo]
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