Vince Gill Invites Don Schlitz, Charlie McCoy to Become the Next Members of the Grand Ole Opry
Vince Gill helped the Grand Ole Opry pull off a historic celebration on Saturday night (June 11), inviting not one but two prominent country music figures to become Opry members over the span of a single evening. Gill invited both Charlie McCoy and Don Schlitz to join the Opry during the Saturday night show.
It was a historic moment for the hallowed stage. Ever since launching the tradition of making invitations surprise, public rituals, this moment marked the first time that two artists have been asked to join the Opry in a single evening.
McCoy was the first to get the invite. A renowned session musician who has played on recordings by greats such as Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Bob Dylan, McCoy has been active since the 1960s, and is one of the famed "Nashville A-Team," a nickname given to a group of session players who earned international acclaim beginning in the '50s for their work on some of the definitive records of the country format.
Gill joined him onstage after his three-song set and delivered the official invitation. "I've had so many amazing things happen, but I want to tell you what -- this is the icing on the cake," the 81-year-old West Virginia native state from the stage. "I cannot thank everyone enough for this honor. I am blown away. Thank you."
Schlitz, a legendary songwriter whose co-writing credits include Kenny Rogers' "The Gambler," Randy Travis' "Forever and Ever Amen" and Keith Whitley's "When You Say Nothing at All," was also on the bill that evening, and Gill sat in with him during his set to accompany him on acoustic guitar. Given that McCoy had already been invited to join the Opry, it must've come as an even bigger surprise to Schlitz to get his invitation, and he echoed his fellow inductee's excitement and shock at receiving the honor.
"I'm gonna be a member of the Grand Ole Opry! Can I bring my songs with me?" he gushed, later adding, "Like Charlie said, 'This is the icing.'"
McCoy and Schlitz will officially be inducted into the Opry later on this summer. Both are already members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
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