Dustin Lynch can’t quantify the number of Grand Ole Opry performances he’s staged since his debut in 2012. But Tuesday’s (Sept. 18) performance was his first as a new Opry member.
His friend and fellow Opry member Reba McEntire welcomed him to the family. And as expected, Lynch was visibly emotional throughout his whole performance.
“I know how you feel,” McEntire said before presenting him with his Opry award. “Do you know that 41 years ago was the first time I got to sing on this stage – September 17, 1977. And here you are, 41 years and one day, and you get to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Lynch’s first performances as a Grand Ole Opry member included “She Cranks My Tractor,” “Where It’s At,” “Good Girl” and “Small Town Boy Like Me.”
He dedicated “Cowboys and Angels” to his grandparents, whose 63-year marriage served as the primary inspiration for the song. They enjoyed their grandson’s show seated in pews on the Opry’s main floor.
When it was time to give his induction speech, Lynch thanked his team behind the scenes that help make his career happen.
“There’s a lot of guys and girls here that are responsible for getting our music heard and get our music played and putting us in clothes, so we don’t look like the idiots we are,” he said. “We get to share the spotlight and be onstage and sing our songs, but it’s because of the hard work of 100+ guys and girls here in Nashville tonight … I’m looking at the camera thanking all you guys back there for your countless hours of hard work and belief and sharing the same dreams that we have had over the years. This is one of those dreams we’re living right now.”
Backstage before the show, BBR Group executive Jon Loba surprised Lynch with a plaque certifying cumulative streams in excess of one billion.
Opry member Trace Adkins surprised Lynch with an invitation to join the Opry last month. “We want people to be members of the Grand Ole Opry who will have a respect for this institution that it deserves, that it has earned for 92 years,” Adkins said before adding, “We think that Dustin Lynch is going to carry on in that proud tradition.”
An all-new CMT Hot 20 Countdown will highlight Lynch’s Opry Induction Sept. 22-23 at 9 a.m. ET.