Darius Rucker Becomes the Grand Ole Opry’s Newest Member
Darius Rucker is officially the Grand Ole Opry's newest member. The 'True Believers' singer was inducted into the iconic country music institution during a Tuesday night (Oct. 16) Opry performance before a packed crowd of family, fans and industry friends.
Vince Gill and Opry general manager Pete Fisher were on hand to welcome Rucker into the Opry family. "This is about a proud a thing that I have in my house," Gill said, referring to the statues made of wood from the Ryman Auditorium that are given to each new Grand Ole Opry member. "This represents the entire history of this music. 87 years this show has been on the air, country music going worldwide."
He continued, "I don't think there is a more beloved guy in our music than you. You will find this place right here to be one of the greatest homes you'll ever have."
A slew of artists filmed congratulations videos for Rucker, which were shown throughout the evening. The clips included well-wishes from Ricky Skaggs, Radney Foster, Jason Aldean, bluegrass artist Sam Bush, Charlie Daniels, Rascal Flatts, golf legend Tiger Woods and Brad Paisley, Rucker's recent tourmate who also issued his invitation to become a member of the famed institution. Rucker told press members prior to the event that Carrie Underwood left a bottle of wine and a congratulations backstage for him.
"When I started this a few years ago, Brad and I were produced by the same guy. The two people who were really my champions were Brad and Vince," Rucker said of having Paisley and Gill be part of his big night. "Vince had heard a lot of [Rucker's debut album, 'Learn To Live'] and was telling everybody how great it was and it's just wild to me now, four or five years later here I am getting inducted into the Opry and those two guys were a big part of that."
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the evening was the two unexpected guests to the Opry stage. Keith Urban and NFL star Dan Marino both made unannounced appearances to support Rucker's induction. Urban is himself a new member of the Grand Ole Opry, having been inducted in April.
"Thank you so much for letting me into your world, accepting what I do, and now I'm a member of the Opry," Rucker told Opry crowd before performing his first song as an Opry member, his first single 'Don't Think I Don't Think About It.'
"I was sitting here in rehearsals today and there was nobody in here and I looked up in the stands and I thought to myself, 'Somewhere in those stands my mom is looking at me,' and it just blew me away,'" he continued. "This is a labor of love for me. I love country music."