The Grand Ole Opry brings country music legends like Bill Anderson and Jimmy Dickens, today’s superstars like Carrie Underwood and Blake Shelton, and up-and-coming artists together on one stage creating unforgettable shows every week. Into The Circle introduces the newest Opry performers as they make their Grand Ole Opry debut and step into the circle for the first time.
Josh Abbott Band
“I told someone, ‘It’s really overwhelming but in the best way,” Josh Abbott told theboot.com. “There’s all this lure to the place, and tradition. As soon as we get there, you’re filming stuff for the Opry show. Then you’re doing an interview. At the same time you’re trying to soak in the quotes on the walls and pictures. The next thing you know, especially since we played early on, they’re like, ‘You’re up.’ I haven’t even had a chance to sit down and soak it in that I’m about to do this, until you literally get out there. The second I finally got to think, ‘OK, I’m at the Opry,’ I was in the spotlight.”
Texas-native Josh Abbott Band made their Opry debut on April 17. While the entire band was honored, the fiddle player, Preston Wait got to check off one of the top items on his bucket list.
“Growing up as a kid, it was one of those things where every now and then, my parents and I would watch the Opry,” Josh says. “But for our fiddle player, Preston, it was a religious experience for him. It was something they did every week. He and his parents did not miss the Opry. His dad would point out great fiddle playing and say ‘you need to learn to play like that.’ Preston at an early age just adored the Opry. I would say it’s a number one number two thing on his bucket list to do. So, tonight, to see him check that off and for him to get to step onto that stage, I get chocked up just talking about it. It’s going to be really cool.”
And as if Opry debut didn’t make it an exciting month, the band also just released their third studio album.
“This new release is called Small Town Family Dream, it’s our third full album release,” Josh says. “It’s really geared more toward the farmers, the ranchers and the small town citizens of our country – more specifically Texas, the Midwest, Southeast. It’s not only an album that they’ll relate to, but they’ll appreciate it.”
“I’ve always dreamed of playing the Opry,” Greg Bates says. “Just to stand in that famous circle where so many legends before me have performed was an absolutely amazing experience.”
Greg was born and raised in Nashville, so many of his friends and family were able to be in the crowd for his Opry debut last weekend (April 27). Being a TN-native, it makes sense that he grew up listening to the legends, and would want to sing and write country music. Top influences for his career and dreams include Alan Jackson, George Strait, and Dwight Yoakam.
His debut album is expected by the end of this year, including his first single “Did It For The Girl.” On the week of it’s release, the single was the most added radio song with 29 adds, which landed him right behind the newest Opry member, Keith Urban.
Stay tuned f0r more from this new artist!
With the release of his 2011 EP, Volume Up, Windows Down, George Ducas brought his music back home to Texas. He now hits the ground running with a new single, “This One’s Gonna Hurt,” now rising on the Texas charts and hints at a 2012 EP release. Since first emerging as a deep-rooted country artist with contemporary appeal in the mid-to-late 1990s, he’s had hits as both a Nashville major label artist and songwriter. But his musical heart and soul reside in the honky-tonks, roadhouses, and dancehalls of his native Lone Star State.
Now, he’s added the Grand Ole Opry to that list as he made his Opry debut on April 28.
“It was time for me to take the bull by the horns and do things my own way,” he says as he moves into the next chapter of an already successful musical career, this time as an independent artist. “I consider myself very much a singer and songwriter with the emphasis on performing. And being out there playing for people is the part I really missed.”
@opry Lookin’ forward to sharing your stage Saturday night! Humbled and honored!
— George Ducas (@George_Ducas) April 27, 2012
Tyler Farr also made his way into the circle for the first time last weekend (April 28).
“One of the most influential experiences in my life was the first time I went to the Opry,” Tyler says. “What made it so special is that I was backstage with my stepfather standing next to George Jones. As he sang “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” my arms filled with goosebumps. It was then that I knew the Grand Ole Opry was the heart and soul of country music.”
Tyler was born and raised in Garden City, Missouri, and was first introduced to country music when he spent a summer on the road with his stepfather, who played lead guitar for George Jones. He grew to love country music, and eventually decided to make the move to Nashville to pursue a career as an artist. After writing with some of the best songwriters in Nashville, he eventually landed a publishing deal with Sony ATV/Monument Publishing, and it was that connection that ultimately helped him land his recording contract on BNA Records.