(Photo: Chris Hollo)
This past weekend, one of country music's most exclusive clubs added one more name to the list with the induction of Keith Urban into the cast of the Grand Ole Opry Saturday. After performing his hits "Days Go By" and "Without You" for the capacity crowd, Trace Adkins presented the singer with the Opry Member Award, making his induction official.
"Thank you very much! Yee haw! That is awesome!" Urban began. After thanking the Opry's members, his parents (who "got me into country music and drove me around to all the gigs"), his wife and daughters, and his fans, among many others, the superstar born in New Zealand and raised in Australia continued, "it's a long way from Caboolture [Queensland, Australia] to the stage here at the Grand Ole Opry … and to stand in this circle is the most phenomenal thing. I just want to thank the Opry for this honor, but also the responsibility. This is a responsibility that I take deep to the heart of me. …This once and for all shows the global popularity and reach of country music. … I honor the history of country music, but I absolutely fully dedicate myself to the future of country music, as well. God bless you all," he said.
On the second show, hosted by longtime Opry veteran Jeannie Seely, Urban was surprised by Vince Gill, who came out in the middle of his set. It was Vince who extended the invitation to Keith to join the show's cast on April 10 at the "All For The Hall" concert at Music City's Bridgestone Arena that benefits the Country Music Hall of Fame. Urban tipped his hat to Gill by performing his 1994 top ten hit "Whenever You Come Around," before closing out the night of music.
After the induction Urban added his name plaque to the Member Gallery backstage at the Opry by using a pocketknife given to him by Opry member Marty Stuart. Later during an after-show reception, Urban used the same knife to cut the Fender-shaped guitar cake. Urban quipped, "I just got this knife tonight and already I've used it to screw in a plaque and cut a cake."
The induction aired on the sneak-peek episode of "Noteworthy at the Opry" on GAC: Great American Country. The show will re-air Wed., April 25, 9:00 p.m. ET; and Thurs., April 26, 1:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. ET. The 16-episode series will return late next month featuring musical performances and personal stories from the top acts in country music plus interviews with other celebrities about the artists and music featured in each episode. "Noteworthy at the Opry" is sponsored by Dish Network.
To continue the celebration, fans can visit Keith Urban on Facebook and share their favorite moments from his career for a chance to win a Nashville experience including visits to some of the Music City places Urban loves most including the Opry, the Ryman Auditorium, Bluebird Café, a favorite restaurant, and more.