Standing within the iconic Opry circle, the “In Color” singer was surprised with an invitation to join the sacred institution from Opry member Bill Anderson on Saturday evening (March 19).
It was a full-circle moment as Anderson introduced Johnson to the Opry stage when he made his debut 17 years ago.
After reflecting on Johnson’s guest appearances over the years, Anderson shocked Johnson with the invitation of a lifetime.
“You have made a lot of guest appearances, but the management and the staff and the people at the Opry tonight told me to tell you that this is going to be your last guest appearance,” Anderson told Johnson, who quickly became overcome with emotion.
“I’ve been kicked out of a whole lot of places in my life,” Johnson joked, as Anderson replied, “well you can add this to the list because you’re not going to be a guest anymore, the next time Jamey Johnson’s on this stage, he’s going to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry cast and family.”
Johnson earned a standing ovation from the packed Opry house as fans in attendance erupted with cheers and applause.
“I don’t know what to say except the obvious, I love country music. I [would have] never moved here if it hadn’t been for country music, if it hadn’t been for the Grand Ole Opry keeping it alive all these years,” the Alabama native shared. “If it hadn’t been for fans like y’all listening to what we do, thank you. I love you, thank you so much.”
The Opry took to social media immediately following his invitation to celebrate the news.
“BREAKING: @whisperinbillanderson has just invited @jameyjohnsonofficial to be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry!” the Opry wrote.
Several artists congratulated Johnson in the comment of their post, including Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, Maggie Rose, Chuck Wicks, Jake Hoot, Mandy Barnett, Joe Bonamassa, Alyssa Bonagura, Jessie James Decker, Mark Wills, Rhonda Vincent, Terri Clark, Jeannie Seely, Runaway June’s Natalie Stovall, among many others.
Anderson closed by telling Johnson, “The Opry’s going to be a better place because you’re a part of it.” Johnson then wrapped up the set with a solo performance of his song “In Color.”
An induction date for Johnson will be announced soon. Tickets for all 2022 Opry performances are on sale now.