Lady A is a Bad Pick as New Grand Ole Opry Member

Sorry Jamey Johnson. Sorry Elizabeth Cook. Sorry Miranda Lambert. Sorry Carly Pearce and Charles Esten, who continue to be some of the most frequent Opry performers who haven’t received membership yet. Sorry cool up-and-coming names like Billy Strings that could be the shot of youth and roots that the Grand Ole Opry needs, or a host of other performers that seem to be ripe for the picking.

Instead, who do we get as the next members of country music’s most hallowed institution? That’s right, the sanguine and vapid Lady A, who make the latest stop on their recent rehabilitation tour by becoming the newest Grand Ole Opry members.

Lady A was caught by surprise Thursday (1-21) while taping a performance for an upcoming primetime special on NBC celebrating 95 years of the Opry. Darius Rucker extended the invitation to Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood on the Opry stage, and apparently the membership is effective immediately as opposed to waiting a few weeks to be formally inducted as is normal. Yes, I’m sure it all made for great theater for the cameras, and will give folks a reason to watch the NBC special when it airs February 14th.

Let’s just appreciate that in 2015, this was an act that went on hiatus because as they admitted themselves, the magic was lost, sales were lagging, and singles were flopping. Since then things have not fared much better, with their first single of 2020 “What I’m Leaving For” stalling at #39.

Recently though, the empty calories of Lady A’s latest song “Champagne Night” actually made it to #1—conveniently when the media was adjourned for the Holidays, and charts were only being published by a skeleton crew, sparing the embarrassment for country since last year Lady A made quite a stir when they changed their name from Lady Antebellum, pissing off both the anti PC crowd for giving in, and then the woke mob by taking the name of a blues singer from the Pacific Northwest.

In truth, the kerfuffle (which is still ongoing) probably shouldn’t be considered some massive stain on their career. Lady A tried to do the right thing by changing their name, and they already had a trademark on the books for some 10 years for the abbreviated term. But they failed to do proper vetting, and overshadowing a black woman was too juicy of a cause celebre for the circling media not to strike on. Lady A also fumbled the response, suing the poor woman preemptively. I mean, what did she do wrong?

No matter what you think about that situation, selecting Lady A for Opry induction at this point with that public relations circus hanging over their heads is certainly not reading the room right. Why test those waters, and bring such unnessessary heat on yourself as an institution when there are so many better options for Opry induction out there?

You can’t win them all, and we did get Gene Watson in as the last Opry member in early 2020, so I guess we were about due for a disappointment. I just wish it was someone country music could be proud of, as opposed to an adult contemporary act nearing the end of their relevancy with a high-profile race-based scandal still resting on their shoulders. Oh, but Darius Rucker was the one that invited them to join, so we’re all cool, right black people?

Seriously Opry, Jamey Johnson, or someone similar next time. Let’s get this done.

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