On Scotty McCreery Receiving a Grand Ole Opry Invitation

photo: Jeff Ray

Scotty McCreery will be the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry. Surprised on stage Sunday evening, December 3rd, Garth Brooks did the honor by coming out on stage and handing McCreery a gift box. No, it was not Garth’s recent exclusive box set so unlike so many country fans, McCreery could finally hear Garth’s new album Time Traveler.

“This is a Christmas present to the Grand Ole Opry,” Garth said. “We would love to invite you to be the newest member of the Opry.”

“Holy cow. Yes, I would love to,” was McCreery’s response. “When I got started doing this people asked, ‘what are your goals?’ And I’d say ‘one day I’d like to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.’” Then McCreery bent down and touched the circle of wood in the Opry’s center stage where so many of his heroes and peers have stood.

Scotty McCreery is a complex character to regard in country music. Starting his career as a 17-year-old American Idol winner who was a spitting image for Alfred E. Neuman of Mad Magazine, McCreery was easily cast off by some as a young singing competition star as opposed to a more meaningful artist. But in the dozen years since, McCreery has shown a consistency as one of the more traditional country performers in the mainstream, despite some single choices that might mischaracterize his catalog overall.

It was during his initial run on American Idol where Scotty McCreery showcased his true country music influences, performing songs from the likes of George Strait, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, and John Michael Montgomery as opposed to covering the more contemporary country performers of the time. His recent single “Damn Strait” proved those influences never wavered, even if the song can’t live up to the Mike and the Moonpies version of the idea.

Unlike some of mainstream country’s boilerplate stars, McCreery has kept a strong and devoted fan base throughout his career by staying true to the style and sound he developed for himself. And in an era when actual singing ability seems to be secondary, McCreery showcases an above average range that can reach into the bass register, making him one of contemporary country’s most gifted singers.

What’s also been curious about the Scotty McCreery career is how quietly successful he’s been while awards shows and the rest of the mainstream seem to ignore his impact. Over the last dozen years he’s secured three #1 albums, five #1 singles, had four singles go Gold and six go Platinum, including the 3X Platinum “Five More Minutes” from 2017.

Though other names may have made for more buzzy or more deserved Opry invitees, it feels like worthy recognition for McCreery who clearly wanted it, and will take the honor seriously.

Scotty McCreery will be formally inducted into the Grand Ole Opry on a future date. You can watch the invitation here.

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