Jamey Johnson officially inducted into the Grand Ole Opry

Many artists say that playing in the Grand Ole Opry, and especially being inducted as an official member, is something they have dreamed of since a young age. But when you see them standing in the sacred circle with a backwards baseball cap and a T-shirt, a tractor rapping on dirt roads, you’re not sure if you believe them or if that’s something what their manager told them to say.

But with Jamey Johnson, and especially with the way he’s become mainstream country’s number one torchbearer in recent years, whatever he says in the moment, you know it’s God’s honest truth.

“I don’t need to tell you what this moment means to me. I’ve been talking about this moment since I was a kid,” Jamey Johnson said during Saturday night’s presentation of the Grand Ole Opry (5-14), as Bill Anderson released a trophy officially commemorating Johnson’s induction into the Grand Ole Opry. “I am no longer a child. You can tell by the gray in the beard…I prayed for it everyday and hoped it would come.

The first time Jamey Johnson attended the Grand Ole Opry was in 1999 when he was in town for a job interview, and he watched legends like Bill Anderson, Little Jimmy Dickens and Porter Wagoner perform . When Johnson returned on September 10, 2005, it was to enter the Sacred Circle for the first time to make his Opry debut. 17 years later, on March 19, he was finally invited to become the 228th member of Opry by Bill Anderson.

On Saturday night, Bill Anderson and Jamey Johnson performed the song “Give It Away,” which they wrote together before Anderson presented Johnson with the induction honor. Next, Johnson launched into his signature song, “In Color.” Later in the presentation, Johnson sang the anthem “Near The Cross” with Ricky Skaggs, who celebrated his own Opry moment on the night marking his 40th anniversary as an Opry member. Johnson said “Near The Cross” was the first song he ever learned to play and was taught to him by his father.

“I know exactly how Jamey feels tonight; that was me 40 years ago,” Skaggs said. “I want to thank my precious wife Sharon and the white people for being here. We can’t do this without family.

When Jamey Johnson made his first Grand Ole Opry appearance, his daughter was just one year old. Now, Johnson will be celebrating her high school graduation next week. The evening was full of full-circle moments, and that’s what makes the moments at the Grand Ole Opry so much more meaningful.

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