Gene Watson Receives Grand Ole Opry Member Invitation from Vince Gill: January 2020

On Friday 17 January 2020, Gene Watson received an invitation, from Vince Gill, to join The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, as the next official member

Photo Credit
Chris Hollo for Grand Ole Opry

On the night of Friday 17 January 2020, Gene Watson received a long-overdue invitation to finally join the Grand Ole Opry as the next official member.

On Friday 17 January 2020, Gene Watson received an invitation, from Vince Gill, to join The Grand Ole Opry as the next official member

The 76-year-old from Palestine, Texas was surprised by Vince Gill, who is one of the Grand Ole Opry’s favourite couriers of formal invitations.

After performing a song, Vince Gill invited Gene Watson out on stage unexpectedly.  ‘I’ve got a little bit of a cold and not feeling too good, and they’ve got me down for two more songs, but I’d love to give you one of those songs.  I’ll make you a deal.  I’m a wheeler-dealer guy.  If you do ‘Farewell Party’, we’ll invite you to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry’.

Of course, Gene Watson accepted, and looked genuinely surprised, elated and emotional.

After catching his breath and receiving a standing ovation, Gene Watson said, ‘In 2019, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the release of this song.  And, after 40 years, it’s still the most requested song.  And then you pull this on me, I’m not sure I’ve got anything left’.

The invitation to Gene Watson to become the newest member of The Grand Ole Opry is a win for fans of traditional country music.

Gene Watson has waited a long time to be invited to be a member of The Grand Ole Opry, but now his time is finally here.

Watch the moment Vince Gill invites Gene Watson to become the newest member of The Grand Ole Opry:
Grand Ole Opry –

Sean Brady with Gene Watson in Armagh, Northern Ireland, on Tuesday 15 October 2013

Sean Brady’s thoughts!

‘At Last! (isn’t that a Gene Watson album title!)

On Friday 17 January 2020, Vince Gill invited Gene Watson to become the newest member of The Grand Ole Opry.

This honor is long overdue.

I’m so pleased and delighted that the powers that be have seen fit to invite Gene Watson to become the newest member of The Grand Ole Opry.

As the instigator, in September 2004, of Gene Watson’s Ireland-based, and approved, Fan Site, I am ecstatic!

Here’s wishing Gene Watson further success in all he does!  Congratulations, Gene!’

Gene Watson Fan Site –

Adkins Publicity, Nashville

Here is the official press release, which was issued by Adkins Publicity in Nashville, on Friday 17 January 2020:

‘Gene Watson Invited to Join The Grand Ole Opry – Opry Member Vince Gill Surprises Watson During Friday Night Show

Nashville, Tennessee
Country music legend Gene Watson was surprised on stage at the Ryman Auditorium during the Grand Ole Opry tonight by Opry member Vince Gill with an invitation to become an official Opry member.  Watson, whose hits, including ‘Fourteen Carat Mind‘ and ‘Farewell Party‘, have become country standards, made his Opry debut 55 years ago at age 21 on the Ryman stage.

‘He’s one of the greatest country singers that’s walked the earth’, Vince Gill said, introducing Watson on stage to perform.  After Watson performed ‘Sometimes I Get Lucky & Forget‘ and ‘Nothing Sure Looked Good On You‘, Vince Gill asked, ‘Would you mind singing ‘Farewell Party’?  The Opry told me if you would, you could be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry’.

A nearly speechless Gene replied, ‘I’m not sure I have anything left after that kind of surprise’, and then gave an outstanding performance that kept the sold-out crowd on its feet.

‘The Opry strives to showcase an array of musical styles in every show’, said Dan Rogers, Vice President and Executive Producer, Grand Ole Opry.

‘When Gene Watson steps onto the Opry stage, fans know they are going to hear one of the most respected traditional country singers of all time.  For years, we’ve watched him wow audiences in the crowd and fellow artists backstage.  He’s been committed to the Opry for decades, and we look forward to him becoming an official member of the family.  Plus, when all is said and done, you just can’t beat that last note of ‘Farewell Party‘.

About Gene Watson
This masterful country stylist from Houston, Texas has been thrilling audiences for more than 50 years.

Gene Watson’s tally of 75 charted titles, 23 Top 10 hits, six No.1 country records and three No.1 gospel hits has led to membership in the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame and the Houston, Texas Music Hall of Fame.

Radio listeners are still transfixed whenever classics like ‘Farewell Party‘, ‘Fourteen Carat Mind‘ or ‘Love in The Hot Afternoon‘ are played.

Considered one of the finest pure-country singers of his generation and known as ‘The Singer’s Singer’, Watson offers up one of the best traditional country shows in the business.

About The Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is presented by Humana.  Opry performances are held every Friday and Saturday of the year, with Tuesday night shows February through December, plus seasonal Wednesday shows and Thursday Opry Country Classics performances.

To plan an Opry visit, call (800) SEE-OPRY or visit

The Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville.  Celebrating nine decades of entertainment, the Opry can be heard at and, Opry and WSM mobile apps, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM.

The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties; for more information, visit

Gene Watson Media Contacts
Scott Adkins and Kelli Wasilauski

Gene Watson Management Contact
Sarah Brosmer

Gene Watson Booking Contact
Rob Battle

Grand Ole Opry Media Contacts
Jessie Schmidt and Dixie Owen