Monday, June 13, 2022
– Musician Charlie McCoy and songwriter Don Schiltz will be the newest members of the Grand Ole Opry.
Vince Gill invited McCoy and Schiltz to join the Opry on Saturday night.
Both artists are members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, and each will be officially inducted into the Opry later this summer. The invitations marked the first time the Opry has invited two entertainers to each become Opry members in a single evening since it has become customary to make the surprise invitations in public.
Among the recordings on which McCoy has played are "The Boxer," "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "Orange Blossom Special," and "I Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool." Schlitz, meanwhile, has written or co-written some of country's biggest hits of the last half-century, including "The Gambler," "Forever and Ever, Amen," "When You Say Nothing At All," and "On The Other Hand."
After McCoy finished his three-song set with "Orange Blossom Special," Gill took the stage and made his invitation. "I've had so many amazing things happen," McCoy said, "but I want to tell you what-- this is the icing on the cake. I cannot thank everyone enough for this honor. I am blown away. Thank you."
Later in the evening Gill sat in on Schlitz' set, accompanying him on acoustic guitar on "The Gambler" and "When You Say Nothing At All" before acknowledging McCoy's earlier invitation and saying the Opry was also asking Schlitz to become a member. Overcome, Schlitz said "I'm gonna be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. Can I bring my songs with me?" He later added "Like Charlie said, 'This is the icing.'" Schlitz and Gill, friends for almost 40 years, rounded out Schlitz' set with "Forever and Ever, Amen."
"It is not an exaggeration at all to say Charlie McCoy has played on the soundtrack to almost every country music fan's life and that Don Schlitz has written at least a portion of each of those soundtracks," Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers said. "Every time Charlie or Don plays the Opry, each showcase something incredibly special about the Opry and our hometown of Nashville."
Predominately known as a harmonica player, McCoy also plays guitar, bass, mallet percussions and keyboards. He's played on records for artists like Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, George Jones, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Elvis Presley, and Simon and Garfunkel. His discography also includes more than three dozen albums of his own released over the past four decades. McCoy was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009.
Schiltz's song were recorded by Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, The Judds, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tanya Tucker, Keith Whitley and Alison Krauss. He holds numerous Song of The Year awards, was named ASCAP's Country Songwriter of the Year four-consecutive years, is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York and the Country Music Hall of Fame. With 50 Top Ten hits, 24 of those were number one songs.
Don's hits include "On the Other Hand," "Forever and Ever, Amen," "Deeper Than the Holler," and "Heroes and Friends" (Randy Travis); "He Thinks He'll Keep Here," "I Feel Lucky," "I Take My Chances" (Mary Chapin Carpenter); "When You Say Nothing at All" (Keith Whitley and Krauss); "Learning to Live Again," (Garth Brooks); "Houston Solution" (Ronnie Milsap); "Rockin' With the Rhythm of the Rain," "Turn Me Loose," "I Know Where I'm Going" (The Judds); "One Promise Too Late" (Reba McEntire); "Forty Hour Week" (Alabama); "If You Can Do Anything Else" (George Strait); "Give Me Wings" (Michael Johnson); "Strong Enough to Bend," "My Arms Stay Open All Night," "I Won't Take Less Than Your Love" (Tanya Tucker); "The Gambler," "The Greatest" (Kenny Rogers), "You Can't Make Old Friends" (Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton); and "Stand a Little Rain," "When It's Gone," "I Love Only You" (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band).