Garth Brooks Inducts Chris Janson Into the Grand Ole Opry Family [WATCH]
An emotional Chris Janson officially became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in a special ceremony on Tuesday evening (March 20), to induct the "Buy Me a Boat" singer as the newest -- and youngest -- member of the family. Legendary country star and Opry member Garth Brooks made a surprise appearance onstage to do the honors. Readers can press play above to see Janson receive his membership award.
"Driving in here, I passed a billboard ... that says, 'Welcome to the family,'" Brooks commented onstage before presenting Janson with the award. "Family's a great name for this place. Another great name I heard for this place is church.
"Because any time you are at your lowest, these people are going to be there for you, and they expect the same out of you, and they'll get the same out of you," Brooks continued. "I will tell you this: This will be, no matter how many times you look back at it, this will be the greatest night of your musical career. It was mine. I got to stand right here, and all I know to do is pass it down."
"How do you not cry on a night like this?" Janson said with a laugh (and through some happy tears) as he began to address the crowd. The country star took time to thank Brooks, his wife and kids (who joined him onstage during his remarks), and everyone who had had a hand in leading him to this milestone.
"I don't know anything other than country music," he explained. "I really love it that much. Where I started, at Tootsie's downtown -- at that little honky-tonk downtown -- 13 years ago. I just remember watching Marty Stuart and multiple Opry stars going into the Ryman and thinking, 'Dang, man. I just want to go there, and I just want to do that.' I gotta tell you, I have two dreams that came true. One was getting on the radio and one was getting to the Opry."
In a press conference in advance of the show, Janson elaborated on what the Opry, and being a part of its community, means to him: "This is where country music famously started, and when the world ends, this is where it'll end, too," he said. "It's important to not only wave the flag of [the Opry] but also to carry the ... torch. To me, it is so much more than just coming to play. It's about the heritage and the history of it. People before us paved the way for artists and songwriters like myself, and they afford us the luxury to do that. It means an awful lot."
Janson received his surprise invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry from friend and fellow Opry member Keith Urban live onstage at a show at the Ryman on Feb. 5, following a performance of John Montgomery's "Sold." The country star achieved his breakthrough performance as an artist with the 2015 hit "Buy Me a Boat," but he has been well-known as a songwriter for over a decade, penning hits for Tim McGraw, LoCash and many others.
The Grand Ole Opry Through the Years