Luke Combs was reduced to tears on Tues., June 11, 2019 after peers Chris Janson and Craig Morgan and the legendary John Conlee invited the "Beer Never Broke My Heart" singer to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Combs could hardly get out a word after the grand reveal, aside from "Holy cow!" and "Are you serious? Because if you're not serious, that'd be really mean." Thankfully, the Opry brass accepted one of those as a yes.
It was a genuine show of emotion from a lifelong country music fan with memories of riding from his native North Carolina to Nashville to see his honky-tonk heroes at The Ryman Auditorium and the Opry House.
"To me, it's the pinnacle of achievement in the genre," Combs told Rolling Stone Country. "The sold-out shows are unbelievable and the Number One songs are unbelievable, but this is Number One career stuff -- this and getting engaged are one and two."
The invite and subsequent July 16, 2019 induction fulfilled a goal Combs set for himself in 2016 after making his Opry debut.
Combs was 29-years-old at the time of his induction, making him the second youngest Opry member behind prior inductee Kelsea Ballerini. If the Opry wants younger people on stage and in the audience, Combs is an ideal choice. Old souls with a reverence for Opry tradition can't rationally dismiss him as "pop," while radio listeners view him as a major player in modern country music.
The announcement capped off a busy six days for Combs. Around the same time in 2019, he unveiled his own pair of Crocs and a new EP, The Prequel. How wild is it to consider that just a year ago, What You See is What You Get wasn't even on the radar? And we certainly couldn't have grasped "Six Feet Apart" back then.
On that note, things have changed even more drastically for the Grand Ole Opry. To keep its streak of consecutive Saturday night broadcasts intact, the show that made WSM and country music famous currently hosts concerts without live audiences thanks to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. How lucky are we that Combs' Opry induction didn't come a year later, which would have robbed us of the crowd's reaction to his tearful acceptance of a roster spot?