Special Events

Chase McDaniel Makes His Grand Ole Opry Debut

Friday July 5, 2024

@ Grand Ole Opry House  in Nashville, TN

(Review Written By: Jeffrey Kurtis)

Nashville is built on the songwriting dreams of the music wanderers, the nomads who’ve discovered a place in the Athens of the South to settle down and call home. As such, there are pockets in every corner of the city that allow songwriters to cut their teeth, work their craft, and ultimately, to find out who they are through the story of their life they want to tell.

Nearly 99 years into its existence, and there’s still no bigger stage in country music than that of the Grand Ole Opry.

It’s the stage that’s never taken for granted.

It’s the pinnacle.

It’s mecca.

There’s something so special as you walk through the large wooden doors and underneath the gold lettering that spells out “GRAND OLE OPRY HOUSE,” a magical portal as you cross a threshold that holds you in the present moment while immediately transporting you back to when you were tuned into to WSM 650AM as a kid on the living room floor at grandma and grandpa’s house.

The storied history radiates the walls as the excited giddiness of the crowd huddles in the church pew seating, strangers becoming friends as they talk about where they’re visiting from, their favorite Opry memories, and the excitement of seeing the show live and in person.

The melting pot of the entire country music genre is represented on stage during this Friday night Opry, providing tradition to the very foundations with a sprinkling of gospel truth and a birds-eye view of what’s next.

A bluegrass flavor welcomed the crowd to Tennessee when Rhonda Vincent hit into “Rocky Top” as the red curtain raised to start the show, Connie Smith added a sassy kick to “If It Ain't Love (Let's Leave It Alone)”, The Isaacs saluted our great country with “American Face,” Vince Gill lifted a prayerful goodbye with “Go Rest High on That Mountain,” and Bill Anderson and Gary Mule Deer provided comedy relief with hearty laughter shared between them and the crowd.

Anytime that someone steps into that iconic wooden circle at the center of the stage, veteran or newcomer, it’s a surreal moment that instantly takes their breath away; even more so when it’s your debut on the most famous stage in country music.

Gazing the venue left to right, floor seats all the way up to the last row of the balcony, Big Machine Records recording artist Chase McDaniel soaked in the gravity of his debut from his viewpoint on the iconic stage as he navigated his way through his upcoming single “Heart Still Works,” fueling a rock edged blast of modern country into an evening otherwise laced with mostly classic country fare.

“I want to share my timeline with you tonight,” McDaniel said misty-eyed in between his two songs, clearly feeling the weight of the moment yet seamlessly embracing the aura as he took the crowd on a diary paged journey of his life’s trials and tribulations, loss and perseverance, all while graciously thanking his grandparents for inspiring him and motivating him to keep plugging away.

Fighting back the tears that rested on the cusp of falling as the entire audience rose to their feet with a deafening standing ovation, McDaniel paused with a gratitude filled heart, looked up to heaven, and briefly shook his head in overwhelming disbelief of pure joy before chiming back in amongst the swirling hoots and hollers.

“I’m sharing my story with you tonight not for the applause, but I do appreciate that so very much,” he humbly stated as he nodded his head slowly in a thank you like motion toward the crowd before then encouraging, “But if you’re here tonight and are struggling with addiction, depression, or just feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders….look at me tonight! I dare you to not give up!” he stamped with enthusiastic optimism amongst a sea of cheers as he closed with the very poignant, career-defining, “Your Daughter.”

During a post-performance interview with announcer Charlie Mattos, McDaniel took a breath for what seemed like the first time since he stepped out onto the stage, eliciting a smile the stretched cheek to cheek as he fully encompassed the bucket list checkmark that he just made on his resume.

The Grand Ole Opry is all about creating life changing moments, both for the artist and the audience, and Chase McDaniel stood strongly within his ten-minute spotlight and allowed his reach to captivate the packed house, not just through his expert song selection but with his story of overcoming.

It means everything to stand in that circle for your debut, an unexplainable feeling that puts you on level with the legends who came before you and paved the way.

However, it’s a whole other, spiritually induced type of moment when you can reach through the noise, grab hold of the fractured hearts across the crowd, and then become the binding string that begins to tie their broken pieces back together while leading their way toward healing redemption through your own testimony to tell.

Chase McDaniel stepped onto the stage, picked his perfect moment, and took hold of it with an unapologetic transparency that reverberated the waver in his voice as he became a shining light of hope, creating an incredible Opry moment that provided a snapshot of the responsibility that comes with playing on this hallowed stage.



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