After more than a decade as one of the format’s top acts, Rascal Flatts has received one of country music’s most prestigious honors: an invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry.
Oklahoma native Vince Gill surprised the contemporary country trio, which includes Picher-bred guitarist Joe Don Rooney, with the news Tuesday night during the group’s Opry performance. Check out the video here.
Rascal Flatts — Rooney, singer Gary LeVox and bassist Jay DeMarcus — had just finished playing their signature smash “God Bless the Broken Road” when longtime Opry member Gill snuck onto the stage, prompting Rooney to joke, “I got a new guitar tech, by the way, guys.”
An avid golfer, Gill initially pretended that he was there to collect $500 the trio owed him after placing a friendly wager on a golf game last week. After ribbing them for a few minutes, Gill extended the Opry invitation, which had all three band members in tears.
After the announcement, the band asked Gill to play an impromptu collaboration of his hit “Whenever You Come Around.”
Rascal Flatts will be formally inducted Oct. 8 during the Opry’s 86th birthday celebration. The show will air live at 8 p.m. Oct. 8 on Great American Country cable channel.
On Oct. 16, the band will play a home state concert for Rooney at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville. For more information, go to www.winstarworldcasino.com.
To read my full report on Rascal Flatts’ surprise invitation to join the Grand Ole Opry, click here.