Chris Young checked more milestones off his bucket list Tuesday night (Aug. 29) at the Grand Ole Opry, with a triple celebration.
The highlight of the evening came when Young was surprised onstage by his “Sober Saturday Night” collaborator Vince Gill, who asked Young to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry. Young made his Opry debut in 2006. His formal induction will take place Oct. 17, just days before the release of his seventh album, Losing Sleep.
“I love playing on that record and it was fun, but I heard about all that money you raised for Texas,” Gill said, referring to the GoFundMe account that Young recently set up to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey. “Good hearted boy, but I never got paid for that session,” Gill said jokingly, “and I’m still five years away from social security. I tell you what. I’ll make you a deal. I’ll forgive the session fees if you’ll become a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Young gave Gill a bear hug as the audience offered a standing ovation.
“You are getting triple scale at this point,” Young replied. “I was standing backstage wondering why you were making me [perform] last?”
“Now you know,” Gill quipped. “So will you?”
“Yes, 100 percent,” said Young.
Before his Grand Ole Opry set, Young checked off another bucket list item, earning his first platinum album with the news that his 2011 album Neon has been certified platinum by the RIAA. He also received plaques honoring the success of his radio singles “Think Of You” (RIAA certified Platinum) and “Sober Saturday Night” (RIAA certified Gold), which brings Young to a total of 16 gold and platinum certifications.
Earlier in the evening, Young celebrated his most recent chart-topper, “Sober Saturday Night,” with a No. 1 party backstage at the Opry with his co-writers Brad and Brett Warren, as well as with Gill, who provided harmonies and guitar work on the track.
BMI’s Bradley Collins, Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson, Young’s “Sober Saturday Night” producer Corey Crowder, Young’s manager Larry Fitzgerald, RCA Nashville’s Sr. VP/Promotion Dennis Reese, and more gathered to celebrate the chart-topping single.
“I set out all these years ago to be a supporter,” said Gill, “I wanted to be one of those guys you read about on the back of a record jacket, or played a guitar part or harmony part. Over the past 42 years now, I’m at about 1,000 artists’ records that I’ve had the privilege of getting to contribute. These are some great guys and I’m glad to be included. I got to strap on a loud guitar and play a solo and sing the high parts that were too high for Chris.”
“That’s true,” Young quipped.
“Getting to work with Corey has been such a cool thing for both of us, but especially for me because we see eye to eye in the studio. We both have the same vision and someone who is as talented as he is is very special to get to work with.
“Brad and Brett, thank you for even getting in a room with me. It was an honor to write that song together. I remember when I got Vince on the song, I called both of you guys and you were like, ‘We’re on the Row,’ and you came over and we sat in the truck and I played you the first early cut of it.”
Young also gave props to Sony/ATV’s Troy Tomlinson, whose response to first hearing “Sober Saturday Night” proved prophetic.
“Troy Tomlinson, when I sat in the room with you and played you some music off the new record. When I played this song, he said, ‘Hang on a second.’ He took stationary out of his desk, wrote a note, put it in and envelope, seals it and says, ‘Don’t open this until it’s a single.’ I put it in my truck. My truck had to go int he shop and I left it there because I had been gone touring. The song went No. 1 so I got my truck an I opened it and it’s him going, ‘This is undoubtedly a No. 1 song. There is no doubt in my mind, so I hope when you open this we get to celebrate together.'”
And celebrate they did last night, with Young as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.
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