Throughout the various trends, evolutions and alterations that country music has seen over the years, the Grand Ole Opry retains its position as one of the most sacred spaces in the genre.
To be invited to stand in the Opry's iconic ‘circle’ and perform for its audience is a pivotal moment in any artist's career, and it's one that Charles Wesley Godwin experienced on February 10.
The country prodigy played ‘Jesse’, a song taken from his acclaimed 2021 album, How The Mighty Fall.
‘Jesse’ was inspired by a name Wesley Godwin saw scrawled in red on an underpass, around which he built out the moving ode to a long-lost lover.
Alongside ‘Jesse’, Wesley Godwin also performed the title track from his debut album, ‘Seneca Creek’.
He explained that the song is told through the eyes of his grandfather, which made his Opry rendition of the track all the more special for him.
He outlined, “Tonight, I’m going to play a song called ‘Seneca Creek’. It’s told from the eyes of my grandfather.
One special thing about that tonight and why I’m choosing to play that the first time I’m ever at the Opry is because back in the 50s, years and years ago, they came to see Stoney Cooper and Wilma Lee, who were West Virginia natives and grew up just across the ridge from where they’re from, and they came to see them at the Opry, got to go back and catch up and visit with them.
It’s one of the best nights of their life because it’s one of the very few stories about a date night that I ever heard”.
Wesley Godwin went on to express how proud his grandparents would've been at the thought of him going on to make his Opry debut, “I doubt that they ever would have imagined all those years ago that their grandson would also get to step into that circle, that was at the Ryman at that time, and get to play some songs at the Grand Ole Opry”.
At the start of the year, Wesley Godwin announced via social media that he would be making his Grand Ole Opry debut alongside Lady A and Mark O'Connor.
The West Virginia songsmith's stock has been steadily rising over the last few years, with Wesley Godwin having independently put out two widely acclaimed albums, Seneca and How The Mighty Fall.
Wesley Godwin's folk-leaning, story-driven music has earned him a rapidly expanding army of listeners.
The invitation to perform at the Opry recognised the refreshing, alt-country sound that captured the attention of so many fans during his performances on tour with Zach Bryan in 2022.
Wesley Godwin features twice on Bryan's live album, All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster (Live From Red Rocks), while the duo also teamed up for a special episode of Bryan's Belting Bronco video series, during which Wesley Godwin performed a series of tracks from How The Mighty Fall, alongside an unreleased song.
Ahead of his Opry debut, Wesley Godwin shared an uptempo, driving rendition of Chris Knight's ‘The Jealous Kind’, which will feature on the West Virginia native's upcoming Live from the Church EP.
After his captivating Grand Ole Opry debut, Charles Wesley Godwin's fans will no doubt be expecting it to be his first performance of many at the legendary venue.
For more on Charles Wesley Godwin, see below: