Country-rap trailblazer Jelly Roll took to the Grand Ole Opry's hallowed stage on Wednesday night, alongside a crop of other rising talent and seasoned artists, including Brit Taylor, Carter Faith, Drew Parker, Old Crow Medicine Show, Rhonda Vincent and more.
Marking his fourth appearance in the iconic circle, Jelly Roll kicked off his closing slot with his current single at country radio, "Need A Favor," which quickly set the tone for the Opry crowd who by the end of the set were up and on their feet.
The rising star welcomed the crowd, taking a moment to look back at his journey since his Opry debut in November of 2021.
"This is my fourth time being able to stand in the legendary, sacred circle of the Grand Ole Opry tonight, y'all,” he noted. “Before we even took [‘Son Of A Sinner’] to country radio, the first place I ever got to sing it was right here".
“I make real music for real people with real problems”, Jelly Roll continued, earning an affirming roar from the crowd. “I believe that music can heal, I believe that music can help, I believe that music can be there for us in the darkest moments of our lives.” He added, “Because of y'all and the power of music, this was my first No. 1 [at country radio]. My name is Jelly Roll and this song is called 'Son of a Sinner'".
Delivering a moving performance of his record-breaking country chart-topper, the crowd screamed every word back to the Tennessee native.
While noting that it was his first time getting to close out the Grand Ole Opry show, Jelly Roll explained that he got to sing an extra song, to which several audience members took it upon themselves to request his standout track ‘Save Me’.
Jelly Roll was happy to oblige, explaining some of the backstory for the 2020, Platinum-certified single. It served as a particularly interesting song-choice, given the fact that Jelly Roll recently teased a revamped version of ‘Save Me’ featuring Lainey Wilson, which is due to appear on his upcoming album, Whitsitt Chapel.
"This song changed my life. This song is about fighting the constant battle with yourself,” Jelly Roll shared. “I'm one of those people who decided early in life that I was going to run towards my demons instead of away from them. I don't know if y'all know but you can probably tell by looking at me that I took the scenic route to get here on this stage tonight,” he quipped with the crowd.
“I've been in a little more trouble than I care to share, but God can help you overcome anything. That's why this is the fourth time I've played the Grand Ole Opry!”
Throughout his three-song set, Jelly Roll easily commanded the eager crowd. However, the energy shifted during ‘Save Me’ as the audience whipped out their phone flashlights, making for an extra special moment in the Opry house.
"Grand Ole Opry, I love y'all so much," the country-rap rocker screamed as he reluctantly made his way offstage. "Thank you for letting me live my dream one more time in this legendary circle!"
Jelly Roll is currently gearing up for another busy year, as he prepares for the highly anticipated release of his debut country album, Whitsitt Chapel, on June 2 through BMG/Stoney Creek Records.
In addition to the record, which is set to feature collaborations with Lainey Wilson, Brantley Gilbert and Struggle Jennings, Jelly Roll will also embark on his 44-city Backroad Baptism Tour at the end of July.
You can find the full Grand Ole Opry 2023 schedule so far here.
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