On December 7th, 2023, celebrated newcomer Wyatt Flores opened for Charles Wesley Godwin at the historic Ryman Auditorium for a trio of sold-out shows.
As Flores ended his set on night one, thunderous applause and roaring cheers filled the room. Caught in the magic of the moment, Flores expressed his gratitude towards the fans and announced his coveted Opry debut would be coming at the top of 2024.
Fast forward a month to a frigid Saturday night in the icy tundra of Nashville, Flores stepped into the magical circle in front of a packed Grand Ole Opry House on January 20.
Flores was the second act to take the stage, with Opry member Jeannie Seely filling her usual spot at the top of the bill and welcoming the crowd to one of the greatest shows on earth.
The Tulsa tunesmith didn’t say a word before starting his 2-song set, but he was visibly emotional from the first few seconds on.
He opened with ‘Milwaukee’, an unreleased song set to drop on Friday (January 26). Crooning about an ex leaving him on the cold streets of the Wisconsin city, the song explains that he couldn’t find the right words to make her stay.
After the song’s close and a rousing response from the audience, Flores shared his first words of the night, giving thanks to the Opry and some of the special people in his life who have supported him along the way.
“[I’m] very thankful that the Opry has invited us out here. This is an amazing experience and I'm still in disbelief that I'm getting this opportunity,” he said fighting back tears. “I'd like to thank my family – my mom, dad, sister and grandma – for being here and everyone that's helped me along the way.”
Sending a special shoutout to his “favorite farmer”, Richard Pratt, he added: “[He gave] me a job and let me do music at the same time. I'm sorry [he] couldn't be here and I hope that [he’s] able to watch.”
The Opry band was not present for the short set, but Flores was backed by his trusty guitar player, Austin Yankunas, and fiddle player, Kenzie Sue Miracle, and the Opry crowd didn’t seem to mind the stripped down display.
His second song was ‘Holes’, a single released last summer and later found as track six on his first major-label EP, Life Lessons.
“I'll never forget my sister coming home and showing me [Turnpike’s] Diamonds and Gasoline album. From that point on, I listened to every single album,” he admitted. “I'm not gonna fangirl too much, but they really showed me a path of music that I absolutely love.”
Flores added: “Then the way that [Jason Isbell] writes, I don't think anyone else would’ve inspired me as much as him [when it comes] to lyricism.”
As he stepped off the legendary stage, he left the audience with some final words that anyone chasing a dream should hold close: “I hope that I never reach the goal that I'm after, because I never want to quit chasing it.”
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