Charles Wesley Godwin Puts Nashville On Notice With Incredible Grand Ole Opry Debut

Charles Wesley Godwin Grand Ole Opry country music

Charles Wesley Godwin is the real deal.

Of course there are plenty of people who already know that. His 2021 album How the Mighty Fall was our top album of the year, and he spent last year touring the country with Zach Bryan, wowing crowds and gaining new fans at every stop. And he’s started 2023 on his own tour, selling out venues pretty much wherever he goes with his own fast-rising star power.

For awhile, Charles was one of country music’s best kept secrets. But now, I think it’s safe to say the secret’s out.

And this weekend, he let Nashville in on the secret too when he made his Grand Ole Opry debut.

The West Virginia native stepped into the iconic circle for the first time on Friday, putting the entire country music world on notice that he’s here to stay and ready to make some noise with an impressive, high-energy performance of “Jesse” and a stripped-back acoustic version of the title track from his 2019 debut album, “Seneca Creek.”

Prior to the show, Charles talked about how much the opportunity to appear on the Opry meant to him personally:

“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.

And 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. 

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.”

As big of a moment as this is for Charles, I think it’s equally important for the Opry and for country music in general. For such an institution like the Grand Ole Opry to recognize the groundswell of support for an artist who’s not backed by a major record label but is making waves nonetheless shows that country music is changing past being a club for only people that you hear on mainstream radio.

It’s recognizing there are guys like Charles out there, who are making some damn good country music without the help of Nashville, and bringing them into the family for all to enjoy. And that’s not only good for Charles, but it’s good for country music.

After that debut performance, it’s hard to say that Charles Wesley Godwin is one of the best kept secrets in country music anymore.

At this point, Nashville is officially on notice: He’s here, and he’s the real damn deal.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock