Grand Ole Opry Announces 2024 NextStage Class, Featuring Charles Wesley Godwin, Wyatt Flores, Flatland Cavalry & More

Charles Wesley Godwin Wyatt Flores
David McClister/Matt Paskert

The next class of rising country stars.

Since 2019, the Grand Ole Opry has highlighted some of country music’s best upcoming talent with their Opry NextStage program. NextStage alumni include names like Lainey Wilson, Riley Green, Parker McCollum, Megan Moroney, and many others who have had (and are currently having) incredible success.

And tonight, the Opry unveiled their NextStage class of 2024.

The 2024 NextStage class will feature Charles Wesley Godwin, Flatland Cavalry, Wyatt Flores, 49 Winchester, Ella Langley, Anne Wilson, Madeline Edwards, Chase Matthew and Josh Ross.

NextStage alum Lainey Wilson and Opry member Jamey Johnson hosted press conference to announce the new class, with Lainey speaking on the role the Grand Ole Opry has played in her career:

“I came to the Grand Ole Opry at 9 years old and I felt right at home…

And once I finally got to know the Opry folks years later when I debuted here…I got to know some of the folks behind the scenes and I felt even more at home. It’s really nice to be so far away from home and know you got a home.”

Whiskey Riff spoke with some of the NextStage artists about what it means to be a part of the 2024 class, which Ella Langley calls a “pinch me” moment:

“Just playing the Opry in general, just stepping in the circle is an accomplishment. I think you’re hoping, if you’re going to try to do country music, you’d get to this. To be a part of this class and be a part of the Opry’s history, it’s like, pinch me…

Most of the time it’s the crowd that would make you nervous or not nervous, but it’s this room. It’s less nervous and more jitters. It’s like, ‘About to walk out on stage and play the Opry.’ You try not to think that but it is.”

And Isaac Gibson of 49 Winchester said that it’s special for an artist not from Nashville to be welcomed into the Grand Ole Opry family:

“Playing shows at the Grand Ole Opry is something that we could have never, ever expected…

To be someone that came from a distinctly outside-the-fold place, to kind of be engrafted into this Opry family’s a really cool thing. It’s a big honor. All my heroes and all the people I love in the country world have played the Grand Ole Opry and have been Opry members, so it’s a tremendous honor for a bunch of hillbilly kids.”

And Chase Matthew echoed the sentiments, calling it an honor to even be recognized by an institution like the NextStage class:

“It’s so cool. It’s insane to even be able to say. So many people have come through here and just became some of the biggest stars in the genre right now. So it’s an honor.”

The NextStage class will not only appear on the Opry throughout the year, but will also take part in special NextStage shows and be highlighted in Opry content – and I know all of us here at Whiskey Riff are pumped to work with some of these artists in the NextStage program and highlight some of the best rising stars in country music.

It’s great to see an institution like the Opry highlighting artists from outside of mainstream Nashville – artists from Appalachia like Charles Wesley Godwin and 49 Winchester or Texas like Flatland Cavalry, or red dirt artists from Oklahoma like Wyatt Flores.

Lots of good stuff coming from this class, so stay tuned.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock