Don Schlitz, Writer Of ‘The Gambler’ And Other Country Classics, Inducted Into Grand Ole Opry

Schlitz’s songbook also includes Randy Travis’ ‘Forever and Ever, Amen’ and Keith Whitley’s much-covered ‘When You Say Nothing At All.’

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Randy Travis, Don Schlitz, Vince Gill - Photo: Courtesy of Grand Ole Opry
Randy Travis, Don Schlitz, Vince Gill - Photo: Courtesy of Grand Ole Opry

Esteemed country songwriter Don Schlitz was last night (30) welcomed as an official member of the Grand Ole Opry by member Vince Gill. Already an inductee of the National Songwriter Hall of Fame and the Nashville Songwriter Hall of Fame, Schlitz is perhaps best known as the writer of Kenny Rogers’ signature song “The Gambler,” Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen,” and Keith Whitley’s much-covered “When You Say Nothing At All.”

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Schlitz was invited to join the Opry during the venerable program’s Saturday night broadcast on June 11, along with Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy. Schlitz opened his set last night with the Rogers and Whitley staples, noting: “Since Kenny and Keith aren’t here, I get to represent what you and they had together. I get to be a bridge for them. That’s why I get to be a member of this special place, because I’m representing these artists.”

Schlitz then welcomed his friend, fellow Opry member and Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Travis to the stage. He stayed on stage to watch Schlitz perform “Forever and Ever, Amen,” which brought the audience to its feet. A video was then played of numerous country stars singing Schlitz’s compositions on the Opry stage over a five-decade span, before Gill joined his friend of 40 years center stage.

Alison Krauss : When You Say Nothing At All

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Opry executive producer Dan Rogers says: “Don Schlitz’s songs have had a home on the Opry stage for years, and we are all thrilled that our friend Don is now officially home here as well. The Opry will outlive all of us, and I have faith that generations from now, great artists will still take to the Opry to sing Don Schlitz songs, all of them gifts that keep giving to music fans.”

Artists confirmed for upcoming Opry and Opry Country Classics shows include Lauren Alaina, Bill Anderson, Radney Foster, Ashley McBryde, Craig Morgan, Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, Brad Paisley, Carly Pearce, Jeannie Seely, Blake Shelton, Mitchell Tenpenny, and Dailey & Vincent.

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