Before he could make his debut on the Grand Ole Opry stage on Dec. 17, country singer and songwriter Mitch Rossell got an unexpected surprise. His friend and mentor, Garth Brooks, came out on stage to give him a proper Opry introduction.
“People, you have to understand where you’re at,” said Brooks to the Opry audience. “You’re at the Opry, where every single country singer’s dreams come true here. This is the pinnacle to get to be part of this family. Tonight I’m getting to do something I never get to do. Tonight I’m getting to introduce a guy for the first time ever on this stage.”
Brooks added, “Try to understand that in Nashville, people, it’s regular that the guy that’s waiting on your table plays better guitar than you, sings better than you, writes better than you. There is a level that, once you get to, nobody’s better than anybody else. What I’m saying is, this cat is on that level. There might be somebody that’s as good of a songwriter, but they’re not better. There might be somebody that’s as good of a singer, but they’re not better.”
Touched by the surprise introduction, the 35-year-old artist—who wrote Brooks’ 2017 hit “Ask Me How I Know” and recently collaborated with Brooks’ wife Trisha Yearwood on the 2021 single “Ran Into You”—shared a video of the special moment on Instagram.
“This guy also is one of the greatest men I’ve ever gotten to be around in my life,” added Brooks before introducing Rossell. “Great father. Great husband. He’s got his head on straight. But the favorite thing about this guy that you’ll love, and I love, you’ll get it immediately how much this guy loves country music. This guy is a dream. It is my honor to introduce a great talent and an even greater friend.”
Walking on stage and hugging Brooks, Rossell said “I was not expecting that. I was having a hard enough time collecting myself back there.” He added, “I can’t tell you what an honor it is to stand here. I know that’s probably cliché to say, but the energy coming up through this floor, it’s unbelievable. I am just really grateful to be here.”
Rossell went on to perform his 2019 single “All I Need To See” and “Son, the latest track released a day before his debut, which he wrote about losing his father and how the birth of his son helped mend his broken heart.
“Last night, I made my Grand Ole Opry debut, and let me just tell you it was perfect,” shared Rossell on Facebook. “I had so many family and friends there, and it was overwhelming how many of y’all drove and flew from all over to come watch my set. Then I came off stage, and waiting outside their dressing room was the one and only Emmylou Harris and legendary Gail Davies and they stopped me to tell me how much they enjoyed my songs. I think I floated all the way back to my dressing room where Bill Anderson came in to say some incredibly kind words.”
He added, “I can’t believe I got to live last night. I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given and the people I’ve been able to share it with.”
Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for CMT / ViacomCBS