Internet sensation and renaissance man Leslie Jordan made his debut at the Grand Ole Opry last weekend in conjunction with his gospel album Company’s Comin’.
The star of Call Me Kat, who went viral during lockdown with his humorous and uplifting posts about pandemic life, pays homage to his roots growing up in the Southern Baptist Church with the record.
On the album, the Will & Grace star performs with luminaries including Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Brandi Carlile, T.J. Osborne, Eddie Vedder, and Morgane and Chris Stapleton.
For his appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, Jordan sported a custom-made electric blue suit with fringe and hand embroidery.
“I grew up in the shadow of the Grand Ole Opry. So you know, it's like a mecca to me. To be invited and to get to do three songs, it’s a big deal,” Jordan tells The Advocate.
Country music and the Opry aren’t known for welcoming LGBTQ+ people with open arms, and Jordan is aware of the impact he’s had to score the invite.
“Country music in general, Nashville in general, has not always been open to gay people. It’s an old boys’ network. The women sang along — the Loretta Lynns and the Tammy Wynettes, but I don’t think they ran the record companies. They didn’t run the show,” Jordan says.
“But it’s a new Nashville,” says the Tennessee native, adding that it's come a long way.
Still, Jordan made the most of his time onstage, even down to his outfit.
“I don't think I'm going to walk out and make a big deal out of it. I’ll bet you I’m the first queer whose ever been up here,” Jordan jokes about what he might have said. “I’m going to wear an electric blue suit. I introduce myself as a Portable Wagoner instead of Porter Wagoner [the musician who had a show that helped cement Dolly Parton’s fame].”
A few of the gospel classics on the Company’s Comin’ include “This Little Light of Mine” with Katie Pruitt, “In the Sweet By and By” with Osborne, “When the Soul Never Dies” with Parton, and “When the Roll Is Called Up Yonder” with Tucker.
At the Opry, Jordan performed with Vince Gill and Charlie Worsham on “Workin’ on a Building.” Watch the performance below.