5 Star Student: Playing the Grand Ole Opry

Lincoln Hensley.jpg

A rising junior at ETSU is turning heads, after performing at the Grand Ole Opry earlier this year.

20-year-old Lincoln Hensley considers himself extremely fortunate-- At such a young age, he's already performed beside bluegrass legends on a world renowned stage.

Lincoln is close friends with Sonny Osborne-- the original banjo player for the song "Rocky Top." This friendship played a key role in getting Lincoln to the Grand Ole Opry.

"I was at Sonny's house, and he was talking about how fun it used to be to play the banjo with his brother, Bobby. And I said I wish I had been born back then so I could have been around Bobby. That's when Sonny told me Bobby is still performing," said Lincoln.

Then in April, Lincoln got a text from Sonny asking if he could play the banjo for Bobby's band at the Grand Ole Opry, an offer Lincoln immediately accepted.

"I was so nervous, I was shaking when I walked out on stage," recalled Lincoln.

But he nailed the performance, and now has an experience he will never forget.

"When I started playing, for about the first 30-45 seconds of the song it felt unreal. I was standing there beside Bobby, playing my banjo hero's part," said Lincoln.

Even though he's already reached one of the top goal's for any bluegrass artist, he's still working towards bettering himself as a musician.

"Once I graduate ETSU, I'd like to become a sessions musician and play on records," said Lincoln. He says he'd also like to join a band he can tour with.

If you know a 5 Star Student like Lincoln, send an email to, or send a message to Ellie Romano on her Facebook page.

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