Top Opry Moments in 2019
November 12, 2019
It’s been quite the year at the Opry, and we’re taking a look back at some of our favorite moments to happen on the show (so far) as 2019 draws to a close.
Be Here for the Next Big Moment
Featuring a dynamic lineup of eight or more artists on each show, see why the Grand Ole Opry is “the show that made country music famous.”
Surprise appearances and one-of-a-kind moments
Country music’s first couple brings along the nation’s first couple
To the delight of fans, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood have made a habit out of appearing on the Opry unannounced. In 2019, they brought friends — but you can call them Mr. President and First Lady. Former President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter selected Nashville as the 2019 beneficiary of their eponymous work project with Habitat for Humanity. After a week of constructing 21 affordable homes in the city, the Carters, who are lifelong fans of the Opry, celebrated the hard work of volunteers at the show that made country music famous.
Keith Urban surprises crowd on Kelsea Ballerini’s induction night
Keith Urban has long been a vocal champion of emerging young artists, including Kelsea Ballerini, who he picked as his tour mate in 2018. When Ballerini was inducted as an Opry member in April, Urban made sure to be at the Opry to support her. He also delighted fans with a drop-in performance of “Blue Ain’t Your Color” on the Opry stage.
Darius Rucker pops in for impromptu Opry performance during CMA Fest
You can always expect a star-studded Opry lineup during the week of CMA Fest, but you never know who might show up on a whim. On June 4, 2019, Darius Rucker surprised the sold-out crowd with a two-song set that included “For the First Time” and “Alright.”
Luke Bryan wins ACM Album of the Decade at Opry Goes Pink appearance
When you release an album titled Crash My Party, don’t be surprised if the Academy of Country Music takes you up on the offer. During Luke Bryan’s Opry Goes Pink appearance, the academy surprised him with the award for Album of the Decade. “Crash My Party was such a life-changing album for us,” Bryan told the crowd during his acceptance speech. “We didn’t know it at the time. We were just loving making music for you guys.”
Craig Morgan debuts personal “The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost”
Three years after tragically losing his 19-year-old son Jerry in a boating accident, Opry member Craig Morgan independently released “The Father, My Son and The Holy Ghost,” which he sang live for the first time on the Opry in July. While the emotional single chronicles a father’s indescribable grief, it ends with a hopeful verse capturing Morgan’s faith:
One day I’ll wake up and I’ll be home
With the Father, my son, and the Holy Ghost
The entire auditorium stood in applause, faces wet with tears.
Dolly Parton celebrates 50 years with a whole week of shows dedicated to her legacy
Dolly Parton is a diamond in a rhinestone world who deserves a giant celebration marking her 50 years as an Opry member. In October, the Opry celebrated with Dolly Week, which included multiple nights of shows that were an homage to her legacy. The occasion culminated with two sold-out shows featuring Dolly herself alongside Hank Williams Jr., Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, and more.
Randy Travis moves us to tears in a show celebrating his 60th birthday
A milestone birthday deserves an all-star sing-along, especially when the guest of honor is Randy Travis. Charles Esten, Don Schlitz, Josh Turner, and Charlie Worsham all took part in the evening’s festivities, which concluded with a touching performance of “Forever and Ever, Amen.” Travis crooned the song’s final “Amen,” a meaningful moment as he recovers from a 2013 stroke.
Trisha Yearwood commemorates 20 years as the Opry’s 20th female member
“It’s like a family reunion every time you’re here, honestly,” Trisha Yearwood says of Opry membership. “When you become a member, it’s like you married into the family. For me, it’s a childhood dream.” In March, Yearwood celebrated 20 years with country music’s closest family in an unforgettable celebration. An homage to one of her inspirations, Yearwood wore a necklace once owned by Patsy Cline to mark the occasion, opening her set with Cline’s “Sweet Dreams (Of You).” She also performed two duets: one with Ricky Skaggs, who invited her to become a member in 1999, and another with husband Garth Brooks.
Grand Ole Opry renamed the “Grand Del Opry” for Del McCoury’s 80th birthday
We don’t know what we’d do without Del McCoury and his distinctive pompadour. To celebrate the bluegrass giant’s 80th birthday in February, the Grand Ole Opry became the Grand Del Opry for one night with a special lineup featuring Dierks Bentley, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Old Crow Medicine Show, and more. Marty Stuart summed up his Del’s magic best, “Have you ever been in the presence of Del McCoury when you didn’t smile and feel better?”
Terri Clark has double the reason to celebrate at the Opry Birthday Bash
Terri Clark not only got to celebrate the Grand Ole Opry’s 94th birthday but also her 15th anniversary as an Opry member in October. Before performing on back-to-back Saturday night Opry shows, she kicked off the fun with her own afternoon concert at the Grand Ole Opry House.
Little Big Town celebrates Opry anniversary on the stage where they first started
The first time Little Big Town ever performed together as a band was on the Opry stage in 1999. Twenty years later on October 23, 2019, Little Big Town celebrated the fifth anniversary of its Opry induction. During the group’s 30-minute segment, member Karen Fairchild invited cowriters Sean McConnell and Ashley Ray, who made her Opry debut earlier that evening, to sing harmony on “The Daughters.”
The Opry welcomes new members
Mark Wills nods to country great during induction at historic Ryman
After receiving an invitation from Vince Gill to become an Opry member last year, Mark Wills made it official on January 11, 2019. As part of his set, he performed “Phantom of the Opry,” which he dedicated the show’s many legends, including George Jones, whose suit he wore that night. Everyone from his parents to his junior high chorus teacher were in attendance.
Kelsea Ballerini invited through song by Little Big Town
The stars aligned for Kelsea Ballerini on March 5, 2019 when Little Big Town asked her to sing “Girl Crush” with the band. In the final line of the song, bandmates Kimberly Schlapman and Karen Fairchild switched up the lyrics with their harmony, “Kelsea Ballerini, want to join the Opry?” A month later, Kelsea was inducted by one of her personal heroes, Carrie Underwood. “The Opry has been and will always be the heart and soul of country music, the family. You are in it,” Underwood said.
Luke Combs is inducted by childhood heroes
Luke Combs’ member induction was a full-circle moment; his childhood heroes Vince Gill and Joe Diffie did the honors of making him a part of the Opry family. Combs closed out the night by performing “Here’s to You,” subtly changing the final verse in a fitting tribute to those who helped him get to this famous stage.
There’s a couple of people in the Grand Ole Opry tonight that I
owe a beer to
And three or four I owe more than a few
Rising Stars Enter the Spotlight
Dozens of artists make unforgettable Opry debuts
What do Cody Jinks, Matt Stell, Tenille Arts, Ingrid Andress, Mitchell Tenpenny, Jameson Rodgers, and other rising artists have in common? They’ve all made Opry debuts in 2019. Each week, at least one new artist performs for the first time on the Opry. Be here now so you can say later “I saw them when…”
First Class of Opry NextStage Artists Have a Record Year
Riley Green, Tenille Townes, Tegan Marie, and Travis Denning became the first class of artists to join Opry NextStage, a yearlong collaboration with rising acts. They’ve taken country music by storm, landing chart-topping hits and going on big-time tours all while performing regularly on the Opry stage. We can’t wait to see what they’ll do next in 2020.
Collaborations You Won’t See Anywhere Else
Hayes Carll and Allison Moorer perform song they cowrote during Carll’s debut
When Hayes Carll made his Opry debut earlier this year, fellow musician and girlfriend Allison Moorer was by his side to show him the ropes. “Allison, my girlfriend, she’s played [the Opry] several times. She was telling me, ‘When you get out there, it’s going to hit you,’” Carll said. “She was right. It means everything to be able to look over and see her there.” The two performed an acoustic version of a song they cowrote “Jesus and Elvis,” which was recorded by Kenny Chesney.
Carly Pearce and Lee Brice sing “I Hope Your Happy Now” live for the first time
If you want to see your new favorite song performed live for the first time ever, there’s a good chance it’ll happen on the Opry. Just after the release of “I Hope Your Happy Now,” a duet by Carly Pearce and Lee Brice, Pearce joined Brice for his Opry set to sing it together, which was a surprise to the Opry audience.
Josh Turner, Diamond Rio, and Darius Rucker perform “Me and God”
With the wide array of artists on each lineup, magic is bound to happen as collaborative performances take place on the fly. In March, Darius Rucker and Diamond Rio lent their voices during Josh Turner’s performance of “Me and God.” It was an Opry member trifecta that can’t be replicated anywhere else.
Carrie Underwood sings with fellow Okie and childhood hero Bryan White
The Opry is one of the few stages where stars get a chance to perform alongside their childhood heroes. In August, Carrie Underwood achieved lifelong dream of singing with Bryan White — not just to him. “Growing up, I was a member of the @bryan_white Fan Club and even sang to him in a meet and greet. Tonight I sang WITH him in the circle!” Underwood shared on Twitter. White inducted Underwood into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame last year.