Carrie Underwood, Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Little Big Town, Darius Rucker, and Trisha Yearwood were among the host of major country stars who took part in last night’s (14) NBC special Grand Ole Opry: 95 Years of Country Music.
The two-hour TV show was hosted from the famous country institution by Blake Shelton and Brad Paisley, who discussed the undimmed importance of the Opry, the show founded as a “barn dance” in November, 1925. In its radio format, it remains the longest-running show in US broadcast history. During the pandemic, the indestructible Grand Ole Opry has continued on air every Saturday night as a livestream show with no audience, broadcasting via its Circle network.
Arriving in country
“Making it to the stage at the Grand Ole Opry means you’ve arrived,” said Shelton. “For me, it was 20 years ago that I made my Opry debut, a night I’ll never forget…the Opry’s like a family.”
Also featured at the event were Kane Brown, Marty Stuart, and Old Crow Medicine Show. Lady A sang Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen” (also newly released as a single by Ronan Keating with guest vocals by Shania Twain). Kelsea Ballerini covered Alison Krauss’ “When You Say Nothing At All.” Brown’s performance was his Opry debut; Lady A, during their appearance, received a surprise invitation to join the Opry from member Darius Rucker.
Bentley and Stuart sang the classic Townes Van Zandt song “Pancho & Lefty” and there was footage from the Opry archives of Johnny Cash, Minnie Pearl, Loretta Lynn, and Tammy Wynette, in performances, interviews and appearances from the show and venue’s history.
“The performers and performances that came together there are legendary,” said Underwood. “Music history unfolded on this stage and through the airwaves, and the Ryman, built as a gospel tabernacle, became the mother church of country music.”
Listen to uDiscover Music’s A Night At The Opry playlist.