Ashley McBryde is officially a member of the Grand Ole Opry, becoming the Opry’s 228th member.
On Saturday evening (Dec. 10), the country superstar was welcomed as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry by her friend Terri Clark after they performed “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” together, the same tune that earned McBryde a standing ovation on the night of her Opry debut on June 16, 2017.
Following their breathtaking duet, Clark recalled the first time she saw McBryde on the iconic Opry stage.
“Ashley, the first time I saw you sing ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere’ was on this stage. And right after you were finished, and there was a standing ovation, you knelt down and you kissed that circle that you were standing in,” Clark recalled. “And right then I think we all knew that you belonged here. We’ve been friends for several years now – five, I think – and I have witnessed such a reverence and respect for the Opry, the music, and the artists that came before you, and you are a perfect fit to be here and be inducted tonight.”
Clark then went on to present McBryde with her induction trophy.
“To me, the Opry is about family. It is a family. And my sister, you have earned your place at the table more than anybody I know,” Clark continued. “And I know that I, along with all of your fans, and all of your peers, and your mom and your dad and your family, everybody that’s here tonight, have been patiently waiting to hear the words: Congratulations Ashley McBryde. You are officially a member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
McBryde then stepped up to the mic stand with her induction trophy in hand and began to speak on the magnitude of the evening and the many ‘how is this real life?’ moments, including Wynonna Judd surprising her before the show.
“I went to my dressing room to finish touch ups after I had already begun crying, and Wynonna walked into my dressing room,” McBryde shared. “I said ‘I can’t believe you’re here.’ She said ‘I had to be here. I had to support you.’ How is that real life? And I said, ‘Why do we do that to ourselves? We just stand here and cry.’ And she said, ‘Because what we do is important.’ It is important what we do.”
She continued, “And this moment is the biggest of my life. And if it is your first time to be in the Grand Ole Opry, this is what it feels like every time you’re here. It looks like it’s made of brick and mortar but it is pure, pure love. That is what you’re experiencing here. So thank you. I know what this means, I know what my responsibilities are. I take them seriously. And God bless country music.”
McBryde’s induction was followed by a collaboration with surprise guest Eric Church. The pair recreated their fan-favorite 2017 performance of “Bible and a .44.”
Back in October, Garth Brooks surprised Ashley McBryde with the invitation to become the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry during a live broadcast of CBS Mornings. At the time, McBryde was in the middle of an interview in support of her brand-new project Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville, when Brooks appeared via video from the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Music City.
Appearing completely stunned, McBryde greeted Brooks as he told her, “I’m here for a proposal.” Noticeably confused, McBryde replied, “Oh?”
Brooks then went on to deliver the good news and extended an invitation for McBryde to become an Opry member.
“Miss Ashley, this is part of a family that keeps growing. You know where we’re at. We’re at the Grand Ole Opry. I’m standing in the circle of wood right now where you stand. Miss Ashley McBryde, on behalf of the Opry and myself as an Opry member, I’m gonna try not to cry, we would love for you to consider becoming the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”
Only on #CBSMornings, two-time Grammy-winner @garthbrooks just surprised singer-songwriter @AshleyMcBryde with an invitation to join the "longest-living family in music history," at the @opry! pic.twitter.com/c9S7A9EDfH
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) October 6, 2022
As tears began to flow, McBryde graciously accepted the invitation. “It would be the great joy and the great honor of my life. Thank you, Garth,” she shared as she wiped tears away from her eyes.
Brooks was proud to welcome her to the Opry family. “It’s the longest-living family in music history. You belong in it. We need you. You will make us strong for decades to come. I love you, congratulations. It couldn’t happen to a sweeter person.”
With her emotions running high, McBryde expressed her gratitude.
“This is a lifelong…this is, I mean, there’s Grammys and there’s being a member of the Grand Ole Opry are the two greatest things that could ever happen to you as an entertainer. I’ve always said I will earn it and this is a pretty surreal moment.”
Before bidding farewell, Brooks explained what it means to be a member of the coveted institution.
“Grammys, CMAS, they’re all gonna fade. This won’t,” he reminded McBryde. “This will be until the day they put you in the ground you will be part of the coolest show on the planet.”
McBryde’s induction into the Grand Ole Opry comes on the heels of her recent GRAMMY nominations, including Best Country Duo/Group Performance (“Never Wanted To Be That Girl”) and Best Country Album (Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville).