Carly Pearce was surprised by Opry Member Dolly Parton on Tuesday with an invitation to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry family. Pearce, who cut her teeth as a teenager at Dollywood, will be officially inducted on Aug. 3.
Surprised at what she believed to be a promotional taping for the Dollywood theme park yesterday, Parton delivered the invitation. For Parton, the invitation marked the first time she asked someone to become a member.
As Pearce took her mark for the shoot, Parton walked into the frame with a big smile on her face. After explaining she'd heard Pearce was filming a promo for Dollywood, she continued chatting about how Pearce had played the Opry over 80 times, joking, "You'd think they'd make you a member..."
Before Pearce could respond, Parton cracked an even bigger smile, and said, "And they are! They're asking you to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry." Pearce burst into tears and hugged Parton.
"Dolly is not only one of America's greatest living songwriters, vocalists, entertainers and superstars," the Kentucky songstress said. "She represents all of the values country music holds for me. She has the grace of a woman in full, a heart that is all love, the grit to get it done, the courage to stand up for herself and just enough glitter to be everyone's fairy godsister..."
"And the Opry? It's been the greatest love of my life since I was a young girl listening with my grandparents. All of the greatest writers, legends and pioneers have been on that stage, and I feel them in my bones anytime I walk in the stage door...To actually be asked to join the Opry family, there are no words."
"When one of ours has a special moment, it's an honor to be part of that," Parton said. "Carly is a real songwriter and bright heart – and I loved getting to ask her to do something so very special."
Pearce won the 2021 ACM Awards Single and Music Event and the 2020 CMA Awards Musical Event for "I Hope You're Happy Now," recorded with Lee Brice and co-written with Luke Combs.
"Carly Pearce and the Opry have enjoyed a most special relationship since even before she made her Opry debut," said Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers. "We've loved every minute of watching her star grow over the past few years and are thankful she reveres the Opry after more than 80 appearances even more than she did on her first night with us. Every night she plays the Opry, I try to make my way back to her to thank her for taking the time to visit us. Every single time she replies, 'It's my favorite place to be.' Here's to the Opry being Carly's favorite place to be for the rest of what will no doubt be a long, successful career."
Carly Pearce's music is one more good reason to not completely give up on mainstream country radio. Songs like "I Hope You're Happy Now" and "Next Girl" stand out on radio for good reason – they're really good. Pearce's full-length is filled with many such tunes that can vastly improve overall radio music quality.
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Carly Pearce's self-titled sophomore album was fittingly released on Valentine's Day. Love is in the air throughout the 13-track collection. She opens with the breezy "Closer To You" and "Call Me. The album is chock full of notable co-write credits. On the latter, Little Big Town's Jim Westbrook and Phil Sweet have a hand. It feels like a love letter to fellow country singer and husband Michael Ray.
Later on, she ratchets up the pop factor on a throwaway duet ...