“We have a special surprise for you,” Gayle King told Ashley McBryde when the country music legend appeared on CBS Mornings on Thursday (Oct. 6) to promote her new album, Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville. “Oh no. What’s happening?” said Ashley, 39, whose eyes widened as she was preparing for the worst. What she got was the best, as Garth Brooks appeared on a video call. “I’m here for a proposal,” said Garth, 60, and though Gayle pointed out that Garth was already married, he pointed out that he was there to add Ashely to a family that “keeps on growing” – an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry.
“Well, you know where I am standing here in the circle of wood. On behalf of the Opry, and myself as an Opry member,” said Garth, who started to choke up with joy. “We would love for you to consider becoming the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.” Ashley, who fought hard to hold back her tears at this, said it would be “the great joy and the great honor of my life. Thank you.” Garth added that the Grand Ole Opry “is the longest-living family in music history. You belong in it; we need you and you will make it stronger for decades to come.”
“Beginning with her triumphant first night on our stage, Ashley has already been a part of some incredible Opry moments in her young career,” said Dan Rogers, Opry Executive Producer, in a statement accompanying her induction into the Grand Ole Opry. “We’re thrilled that her seemingly limitless talent will be on display and that she’ll be a part of this very special show for years to come.”
Regular performers at the Grand Ole Opry can be inducted into the organization as a member. “Opry membership requires a passion for country music’s fans, a connection to the music’s history, and it requires commitment – even a willingness to make significant sacrifices to uphold that commitment,” reads the Opry’s website. “The decision to bring a new act into the Opry fold is a two-pronged one, based on a combination of career accomplishment and commitment. But, really, it comes down to just one word: relationships. The relationships between performers and fans. The relationships Opry members have with each other, relationships that may last for decades. And, perhaps most importantly, the relationship between each artist and the ideal of the Grand Ole Opry.”
As of October 2022, members include Travis Tritt, Randy Travis, Rascall Flatts, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, The Oak Ridge Boys, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, Little Big Down, Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley Dolly Parton, and more.
The Grand Ole Opry began in November 1925, when George D. Hay launched the WSM Barn Dance, a broadcast on radio station WSM. In 1927, WSM Barn Dance got christened The Grand Ole Opry. In 1943, the show moved to the Ryman Auditorium, and from there, some of country music’s biggest moments took place on the Grand Ole Opry broadcast. The Opry moved to the much larger Grand Ole Opry house in 1974, but as of 2022, the Opry holds events at both venues.