The Grand Ole Opry Comes To Country Radio Seminar

Little Big Town CRS1

Little Big Town

Since many of this week’s Country Radio Seminar attendees reside outside Tennessee, they received an experience that is essentially Nashville last night (Feb. 27)–attending the Grand Ole Opry. However, instead of taking everyone to the Opry House, they brought the Grand Ole Opry to the attendees at the Nashville Convention Center.

The NCC stage was set up with the Grand Ole Opry backdrop and lighting along with performances from several of the Opry’s members. The evening kicked off with a video introduction from Carrie Underwood, who gave an overview of the Grand Ole Opry’s history. Vince Gill, who served as host for the evening and who was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1991, greeted the crowd with “Take Your Memory With You When You Go.” His sharp wit and dry sense of humor was on full display the entire evening. “That thunderous applause is overwhelming. Did you just eat?” he deadpanned after wrapping up “Take Your Memory…”

He brought out Little Big Town, who warmed up the crowd with “Tornado.” They then introduced another track from their Tornado album, the gorgeous ballad “Your Side of the Bed,” featuring a duet between Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook. “The one we are about to play is the one we are about to send you [country radio], so you can play it on the radio too if you want,” said Fairchild. They closed the trio of tunes with their summer No. 1 hit, “Pontoon.”

Next came a lineup of three of country’s traditional-leaning male singers–Dustin Lynch, Josh Turner and Greg Bates. Lynch performed his current single, “She Cranks My Tractor” before thanking radio for their support of his previous single, “Cowboys and Angels.”  Turner (who was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2007) treated the crowd to his deep register on the songs “Long Black Train” and “Deeper Than My Love.” “I never have to worry about Vince Gill cutting that song,” he said, referring to Gill’s high tenor. Bates offered his debut single, “Did It For The Girl” before performing his clever new single, “Fill In The Blank.”

kacey musgraves1Ashley Monroe injected some old-school country into the evening with her airy, lilting voice on “Like A Rose,” the title track of her upcoming album, with backing guitar and vocal work from Gill. Following Monroe were performances from Scotty McCreery, then Nashville‘s Clare Bowen and Sam Palladio, who were received enthusiastically by the radio crowd.

After a video clip of Darius Rucker‘s induction into the Grand Ole Opry last year, Rucker performed two of his signature tunes, “Alright” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” before lending his booming voice to a cover of Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel” (also Rucker’s latest single).

The show hit a minor snag when host Gill mispronounced Kacey Musgraves’ name upon introducing her. The misstep became a running joke throughout the rest of the evening. Musgraves, who has a surging hit on the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart with “Merry Go Round,” charmed the crowd with her candor on “Step Off” and her aforementioned debut single.

brad and vince crs11

Vince Gill and Brad Paisley

The evening closed with an acoustic performance from Brad Paisley, who was inducted in 2001. He sang “This Is Country Music,” followed by “Southern Comfort Zone.” After joining in on the fun with a wisecrack about Gill’s age, Gill reminded him that many artists have had their names mispronounced during their debut performance including Martina McBride and Gill himself. “Thank you, Vern,” Paisley replied. The friends and fellow Opry members closed the show with “Mud On The Tires,” with Gill on background vocals and guitar.


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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at

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