Trisha Yearwood Celebrates 20th Opry Anniversary With Special Guests

Pictured (L-R): Ricky Skaggs, Emmylou Harris, Trisha Yearwood. Photo: Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris Hollo

Praise for multi-talented country music superstar Trisha Yearwood was through the roof last night (March 12) at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

Yearwood was celebrating her 20th Anniversary as an Opry Member.

“We’re gonna do this again in 20 years. Count on it!” said Yearwood from the stage. “When they asked if I wanted to do an intimate celebration or a big event, I absolutely wanted a big celebration tonight.”

Surprise guests included Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and video tributes from Kelly Clarkson, Reba McEntire and Brenda Lee. Also appearing to duet with Yearwood was the man who invited her to become a member of the Opry in 1999, Ricky Skaggs.

Pictured (L-R): Sharon White, Terri Clark, Emmylou Harris, Yearwood, Grand Ole Opry’s Sally Williams. Photo: Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris Hollo

“Ricky is one of those guys who doesn’t understand how cool he is,” Yearwood said of Skaggs. “Garth inducted him in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and when you hear his history, he’s so humble about it. He’s got to know because when he picks up a guitar or mandolin, it’s perfect.” Together the two sang a selection Yearwood chose from Skaggs’ discography, “Two Highways.”

Yearwood talked about those early inspirations that led her to the Opry stage.

“At 15 I came to the Opry with my family and watched people up here do what I wanted to do,” said Yearwood backstage before the celebration. “It’s never normal and I hope it never is. My dressing room tonight is the Women Of Country Music and my picture is on the wall in that room. It’s hard to wrap your head around it sometimes.

“We had an album I think my parents bought at a filling station and it had like 25 artists on it with two women,” explained Yearwood. “One was Patsy [Cline], the other was Kitty Wells. Those two girls were probably the first to girls that I remember hearing. Patsy was ‘I Fall To Pieces,’ with that big powerful voice with the cry and emotion in it. That’s what started it for me.”

During the Opry show, Yearwood paid tribute to the late Cline through her song and wardrobe selections.

“Twenty years ago, Patsy Cline’s daughter Julie and [Cline’s husband] Charlie Dick came out and gave me a plaque with a necklace that had belonged to Patsy. It’s framed, but I’m going to break it out of the glass tonight and wear it.” Yearwood sang “Sweet Dreams,” a song she’d sung on her induction night, in tribute.

To the crowd’s delight, Brooks took to the stage with a cue from Yearwood to perform another selection by Yearwood, “Whiskey To Wine.” While on stage, Brooks noted that while Yearwood credits Harris as one of the artists who inspired her to move to Nashville and pursue a music career, he has met hundreds of young women who now say the same of Yearwood.

Rounding out her evening, Yearwood reflected on having been inducted into the Opry by Porter Wagoner and sharing that Wagoner always called on her to “sing the one that brung ya.” With the crystal clarity of her distinguished voice, Yearwood performed her No. 1 debut single “She’s In Love With The Boy.”

Praise from a video tribute with a quote from Wagoner still holds: “Of all the girl singers in any of the fields of music, you’re the best I’ve heard.”

Pictured (L-R): Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood. Photo: Courtesy Grand Ole Opry/Chris Hollo

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. eparker@musicrow.com | @EricTParker

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