Ashley McBryde Inducted into Grand Ole Opry: “This Moment is the Biggest of My Life”

Ashley McBryde choked back tears as she sang the final verse of “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” with Terri Clark on Saturday (Dec. 10) at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry House. McBryde told the audience that she wrote the song in hopes that “one day I would stand here and sing it.” On Saturday night, it was the song she played moments before Clark inducted her as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Videos by American Songwriter

A whole lot of basement dives and county fairs, Clark sang. The Opry member then helped McBryde finish the tune when she struggled to sing the song’s final lyrics, to this show right now … Not bad for a girl goin’ nowhere.

The song holds special significance to McBryde and her relationship with the Opry, where she has performed 22 times. Clark fondly recalled McBryde’s 2017 Opry debut, where the singer knelt to kiss the Opry circle after she performed “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” to a standing ovation.

“Right then, I think we all knew that you belong here,” Clark said. “The Opry is a family and my sister; you have earned your place at the table.” 

As Clark formally inducted McBryde into the Opry family, McBryde shared her awe with the audience. “How is this real life right now?” she marveled at the honor of being inducted by Clark. She then told a story that included Wynonna Judd appearing in her dressing room to support her on induction night.

“This moment is the biggest of my life,” she continued. “And if it’s your first time to be at the Grand Ole Opry, this is what it feels like every time you are here. It looks like it’s made of brick and mortar, but it is pure, pure love. That is what you are experiencing. Thank you. I know what this means. I know what my responsibilities are, and I take them seriously. God bless country music.”

Photo credit: Chris Hollo / Courtesy of Schmidt Relations/Grand Ole Opry

Following her official induction, McBryde invited Eric Church to the stage to perform a stripped-down version of “Bible and a .44” together. Later, Church praised the singer and applauded her induction into the Grand Ole Opry.

“I want to say congratulations to Ashley McBryde,” Church said. “She’s one of the good ones. She’s a rare one of one. Country music is very lucky to have her.”

Ahead of her induction, McBryde explained the significance of her set list with American Songwriter as well as the story behind her autobiographical 2019 single “Girl Goin’ Nowhere.” Her four-song induction set included the surprise performance with Church on “Bible and a .44” and an unreleased song about life as a musician titled “Made for This.”

“How do you take everything that you’ve ever played, or ever loved, and then decide what to play on induction night? So, I left that to my bandleader,” she tells American Songwriter. “I said, ‘I need help deciding what to play on induction night.’ Obviously, I’ll be playing ‘Girl Goin’ Nowhere.’ I wrote that song in hopes of playing the Opry someday.

“And when Eric said that he would come and join me for a song, I said, ‘It’s got to be ‘Bible and a .44’ because that was the first time I had ever played in a stadium or used in-ear monitors or seen 19,000 people in the same room,” she says of Church inviting her to his show to perform the song in 2017. “And that was a moment, so we had to do that, too.”

McBryde says she’s been performing another song called “Made for This” live that she hasn’t released yet. The song discusses the downsides of life on the road.

“Most of the time you’re sleepy, and most of the time the person that you love, you’re telling them that on the phone, and that’s okay,” she notes, “but you’ve got to be built for it. So, I thought this would be a good time to do that song. And then our last song tonight will be ‘Sparrow’ and it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written. I think it says the things that I want to say, and it has a lot of three-part harmony, which I’m a big fan of.”

McBryde’s “Girl Goin’ Nowhere” peaked at No. 40 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart in 2019. She tells American Songwriter she wrote the powerful ballad with Jeremy Bussey the day she learned singer/songwriter Guy Clark had died.

“I’m visibly shook,” she recalls telling her co-writer of Clark’s death. “We traded stories back and forth. … and he said, ‘Have you played the Opry?’ My answer was, ‘Not yet.’ … He said, ‘I like that. Well, let’s just write what you want to sing at the Opry for the first time and just write it in such a way that if Guy Clark had to listen to it, he wouldn’t hate it.’ That was our goal. … I knew something special happened that day. But I didn’t know it was this special.”

Grand Ole Opry membership is the pinnacle for a country artist. Membership is given to those who have “a deeply rooted respect for country music and support the Opry’s commitment to presenting country music to its audiences,” said Circle Network Opry Live host Natalie Stovall on Saturday. Past Opry inductees include Don Schlitz, Lauren Alaina, Carly Pearce, Jamey Johnson, The Isaacs, and Luke Combs.

Watch Saturday’s Opry Live with McBryde’s induction below.

Photo credit: Chris Hollo / Schmidt Relations / Grand Ole Opry

Leave a Reply

Brandi Carlile Plays ‘SNL’ with Style