CMA and ACM Award-winning artist Sara Evans was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry Thursday night by the Opry’s longest-serving member, Country Music Hall of Famer Bill Anderson. The pair was joined by Opry members Lady A and Carly Pearce.
Evans was surprised onstage during her sold-out concert at the Ryman Auditorium celebrating the release of “Sara Evans Still Restless – The 20 Year Celebration” – which commemorates the 20th anniversary of her Platinum-selling, ACM-nominated album “Restless,” released in August 2003. Following an Evans/Pearce collaboration on “Suds In The Bucket,” Pearce introduced Lady A to present a Platinum plaque for the song. Immediately after that surprise presentation, Lady A’s Hillary Scott welcomed Anderson to the stage.
Anderson took the stage and recalled how he had gone to see Sara perform in a small warehouse showcase before her first album was released because she had included his song "Walk Out Backwards" in her project.
"It's a long way from that warehouse to selling out the Ryman," Anderson said. He went on to say he had two questions for her, beginning by jokingly asking if she would sing "Walk Out Backwards."
Evans didn't miss a beat, immediately kicking into an a-capella version of the tune. As she finished, Anderson asked his second question. "The second question is from me and Lady A, Carly, and a bunch of other people. Would you like to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry?"
Evans acknowledged she'd hoped for Opry membership for many years and tearfully accepted. Thanking her mom in the audience for pushing her and her siblings to perform as they were all growing up, Evans said to the crowd, "God is so good."
Evans will be inducted into the Opry on Saturday, Oct. 7, as part of the Opry’s 98th birthday weekend. Birthday weekend shows and packages are available opry.com.
“I remember clearly watching Sara’s Opry debut live on television before I ever made the move to Nashville,” Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers said. “Like nearly anyone about to take that stage for the first time, she was both thankful and overwhelmed, and she said in an interview minutes before her performance that, to help with her jitters, she was going to pretend to be Patsy Cline. Watching as a fan at home, I thought that was a pretty incredible approach. More than 25 years later, I think she was once again tonight both thankful and overwhelmed. All of us at the Opry have appreciated her great performances every time she’s visited us and look forward to celebrating official Opry membership with her during what is going to be a great October Opry birthday weekend.”
Jon Pardi, invited to join the Opry during this year’s Stagecoach Festival, is scheduled to be inducted into the Opry on Tuesday, Oct. 24.
More About Sara Evans
Multi-Platinum entertainer Sara Evans is at the top of her game. As the fifth-most-played female artist at country radio in nearly the past two decades – her five No. 1 singles include “No Place That Far,” “Suds In The Bucket, “A Real Fine Place To Start,” “Born to Fly” and “A Little Bit Stronger,” which spent two weeks in the top spot and was certified platinum by the RIAA – Sara thrills audiences across the U.S. playing close to 100 shows each year.
Sara’s “stunning, country voice” (Rolling Stone) has earned her the prestigious Academy of Country Music Top Female vocalist accolade as well as numerous American Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, Country Music Association, CMT and Grammy Awards nominations. In addition, the CMA awarded Video of the Year honors for her hit chart-topping single, "Born to Fly," from her double-Platinum album of the same name. Evans’ discography also includes the Platinum-selling studio albums “Real Fine Place” and “Restless,” as well as the Gold-certified projects “Stronger” and “No Place That Far.”
In addition to a prolific country music career, Sara has been honored for her philanthropic work and, in 2018, was presented the NAB Education Foundation’s Service To America Leadership Award. A Red Cross ambassador, Sara received the national Crystal Cross award for her work with the disaster-relief organization, and she has donated her time and fundraising efforts towards the CMA Foundation, ACM Lifting Lives, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Thistle Farms. For more information on Sara Evans, visit SaraEvans.com or engage with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About the Grand Ole Opry
The Grand Ole Opry is the home of country music where artists and fans gather, in person and virtually, to celebrate and be part of country’s past, present and future. Founded in Nashville in 1925 and today the longest-running live broadcast show in the world, the Opry strengthens its roots by constantly evolving. The Opry’s members are country’s most emblematic artists, and the show regularly showcases country music’s top new talent. The Opry welcomes legions of fans to visit the Opry House in Nashville, Tennessee – Music City, USA – to experience one of the three to five live shows it hosts per week; take a backstage tour; listen to live broadcasts on opry.com and wsmonline.com, SiriusXM “Willie’s Roadhouse,” or its flagship home WSM Radio; and watch “Opry Live” on Saturday nights and Opry content all week long on the Circle Network. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties and part of a strategic investment with Atairos and NBCUniversal. For more information, visit opry.com.