Sara Evans will be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry! The “Born to Fly” singer was invited to join by Bill Anderson, with a little help from Lady A and Carly Pearce. Evans was headlining her own show at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, Sara Evans Still Restless – The 20 Year Celebration, in honor of the 20th anniversary of her 2003 Restless album, when the invitation was issued.
Pearce joined Evans to sing her 2004 “Suds in the Bucket” hit, with Pearce then inviting Lady A to the stage, to surprise Evans with a Platinum plaque for the No. 1 hit. Hillary Scott next called Anderson to the stage, who recalled seeing Evans perform at a showcase, before her first record was released, because she included his “Walk Out Backwards” song on her freshman Three Chords and the Truth project. Anderson said he had two questions for her, first asking if she would sing “Walk Out Backwards,” which she happily complied, before asking his second question.
“The second question is from me and Lady A, Carly, and a bunch of other people,” Anderson said. “Would you like to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry?”
Evans tearfully accepted, saying “God is so good,” acknowledging that it’s a membership she had been hoping to have for years.
Opry Executive Producer Dan Rogers remembered watching Evans’ Grand Ole Opry debut, very early in her career, before he was even living in Nashville, let alone working for the iconic institution.
“I remember clearly watching Sara’s Opry debut live on television before I ever made the move to Nashville,” Rogers recounted. “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,” he continued. “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.”
Evans’ induction will take place on October 7, during the Grand Ole Opry’s 98th Birthday weekend celebration, a couple of weeks before Jon Pardi‘s October 24 induction. More performers will be announced shortly. Tickets for Evans’ Opry induction are available at Opry.com.