Garth Brooks surprises Ashley McBryde with Grand Ole Opry invite: ‘We need you’

A split image of a woman in a black outfit holding a microphone and a man in a cowboy hat singing and playing guitar
Ashley McBryde, left, was invited to the Grand Ole Opry by Garth Brooks.
(Amy Harris / Invision / AP; Brent N. Clarke / Invision / AP)

Garth Brooks surprised fellow country musician Ashley McBryde on national television Thursday with an invitation to the Grand Ole Opry.

Both singers became emotional as Brooks delivered the invite live on “CBS Mornings” where McBryde was in the middle of promoting her new album, “Ashley McBryde Presents: Lindeville.” The “One Night Standards” hitmaker was confused at first when the “Friends in Low Places” artist appeared via video.

“What’s happening?” she said as Brooks addressed her remotely from the Opry in Nashville, Tenn.

“I’m here for a proposal, Ms. Ashley,” the vocalist said. “You know where we’re at. ... I’m standing in the [Opry’s] circle of wood right now where you stand. Ms. Ashley McBryde, on behalf of the Opry and myself as an Opry member — I’ma try not to cry — we would love for you to consider becoming the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

McBryde closed her eyes and took a deep breath before responding: “It would be the great joy and the great honor of my life. Thank you, Garth.”


Upon accepting Brooks’ invitation, McBryde joined the ranks of fellow Opry members such as Blake Shelton, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood and Dolly Parton. Many more country legends — from Ernest Tubb to the late Loretta Lynn — have graced the Opry stage over the years.

“It’s the longest living family in music history,” Brooks continued. “You belong in it. We need you. You will make it stronger for decades to come. I love you. Congratulations. Couldn’t happen to a sweeter person.”

Asked by “CBS Mornings” co-anchor Gayle King how it felt to be inducted into one of the oldest and most prestigious country music institutions, a tearful McBryde wiped her eyes and said, “Grammys and ... being a member of the Grand Ole Opry are the two greatest things that could ever happen to you as an entertainer, and I’ve always said I will earn it. And this is a pretty surreal moment.”

This weekend Ashley McBryde is set to play one of country music’s biggest stages — and shortly before one of its biggest stars — at the Stagecoach Festival in Indio, an experience she describes as a “rite of passage” for any country artist looking to make her mark.

April 27, 2018

In Brooks’ opinion, McBryde has earned her newly minted Opry membership “100%” since her debut record, “Jalopies & Expensive Guitars,” in 2016, followed by her Grammy-nominated studio album, “Girl Going Nowhere,” in 2018.

“There isn’t anybody in this family who hasn’t [earned it],” Brooks said. “It’s the love they show for the Opry. It’s the respect they show for country music. ... Grammys, [Country Music Awards], they’re all gonna fade. ... Until the day they put you in the ground, you will be part of the coolest show on the planet.”

After patching in Brooks, “CBS Mornings” had one more surprise for McBryde: her mom, who was waiting in the wings to hug and congratulate her daughter on her latest achievement.


“Now I’m gonna ugly cry,” McBryde joked. “She’s gonna cry too, just so you know.”

On the eve of the ACM Awards, a conversation between multiple nominees Miranda Lambert and Ashley McBryde.

Sept. 16, 2020

Before breaking the big news, “CBS Mornings” chatted with McBryde about her new EP, which came out Sept. 30, as well as a recent, life-threatening accident she had while riding her horse. After falling from her steed, McBryde was forced to cancel some of her shows while “life-saving measures were taken.” She returned to the stage less than a week after the incident — ignoring the 30-day recovery period recommended by her doctor.

“I know that I probably should have waited a little longer ... after something that catastrophic,” she admitted. “It was about six days, and I was like, ‘I’m doing it.’”