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Remember When Luke Bryan Made His Grand Ole Opry Debut?

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When when Luke Bryan made his Grand Ole Opry debut on April 6, 2007, the singer was barely married, and barely known to country music fans. His debut single “All My Friends Say” was slowly moving up the charts, and the audience was still packed with friends and family from his hometown of Leesburg, Ga. and beyond. The memory, however, is surely bittersweet for Bryan.

In a video called “Webisode #1” Bryan is seen wandering around backstage at the Opry, noting that he was at least scheduled to play. If he does, he jokes, depends on if he faints beforehand. Eventually he follows Connie Smith and the Whites to sing “All My Friends Say” and “We Rode in Trucks,” two songs from his debut (and still unreleased) I’ll Stay Me album.

The video is a time capsule in many ways. One sees a 30-year-old Bryan in mid-2000s fashions (the end of the video even promotes his MySpace page!). One also sees the pre-Nashville flood Grand Ole Opry. The venue went through a makeover after the historic 2010 storms.

Perhaps most importantly to Bryan, the Grand Ole Opry show would be the final time his sister Kelly saw him perform. She organized dozens of friends and family to make the trip. One month later, she died of still-unknown causes.

For those who were there, however, the memory is Bryan’s debut and his story of sneaking into the Grand Ole Opry with guitarist Michael Carter. He says they thought it was open to anyone, until they noticed the group they were touring with had wristbands. They snuck away and sat quietly in the dark for an hour before leaving.

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