Jeannie Seely, Ashley McBryde, and Carly Pearce agree: The Opry’s a family unlike any other

This weekend, Nashville’s legendary Grand Ole Opry marks its 5000th Saturday night show — a feat that would take more than 96 years to repeat.

So what does it take to become the world’s longest-running radio show? Jeannie Seely — the Grammy-winning Opry legend who’s been a member since 1967 — has a theory. 

“It’s not like anything else,” she tells ABC Audio. “Quite often there are three generations on the stage, and three generations in the audience. You don’t see that. You may see three generations in the crowd at a sporting event, but you don’t see them on the field.”

“I think that is one thing that knits [the Opry] together,” she explains. “One generation gets to know the one before, and the one after.”

It’s a phenomenon the “Don’t Touch Me” hitmaker demonstrated backstage, as she and Ashley McBryde visited about the recent Opry induction of Carly Pearce, Ashley’s duet partner on “Never Wanted to Be That Girl.”

“I’m in [dresssing] room 18 tonight, [themed] ‘The Women of Country,"” Ashley said, “And we walked in, the first thing I did was walk over to [Carly’s] picture and take a selfie, and I was like, ‘She looks so beautiful!"” 

“It was such a whirlwind for her, and I knew that…” Jeannie reminisced. “We live in the same hood and I get to be around her now that she’s a little Opry sister — Little? You know, that I look up to,” she added.

Saturday night, Garth BrooksTrisha YearwoodDarius RuckerChris YoungVince GillConnie SmithDustin LynchChris Janson and many more, will help Jeannie and the Opry mark the milestone.

“After all these years, I can’t even explain what that extended family means to any artist that’s here,” she reflects. 

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