Carrie Underwood Surprises Crystal Gayle with an Opry Invitation

Chris Hollo for Grand Ole OpryThough she frequently appears on the Grand Ole Opry and her sister Loretta Lynn has been part of the cast since 1962, Crystal Gayle isn't actually an Opry member... but that’s all about to change.

“You are an inspiration to so many of us,” Carrie Underwood said Tuesday night, as she surprised the sold-out crowd at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium by joining Crystal on her signature song, “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue.” “You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry, which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially.”

“I have always felt like I was a member of the family and this is just so special,” the Paintsville, Kentucky native reacted, in her typically elegant, understated way.

Crystal actually made her Opry debut nearly half a century ago, singing the Marty Robbins/Connie Smith classic “Ribbon of Darkness” when she was just 16. She’s set to be inducted by the Coal Miner’s Daughter herself on January 21.

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