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Emmylou and “Pals” Mark Milestone

She celebrates 20 years as Opry member.

photo by Chris Hollo/Hollo Photographics/Grand Ole Opry

Emmylou Harris brought out some special friends to help her celebrate a memorable milestone, her 20th year as a Grand Ole Opry member, at the Grand Ole Opry show, Jan. 21, at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell, Shawn Colvin, The Whites and Buddy Miller were among those on hand to perform and pay tribute to one of country's most influential artists.

Emmylou first welcomed The Whites, who joined her on a duet of Emmylou's Top 10 hit “Blue Kentucky Girl.” Later in the show, Emmylou introduced Vince, who once played in her band, by telling the crowd, “I think he's gonna do real well in this business.” Vince and Emmylou then teamed up on her 1978 No. 1 hit, “Two More Bottles of Wine.” After the song, Vince, who celebrated his 20th Opry anniversary this past summer, looked at Emmylou and noted that they had a combined 40 years as Grand Ole Opry members. “And we're still 23 behind Little Jimmy Dickens,” he laughed. (Actually, it's true; Little Jimmy joined the Opry in 1948.)

Rodney Crowell, also a former member of Emmylou's band, played the song he wrote for her, “Till I Gain Control Again.” Rodney said, “That really jump-started my career as a songwriter.”

Toward the end of the evening, Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher presented Emmylou with a Hatch Show print, commemorating her 20 years on the Opry. “She has brought so much incredible music to this stage,” he noted. Pete also pointed to her landmark 1992 album, At the Ryman, as a “catalyst” for restoring interest in the Ryman Auditorium and helping inspire its renovation.

“I'm going to bring all my pals out to help me on this,” Emmylou announced for the finale. Everyone joined in on “Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight” to close the show.