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Thread: Kelsea Ballerini's Grand Ole Opry Invitation

  1. #1
    Huge Carrie Follower Momin's Avatar
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    Kelsea Ballerini's Grand Ole Opry Invitation

    Kelsea has been invited to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry. She was surprised by Little Big Town during a collaborative performance of "Girl Crush" where the band sang "Kelsea Ballerini, do you want to be a member of the opry?" as the last line of the song. Clearly, Kelsea was shocked and in tears. Interestingly, Carrie became a member when she was 25 years old. Kelsea is 25 right now.

    I know a lot of people associate Kelsea as being very pop but, compared to most of her peers, she visits and performs at the Opry more frequently and usually covers old country tunes. Peers like Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves are artists I haven't seen much on the Opry stage, especially Maren. I also remember at the last CMT AOTY, in her comments about Kelsea, Carrie points out how Kelsea has an appreciation and passion for country music. And from I've read about her, a lot of people respect her for not forgetting her country roots and paying tribute to them very often as well.

    At first I was really surprised but then I thought about it. And I think Kelsea is a good addition to the Opry family. And I think she will do it justice. Here's what she wrote after her invitation:

    "I don’t have the right words yet, but @littlebigtown just asked me to become the newest member of the @opry. This has been at the very top of my bucket list since I wrote my first songs at 12 years old, and tonight the heart of country music wrapped their arms around me and asked me to be family. In tears over how much this means to me. Thank you thank you thank you. 😭💕 // 📸 @johnshearer @gettyimages"

    https://www.instagram.com/p/Bup2p2jBjTm/

    And this is the Opry invitation herself:

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BuqDRrSBdsn/

  • #2
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    Good for her. I think she'll honor her committment the way Carrie has.
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  • #3
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    She's unfortunately (but, sadly, predictably) getting attacked on Twitter by people who want the Opry to be either a bastion of tradition, or a haven for more Alternative artists. I'd say we have (as examples) Country Family Reunion for one, and Music City Roots for the other. The Opry has always striven for a mixture, and, while honouring tradition, has always included artists from the (changing) Contemporary Mainstreams over the years. It has a different, and wider, audience base, which includes visiting tourists and younger fan bases - for that spread, it needs to stay relevant, notwithstanding it's continuing (but partial) role in maintaining tradition.

    it's not always (or even, some would say, often) been terribly successful in its choices for membership - too many have seen it as a career accolade, which makes them emotional, but which soon fades in comparison with their ongoing commercial considerations. A considerable part of the show's ongoing mission is carried by the guest artists, some of whom make many return visits, rather than the official, but often absent, members.

    But I agree with those who believe that Kelsea both has honoured the traditions on her visits, and is likely to continue support. I think she's one who has worked to deserve this. Yes, there are other deserving potential members, who seem to be repeatedly overlooked - but that's not Kelsea's fault. I congratulate her, and hope this works well for all concerned.
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  • #4
    Carrie Guru rainbow1's Avatar
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    Just read Saving Country Music's article about her invitation to the Opry. You don't have to guess, to know what he thought!
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  • #5
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    I like Kelsea and while I haven't tracked how much she has performed at the Opry, I hope she is one of the few that honors the invitation and the commitment by getting in her performances. I see complaints on Twitter that Miranda wasn't invited, but I personally believe Miranda has no interest in keeping up the commitment to the Opry that an artist should have. I do hope that Carly Pearce is invited soon. She isn't as well-known just yet as Kelsea and Maren, but she is getting there. And I think she has performed at the Opry almost 60 times according to her bio.
    "Thank you for that ‘Captain Obvious’ sense of humor because you know what, we not only hit the high notes, you forgot to mention we generally hit the ‘right’ notes as well."
    -Kelly Clarkson to Scott Borchetta about American Idol artists
    Thanks so much Danielle!

  • #6
    Ultimate Carrie Fan txacar's Avatar
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    I love Kelsea. I know it is not a good reason for someone to be invited to join Opry, but Kelsea is such a sweet, nice person, not unlike Carrie. I've never seen an off color remark, or anything akin to a swear word on her twitter or in interviews. Maren and Miranda are very crude, and Kacey brings her drug use into every conversation about her songwriting. I think Kelsea will honor her commitment -- agree with others, doubt Miranda or Maren would.

  • #7
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    I haven't seen any exact figure on the number of times Kelsea has appeared as a guest on the Opry - but most informed comments acknowledge that she has performed there significantly more often than many artists from the contemporary chart scene. (Also, she has tended to include some songs from the "deeper" Roots repertoire, for example, Alison Krauss covers)

    This is a comment from Byron Fay (who maintains the most detailed blog on the Opry and its history):

    "First, I am not surprised and in fact, I speculated last year that I thought it was going to happen at some point. All you had to do was look at all of the guest appearances she made in the last half of 2018 and those scheduled for 2019 and figure that something was going to happen. While Kelsea would not have been my first choice as to Opry membership, like all of the others, I hope she will be a good member and support the show. It was definitely time, and actually overdue, that the Opry add a female member. If you look at the weekly line-up, outside of Jeannie Seely, Connie Smith and The Whites, most weeks the females are guest artists and not members.

    Secondly, it really looks like the Opry is having a membership drive. Since Sally Williams has taken over as the Opry's general manager, the Opry has added Crystal Gayle, Dailey & Vincent, Chris Janson, Bobby Bare, Dustin Lynch, Mark Willis and now Kelsea. (and if you go back to October 2017, you can add Chris Young to that list).

    So let's look at this and you will notice a pattern: Chris Young (young); Crystal Gayle (veteran); Dailey & Vincent (bluegrass)); Chris Janson (young); Bobby Bare (veteran); Dustin Lynch (young); Mark Wills (veteran); Kelsea Ballerini (young). Outside of D&V, the pattern seems to be young/veteran/young/veteran/young. Based on that pattern, I would expect a veteran artist to be the next member."

    http://fayfare.blogspot.com/2019/03/tuesday-night-opry-35-opry-country.html



    My own view is that people often misinterpret the purposes of the Opry (or impose their own preferences on how they think it should operate). It isn't a trade association, a Hall of Fame, or a prescriptive stylistic watchdog. It always has been primarily an ongoing live performance and radio show, with a very mixed, and changing, audience - and if that is accepted as its main purpose, the idea of its acts being mixed (in both age and style) becomes more understandable.

    I rather feel that membership is a concept kept on for tradition's sake, but looking more and more irrelevant in practice. I'm not aware of anyone saying no, when the invitation is sprung on them (you can imagine the anticlimax, after a surprise build up, if the person simply refused, politely or otherwise!). So perhaps they put out feelers first, or if not make an educated assumption, on the basis of the person's performance record and apparent respect for the place. It is very evident that membership (even in the case of some veteran "legends") is still a gamble, and Sally Williams seems to have recognized that, by apparently dropping the requirement for a minimum number of appearances altogether. The big names attract the wide audience - but it is pretty much the guest artists who make it viable to continue the type of regular, ongoing program that the Opry puts on.

  • #8
    Insane Carrie Fan abbeyjones18's Avatar
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    If you go and read some of the comments at the Saving Country Music article, someone mentioned that at the end of the day, being an Opry member is a job, basically. I just think that there some concern about that. It also doesn't help that Kelsea isn't the most country artist out there.
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  • #9
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Kyle Coroneos often makes perceptive points, and his reviews draw attention to many worthwhile artists - but there's no denying that his site primarily exists to promote an agenda. Facetiously, one could say that it might have been more realistic if it had been called "Restricting Country Music" - and that applies even more to several of the people who are attracted to the site and comment on it.

    The problem for me is that I wouldn't like to be pinned down on who (or what style) is the most Country out there. The genre has always mixed styles. Jimmie Rodgers used "voh-dee-o-doh" contemporary music hall choruses in his Blue Yodels, ninety years ago, and "Nashville Sound" artists like Patsy Cline and Eddie Arnold incorporated plenty of then contemporary Pop influence in their hits. I take the point that a work must pay due homage to some recognizable Country elements to still be called Country - but there is plenty of room for disagreement on where to draw the line. For many Mainstream Traditionalists, it seems that they want to draw the line somewhere in the not too distant past - wherever their stylistic memories and preferences happen to lie. They accept or overlook the off-genre influences that their heroes incorporated, but take strong objection to today's artists, whom they see as going too far.

    That's not unreasonable from their perspective - we're all entitled to our tastes and preferences, and to express strong support for them. But drawing a line to exclude most of today's most popular styles wouldn't work for something like the Opry - it would make it appear increasingly irrelevant, and drive it into a limited niche market. The fact remains that the Opry is genuinely more mixed, and more inclusive, than many of today's genre institutions - such as radio, most TV spectaculars, and parts of the heavily promoted concert tours. It thus seems less than fair to attack the Opry for not being exclusive.

    This heavy emphasis on the perceived traditionalism of some fairly recent past strikes me as being particularly an issue for the Country Mainstream. Neither Roots Country, nor Bluegrass, seem anything like so concerned about having traditionalism, innovation, and off-genre influences mixing together in the works they generally accept as valid experiments, contributing to their growth.
    As examples, take these classic, but stylistically very mixed, performances
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdYzVFClHyg

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO8RG245ZGY

    (Probably, much of the answer to this difference may lie in the resentment of some traditionalist fans about the way radio and the commercial industry have gone, forcing the traditionalists out of the Mainstream limelight - which is less of an issue for the more specialized sub-genres, which have a devoted audience, but are generally less dependent on the contemporary mass market channels)

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    ^^ I agree, he has his own agenda.

    If fact I wouldn't be surprised if he had a scathing article about Carrie when she was invited to the Opry many years ago.
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  • #11
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by opry051008 View Post
    ^^ I agree, he has his own agenda.

    If fact I wouldn't be surprised if he had a scathing article about Carrie when she was invited to the Opry many years ago.
    He is scathing about the more Pop leaning albums that have been released recently - and there has been a definite reaction from some of the people I follow about some of his criticisms of women artists in particular. Some of his posts also suggest a degree of political bias - he was, for example, critical of Margo Price (whose music, you'd think, ought to be right up his street stylistically) because of her expression of liberal views in a few songs.

    To be fair, though, he doesn't usually attack Carrie, and has recognized the contribution she makes to the genre. This is a summary of his recent articles on Carrie:
    https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/?s=Carrie+Underwood

    While one can't expect him to write from a fan perspective (and some fans do tend to become rather over-protective in the case of mixed reviews), some of these articles are definitely supportive, and he does make an effort to defend her from some of the harsher comments of people posting on the site.
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    A year ago I'm sure I would have been very very disappointed in this nomination but I've had a big change of heart about Kelsea. She is young and needed some time to figure just what direction she wanted to take for her life. I have to say at this point I would definitely pick her over Miranda, who has been quite a disappointment in her choices lately, or Maren, who I feel is still trying to figure out what direction she is wanting to go and who I may decide to support down the road.. We need more young females and I'm going to support Miss Kelsea till she proves me wrong. Congratulations Miss Kelsea!!

  • #13
    Ultimate Carrie Fan Farawayhills's Avatar
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    Maren is the artist who is currently coming in for some of the most vocal criticism from the traditional purist lobby (some of which has been described as sexist). I can't say much of her work has been my cup of tea, but I support her right to follow her own vision and plow her own furrow, without waiting on the consent of particular stylistic devotees. I was very pleased with one of the responses to the criticism, that has been widely aired on Twitter. Brandi Carlile, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby and Cassadee Pope, all joined her on stage at one of her concerts to sing "My Church" with her. She responded by also singing Miranda and Natalie's "Virginia Bluebell". That display of female solidarity, across the spectrum, was timely and a strong answer to those who seem to want to squash styles of female singing they don't like, at a time when windows of opportunity for women in the Mainstream are so limited.

  • #14
    Huge Carrie Follower Momin's Avatar
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    Even if Maren was creating music for the sake appealing to a wider audience (which she isn't; she's doing it solely out of personal preference and taste), I still wouldn't blame her. Women making traditional country are not getting any air time because they are too traditional and those making mainstream music are too pop and not loyal to their roots. On the other hand, male country artists are getting air time, promotion, sales, the label's money and awards whether they are traditional (Chris Stapleton being the prime example) or mainstream as hell (I shouldn't even begin naming them: Luke, Blake, Cole and the list goes on).
    So where do women go then? Which lane should they fall in? I don't blame them for just going outright for music that feels good to them and feels good to their audience. They have stopped caring about how country it is or not (even though they hold it in very, very high regard, including Kelsea, Maren and Kacey). They write what feels natural to them, that resonates with them and their fans the most.

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    Kelsea and Carrie's duet was absolutely gorgeous. I never realized how pretty Kelsea's voice was.

    ^^ The only women getting played on country radio are those with a mainstream sound so I'm not surprised that the women are releasing those songs. The guys have been doing it for some time now. It struck me when I was listening to the radio the other day... Kane Brown = Thomas Rhett, Chase Rice = Sam Hunt. lol.
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