Janelle Arthur Makes Her Grand Ole Opry Debut (AUDIO)


Photos: Grand Ole Opry Twitter

Janelle Arthur made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry on Wednesday. It was definitely a “pinch me” moment for the American Idol Season 12 alum, as she entered the circle for the very first time.

She opened her 3 song set with a heartfelt cover of Hank William’s classic “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Next, she performed a song, “Young and Reckless,” that her uncle (she told a lovely story about the guitar he made for her while she was on American Idol) co-wrote with Bill Owens, who just happens to be the uncle of Dolly Parton. Ever the musician, Janelle said she loved the hook, but played around with the verses so the song would suit her.

After closing her set with a worship song, Janelle got a sweet surprise when fellow Idol alum, Kree Harrison took the stage to congratualate Janelle on her debut. Kree knows the thrill–she had her own first Opry performance just a few weeks ago. “Ya’ll better be standing up for Janelle Arthur,” said Kree as she took the stage, “I’m so proud of you!”

Listen to the performances below

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  • Montavilla

    I’m not into country music, but how nice that the people who do welcome singers without any nonsense about “paying dues” or television stigma. Good is good and good music is good music.

    Congratulations to Janelle (and belatedly to Kree). Godspeed on the next steps on your journey.

  • jcabby

    Fantastic job! Janelle hopefully will be a star. She has so much potential. Best of luck to Janelle and Kree!

  • thedeviledadvocate

    Janelle is awesome, she sounds great, and she is a real country girl, I love her bubbly personality.

  • di1987

    Yay, I’ve been impatiently waiting to hear some audio from her Opry performance. Lovely, Janelle!! And congratulations. I’m so glad she got to fulfill her dream of singing at the Opry. And I LOVE that Kree came out to congratulate her. Sweet stuff :)

  • macfae

    Wow, Janelle’s voice is really solid and true country on these songs – plus she sounds like a seasoned veteran. I hope someone who is looking for pure country hears about her. There’s only so many slots for female country artists but maybe some of the idol community will help in getting her connected.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    So cool that Janelle was able to fulfill a childhood dream of her’s and play the Opry.

  • Ari

    It seems like the Grand Ole Opry isnt as big a deal as it used to be. You have every country Idol contestant going there? Danielle Bradbury Im sure will be performing soon

  • CFIdolsfan

    To these artists, and fans for that matter, it is a big deal. I believe the Opry is always welcoming of new talent. And every Idol contestant that leans country would make an appearance, I am sure. I believe that the country music and Christian genres are the two genres that are the most welcoming of new artists.

  • macfae

    Since they do a 2 hr show 7 days a week and sometimes 2 in one day, having newcomers appear is not a bad thing..And actually pretty much a necessity. Plus the Opry has always been a welcoming kind of place.
    I was there Saturday and along with big names Vince Gill, Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless, Connie Smith and some really OLD timers – there was also Clare Bowen from “Nashville” and new-ish singer, Joanna Smith. Kind of something for everyone.

    However, being invited to be a Member of the Grand Ole Opry is where I think some new performers are getting inducted too soon. For example, Carrie just celebrated 5 years as a member – so that was a bit of fast tracking – more to do with sales than earning her stripes. IMO

  • Heidijoy

    So happy for Janelle !! She sounds great and was so thrilled with this opportunity!!

  • mchcat

    Great job Janelle so glad you got to fulfill your dream. She was my favorite this year and sure hope she gets a record deal.

  • windmills

    Carrie’s induction into the Opry wasn’t really about sales, or at least not sales alone. It was more about the role she plays in country music and how that could help extend the Opry brand and further the Opry’s goal of continuing to expose the wide range of what country music has to offer.

    The Opry saw the value of being associated with a superstar they saw (and still see) as a bridge between country music’s history and its present and future, and took somewhat of a leap of faith that inducting her early in her career would help cement the Opry’s relevance to her fanbase, which includes many people in a younger demographic. Carrie sells out the place every time she plays, and they’re often able to do out 2 shows per night when she plays. So it’s a full house for a show where the performers run the gamut from the most traditional of traditional country from Opry stars who are more than 70 years old to bluegrass to contemporary country. That means fans who might only hear what country radio has to offer get an education on the full breadth of what country music has been over the decades. Even in Carrie’s sets at the Opry, she’ll usually sing a more traditional-leaning country cut and a more contemporary country cut.

    Carrie has continued to play the Opry more than ANY current country superstar who’s a member: more than Brad Paisley, more than Rascal Flatts, more than Keith Urban, and certainly more than Blake Shelton and Reba who barely if ever play the Opry (Reba hasn’t played the Opry in years). Current country superstars usually limit their Opry shows in touring years because playing there in proximity with their own headlining shows at the Bridgestone Arena will likely mean lower sales at the Bridgestone. That didn’t stop Carrie, who played the Opry 8 times in 2012 including a few weeks before she headlined at the Bridgestone. She’s played there 3 times in 2013 with 4 more shows scheduled the 1st weekend of July.

    Not only that, in 2010, one of Carrie’s set pieces on her Play On tour was the Opry stage with an Opry mic stand, for a duet with an on-screen Randy Travis on I Told You So. She would always talk about the Opry when she set up that performance. She’s promoted the Opry like no other current star, and she’s shown that she gets what the Opry is about. That’s why the Opry inducted her in 2008, and she’s more than justified the Opry’s faith in her.

  • macfae

    Should have known not to toss Carrie’s name out as an example. She just came to mind.
    Yes, I agree with everything you say. Carrie has done a tremendous job of representing the Opry. The importance of being included is not lost on her and she carries the mantle well.
    I’m not criticizing the artists. It just seems to be more of a business decision now more than ever. Of course, it’s probably always been.

  • windmills

    I listened to this live online Wednesday, so glad audio surfaced! I’m always happy when artists to whom the Opry really means something get to play on that stage, so congrats to Janelle. I thought she chose really well for her set list and did a great job representing who she is. The moment where she introduced her guitar Pearl was adorable, and I love that Kree came by to surprise her.

    I hope Janelle is able to establish herself in Nashville over the coming months and years. Maybe a publishing deal first, live gigs around town and maybe regionally, a lot of songwriting, and then a record deal down the road when she’s accumulated enough material? I think this girl’s a fighter and a savvy girl so I definitely seeing her sticking with it and eventually releasing an album.

  • windmills

    Business considerations do enter into it. For example, the fact that Rhonda Vincent isn’t an Opry member by now is ridiculous – bluegrass needs more representation in the membership, she plays the Opry a lot, and she’s very obviously deserving. But making her a member isn’t as much of a priority to the Opry management it seems because it wouldn’t create a lot of mainstream buzz and it’s a damn shame.

    Opry GM Pete Fisher is facing the challenge of keeping the Opry relevant and making sure younger fans value the Opry tradition, and also filling out the show lineups in a time where a lot of the most active members are getting up there in age (which goes to the point you made explaining why the Opry’s welcomed so much newer talent). That’s definitely been a big part of the Opry’s philosophy in extending membership offers and also in inviting so many Idols to play the Opry plus associating with a show like ‘Nashville.’

    But my main point is that it’s not business considerations alone that determine membership. If it were, Rascal Flatts would’ve been members way earlier in their careers, and same with Keith. In some cases, it’s about what an act represents.

    IMO with current trends the Opry would be smart to raise its profile in the bluegrass and Americana worlds and become a place – there’s momentum in Americana, especially with disaffected country fans turning there more & more to get away from all beer/all trucks/all the time mainstream country. There are many younger fans in Americana, and it may actually help the Opry brand to showcase some of the younger acts in Americana more regularly. I think that’d be a great way to balance out all the mainstream country outreach the Opry already does.

  • g122y

    It is very great to be a country singer. My top two favorite Kree and Janelle

  • L. R. M. L.

    So happy for Janelle. Sure wish she gets a record deal in the near future.

    Loved her singing all 3 songs, especially the last one.

  • slbbw

    This is almost an embarrassment to read. Janelle Arthur was not on American Idol, so Kree Harrision could not be her “fellow Idol alum”. Just for the record, Janelle Arthur is the winner of the The Voice. Candice Glover is the winner of American Idol and Kree was her runner up.

  • wordnerdarchie

    Um, Danielle Bradbury was the winner of the Voice (another country blond singer). You have Danielle & Janelle confused. They do look a lot alike.

  • Christopher Auyeung

    The best part about this comment is how incredibly confident you are that you’re right. Janelle came in 5th this season of American Idol.