Little Big Town's journey to the Grand Ole Opry came full circle Friday night, October 17th. A sold-out crowd was on hand to watch the platinum-selling group become the Opry's newest members a full 15 years after the "Day Drinking" singers first appeared together on the esteemed Opry stage. The official induction followed the group's surprise invitation earlier this month from fellow Opry cast member Reba McEntire.
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In 1999, as young hopefuls in country music, the quartet of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook made their performance debut on the Opry stage.
"This was the first place we ever played in front of human beings in a public way," Sweet told Rolling Stone Country and other media outlets backstage before the group's official induction. "We didn't have a band, we didn't have any musicians. It was just us… "
"And one borrowed guitar," Westbrook chimed in.
Having only played in each other's living rooms and at various conference rooms around town in search of a record deal, the foursome received their first invite to play the Opry when another act canceled at the last minute.
"We literally knew three songs," Schlapman said.
"That was the same day we signed our record deal," said Westbrook, who is now married to fellow group member Fairchild.
With several family members and industry friends in attendance to witness the special occasion, the group recalled the influence the 89-year-old Grand Ole Opry has had on previous generations.
"My mother started listening to it as a kid," Schlapman explained. "We listened to it growing up at our house. Then when we came to town, I came to the Opry a few times and sat out in the audience and just dreamed, 'I wonder what it feels like to be invited to be an Opry member.' I've played that through my head so many times across the years. Now we finally know."
"The first time we played the Opry, I had family members listening in other towns, back before Wi-Fi," Sweet added. "My sister had to drive to the golf course 10 miles away from our house just so they could get on the hill to pick up the AM radio to hear the station."
"The only way, down in Georgia, they could hear the Opry was to sit in the car and listen to the radio," Schaplman said, adding that no one in her family knew what time the group was going on, and that her grandfather nearly missed the whole thing when nature called. "He went into the bathroom and, of course, we came on. So my grandmother laid down on the horn and my papaw came out pulling up his pants. He made it just in time. He's in Heaven — with his pants on, I'm sure — watching us now."
The group, who are also celebrating the October 21st release of their sixth album, Pain Killer, chose to echo their very first Opry performance with a back-to-basics rendition of their 2006 hit, "Bring It on Home." After performing their breakthrough Top 10 hit "Boondocks," the group officially joined the cast of the longest-running live radio show in American history. They were inducted by fellow members Vince Gill and Little Jimmy Dickens, who at 93, is the Opry's oldest member.
During their induction ceremony, the group also received well-wishes via video messages from Opry members Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and the Oak Ridge Boys.
Willie Nelson performing on stage at the Pacific Amphitheater on July 13, 2012 in Costa Mesa, California.Fred Foster, then president of Monument Records, poses with his newest signees, Fred Carter (left) and Willie Nelson, circa 1960. Steven Tyler and Willie Nelson performing during "Willie Nelson and Friends: Live and Kickin'," at Beacon Theatre in New York City, New York, May 26, 2003.Willie Nelson salutes the crowd during a Purple Heart Ceremony at Brooke Army Medical Center on Tuesday, Feb. 8, 2005. Four soldiers were honored in the event. Nelson also visited with wounded soldiers and performed a concert at the center.AUSTIN, TX - APRIL 20: Musician Willie Nelson poses after the unveiling of his statue at ACL, April 20, 2012 in Austin, Texas.Willie Nelson and Senator Barack Obama during FARM AID 2005 Presented by SILK Soymilk at Tweeter Center in Tinley Park, Illinois.Former President Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter and Willie Nelson backstage on Willie's tour bus in Atlanta Georgia at Chastain Park Amphitheater on July 25, 2008.
Willie Nelson, outlaw country singer and Texas' most famous pot smoker, has swapped out smoking joints for something that doesn't hurt his lungs quite as much.
Nelson reportedly told Uncut, a British music magazine, that he uses a vaporizer to toke up because joints are more harmful for his lungs and singing voice, according to WTVA.
The singer told Uncut magazine, "I enjoy smoking. But I use a vaporizer these days; they're better for your voice and lungs. There's no smoke and heat on it. Even though marijuana smoke is not as bad as cigarette smoke, any time you put any kind of smoke in your lungs it takes a toll of some kind."
Nelson has lately been spreading his pot knowledge, giving New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd advice on how she should consume marijuana for a column.
"I needed a marijuana Mr. Miyagi, and who better than Nelson, who has a second-degree black belt in taekwondo and a first-degree black belt in helping NORML push for pot legalization?" she wrote.
A new survey by the American Pet Products Association reveals that 50% of dogs sleep with their owner. Other findings:
- 62% of cats sleep with their owner
- 53% of people say their pet disturbs their sleep
- 32% of large dogs sleep with their owner
This isn't new, but I'd never seen it before and thought I'd share it with my listeners. It's one of the cutest things I've ever seen. I just wish his Sunday School teacher had let him finish! -- Julie Steele
It's been three years since Glen Campbell first opened up to PEOPLE about his battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Since then, the "Rhinestone Cowboy" singer, 78, was moved into an Alzheimer's facility full-time in April, and, according to his wife, Kim Woollen, would likely never perform or play guitar again.
In light of the news, Campbell's label has released his final studio recording, a somber ballad called "I'm Not Gonna Miss You," about the decline of his health and a farewell to his family. The accompanying video shows footage of Campbell throughout his prolific career, as well as rare and personal family footage.
Sample lyrics include the lines, "I'm still here, but yet I'm gone," and "I'm never gonna hold you like I did, or say I love you to the kids."
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According to The Alzheimer's Site, Campbell is in the final stages of the disease, and receiving 24-hour care.
"There's a lot of sadness, but we just continue to make the best of every day," Woolen told PEOPLE in May.
Watch the touching video below:
In the 1860s, a silver-mining town in Mexico began burying their dead in a crypt…only to discover 10 years later that they had inadvertently mummified their loved ones.
Beginning in the early 1860s, hundreds of the dead were interred in above-ground crypts in the Santa Paula Pantheon of the silver-mining town of Guanajuato, Mexico. Today, their bodies are on display at a museum in gruesome states of preservation, mouths gaping and hair and clothes still intact.
A few years after the crypts opened, the town passed a law requiring families to pay a burial tax; if they failed, the bodies of their loved ones would be removed. When authorities opened the crypt to take out the deceased whose relatives had defaulted on their fees, they found the bodies had been naturally mummified by a combination of the tomb's cement walls, heat, and low humidity. The first mummy discovered is said to be the body of Remigio Leroy, a French doctor.
Soon after the preserved corpses were unveiled, curious people began paying workers a few pesos for a peek at the tombs. Allegedly, those first visitors even broke off bits of the bodies as souvenirs. For the next 90 years, until 1958, bodies continued to be stored in the mummifying conditions of the original crypt, resulting in a total of 111 mummies. Ten years later, the city of Guanajuato opened an official museum to house them.
Visitors today can view 59 of the mummies in a morbid exhibit at the Museo de las Momias de Guanajuato, which has become the UNESCO Heritage town’s largest attraction. Among those displayed is a woman who died in childbirth, a few small infants, and what's thought to be the youngest mummy in existence—a 24-week-old fetus.
Starting in 2007, an American team of researchers began the first scientific analysis of the mummies to try to find clues to the identities of 22 of the bodies, determine causes of death, and debunk town myths. One of the myths they proved false, for example, was the story that a local woman was hanged by her husband.
But mummified mysteries remain. Researchers also found evidence of embalming, which they've struggled to explain—two infants and the fetus had organs removed and replaced with cotton batting after death. Another young man died from a blow to the head. And one particularly horrific local legend tells of a woman buried alive. As one story goes, she suffered from an illness that caused her heart to stop, and after one particularly long period, her family, thinking she had died, buried her. She was discovered with her arms up over her head, covering her face, and apparently was face-down in her coffin, perhaps using her back to press up on the lid. Scientists are searching for clues to verify the legend that she had been alive at the time of burial, but haven't found data to support it yet.
A mummy museum showcasing the town’s ancestors may seem like a grisly attraction, but in a country that annually celebrates the deceased in full-blown, extravagant fashion during the Día de los Muertos, the preserved mummies of the Santa Paula Pantheon don’t seem that out of place. Though not all visitors embrace death as understandingly. When author Ray Bradbury visited Guanajuato's mummies, he based a short story called “The Next in Line” on the horrors he found there. “The experience so wounded and terrified me, I could hardly wait to flee Mexico,” he later wrote about his trip. “I had nightmares about dying and having to remain in the halls of the dead with those propped and wired bodies.”