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10 Years Ago: Luke Bryan Makes His Grand Ole Opry Debut

Ten years ago today (April 6, 2007) is a day that Luke Bryan will likely never forget. It was on that date that the Georgia native made his debut on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

Bryan performed his debut single, “All My Friends Say,” as well as “We Rode in Trucks” during his Grand Ole Opry debut. At the time, his debut album, I’ll Stay Me, was still four months away from being released.

Bryan invited 80 of his closest friends and family from Florida, South Carolina and Georgia to join him for his first performance on the revered stage. The singer recalled during his performance that night how, during his first visit to the Opry — when he and his guitar player wound up on a group tour they weren’t supposed to be on — he sat in the front row of the auditorium for an hour, just taking it all in.

“It was a damn dream come true, I’ll tell you guys,” Bryan said after his first performance. “I got on stage, and I just kept saying, ‘Dreams come true,’ for some strange reason. It was a blast, and I was wonderfully comfortable. I was a little nervous, but it was good … I got to dance on Elvis [Presley‘s] circle a little bit.”

However, Bryan’s first appearance at the Grand Ole Opry is undoubtedly a bittersweet memory: His sister Kelly organized the group of people who traveled from all over the South to see her younger brother perform, and tragically, only a few days after Bryan’s performance, she passed away.

“She was home with her 3-year-old, and it was like someone turned the lights out,” Bryan recalls. “They never determined what happened. The autopsies, the coroner, no one could figure it out.”

Bryan’s brother Chris was killed in a car accident when Bryan was 19. The pain of losing two siblings is something that Bryan acknowledges will never go away.

“My only older siblings,” Bryan says, “gone from the world, in a flash, in two, two different, crazy, tragic manners, that … we’ll never know and never understand.”

Bryan still performs at the Grand Ole Opry when his schedule allows. The Opry’s complete schedule is available on their website.

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