Candi Carpenter brought her Brandi Carlile-produced new single "The Astronaut" to the Grand Ole Opry stage in the fall of 2019. Her performance was part of a special showcase honoring Dolly Parton's 50th anniversary as a member of the Opry; she took the stage alongside artists including Emmylou Harris, Margo Price, Chris Janson and many more.

Dolly Parton: 50 Years at the Opry was a chance for Carpenter to celebrate a personal icon, but it also afforded her the chance to put a spotlight on a song that she says speaks perfectly to her perspective and who she is as an artist.

"Listening to "The Astronaut" is the best way to get to know me in three minutes," the singer tells The Boot. "This song is about questioning everything and coming to terms with the fact that I'll never find all of the answers I'm looking for."

Carpenter brought an important piece of her musical history onstage with her for her Grand Ole Opry performance. "I learned to play guitar on my grandpa's Gibson B25, and he handed it down to me when he passed away," Carpenter adds. "Knowing that I played it on the Opry during Dolly Week would have meant the world to him."

Co-written by Carpenter, Alden Witt and John Caldwell, "The Astronaut" is the first step in a new chapter in the singer's career, bolstered by support from Carlile as her producer. In November, she doubled down on her admiration for Parton, releasing a faithful and Appalachian-inflected cover of the country legend's 2001 tune "Little Sparrow."

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