"My buddy [Combs] surprised me by telling me something I only ever dreamed of!," Parker wrote on Instagram. "I've always dreamed of playing the Grand Ole Opry and now I get to make that dream come true. Making my Grand Ole Opry debut on September 14th! Hope to see y'all there! (Sorry but not sorry about the crying.)"
Combs had led Parker to believe that their video shoot was about "Forever After All," a Combs, Parker, and Robert Williford co-write.
"That's really what this is for, It wasn't for this at all, it wasn't for 'Forever After All' at all. Oh buddy, you're going to do great." Combs told Parker, adding that the gravity of the moment might just inspire another song, "Tears in Nebraska."
There would've been plenty to discuss "Forever After All," an Oct. 2020 release that set first-day streaming records in the country genre on both Apple Music and Spotify.
Parker grew up singing in churches around Covington, Ga. before going on to become a go-to songwriter in Nashville for the likes of Combs ("1,2 Many," "Nothing Like You" and "Lonely One") and Jake Owen ("Homemade"). He's currently part of Combs' What You See is What You Get Tour, along with Ashley McBryde.
An invite to perform on the Opry House stage for the first time shouldn't be confused with the rare and more prestigious offer to join the Opry cast. Carly Pearce, an artist with over 85 Opry appearances under her belt since her 2015 debut, joins the long-running show's unbroken family circle on Aug. 3.