When Eddie Stubbs told CMT Listen Up artist Lucie Silvas she looked lovely moments before her Grand Ole Opry debut on Friday (Aug. 19) it was like getting a blessing from the country music gods.
She did look flawless wearing big ‘60s hair piled high to the heavens and a black keyhole jumpsuit with a yellow floral embellishment she handmade with paper flowers from Michael’s.
The two were surrounded by a three-man camera crew filming the moment for a forthcoming online video documenting her first time in the hallowed circle. As Riders in the Sky wrapped their portion of the show with “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” she waited side stage while friends and supporters held up their smartphones to film her introduction by Ranger Doug. Seated with her sister-in-law Natalie Osborne, her parents Isabelle and Mike Silverman had traveled all the way from New Zealand to be in the audience for the show.
For those unfamiliar with the tradition, an Opry debut is considered one of the most sacred performances in the lives of world class entertainers like Silvas. Some married performers consider their first time on the Opry more important than their wedding day. And it goes by in a quick eight-and-a-half minutes with the world listening all at the same time on the radio and online. While doing some last-minute primping in her dressing room mirror, Silvas admitted she got a little choked up in an interview leading up to her Opry debut. But she seemed cool as a cucumber as she gave her hair a final spritz of hairspray to hold everything in place.
In a moment when most artists would be nervous wrecks, she walked into the spotlight like she was born for it holding her mandolin and beaming with a smile as the house band lit into the barn-burning title track of her current album Letters to Ghosts.
When she sat down at a piano for a stripped down cover of Roy Orbison’s “You Got It,” she acknowledged her parents and her husband John Osborne, who couldn’t make it because Brothers Osborne were opening a concert for Miranda Lambert and Kip Moore Hartford, Connecticut. But he lovingly sent a beautiful bouquet of yellow blooms to her dressing room backstage.
“I’m really nervous, so I’m going to try not to talk too much,” she admitted onstage. “This music business can get crazy, but this is all that matters. It’s not all about charts or record sales. It’s about performing for an audience on a stage I never thought I’d play. That’s what it is all about.”
Orbison would have been proud of her Opry rendition of “You Got It.” The crowd was pin-drop silent as the house hung on her every note while a lonely pedal steel trailed her beautiful phrases. When she finished, the audience whistled and applauded, welcoming her to the Opry family. The camera crew then followed her back to her dressing room where family, friends and supporters waited to congratulate her on a commanding performance. That night, she shared the bill with John Conlee, Dailey & Vincent, Charles Esten, RaeLynn, Riders in the Sky, Ricky Skaggs, Connie Smith, Mike Snider, Aaron Tippin and the Whites.
Silvas’ latest album Letters to Ghosts is available now. Her five-city U.K. tour starts on Sept. 6 in Manchester and she joins Brothers Osborne’s Dirt Rich tour with LANco on Sept. 22 in Rosemont, Illinois.