When Brad Paisley first met Alabama's frontman Randy Owen, it was at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. And he still remembers the sage advice Owen had for him that day.
"Someday, awards, accolades, money -- none of it will matter," Owen told Paisley years ago. "It's this. It's things like this that'll matter. If you did things like this and helped people out, that's what you'll remember and what you'll be proudest of."
Paisley shared that story with the audience Tuesday night (Sept. 23) at the Grand Ole Opry. The special show was a 25th anniversary celebration of Country Cares for St. Jude Kids. Owen was there too, along with the Charlie Daniels Band, Bill Anderson, Eric Paslay and, making their Opry debut, Maddie & Tae. The evening also featured Jonathan Jackson (Avery) and Sam Palladio (Gunnar) from ABC's Nashville.
The show featured the music from the artists who have done so much good for the children at St. Jude, but there was also a video to highlight some of the special moments throughout Country Cares' 25 years.
And St. Jude patient Audrey Stanger was there. The 9-year-old from Sevierville, Tennessee, just had her third cancer surgery on Sept. 16. While the little girl was onstage, Daniels surprised her with a dozen roses and an autographed guitar.
Owen admitted during the show his goal is to raise $1 billion for St. Jude before he dies. And to Paisley, that's just part of the good Owen is doing.
"I think it's surpassed anybody's expectation with the amount of money they've raised, and Randy has told me before that it was his greatest source of pride. This, to me, epitomizes who he is more than any song he ever wrote," Paisley told the fans and supporters. "We're here because of what they started and to say that country music still has the heart it's always had."
A portion of the proceeds from the Opry tickets sales will be donated to Country Cares for St. Jude Kids.