Guests at the Grand Ole Opry had a howling good time over the weekend when Opry member Lauren Alaina introduced a special guest who turned out to be an animal.
Duke, Bush's Beans spokes-dog, made his Grand Ole Opry debut Friday night with the help of Alaina's guidance.
The appearance was to celebrate the new partnership between The Grand Ole Opry and Bush's Beans, but the evening was more than a marketing moment for the singer. In her dressing room after she introduced Duke, Alaina said the night was really for her grandfather, who loved baked beans.
"My Pawpaw loved specifically Bush's baked beans," Alaina said. "Like, they had to be on the plate. He was always obsessed with them. This is true; when I go to the grocery store, I think of him if I walk down that aisle."
Country music loves Alaina as much as her pawpaw loved baked beans. The singer was met with roaring cheers when she returned to the stage later in the night. And while she sang fan favorites, including her chart-topping Kane Brown duet "What Ifs," Alaina's eyes are focused on the future. She recently left her longtime record label UMG Nashville and signed with Big Loud. The Georgia native hasn't talked much publicly about her next steps, but she revealed she is in the studio working on a new album with Joey Moi. While Moi is known for his progressive production, Alaina said the only place Moi is progressing her music is deeper into her country roots.
Alaina said she's set to go into the recording studio with Moi in November. She's early on in the album-making process right now and is focusing on songwriting. She's working with many of the same songwriters she has teamed with previously in her career, so she isn't anticipating a significant change to her sound. She said it would just be "better."
"I think it's probably just going to be an extension of what we've done," she said. "I think the biggest difference will be we're working with Joey now, who is a master. I'm just progressively getting more country. Most people get progressively more pop. I'm getting progressively more country."
In addition to new music, Alaina is also dabbling in fashion. She's been working with Maurices to design clothes for this holiday season.
"I've been designing clothes," she said excitedly. "We got some Christmas t-shirts coming. They're really cute. It's been fun, and I really enjoy it."