But Clark wasn’t the only guest that Ashley brought along.
After her induction, she surprised the crowd by welcoming out Eric Church to recreate their 2017 performance of “Bible and a .44” from 2017, when Church brought her onstage during one of his shows in Chicago.
“I figured since the first time I ever played in an arena, or seen 19-to-25,000 people in one building at the same time, or used in-ear monitors, was when Eric put me on stage in Chicago, we should do this one for old times sake.”
But then Church had some surprises of his own for the Opry crowd, debuting a brand new song inspired by his father:
“So in keeping with the theme of tonight, the song I sang with Ashley about her grandfather, I’m going to play you a new song nobody’s heard.”
“When I shoot the bull I keep a loaded gun And a gas tank full In case I need to run I love to sing along To all the Haggard hits I get the words all wrong Cause my dad did
I’m a grown ass man But I’m still a kid I do what I do Because my dad did”
Incredible, as you’d expect from a master songwriter like Eric.
He finished out his surprise appearance with “Hippie Radio” from his 2018 album Desperate Man after telling a story about riding down the road in his dad’s old Pontiac listening to the radio:
“My dad, when I was four or five years old, he used to have this beige Pontiac, which was a really desirable color…in 1981.
He had the bench backseat, no seatbelts, none of that safety…shit. And I remember as he would play songs, I can remember being in the backseat listening to him sing and I would honestly bounce across that bench seat, window to window, playing air guitar and drums.
And as I got older – I have two boys – and as I was playing my boys songs, I found that it was the same songs my dad used to play me.”
That’s good shit right there.
Maybe it’s time for Ashley to invite Eric to become the next new member of the Grand Ole Opry…