This weekend’s Huckabee show on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) featured a performance from Darin & Brooke Aldridge. The popular husband-and-wife bluegrass duo were invited on to sing their current single, Grand Ole Circle. The Huckabee show is produced in Nashville and host, and former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee, often features country and bluegrass artists on the program.
As often occurs with shows like this, the host generally learns about musical artists when they appear, as television producers are most commonly involved with booking guests. And so Mike did not know the story behind this song, written about the rich history of the Grand Ole Opry, until the Aldridge’s manager, Brian Smith, explained it to him backstage before the taping began. Huckabee was so taken by the story that he asked Darin and Brooke to sing a second song, and also do an interview segment with him about Grand Ole Circle.
The circle in question is a piece of wood cut from the stage of The Ryman Auditorium when the Opry moved out of downtown Nashville for newer and larger digs along the newly-built Briley Parkway in 1974. That wooden circle from the Ryman was inlaid into the stage of the updated Opry House as a sign of respect for all the great country and bluegrass acts who had played at the Ryman over the years.
Darin and Brooke wrote the song with Bill Whyte, using that circle as a reference point, blending their personal experiences playing the Opry more than 35 times, along with mentions of the many artists whose influence on today’s music was associated with that stage.
White tells us that it’s been a treat to see how far this song has taken the Aldridges.
“I’m thrilled to be a co-writer on Grand Ole Circle with Darin & Brooke. And I’m proud of how this song that pays homage to the Grand Ole Opry and that six foot piece of sacred wood cut in a circle that’s always been part of the Opry floor where country music singers and dreamers have stood since the Opry began. It seemed like a natural thought to write this idea I had with the two of them as I know how much they love the Opry and the history of the Opry. Darin and Brooke’s Opry dream came true. And they get to stand in the circle that ‘can’t be broken’ more and more…and deservedly so. And as a songwriter, it’s just a blessing to see how our song resonates with folks, like it did on the Huckabee TV show.”
Here’s their performance from this weekend’s show, supported by the Huckabee show band – with the host on bass, as always – and Samantha Snyder from Darin and Brooke’s band on fiddle and harmony vocals.
Darin and Brooke say that it was a wonderful experience being on the show.
“It’s been something very special paying tribute to the grandest stage, The Grand Ole Opry. We love that no matter whether you’ve experienced the Opry many times or never been there… hearing our song, Grand Ole Circle, that we co-wrote with our dear friend Bill Whyte, manages to take you there. This proved to be true once again for the wonderful audience during our weekend appearance on Huckabee. What a great experience to share the story of our new album, This Life We’re Livin’, and share through our song what it’s like to step into that ‘Grand Ole Circle’ that we cherish so much. Thanks to an incredible Huckabee crew, announcer Keith Bilbrey, and Governor Mike Huckabee for inviting us to be a part of the show. We loved every minute!!!”
Here’s the way they shared the story with Mike.
While on the show they also sang another number from their album, one called Old Fashioned. As the title suggests, it’s an ode to older ways and mores that the Aldridges still like to observe.
Well done all, and congratulations to Darin and Brooke for their ongoing success.