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Country Icon Trisha Yearwood Reflects on Grand Ole Opry Induction, Her Newest Culinary Endeavor & More! (EXCLUSIVE)

See her receive the June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award at the 2024 CMT Music Awards on April 7!

Even though it’s still fairly early in the year, Trisha Yearwood already has a lot to celebrate. She recently enjoyed the 25th anniversary of her Grand Ole Opry induction, and this weekend, on Sunday, April 7th, she’ll be receiving the inaugural June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award at the 2024 CMT Music Awards. The awards will air on CBS at 8pm ET live from Austin, Texas’ Moody Center and will be streaming live and on demand on Paramount+.

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In addition to her milestone anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry, Trisha also got to enjoy the Nashville opening of Friends in Low Places Bar & Honky-Tonk, the downtown nightspot she helped her husband, fellow country legend Garth Brooks, create and for which she developed the tasty menu.

MUST-READ: Garth Brooks Opened A New Nashville Honky-Tonk — And He Gave Us A Tour!

Trisha Yearwood, 2024
Trisha Yearwood in 2024© Grand Ole Opry, Photos by Chris Hollo

At the CMT Awards, Trisha is set to perform “Put It in a Song,” which she co-wrote with Erin Enderlin and Jim “Moose” Brown. It will be the first release from her upcoming album. Trisha will receive the June Carter Cash Humanitarian Award on the telecast and says she’s “humbled.”

The award, of course, is named for trailblazing country icon June Carter Cash and according to CMT, it “recognizes an artist, duo/group or industry veteran who demonstrates an exceptional dedication to community and their fellow artists, embodying June’s spirit as a fierce advocate and initiator in paying it forward, helping others find their voice and using their platform to inspire and uplift others.”

Trisha Yearwood performs onstage for the 2021 medallion ceremony at Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 2022
Trisha Yearwood performs onstage at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in 2022Terry Wyatt/Getty for Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum

Trisha is being recognized for her work with Habitat for Humanity; her establishing of Dottie’s Yard, a cause dedicated to helping rescue animals; and her support for the Susan B. Komen Foundation, American Cancer Society, Starkey Hearing Foundation and other charities.

Trisha Yearwood is honored to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry

It’s been a busy spring for the three-time Grammy winner. Reflecting on her quarter-century as a Grand Ole Opry member, she tells Woman’s World, “I can’t believe it. It really does feel like yesterday that I went into the Grand Ole Opry. My mom and dad were there.”

She continues: “It’s family. This is that family that you can’t buy into. You can’t go, ‘Oh if I do these things and have this many hits, I get to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.’ You’re invited,” she says of the famed Nashville institution. “It’s an honor and I’ve always felt that way. I’m so proud to be in that family.”

For her 25th anniversary, Trisha invited girlfriends that she had recently had dinner with to perform at the show that evening, so the Grand Ole Opry audience was treated to great sets by Suzy Bogguss, Terri Clark and Pam Tillis, all of whom joined Trisha on stage in a fabulous display of country music sisterhood.

Left to right: Terri Clark, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis and Suzy Bogguss celebrate Trisha’s Grand Ole Opry milestone in 2024© Grand Ole Opry, Photos by Chris Hollo

Looking back on the night she became a member of the Grand Ole Opry

The night Trisha was inducted 25 years ago, she remembers wearing a black jacket with little yellow roses on it and recalls her mother, Gwen, being excited to get an autograph from veteran performer Jumpin’ Bill Carlisle.

“She had seen him at the Opry when she graduated high school and had written about him in her diary, and so she got a chance for him to sign that diary,” Trisha fondly recalls, “and then watching my dad just laugh and tell jokes with Bill Anderson and Jimmy C. Newman, that made it so special for me.”

Trisha Yearwood has many sweet memories of her years at the Grand Ole Opry, particularly of the late Porter Wagoner, who was known for his sparkly rhinestone suits and lively stage presence. “Porter Wagoner was my person. He was my cheerleader,” Trisha says with a smile, as she remembers the man who inducted her into the Opry on March 13, 1999.

Porter Wagoner performing in 1982
Porter Wagoner performing in 1982David Redfern/Redferns/Getty

Talking about being at the Opry with Porter, Trisha makes you feel like you’re right there with them. “Every time you play the Opry, you go out and do a couple songs and then you go across to the Cracker Barrel to eat, then you come back and do the second show,” she recalls. “We would always do the new single, whatever that was, and I always had to do ‘She’s in Love With the Boy.’

“That was Porter’s favorite song,” she says. “He would walk out on stage and he’d go, ‘Sing the one that brung ya!’ That was his thing, and I’d say, ‘Yes sir!’ So when I play the Opry now, I always sing ‘She’s in Love With the Boy’ and I always do it for Porter.”

Trisha Yearwood performing in 1990
Trisha Yearwood performing in 1990Beth Gwinn/Redferns/Getty

Putting her culinary skills to use

In addition to Trisha Yearwood celebrating her Grand Ole Opry milestone and working on her new album, she also recently checked a big item off her to-do list when Friends in Low Places opened in Nashville. Named for her husband Garth’s iconic hit, the new hotspot was a labor of love for the couple, and fans can even get an inside look at the hard work that went into the new venture in the Prime Video series Friends in Low Places: Building the Oasis.

MUST-READ: Trisha Yearwood and Garth Brooks Are #CoupleGoals — Here’s the Scoop on Their 40-Year Story

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, 2024
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood in 2024Taylor Hill/WireImage/Getty

As a best-selling cookbook author and Emmy winning TV chef in addition to being a musician, Trisha developed the menus and provided the recipes for Friends in Low Places.

“I’m a Virgo and I’m controlling, and I didn’t really want to be a part of a bar when the idea came up,” she admits. “I thought, ‘That’s not been a dream of mine,’ but you’re not going to do a Garth bar and not have Trisha food, and I’m not going to do it halfway. I’m so glad I did it because it has been such an incredible experience.”

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Trisha’s goal was to keep it simple and feature Southern comfort food. “When you come here and you are hungry, you want to have something that sustains you, so we have a good burger, just a regular burger, and chicken tenders and steak fries,” she says.

Trisha Yearwood at the 2022 South Beach Wine and Food Festival, 2022
Trisha Yearwood at the 2022 South Beach Wine and Food FestivalJason Koerner/Getty

“We just made the food that we like and then there are things that we pulled from the cookbook,” Trisha explains. “If you want wedding cake, let’s make it like my mama did and let’s serve it. We have a ‘meat and three’ option because we’re in the South and that’s how we grew up, so you can get my mom’s fried chicken and white gravy. You can get meatloaf, green beans, really good cornbread.”

“I know how to cook for a family,” she continues. “I don’t know how to cook for a bar, I don’t know how to cook for 200 people, but we have the right people on the bus who know how to do that. So it’s been a process of just going through and saying, ‘This will work on a big scale and maybe this won’t,’ and I’m thinking that the menu is just where we’re starting.”

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, 2023
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood in 2023Omar Vega/FilmMagic/Getty

“You’re finally going to get the mashed potatoes,” Garth says with a big smile, admitting he can’t wait for fans to taste Trisha’s tasty dishes. “And if they can get the meatloaf the way she cooks it… I’m hoping they get to that because if you’ve ever had her meatloaf and mashed potatoes you have died and gone to heaven.” We’re getting hungry just thinking about it!

MUST-READ: 20 Greatest Garth Brooks Songs Of All Time— And the Fascinating Stories Behind Them

A woman of many talents

In addition to the food, Trisha also had a hand in decorating the four-story establishment that features a stage for live performances and a rooftop bar. The third floor includes a room named for Trisha’s late mother.

The sweet family tribute even extends to the room’s design. “My whole layout up there is all about family, and the Gwendolyn Room is an intimate dining room,” Trisha explains. “It could be for a family dinner. It could be for a rehearsal dinner or a small meeting. My mom loved Ginkgos and I found some Ginkgo wallpaper that was really just luck. When that wallpaper went on the wall, I thought she would have loved this, and she is loving it, I believe.” The country star is proud of what she’s achieved with the aesthetic. “It’s elegant,” she says. “That floor is elegant and that is her. She was elegance.”

Garth Brooks, Gwen Yearwood and Trisha Yearwood, 2009
Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood with Gwen Yearwood, Trisha’s mother, in 2009Mathew Imaging/WireImage/Getty

Although some celebrities just put their names on different businesses without being deeply involved, Garth and Trisha have both poured much time, energy, creativity and love into Friends in Low Places.

“It’s been an interesting last two years,” Garth acknowledges. “There’s a lot of love in this building. There are a lot of people who came together to make this happen.” It was also important for them to honor local talent. “Nashville is known for its artistry,” he says. “The people we’ve got in this town are bricklayers, welders, carpenters. The artistry in this building is phenomenal. It’s all done here locally with the exception of maybe palm trees. I give a really big hats-off to our locals here.”

Even though the majority of the work on Friends in Low Places is done, Trisha plans to keep working to make the experience even better.

“We’re going to figure out what really works and what doesn’t work and we’re going to tweak it as we go,” she says, “but I’m so glad that we did it because it’s kind of the culmination of all the things we do in one place. Garth and I talk a lot about how lucky we are and about how great this town has been to us, so this has been a great way to say thank you.”

With her Grand Ole Opry anniversary, her upcoming CMT Music Awards honor and her exciting new restaurant, Trisha clearly has much to be thankful for, and we admire all that she’s accomplished.

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