Five years ago this month, Drew Baldridge made the bold move from his small hometown of Patoka, Ill., to Nashville, TN. He did so after an 18th birthday surprise trip to Nashville to see Josh Turner play at the Wildhorse Saloon. Since that evening, Baldrige credit’s Turner for inspiring him to pursue his dream of music. Last night (6/15,) Baldridge stood on the circle for his Grand Ole Opry debut and during his third and last song, the country newcomer got the surprise of his life.
The evening was hosted by Opry announcer/host Bill Cody. Baldridge took to the stage following Opry member John Conlee, and performed the title track to his album debut that was just released Friday, June 10, called “Dirt On Us,” a song he wrote about his hometown and his best friends. For the second song of the night, Baldridge performed “Tractors Don”t Roll,” also found on his debut album, and for the third and final song of his Opry debut, he performed “Your Man,” a homage to his idol Josh Turner.
Baldridge took a little time to explain his third song choice to the Opry audience stating,
“The very first time I came to Nashville, my mom bought me tickets for my 18th birthday to see Josh Turner in concert at the Wildhorse saloon. I’ll never forget the first time I came here, I went downtown and bought a cowboy hat just so I can have Josh Turner sign it and I don’t even wear cowboy hats! But I went down there and got a hat, Josh Turner signed it and I watched his show in the front row. That was the night I decided I was going to move to Nashville and I was gonna do this and try to pursue my dream. It was because of Josh Turner. And I know Josh is a Opry member, and what better way than to sing one of Josh Turner’s songs.”
During the musical break of “Your Man,” Josh Turner came out on stage to sing the bridge and surprise Baldridge. It was a memorable moment on the hallowed stage and Baldridge, along with the Opry audience, were all taken back. Surprised and humbled, Baldridge was so overwhelmed by Turner he had difficulty singing alongside his idol. After the end of the song, both singers received a standing ovation form the Opry audience.
Backstage, with family, friends and his record label in support, Baldridge spent some time with Turner and was able to thank him for the first time before heading to the Opry shop to sign copies of his new album, Dirt On Us, to a long line of fans eager to congratulate him.
Baldridge headed out of Nashville last night to Marinette, WI for a performance at the Porterfield Country Fest and then on Friday (6/17) will be joining Kenny Chesney and other country stars for Country Fest in Cadott, WI.