For only the second time in Grand Ole Opry history, a dog stepped into the hallowed circle to make its Opry debut. With the help of Opry member Lauren Alaina, Bush’s Beans spokes-dog Duke took the stage in celebration of a new partnership between the Opry and Bush’s Beans.
Known for his one-liner “Roll that beautiful bean footage,” Duke is no stranger to the limelight. In honor of his Opry debut, he dressed to the nines, donning a bedazzled Bush’s Beans bandana.
Starstruck and full of giggles, Alaina introduced Duke, who shined as he strutted across the Opry stage for his debut.
“We are here to announce Bush’s Beans as the official beans of the Grand Ole Opry,” Alaina told the audience. Duke briefly soaked in the attention of the crowd before turning his attention to the side of the stage. Drawing laughs from the audience, Alaina walked around to get Duke’s attention.
The queen of puns then told Duke, “I thought we could get a round of a-paws together.” She quipped, “Are you too good for my jokes?” while Duke wagged his tail. The last time a dog made an Opry debut was in 2006 when Lassie graced the stage.
The new partnership means that fans can enjoy Bush’s signature Baked Beans at the Opry Back Porch BBQ Food Truck, which is located in the Opry Plaza, before catching their favorite country music stars on the Opry stage.
Tennessee-based Bush’s Beans is also offering fans a chance to win a VIP Grand Ole Opry experience for two. Fans can enter the Bush’s Sweepstakes from 10/3 – 10/21, where they can see the show of their choice, complete with a special call out and a one-of-a-kind experience with backstage daytime tour passes (hotel + airfare included). For more information, visit www.bushbeans.com.
Alaina spoke to Country Now about memories of Bush’s Beans with her late grandfather, her own Opry debut, and the funny moment that landed her in the arms of Brett Eldredge on the last stop of their tour.
When the 27-year-old Georgia native found out she’d be working with spokes-dog Duke and Bush’s Beans at the Opry, she knew it would be a perfect fit for the Southern girl who loves dogs.
“Bush’s just really reminds me of my grandfather actually,” says Alaina. “He passed earlier this year, but he loved him some baked beans. It was like a must-have on my Papa’s plate. When I think of my childhood, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up. When I’m at the grocery store and I pass the beans, I think of my Papa.”
Alaina also recalled the most memorable moment of her own Opry debut.
“My dad grew up playing banjo and his dream was to play the Grand Ole Opry. And so I heard about that all of my childhood… So when I made my debut, I looked over and my dad was just sobbing on the side of the stage and that’s what I remember the most from the whole night was my dad.”
Alaina’s love for the Grand Ole Opry is so deep that she even named her own dog Opry. But, she made sure not to spill the beans about her appearance with Duke to her pup.
“I did not tell her I was gonna be doing this, ‘cause I don’t think she’d be okay with it,” Alaina laughed. “She’s gonna smell him and be like, ‘Really? Where have you been? What have you been doing?’”
Alaina plans to make it up to little Opry for her upcoming second birthday.
“I’m so obsessed with my dog that I put it on the calendar and was trying not to work on the day that is her birthday, so that’s a problem,” Alaina laughed. “I’m gonna get her a cake for sure. She loves to be outside, so I’ll probably just keep her outside all day and play with her.“
Alaina’s dog appeared on her namesake stage when she was just a puppy, so she hopes to bring her back soon.
“She was so little when she was here,” Alaina recalled. “She was like 10 weeks old, so I don’t even know if she remembers it. I need to bring her back. She needs to come back and see what she’s named after. And I have a feeling that’s gonna be needing to happen when she hears about this Duke experience.”
The “Road Less Traveled” singer just finished the “Songs About You Tour” with Brett Eldredge, where she experienced a hysterical moment on the last night of the tour.
“So Brett and his team do a dance party before they go on stage. It’s really cute and very funny. And they play this song and they just dance very badly, but it’s like their warm up. Everybody’s got one, you know?” she laughed. They’d invited Alaina to join on the last night, when hijinks ensued.
“A cricket was on the wall and Brett messed with it and it jumped towards us and I jumped up into his arms and he caught me,” she laughed.
Alaina recently signed a new record deal with Big Loud Records and says she’ll be hitting the studio soon to start recording new music.
“We are going into the studio in November, so we’re trying to figure out exactly what we’re gonna do now,” she shared. “I think Joey Moi is the best producer ever. He produces like all of my favorite projects, like all the HARDY stuff is just so good. And he does all that and he does all of Morgan’s stuff and Jake Owen and he’s just a really solid producer. I’m excited to make music with him. And the creative team over there is just very hands on and it’s gonna be a good record. I feel good about it already.”