Mickey Guyton At The Opry
“Standing ovations are really hard to come by at the Opry,” explains Opry General Manager Dan Rogers, “because the audience is so many kinds of people. You have diehard traditionalists, fans of today’s Top 40 Country, folks who love Vince Gill’s era, bluegrassers, fans from around the world who’ve always known it and folks who’re coming for the first time because they’ve been told it’s something they should do.”
Still, when Mickey Guyton walked onstage in a bright yellow Oscar de la Renta cocktail dress suitable for Patsy Cline on a January night in 2015 – the gravitational pull in the Ryman shifted. Never mind she’s stunningly beautiful, or the fact Black women rarely grace Opry performances, something about the incredibly poised vocalist made people pause.
“It was a blur,” Guyton confesses. “So many emotions all at once. My family had come from Texas, they were in the wings. My label, friends, everyone had come for this moment – and I honestly don’t remember.”
“The spirit in the room was palpable! You could see it on the faces of the fans, and the people backstage. Everyone could feel this was something special! She’d hushed the people in the wings. Everyone just stood there.”
The song – which she’d co-written – was “Better Than You Left Me,” a classic Loretta-Dolly-Tammy Wynette-style lament, telling a no-good man not to flatter himself on the way out. A strong woman in a tough moment ballad, the torch ache captured the sweep and swoop that’s informed big voice, bigger emotion vocalists from Patty Loveless to Patsy Cline, Trisha Yearwood to Faith Hill.
Courtesy UMG Nashville – Mickey Guyton
The Yellow rose from texas: Mickey Guyton and her parents, who came in from Texas for her Opry debut.
“I remember thinking, ‘This lady’s going to shoot to stardom, or superstardom’,” Rogers recalls, “because she’s got it all. Some people come along, and you just feel it. I remember that crowd, literally, jumping to their feet.
“And the people backstage? All the celebration and tears when she came off!”
That Opry connection held even when Guyton had her doubts.
She recalls, “From that day, they really rose up and loved on me. You look back and think about the tradition it holds, what continues to happen, it’s a family in the truest sense even more than an artist community.
“So many times when I didn’t believe in myself, they saw me. They accepted and loved me; they always considered me not because I was cool, but because they believed in me. That’s a big thing on my kind of journey.”