It’s been a Grand Ole week in country

January 3, 2019
Country artist Mark Wills has been invited to join the Grand Ole Opry.

ENGAGEMENT: Dating country singers Michael Ray and Carly Pearce are now engaged. The “Kiss You In the Morning” singer asked Pearce to marry him recently and she said yes. News of the couple’s romance became public in July, but both have said they dated a few months before taking it public.

Ray and Pearce both gush on one another in interviews, on social media and (as of recently) in song.

The “Every Little Thing” singer admits her new single “Closer to You” was inspired by her feelings for the native Floridian.

“It’s just easy,” Pearce said in November. “He completely makes who I am and the parts of me that make me Carly shine, and I’ve never experienced that before.”

The proposal appears to have taken place on the Caribbean side of Mexico as Pearce added Tulum, Quintana Roo as her location in some pictures.

No further information about the engagement or who was with them to take pictures has been shared.

MONEY RAISED: Big & Rich’s John Rich hosted a holiday gathering at his home that raised more than $187,000 for Folds of Honor, an organization that provides educational scholarships to families of military men and women who have fallen or have been disabled while on active duty in the U.S. armed forces.

John’s “Holidays and Heroes” event included a silent auction and recognition of honored military members. John presented the check for $187,435 to Folds of Honor on behalf of his Redneck Riviera Whiskey, which donates a percentage of every sale to Folds of Honor.

To date, John and his Redneck Riviera brand have provided 37 scholarships through Folds of Honor.

NEW OPRY MEMBER: Longtime fan-favorite Mark Wills will be the newest addition to the Grand Ole Opry.

Mark was invited by Vince Gill to join the venerable organization during his performance on Friday, Dec. 21. Vince surprised Mark with the invitation, saying, “We at the Opry would like to ask you to become the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.

This boy has been the greatest supporter and proponent of what the Opry stands for.” After hearing the news, Mark dropped to his knees before rising to his feet and saying through tears, “I would love to be the next member of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Mark, whose formal Opry induction will take place on Jan. 11, has earned eight Top 10 hits since launching his career in 1996, including “19 Something,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Don’t Laugh at Me.”

Julie Reeves is the midday host on Big Buck Country 101.5. Also contributing is Bill Cornwell.

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