Caylee Hammack made her Grand Ole Opry debut on Friday (8/23). The “dynamic singer” (Billboard) stepped onto the famed stage with an entrancing version of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy,” a song she sang in Nashville for the first time when she was 13 at Ernest Tubb Record Shop. Hammack then performed “Family Tree,” with dozens of her family members front and center for the debut, who serve as inspiration for the breakout single.
“When I was 13 growing up in South Georgia, I begged my parents to drive me 6 hours to Nashville,” shared Hammack. “One of our first stops was to the Ernest Tubb Record Shop and a little bar beside it, now long gone, where I sang ‘Crazy’ for my parents and maybe a handful of other people off of a lyric sheet. And 12 years later, I knew exactly what I wanted to sing once I stepped in the circle for my Grand Ole Opry debut. That was as close to Patsy as I’ll ever get. It meant the world to have all of my family in the audience right there with me.”
Earlier in the week, Hammack paid tribute to another country powerhouse at the annual ACM Honors event at the Ryman Auditorium to help present the Cliffie Stone Icon Award to Martina McBride with her bluesy rendition of “A Broken Wing” that elicited a standing ovation. “She knows how to belt it, and belt it she did” (CMT).
Watch a recap from Hammack’s debut here: https://www.instagram.com/p/B1opRxPhObJ/
Hammack is set to bring her “confidence and swagger” (Rolling Stone) to Seven Peaks Music Festival this weekend, from there she will join opening slots for Dierks Bentley and Miranda Lambert. Her debut single “Family Tree,” co-written and produced by Hammack, is known for its “soulful vocals and descriptive lyrics [that] shine” (Billboard) instantly turned heads upon its release. The track was the most-added single at Country radio by a female artist in over three years.
Background on Caylee Hammack:
Caylee Hammack constantly felt like a self-described “hippie in a hillbilly town” in her tiny hometown of Ellaville, Georgia. “I used to pray every night as a kid, ‘God, just please make me different. Don’t make me like everyone else,’” she remembers. Hammack is indeed refreshingly different. And at only 25, she has already packed a full life into just a few years, using fake IDs to get gigs around South Georgia, turning down a college scholarship for a love that burned out just a few months later, sleeping in her car when she arrived in Nashville and then losing her home in an electrical fire. “My dad has always said that the most beautiful and strongest things are forged in the fire,” she says. “Iron is nothing until you work it in a fire. Glass cannot be blown without intense heat. You can’t make anything beautiful or strong without a little heat.”
Tested by the fire, Caylee Hammack has been molded into an artist with incredible depth and a powerhouse voice that can effortlessly veer from fiery and demanding to quiet and vulnerable. Her life experience and relentless curiosity have coalesced into a country cocktail that’s rooted in tradition but expands with shards of modern pop and rock. Her self-penned songs tug on her own life story – bad decisions, secret affairs, broken hearts, a quirky family lineage – as she invariably turns the lemons of her daring life into sonic lemonade. Hammack has also been the noted as an “Artist To Watch” by outlets such as The Bobby Bones Show, Rolling Stone and HITS Magazine for her “voice to move mountains” alongside her “clever story telling that keeps it all in motion” (Rolling Stone). For additional information, visit cayleehammack.com.
Top Photo and Bottom Right Photo: Credit – Kirsten Balani
Bottom Left Photo: (L-R) Connie Smith, Caylee Hammack / Credit – Photo courtesy Grand Ole Opry, photographer Sanford Myers