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We traveled from North Carolina to Nashville, Tennessee a week ago to go to the Grand Ole Opry. Why? To see Carrie Underwood, the Charlie Daniels Band and other great country artists. We had second row seats and I was pumped.

The last time I attended the Opry it was still being held in the old Rymam Auditorium in downtown Nashville, and Willie Nelson was in the line up. That tells you a bit about my age, and a bit about my enjoyment of country music.

I became a Carrie Underwood fan when she was a contestant on American Idol. Her voice took my breath away. You could say I was “blown away” by her talent. I’ve seen her in concert twice. Once the year she toured with Keith Urban and last year in Charlotte. Her voice was always perfect and she has improved her stage presence with each performance.

As we waited to go into the Opry for the late showing we could hear her singing Blown Away clear out in the lobby. That girl has power and the place was packed. When it came time for her to come on stage, she was the next to last performer, a couple of security guards sat down in front. The moment they announced her name I understood why. Fans rushed forward to take pictures. The guards made them stay below the level of first row seats, let them take pictures, and then sent them back to their places, so others could come forward. Carrie smiled and sang, never missing a beat. It was quite a sight.

She sang Mama’s Song, for her mother and all the mothers celebrating their big day, and I believe, Last Name, but I was so carried away seeing this tiny woman up close, I don’t really remember. She closed with Before He Cheats. At the Opry, you are allowed two, three at the most, songs and that is all.

Three songs, by this singer, up close and personal was well worth the trip. Her voice is stronger than ever and she now looks relaxed and happy on stage. I guess Carrie Underwood finally believes, as we fans have always, that she belongs up there.

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