Many great artists have stood on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry over the course of the 80-odd years the radio program has been on the air. Johnny Cash, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, and so many more all played the Opry. When I took a trip to Nashville a few years back, the guests at the Opry that night included Exile, the band behind the late ’70s hit “Kiss You All Over.”

The folks in attendance at the Grand Ole Opry House on September 25 got a better surprise guest. (No offense, Exile.)

That would be Bill Murray, beloved comedy icon and guy who shows up places and does delightful things because he is Bill Murray. Murray joined the SteelDrivers and songwriting legend John Prine for a performance of “Paradise.” It’s fun to listen to the applause ripple through the audience as he’s recognized after walking on stage. (He’s only introduced after most of the crowd’s recognized him.)

Although Murray just sings backup on the song, his vocals are pretty clear, and he does a surprisingly solid job of harmonizing with Prine and the band. Other than that scene in Ghostbusters where he goes “So be good! For goodness sake! Whoa, somebody’s coming!” I don’t remember Murray doing much singing in his career. But he can carry a tune. Remember that one time he sang “Gloria”?

I look forward to more random Bill Murray musical appearances in the future, and his inevitable debut album, Songs in the Key of Murray.

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