People.com Entertainment Music Country Martina McBride Rocks Nashville's Ryman Auditorium – with a Little Help from Gavin DeGraw The singer wows the hometown crowd for an upcoming TV special By Nancy Kruh Nancy Kruh Nancy Kruh is a Nashville-based writer-reporter for PEOPLE Digital and PEOPLE Magazine. She has covered the country music scene almost exclusively for eight years, reporting from concerts, awards-show red carpets and No. 1 parties, as well as digging deep in interviews with both fan favorites and up-and-comers. She was lead writer-reporter for PEOPLE cover stories featuring Reba McEntire (2019) and Luke Bryan (2021) and reporter for the PEOPLE cover story featuring Naomi Judd (2022). A student of country music history, she's a 1,400-hour volunteer at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Before PEOPLE, Nancy worked for 25 years as a writer and editor at The Dallas Morning News, where she earned numerous state and national awards, mostly for her feature work. She graduated from Southern Methodist University with a bachelor's degree in journalism, and she also holds a master of arts degree from the University of Texas-Dallas. People Editorial Guidelines Published on November 3, 2014 02:45 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: Nancy Kruh Given Martina McBride’s electric, all-stops-pulled-out performance at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Saturday night, you’d think she would have spent the earlier part of her day resting up. But in fact, the singer had spent the afternoon on the same Nashville stage, performing the same super-charged show – before an empty house. The reason: She and her 11-piece band – eight musicians and three backup singers – were filming an upcoming TV special, and cameras needed both shows to make sure they literally covered all the angles. But as McBride, 48, said at a late-night reception, the first show was “nothing like” the second. Making sure of that was a rapturous sell-out crowd, who buoyed the singer with one standing ovation after another. “This is my favorite place to play in the whole world,” she announced, alluding to the historic auditorium’s legendary acoustics – and the support of the hometown crowd. The two-hour show featured both McBride’s crowd-pleasing hits from her 22-year career and a generous selection of cuts from her latest album, Everlasting, a compilation of mostly R&B and soul classics. And it included a surprise appearance by singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw, who joined McBride on “Bring It On Home to Me,” which the two recorded together on Everlasting. At the post-show party, the 37-year-old DeGraw, who also lives in Nashville, rushed to congratulate McBride on the performance. “Every entertainer is wondering, how it’s going to go tonight?” he said. “You hope the crowd doesn’t take the opportunity to relax. You want them to enjoy it, but you want them involved. I was watching the stage tonight and I saw them getting up, and I thought, this is going to be a great night.” He grinned at his duet partner, who was soaking in his words. “How could they resist?” DeGraw said as he raised a hand to high-five McBride. Want more stories like this? Sign up for our newsletter and other special offers: sign me up Thank you for signing up!