Cassadee Pope’s year has been studded with a wave of rollicking, up-tempo standouts: She’s topped the charts with Chris Young on their bouncy duet “Think of You,” frolicked in the sand with her sexy “Summer” and held her own in an exuberant CMT Awards performance with Pitbull and Leona Lewis.
But on the hallowed stage of the Grand Ole Opry, Pope proves she can steer her singing in a soulful direction, and just as beautifully. In a pensive take on Tammy Wynette’s “‘Til I Can Make It On My Own,” the Florida native breathes personal meaning into the Seventies hit. “This is one of my grandpa’s favorite songs,” she says at the introduction, “and I hope I don’t mess it up!” There’s no chance of that, as she channels both Wynette’s delivery and grace, soaring into her upper vocal registers with ease. The Opry band provides seamless accompaniment, with a mournful violin, mellow drums and wailing guitar giving powerful momentum.
Wynette wrote “‘Til I Can Make It on My Own” with her husband, George Richey, and longtime collaborator, Billy Sherrill. She originally recorded the tune in 1976 — 13 years before Pope was born.