ALEDO, Illinois -- Two women who grew up in Aledo, Illinois - population 3,600 - wound up becoming nationally-recognized singers; Margo Price and Suzy Bogguss have performed for the Grand Ole Opry.
“They’re the talk of the town,” says life-long resident, Pam Myers.
Bogguss started her career back in the 1980s. Her country songs topped the charts, landing her countless awards, naming her Top New Female Vocalist from the Academy of Country Music.
Price is now an up-and-coming star who’s appeared on almost every late-night show in America - her fame is still growing.
But these two nationwide stars started on the very same small-town stage.
Both singers found their voices in Aledo, Illinois back in high school. They sang in the choir, performed in their high school theater productions, and caught the attention of people in town.
“They are very driven, good-natured, very positive people,” comments Myers.
“They are grounded where their roots are,” says Jim Taylor at WRMJ Radio.
But small-town Aledo wasn’t enough for these two. They had higher hopes and dreams they would one day make it to the big leagues.
“I was like there is a girl from Aledo playing for the president, that’s pretty awesome,” Ruggles remembers.
Bogguss shocked everyone back home when she performed for President Bill Clinton and Price followed in Bogguss’ footsteps all the way to Nashville.
“I’ll never forget Russell Crowe goes ‘Hi, I’m Russell Crowe and I’m introducing Saturday Night Live’s musical guest, Margo Price’,” recalls Taylor. “I was like there is an Aledo kid who is standing next to Russell Crowe.”
Like Bogguss, Price keeps it traditional.
“When you listen to her albums you think of Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette as classic singers,” explains Ruggles.
Yet, she adds an edge to set her apart from the rest.
“She’s got the respect of the older country musicians,” Ruggles adds. “Those are the things that happen before she is the headliner. So, I really think it’s a matter of time.”
“I mean they talk about one in a million, one in a trillion shots and those are two examples,” says Taylor.
Leaders in Aledo hope to have both musicians return and perform together at the town's Annual Rhubarb Festival within the next few years.
(Editor's Note: The two singers are not members of the Grand Ole Opry, but have performed there)