When Carly Pearce shared video of her and Jeannie Seely embracing at the Country Music Hall of Fame earlier this week, she was showing a hug between two good friends. The two singers are paired together in the new American Currents: The Music of 2018 exhibit. Few things come as naturally.

Seely says that she's known Pearce since the "Closer to You" singer was performing at Dollywood as a teenager and young 20-something. "I was always impressed by her," Seely — a Grand Ole Opry institution — tells Taste of Country. "Her stage presence shows all that training."

When Pearce moved to Nashville, she inadvertently moved into Seely's neighborhood and a true friendship blossomed. Seely recalls sneaking Pearce and her friends backstage at the Opry before the Kentucky native got a chance to perform there herself.

Pearce calls Seely a mentor in her Instagram post, but really, the respect is mutual.

"We ride three-wheel bicycles through the neighborhood," Seely reveals. "She and Michael (Pearce's fiance, Michael Ray) and I have had a tendency to have a sip of wine, only to promote her record of course."

The dress and boots Pearce wore for her Grand Ole Opry debut are on display at the exhibit, open now through Feb. 8, 2020. Seely eagerly speaks about the young star's respect and admiration for the Opry and her overall humility.

"She's the one that pointed out to me that I was 26 when my first record hit and she was 26 when her record hit," she says. "We both went through the fear of thinking it was gonna go past us, because if it doesn't happen pretty soon we're gonna be too old to even be considered."

Pearce did not attend the opening of the newest Hall of Fame exhibit. "Closer to You" is the first single from an upcoming album, expected in 2019. The album will include a duet with Michael Ray.

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