Reba takes a heartfelt trip down memory lane during her first full-length concert at the Ryman

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Wednesday in Nashville, Reba McEntire played the first full concert of her career at the Mother Church of Country Music.

The Country Music Hall of Famer started the show singing “Jesus Loves Me” a capella, which happens to be the first song she was ever paid to sing.

“We were at the rodeo… and we were all in the Cheyenne Frontier Hotel lobby,” she told ABC Radio earlier. “Everybody congregated down there in the lobby. And the cowboys got [my brother] Pake to sing ‘You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog’ and gave him a quarter.”

“I said, ‘Well, help me out. What can I do?”

“He said, ‘Well you know “Jesus Loves Me,” sing that!’ So I went out in front of everybody and I sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ and they gave me a nickel! So that was my first paid performance,” she recalled.

At the Ryman, Reba segued into “I Got the Lord on My Side,” the track her mother co-wrote on her new number-one selling gospel album, Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope.  

“We were in the studio recording it,” Reba told ABC, “and Mama was sitting in the control room, and we were listening to the playback, and everybody left and went back in to play it again and she said, ‘Can I make a suggestion?… Instead of saying “I’m so happy I’ve got the Lord on my side,” why don’t you say one time “Oh, you’re happy.You’ve got the Lord on your side?”‘

“And I said, ‘Dang it! Why didn’t I think of that?’”

“I said, ‘Does that mean I’m going to have to pay you some of the royalties?’…She said, ‘No, I just wake up in the morning and throw dollar bills in the air. I don’t need the money!’” Reba laughed.

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