Beams from the spotlights reflected off the gold sequins on Dolly Parton’s fitted pantsuit and into the sold-out audience at the Grand Ole Opry House Saturday night in Nashville, Tennesee. The previous week was stacked with Opry performances from country music’s biggest names and brightest stars singing their favorite Parton songs in anticipation for the moment she took the stage Saturday night to celebrate her 50th anniversary as an Opry member. “This whole week is very special,” Parton said to The Tennessean, part of the USA TODAY Network, before she played her first 30-minute set at the Opry’s 7 p.m. show. “I’m just grateful for all of it. Who knows when you’re starting how you’re going to turn out? Now, here I am at 73 years old looking back on my life and thinking, ‘I’m still here, and they’re still allowing me to feel like I’m important in the business.’ It’s a beautiful wonderful … [Read more...] about Dolly Parton celebrates 50th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry: 'I feel very special'
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FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown has died. He was 81. Brown's death Thursday was announced in a news release from Webster Public Relations. The release said Brown died of cancer at Williamson Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee. Brown had hits as a solo singer and part of a duet and trio. He also was a prominent figure on country music television shows in the 1970s and 1980s. He will be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame this year. With his two sisters, as the trio the Browns, they had the No. 1 hit "The Three Bells" on both the pop and country charts in 1959. The trio recorded for RCA Records from 1954 to 1967. Sisters Bonnie and Maxine left the group in the mid-1960s to raise their families. Jim Ed then had a solo career, beginning with the hit "Pop-A-Top Again" in 1967. Others were "Morning" in 1970 and "Southern Living" in 1973. His last chart record as a solo was in 1979. … [Read more...] about Grand Ole Opry member Jim Ed Brown dies at age 81
Carrie Underwood is the newest member of the "Grand Ole Opry." The chart-topping "American Idol" winner debuted on the 83-year-old country music radio show by singing a duet with Vince Gill Sunday."This really seems like a great family to be part of," Underwood said, fighting back tears as Garth Brooks inducted her into the cast. "I promise I'll do everything I possibly can to not make you regret it." The former "Idol" winner sold 7 million copies of her debut album, "Some Hearts," and shot to superstardom almost overnight with hits that included "Before He Cheats" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel." Her followup, "Carnival Ride," has produced two No. 1 hits: "So Small" and "All-American Girl." Join the Conversation: … [Read more...] about Carrie Underwood, ‘Grand Ole Opry’ star
Little Jimmy Dickens, a diminutive singer-songwriter known for his sense of humor and as the oldest cast member of the Grand Ole Opry, has died. He was 94. Dickens died Friday at a Nashville-area hospital of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke on Christmas Day, an Opry spokeswoman said. Dickens, who stood 4-foot-11, had performed on the Opry almost continuously since 1948. His last performance was Dec. 20 as part of his birthday celebration. He sang "Out Behind The Barn" and delivered his trademark comedy. He had turned 94 a day earlier. "The Grand Ole Opry did not have a better friend than Little Jimmy Dickens," said Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager. "He loved the audience and his Opry family, and all of us loved him back. He was a one-of-kind entertainer and a great soul whose spirit will live on for years to come." Country legend Hank Williams Sr. nicknamed him "Tater" based on Dickens' song "Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait)." His novelty … [Read more...] about Little Jimmy Dickens dead at 94: Singer-songwriter was oldest cast member of Grand Ole Opry
Jean Shepard, “the grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry” who had a long recording career as an influential female in country music, died Sunday, according to an Opry spokeswoman. Shepard was 82. Spokeswoman Jessie Schmidt said in a news release that Shepard had entered hospice care last week and died in Nashville. “The Opry family is truly saddened by the news of Jean’s passing,” Opry vice president and general manager Pete Fisher said in the statement. “Although we will miss Jean’s presence on the Opry stage, she has left us the wonderful gift of her music which will be remembered for generations to come.” Shepard joined the cast of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and helped set the standard for women in country music, choosing to tour as a solo act rather than as part of a group. She presented a strong female point of view on songs like “Twice the Lovin’ in Half the Time” and “The Root of All Evil (Is a … [Read more...] about Country singer Jean Shepard, ‘grand lady of the Grand Ole Opry,’ dies at 82