Mandy Barnett, one of the most heralded voices in music and a favorite of Grand Ole Opry fans, was welcomed as the newest member of the Grand Ole Opry last night by Marty Stuart. (Photo on Left: Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Mandy Barnett Photo on Right: Mandy hanging her Opry Member plaque backstage Photo Credit: Chris Hollo)
Watch the moment HERE
Barnett began her set with her very first single, “Now That’s Alright with Me.” She next performed songs from various stages of her career, including “(Won’t You Come Home) Bill Bailey,” which she performed countless times in the role of late Grand Ole Opry star Patsy Cline in the musical Always…Patsy Cline. Barnett was then joined on stage by Patsy Cline’s daughter Julie Fudge, who presented Barnett with an autographed photo of her mom and a canceled check for $50. Fudge explained that the check was written for cash so Cline could make a trip to Houston, where Cline likely spent time with her fan and friend Louise Seger. Cline’s friendship with Seger is at the heart of the long-running musical.
Stuart then took the stage, saying, “You are like our sister, and we all want to be around you at this moment.” Inviting his band and Connie Smith to join him center stage, Stuart continued, “Many meaningful ladies have sung at this microphone, and I can’t think of anyone who was more born for this moment than you. 520 times- that’s how many times you’ve now played the Opry. That’s a long audition! On behalf of the cast, staff, and all the members, we welcome you with open arms and deepest hearts.”
“This is just so unbelievable,” exclaimed Barnett. “I’ve been pinching myself since the birthday invite. This means everything to me. I’ve wanted to be a part of the Opry since I was a little girl. This is just the greatest moment of my life, and I will cherish it.”
“Opry fans and Opry artists alike love Mandy,” said Dan Rogers, Opry vice president, and executive producer. “She has the utmost respect for the Opry and for the great music that has rung across the Opry airwaves for decades. As Connie Smith said when Mandy was invited to become a member, she’s felt like family for years.”
Barnett was surprised on her September 28 birthday with the Opry invitation by Smith. She is scheduled to appear next in each of the Opry’s four “Opry Country Christmas” shows, debuting this coming holiday season at the Opry House on November 28, December 5, 8, and 12.
About Mandy Barnett
Called the “Nashville Sound Chanteuse” (Music Row) and “the Judy Garland of our time” (American Songwriter), Mandy Barnett has built a reputation for her commanding voice and unwavering devotion to classic country, R&B, and popular standards. Barnett has enchanted listeners around the globe with her world-class vocals and musical chameleon qualities. A Tennessee Music Pathways historical marker in Barnett’s Tennessee hometown honors her contributions in making Tennessee the “Soundtrack of America.” Of this singer’s singer, songwriter’s dream, and audience favorite, renowned songwriter/artist Jimmy Webb states simply, “Mandy Barnett has a voice for the ages.”
Barnett first gained prominence as the original star of one of the first “jukebox” musicals, Always…Patsy Cline at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. She has appeared on “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” PBS’s “Sessions at West 54th,” PBS’s “Bluegrass Underground,” and numerous other programs. A frequent guest at the Grand Ole Opry, Barnett has performed at some of the most esteemed music venues in the U.S. and internationally. The Opry stage, though, remains Barnett’s favorite. She says, “There is absolutely no feeling as incredible as singing on the Grand Ole Opry. It’s a magical place!”
Among the many publications praising Barnett’s talents, the Los Angeles Times heralds her “pipes of steel” and “big” voice. Time, People, Billboard, Rolling Stone, and other major media have likewise extolled Barnett’s superlative vocals, “natural musicality” (People), and “vocal finesse” (New York Times). USA Today calls Barnett one of Nashville’s “finest classic country and torch singers,” while the Chicago Tribune calls Barnett “a torch singer in the grandest sense of the word.”
Last year, Barnett released A Nashville Songbook, naming the album after her touring show. Her latest album, 2021’s Every Star Above, is a celebration of Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin with arrangements by the late jazz maestro Sammy Nestico. Of Every Star Above, American Songwriter noted that “Magic springs from her voice…. It’s irrefutable evidence there are no genres or styles Barnett cannot conquer.” Variety magazine named Every Star Above one of the best albums of 2021.
About the Grand Ole Opry
Opry presents the best in country music live every week from Nashville, Tenn. The Opry can be heard at opry.com and wsmonline.com, SiriusXM: Willie’s Roadhouse, and its flagship home, 650 AM-WSM, with Saturday night shows seen on the Circle Network. The Grand Ole Opry is owned by Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP). For more information, visit opry.com.
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