After Tragedy, Kellie Pickler Returning to Stage to Tribute Patsy Cline

photo: Robby Klein

Kellie Pickler is making her return to the stage as part of a Patsy Cline tribute. Scheduled for April 22nd at the Ryman Auditorium, Pickler will be performing as part of the all-star Walkin’ After Midnight: The Music of Patsy Cline. She will be joined on stage by Tanya Tucker, Pam Tillis, Wynonna, Ashley McBryde, Crystal Gayle, Dailey & Vincent, Beverly D’Angelo, Mickey Guyton, Pat Benetar, and more in the tribute.

Ever since Kellie Pickler’s husband Kyle Jacobs committed suicide on February 17th, 2023, she has remained out of the public eye, and purposely so. “One of the most beautiful lessons my husband taught me was in a moment of a crisis, if you don’t know what to do, ‘do nothing, just be still,'” Pickler said in August of 2023. “I have chosen to heed his advice.”

The couple was married for over 12 years, and were regular songwriting partners and music collaborators. They also appeared together in the CMT reality series I Love Kellie Pickler. Kyle Jacobs was a professional songwriter and producer, writing the #1 song “More Than a Memory” for Garth Brooks, along with songs for Clay Walker, Scotty McCreery, and others. Jacobs was also close friends with Lee Brice. He died due to a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Jacobs was 49 years old.

Kellie Pickler cites Patsy Cline as a primary influence on her music, and has performed “Crazy” and “Walking After Midnight” throughout her career. Her performance of “Walking After Midnight” on American Idol in 2005 is what rocketed her into the Top 10 of the show. She ultimately ended up at #6, and launched her country career afterward.

The critical apex of Kellie Picker’s output was her 2012 album 100 Proof, which turned out to be her third and final record for Sony. 100 Proof was a precursor for important things to come in country music in the proceeding years. It included songs co-written by Chris Stapleton and Brent Cobb before they were well-known. Stapleton also sang harmonies and Paul Franklin played steel guitar. The album was also incredibly well-written, very personal to Pickler, and went on to win Saving Country Music’s 2012 Album of the Year.

But after parting ways with Sony, Pickler focused just as much on being famous as being famous in music. She competed on Dancing with the Stars in 2013, and won the competition outright. That year she also released her first album through Black River Entertainment, The Woman I Am. In 2015, she starred in her own reality show on CMT called I Love Kellie Pickler that ran for 15 episodes. Then she starred in the Pickler & Ben morning show with Ben Aaron that started in 2017 and ran through 2019.

Many country fans have been waiting for Kellie Pickler’s return, both after the death of her husband, and to country music in general. Stepping back into the spotlight to tribute Patsy Cline seems apropos, and hopefully leads to more public appearances.

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