Loyalty and Longevity Result in Opry Invite for Mandy Barnett

Connie Smith and Mandy Barnett (photo: Chris Hollo)

Mandy Barnett never had any monster radio hits or mammoth records. She never took home any statuettes on awards show night. That’s just never been the direction or the purpose behind her career. But over the last quarter century, the time she has logged in service to country music—and specifically the Grand Ole Opry as both a solo performer and collaborator—has been extensive, and it finally paid off Tuesday night, September 28th.

Celebrating her 46th birthday by performing on the Tuesday night Opry, she was surprised on stage by Connie Smith, who sauntered up to lead the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” to Barnett before presenting her with a birthday card. Inside was an invitation for Mandy to become the Grand Ole Opry’s next member.

“You’ve felt like family since we first met, and on this, your special day, we’re honored to invite you to become an official member of the Grand Ole Opry,” Connie Smith read.

It is the latest long-time Opry performer whose dues and service time have resulted in a formal induction. In fact, Mandy Barnett has performed at the Grand Ole Opry over 500 times since making her debut in 1994. Yes, 500. She is one of numerous performers that has shown nothing but loyalty and dedication to the Opry that in the era of executive producer Dan Rogers are finally being recognized for their tenure.

“Night after night, year after year, we’ve been astounded by Mandy’s magnificent performances,” says Dan Rogers. “She loves the Opry and the Opry loves her right back. It’s a great match now and will be for years to come.”

Along with half a thousand Opry appearances, Mandy Barnett also appeared some 500 times over a 20-year span as part of the theater production Always… Patsy Cline, which opened at the Ryman Auditorium in 1994 as well. If you want to know Mandy Barnett just received one of the most elite invitations in country music, this is why—longevity and loyalty.

Mandy Barnett has also been a go-to collaborator and background vocalist on a host of projects over her career. She is well-loved and appreciated throughout the industry and performer class. In May she released her latest album Every Star Above, which is a tribute to Billie Holiday’s Lady in Satin.

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