56-year Grand Ole Opry member Jeannie Seely has been awarded the prestigious Joe Talbot Award. The special award was presented by Country Music Association Board of Directors President Kella Farris, who surprised Seely on the Grand Ole Opry stage following her set on Saturday evening.
The Joe Talbot Award was created in 2001 and bestowed posthumously to its namesake, Joe Talbot, a lifetime member of the CMA Board of Directors, who passed away in 2000. The award was first presented in 2001 with Jeannie Seely being the 12th person honored since its inception. Prior recipients include Ken Burns, Dayton Duncan, Charlie Monk, Janette Carter, Kitty Moon Emery, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Louise Scruggs, Marty Stuart and Joe Talbot.
“How wonderful to be honored for doing what you love to do and love to share with others! My surprise was obvious since I am rarely at a loss for words, but this caught me totally speechless!” exclaimed Jeannie Seely. “While Country music will always, and must always evolve, we must always remember the Grand Ole Opry is the cornerstone our industry was built on with music that represented the people. I sincerely appreciate CMA and the folks who recognized how much I care, and I’m proud to be in such great company! Thank you!”
Vice President and Executive Producer of the Grand Ole Opry Dan Rogers stated, “All of us at the Opry are thankful for the opportunity to be the stage on which CMA made its surprise presentation to Jeannie Seely, and of course, we are thrilled with the latest accolade received by the artist who has played that stage more than anyone else in the show’s history.”
“I’m so glad I could be at the Opry this past Saturday night to see my buddy, Jeannie Seely, win the Joe Talbot Award. Joe, with whom I served on the CMA Board of Directors for many years, was a dear friend and all about “keeping it country.” If anybody has done that over the years….and done it with style and grace and class, it’s been Jeannie. She is a great ambassador for Joe Talbot’s philosophy, and nobody could deserve his award any more than her.” shared Country Music Hall of Fame and Grand Ole Opry Member, Bill Anderson
“Jeannie is the exemplary example of a performer, vocalist and songwriter that defines excellence as well as a music leader and advocate for the industry,” commented Country Music Hall of Fame member Eddie Bayers. “I feel this deserved award from the CMA might be the precursor to her finally going into the Country Music Hall of Fame.”
As a long-time mentor for many female artists in the genre, Seely’s influence on the format has been undeniable. She took to the stage during the inaugural Fan Fair in 1972 and has remained a devoted supporter and advocate for Country Music. Seely was recognized last year for having the most performances in the Grand Ole Opry’s 98-year history with over 5,000 shows. Her influence extends globally as she continues to engage Country Music enthusiasts worldwide. Since 2018, she has hosted her own weekly program, “Sunday with Seely,” on SiriusXM’s Willie’s Roadhouse channel, known for its dedication to traditional Country Music. Seely continuously strives to positively represent Country Music and promote its traditions to generations of fans.