Introducing our...                                                                     

SPEAKERS

Everyone Loves to Hear Stories!

 

It would be hard to find another group with as much knowledge and familiarity of the artists and the country music scene as the Music City Speakers.

JAMIE JOHNSON

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Programs may be developed from a fantastic list of speakers

who are on a first name basis with the stars.

Check out a few of the highlights of their career.

TIM ATWOOD
MUSICIAN / SONG WRITER

Musician and staff band member at the
Grand Ole Opry for over 38 years.

  • TV experiences include Opry Live, Opry Backstage, Nashville Now, Nashville On the Road, Hee Haw, Pop Goes The Country, On Stage, The Morning Show, Late Night with David Letterman, CBS and NBC News

  • Nine–time director for The Inspirational Country Music Awards, staff player for the CMA Fan Fest for the WSM/Durango Boots Stage, and has composed theme music for a variety of TV and radio productions, including a national campaign for Easter Seals

  • Played for the biggest farewell party since Hank Williams – the funeral of George Jones

  • If you attended the Opry and saw the King of Country Music perform, you may remember Roy Acuff saying, “That’s Tim Atwood at the piano. It’s the cannonball you’ve rode before...” as Tim played with him

  • Sought after musician who continues to back other artists as well as writing and recording his own music

EDDIE BAYERS
DRUMMER

Drum Magazine named him one of the Top Ten Sessions Drummer of all time.

  • He has played on over 300 million selling albums

  • Member of the Grand Ole Opry Band for 16 years

  • Won the Academy of Country Music Awards Drummer of the Year 14 times

  • Received 26 Grammy Awards as a participant

  • Modern Drummer Poll Winner for 5 times

  • Served as a Board of Governor for NARAS – National Academy of Recording Artists and Sciences - better known as the "Grammy Board" for 16 years

  • In 2010, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame “Nashville Cats”

  • In 2015, he received the Berklee School of Music American Masters Award, Boston, MA for his openness, generosity, and deep commitment to music education that made a positive impact on the lives of young musicians

KEITH BILBREY

RFD TV ANNOUNCER / HOST

Truly a fan favorite - became an iconic voice in the modern history of WSM Radio.

  • Inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame

  • Received his broadcast license at the age of 14

  • 35-year career with WSM Radio, Nashville, TN

  • In 1982, he became an announcer on the Grand Ole Opry and The Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree

  • Served as emcee on numerous television shows including CBS’s telecast of the CMA's, TNN/Music City News Awards, An Evening of Country Greats, and the American Federation of Musicians’ 100th Anniversary Show

  • First host of "Grand Ole Opry Live" when TNN began televising it

  • Hosted "Opry Live" along with the Opry warm-up show "Backstage Live" until The Nashville Network stopped airing the show

  • Presently an announcer and Larry Black’s sidekick on "Larry’s Country Diner" on RFD Television

  • Appears on Music City Roots and Reflections television shows also

JIMMY CAPPS

GUITARIST EXTRAORDINAIRE

The Master of Smoothness - A king even among the Nashville session royalty.

  • You hear the richness and grace of his acoustic guitar on such classic songs as  He Stopped Loving Her Today, The Gambler, Stand By Your Man, Here In The Real World, Lost In The Feeling, Elvira, Brown Eyed Handsome Man, etc.

  • At times, he averaged 520 recording sessions a year

  • Has received numerous awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Science for playing on # 1 hit recordings

  • Member of the NARAS Super Pickers Band for two years and also voted "Most Valuable Acoustic Player”

  • Appeared on 20 years of Country Music Awards Shows and now plays the  Sheriff on "Larry’s Country Diner" on RFD TV

  • Inducted into the Musician’s Hall of Fame in Nashville

  • Played on stage of the Opry since 1958 and has been a member of the Opry Staff Band since 1967

  • Governor James Hunt proclaimed May 25th, 1998 as Jimmy Capps Appreciation Day in North Carolina and he has been appointed "Tennessee Ambassador of Goodwill" by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

  • For the young at heart, Jimmy is the one heard picking behind the Chipmunks on the Urban Chipmunk project

MICHELE VOAN CAPPS

SINGER

Simply Michele, Performs with her husband, Jimmy Capps

  • Has worked with the Opry for 20 years as the Opry Music Librarian, better known as the "Chart Chick"

  • You will see her running back and forth exchanging music sheets to the musicians for the next set being played on the Grand Ole Opry

  • Her vocals are featured on the albums "Christmas at Home with Michele," "Simply Michele" and "7th and Union"

  • She and Jimmy's performances on "Larry's Country Diner" inspired original songs written by the couple for the show and the album "In Time For Dinner"

  • Appears on "Larry's Country Diner TV Show" on the RFD Channel regularly

  • Occasionally sang harmony with Opry members such as Jim Ed Brown, Hank Locklin, Jan Howard, John Conlee, Bill Anderson, etc.

TONY COCHRAN
POLICE LIEUTENANT - MNPD - RETIRED 

25 years with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department provided the opportunity to work with a large number of major stars during his employment and continuing to do so after his retirement. One of the first ones he provided security for was Elvis Presley.

  • Provided security for major stars of the music, television and movie industry as they recorded, filmed and performed while in Nashville

  • Hired by Elvis to work in his security group while recording at Studio B

  • Worked the Artist's Backstage Entrance of the Grand Old Opry for 8 years where only artists and guests are allowed and no one entered without checking with him.

  • Handled security for The Nashville Network  for the filming of their       off grounds television shows

  • His unknown claim to fame is that six months prior to the assassination of President John Kennedy, he sat in the same seat of the Presidential Limousine in which our President was shot

Ask Carol Lee about the time she danced with Elvis backstage at the Opry and then 30 years later she found out that he wanted a date with her. Elvis asked her famous father if he could date her and Stoney replied "I don't think so, son."

Here's some trivia...
The Carol Lee Singers were named by a very famous Country Music Star. Can you guess who it was?

CAROL LEE COOPER

SINGER / PERFORMER

If you've been to the Grand Ole Opry, you've seen Carol Lee Cooper and her group, The Carol Lee Singers performing with the Opry greats.

 

If you've heard Conway Twitty's recording of "Linda On My Mind" ... This Time I've Hurt  Her More Than She Loves Me" ... you've heard Carol Lee's high voice on his records. 

  • At age 14, she became a member of the Grand Ole Opry along with her  famous parents, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper

  • Spent over 40 years as a singer on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry with her vocal group, The Carol Lee Singers and using her famous hand signals

  • Hosted the  WSM Talk Show "Nashville Nights with Carol Lee"

  • Made numerous trips to Vietnam to entertain our soldiers

  • Played in two Presidential Prayer Breakfasts for Dr. Billy Graham and President Richard Nixon in Washington, DC

  • Performed for Presidents Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, George H. Bush and George W. Bush

  • Received 23 NARAS awards for recording on some of the greatest country classic hits (An award given for outstanding contribution made to the recording and success of #1 smash hits) 

  • Was presented with the Media Award from ROPE International for lifetime achievements in country music

  • The Carol Lee Singers received the Golden Voice Group of the Year Award, the Texas International Music Association Award, the George D. Hay Country Music Hall of Fame Award along with Ray Price and Grandpa Jones

  • Has appeared in movies, television shows, radio and the stage

TOMMY HENSLEY

SOUND MAN/ BASS PLAYER

  • Worked with the group “Voice” which opened for Elvis for three years

  • Played bass for Elvis on six of his records

  • Later, he worked with and traveled on tour with Tanya Tucker, Larry Gatlin and Kenny Chesney

  • Played on the soundtracks of "Next of Kin" starring Patrick Swayze and "Bat 21" with Gene Hackman and Danny Glover

  • Front of the Room Sound Man for the Grand Ole Opry for 16 years
     

      Ask him about the watch and TCB logo necklace Elvis gave to him.

DENNIS McCALL

SINGER / MUSICIAN

Singer, musician, dedicated family man who has been involved in the music business for many years.

  • Spent 35 years singing with the Carol Lee Singers as backup singer for the Grand Ole Opry from 1980 to 2015

  • Bass player and singer with Barbara Mandrell for 5 years

  • With the Charlie Louvin band for three years as a singer and bass player

  • Performed as backup singer for too many stars to mention

  • Little known fact about Dennis is that he is related to Jack McCall, the man who shot Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota in August of 1876 as Bill held the now famous  “Aces and eights” card hand

  • Played in school, rock and dance bands in his teen years

  • Nominated for the Golden Globe Award for his participation in writing the musical score for All the Pretty Horses, a movie, with Billy Bob Thornton

  • Featured in the book Studio Bass Masters

  • Toured with the group Alabama in 1985 and 1992

  • Has been bandleader for the Charlie Daniels Volunteer Jam and the annual Harlan Howard Birthday Bash

  • Performed live on TNN’s Music City Tonight and Prime Time Country  television shows as staff bassist

  • Arranged many orchestra sessions in the Country, Rock and Christian     playing fields with his wife, a top violinist with many gold records to her name while the two of them pursue their individual recording careers

LARRY PAXTON

MUSICIAN

Began his musical career at the early age of 8 on the piano and violin, later the tuba and was playing “gigs” at 13.

Tim & Donna were country music mega star Alan Jackson’s landlords from 1985 to 1990.

TIM & DONNA THOMPSON

First couple to be married on stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Talk about someone who knows the ins and outs of the  backstage area of the Grand Ole Opry. After working there for a total of 81 years, they certainly do.

 TIM

  • Worked 42 years beginning at the Ryman Auditorium and later at the Grand Ole Opry

  • Worked in every aspect backstage of the Grand Ole Opry 

  • Stage Manager for 31 years from July of 1984 thru July of 2015

 DONNA

  • Started in 1976 as an Opry hostess for three years

  • Worked in the Opry ticket office for 13 years

  • Became Talent Payroll Clerk in 1993 until 2013

BOBBY TOMBERLIN

SONGWRITER/ACTOR/MUSICIAN

Appeared on numerous television shows and movies and has been a member on the CMT hit series, "The Singing Bee" for five seasons.

  • Started in the music business at the age of 11, as a disc jockey in his hometown of Luverne, AL where he interviewed Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings

  • Mel Tillis gave him his break when he signed Bobby to a publishing contract

  • Has been a staff writer for Curb Records for the past 21 years

  • Written songs with Loretta Lynn, Porter Waggoner, Bobby Bare, Mac Davis, and new artists Lee Brice, Sam Hunt and Thompson Square to name a few

  • Co-wrote the number one hit song “One More Day” by Diamond Rio and     the recent hit “Country” recorded by Mo Pitney

  • Has many songs recorded by well-known artists such as Barbara Streisand, Kenny Rogers, Willie Nelson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner, Little Jimmy Dickens and many others

SINGER/SONGWRITER

JAMIE JOHNSON

His love for bluegrass and traditional country music was the reason for a move to Nashville, TN in 1998 from Indiana. With some of his friends in 2004, they formed "The Grascal's", which developed into one of the top bluegrass bands in the nation. The realization of this made some of his dreams never thought possible come true.

Career Highlights include:

  • 3 time Grammy Nominee

  • 150 plus appearances on the Grand Ole Opry

  • 2 time Bluegrass Music Entertainer of the Year

  • 2 time DOVE Award Nominee

  • 11 time SPGMA Award Winner

  • Two appearances at the White House (Presidents's Bush and Obama)

  • Several appearances on major market television (Late Night with Jay Leno, The Talk, The Late Show, CMA Fanfest, CMT, GAC)

  • Recorded on albums of Dolly Parton, George Jones, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams Jr., Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Joe Nichols. etc.