Chapter 10 - Nashville Pussycat

After living for a month in the back of her truck in the parking lot of a music store owned by a steel guitar player who knew a steel guitar player whom Mary knew (got that?) gal Mary and dog Shorty moved into a camper-trailer in a campground in Goodlettsville, north of Nashville, and she starting hitting the local "writer's nights". If you were a “featured” writer, or the only writer, your part of the show was known as a “showcase.” You would do an entire set and invite people in the industry to hear you. Mary did several showcases while she was there, had tons of fun.

This was my first home in Nashville – a camp trailer in Goodlettsville

My old friend Gary Morris from Denver -at Fan Fare, Nashville

She spent the next five years in Nashville learning the music business and the craft of songwriting. She eventually moved into the city, into a real house, and she co-wrote several songs with Gerald Smith - who wrote "Every Second", the Number 2 hit for Colin Raye, and "What Part of No (Don't You Understand)" which hit Number 1 for Lori Morgan. He also wrote music for the "Hee Haw" TV show, so they used to hang out backstage there and at the Grand Ole Opry, which was a real thrill.

Gerald Smith & me doing a duet at one of my showcases. That's Chas Williams back on the
dobro, who went on to play with Wynona Judd.

Hee Haw’s Roy Clark

George Lindsey
“Goober” from Mayberry


One of the first gigs Mary had after arriving in Tennessee was actually in Kentucky at the beautiful Diamond Lakes Resort. The band was provided, so Mary loaded her guitar and Shorty into her truck and drove up to the resort, rehearsed with the band right before the show, performed, and drove back to Nashville. It was a fun gig.

Mary Kelly, backstage, Diamond Lakes Resort, Kentucky

Shorty & guitar backstage, Diamond Lakes Resort, Kentucky

While in Nashville, Mary had several songs published with George Strait's publishing company, Muy Bueno Music, and since she was acquainted with many of the people who worked for George, she was often lurking about backstage during his concerts, too.

The great George Strait, onstage and backstage-
Starwood Ampitheatre,Nashville

She performed at the famous Bluebird Cafe several times, and one night she met another aspiring songwriter there named Garth Brooks who was just starting to get well known. (If she had only known!!)

I first met Garth Brooks at the Bluebird. This photo was taken backstage at the Grand Ole Opry.
One of my invite cards to a showcase at the Bluebird Cafe

Mary loved Nashville, including the songwriters and performers, and hanging out backstage at the Opry, the Starwood Ampitheater, and the Hee Haw TV set. She had two of her original tunes recorded (one in Europe and one in Canada) but has not gotten rich yet. Every year or two, she gets a royalty check for $20 or so, because somebody sang one of her songs somewhere. She met and worked with so many wonderful artists and songwriters in Nashville, here are some of her favorites:

Kathy Mattea -we had the same hairdo

Roy Acuff’s famous dressing room at the Grand Ole Opry

Me & just about the cutest guy in Nashville -Clint Black

She would have stayed in Nashville and continued her songwriting career, but her mother became ill and Mary returned to Colorado to be with her family in 1992.

Copyright 2006 :: Sunrise