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Celebrating the Trailblazers: SOURCE Hall of Fame Inductees Honored at Luncheon

On May 23, the SOURCE community gathered at the CMA building for a memorable luncheon to honor this year’s Hall of Fame inductees: Teena Camp, Marty Craighead, Leslie Fram, Kathy Harris, Judy Seale, and Sheree Spoltore. This distinguished group of women, who have each made monumental contributions to the music industry, were celebrated alongside Jeannie Seely, who will receive the prestigious Jo Walker-Meador Lifetime Achievement Award.

A Gathering of Legends

Moderator Devon O’Day opened the panel discussion with a powerful statement, “Without the women of SOURCE this town would not run.” This sentiment set the tone for an afternoon filled with pride, inspiration, and heartfelt stories from the honorees.

Jeannie Seely: A Lifetime of Achievements

Jeannie Seely, an icon of the Grand Ole Opry, expressed her deep honor in receiving an award named after one of her mentors, Jo Walker-Meador. Reflecting on her own mentor, the late Frances Preston, Seely shared her humble beginnings in rural Pennsylvania. As a child, she would drive to a hilltop with her family to catch the radio signal of the Grand Ole Opry. “I knew at 5 years old what I wanted to do, because I’d heard the Opry on the radio,” she recalled. Today, Seely holds the record for the most performances on the Opry stage by any artist, male or female. Her journey is a testament to the power of dreams and determination, a beacon for all aspiring musicians.

Sheree Spoltore: From Singing Waitress to Industry Leader

Seely’s influence extends to Hall of Fame inductee Sheree Spoltore, whom she mentored from the time Spoltore was a singing waitress at The Nashville Palace. Spoltore’s remarkable career includes over 200 publishing, booking, and management deals, working with notable figures like Merle Kilgore and Barbara Orbison, and eventually founding Global Songwriters Connection in 2013. Among her treasured memories are cooking for Bob Dylan and having Paul McCartney sing for her family as a wedding gift. Her advice to the audience: “Try not to let outside happenings affect your inside happiness.” Spoltore's story is a powerful reminder of how passion and hard work can transform dreams into reality.

Marty Craighead: Flexibility in a Changing Industry

Marty Craighead shared her favorite memory of working with Bill Medley of The Righteous Brothers, who serenaded her with a line from “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” in a restaurant. Craighead’s early career highlights include assisting producer Jerry Crutchfield and promoting artists like Garth Brooks overseas. Now at FBMM, she emphasizes the importance of flexibility in the ever-evolving music business. Craighead's career exemplifies resilience and adaptability, vital traits for success in the music industry.

Kathy Harris: A Lifelong Challenge

Kathy Harris, who has dedicated 50 years to country music marketing, primarily with the Oak Ridge Boys, discussed the challenges and rewards of her career. Responsible for a wide range of promotional activities and an award-winning author, Harris noted, “It’s a hard day if I don’t have a challenge.” Harris's dedication and enduring enthusiasm showcase the power of perseverance and the impact of unwavering commitment to one's craft.

Teena Camp: Designing Dreams

Teena Camp’s journey began with an interest in fashion design, which led to a successful career at Teena’s Shirts/TSC Marketing, creating clothes for stars like Garth Brooks and Reba. Her career path also included being a road manager for David Allan Coe, an experience she describes as “the experience of a lifetime.” Camp’s advice: “Try everything, don’t be afraid to fail.” Her story is an inspiring example of how diverse experiences can lead to a fulfilling and impactful career.

Honoring Judy Seale and Leslie Fram

Although Judy Seale and Leslie Fram were unable to attend the luncheon, Devon O’Day took a moment to acknowledge their profound impact on the industry.

Seale’s career spans co-managing Jo Dee Messina, Minnie Pearl, and Charlie Daniels, to producing over 500 international tours and festivals. She founded Stars For Stripes in 2003, bringing entertainment to US military forces overseas, and currently collaborates with actor Gary Sinise. Seale's work highlights the power of music to bridge cultural divides and bring joy to those in service.

Leslie Fram, Sr. VP, Music & Talent at CMT, is a staunch advocate for female artists. She launched the CMT Next Women of Country franchise and co-founded Change the Conversation, which addresses gender imbalance in the industry. Fram also initiated the Equal Access Development Program to support historically underrepresented artists and management professionals. Fram's efforts have been pivotal in fostering a more inclusive and equitable music industry.

Looking Ahead

Presented by Springer Mountain Farms, the 21st annual SOURCE Hall of Fame Awards will take place on Tuesday, August 27, 2024, at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in the Historic Municipal Auditorium. Details on ticket availability will be released in the coming weeks.

This year’s luncheon was a heartfelt tribute to the incredible women who have shaped the music industry. Their stories of perseverance, innovation, and mentorship serve as a beacon of inspiration for future generations. The pride and admiration felt for these trailblazers underscore the significant strides women have made and continue to make in the world of music. Their legacies are not just a testament to their individual achievements but a collective celebration of the power of women in the music industry.

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