Hairl Hensley passes

One of the most familiar voices in country music has left us with the passing of Grand Ole Opry announcer Hairl Hensley on New Year’s Eve. He worked for WSM and the Opry for more than 35 years, and was 81 when he died.

If you listened to the Opry broadcast anytime between 1972 and 2007, you heard his smooth voice announcing the performers on stage.

After his stint there, Hairl hosted a daily bluegrass show on WSM called The Orange Possum Special. He kept Nashville up to date on new bluegrass, along with doses of the classics. The Country Music DJ Hall of Fame inducted him in 1995, and he finished his career at the Roadhouse Channel on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Originally from Madisonville in east Tennessee, Hensley started in the music business with a dream of becoming an artist, but it was his skill behind the broadcasting microphone that won him attention in the business. His first break was as announcer on the Porter Wagoner Show, and he soon found himself doing the overnight shift at WKDA in Nashville. Before joining WSM, Hair also served as Program Director at WLAC.

Visitation with family is scheduled for Friday, January 5 from noon to 2:00 p.m. at the Spring Hill Funeral Home in Nashville. A Celebration of Life service will follow at 2:00.

Farewell and rest in peace, Hairl Hensley.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.