Jaelee Roberts to make her solo Opry debut

Jaelee Roberts, guitarist and primary vocalist with Sister Sadie, is set to be recognized for her work as a solo artist on September 19 when she will make her Grand Ole Opry debut. While this talented young artist has performed several times on the Opry stage, this will mark her first appearance under her own name, performing music she has recorded for Mountain Home Music.

Born of Nashville bluegrass royalty, even at 22, Jaelee isn’t intimidated by the Opry as an institution, though she is still excited to take her first personal bow.

“Playing the Grand Ole Opry has been a dream of mine literally as long as I can remember! I’ve been blessed to grow up backstage at the Opry, watching my dad play on that iconic stage, and seeing my mom handle the business side of the music, but to be invited to debut myself is an incredible feeling. Every country and bluegrass artist – really any genre of music – dreams about walking on that stage and stepping into that circle.”

Her dad is Grascals mandolinist Danny Roberts, and her mom is Andrea Roberts, who today runs the Andrea Roberts Agency, handling representation for several top bluegrass acts. Andrea is also a fine singer, who was a founding member of Petticoat Junction, and worked as a member of Special Consensus.

This opportunity arose for Jaelee at an unexpected time, while she was attending the funeral for one of her musical heroes, Bobby Osborne, in Nashville. Also in attendance were Dan Rogers, Vice President/Executive Producer, and Gina Keltner, Director of Talent Logistics and Scheduling at the Grand Ole Opry.

While she was speaking with friends following the service, Dan and Gina approached Jaelee with their offer, and knocked her off her feet.

“I was just there to pay my respects to one of the biggest musical influences in my life. I was caught completely off-guard by Gina and Dan’s invitation, and honestly, it was pretty hard to process what had happened. I have sure processed it now, though!”

Keltner said that it was something they had been meaning to do, and took advantage of the opportunity of seeing Roberts among those on hand at Crestview Funeral Home in Gallatin, TN on July 6.

“I had good intentions of reaching out sooner to invite Jaelee to make her Opry debut, so when I saw her at Bobby Osborne’s funeral, it occurred to me that this might be an unusual yet perfect time to extend that special ask, and shine some happiness on a solemn day. It was a chance to demonstrate that even though we were all reeling from the loss of both Bobby and Jesse McReynolds that week, bluegrass music was in good hands, and would carry on with talented artists such as Jaelee.”

Jaelee has a powerhouse band to back her on the Opry come September 19. Rob and Ronnie McCoury will be playing banjo and mandolin, with their fellow Travelin McCourys Alan Bartram on bass and Cody Kilby on guitar. Roberts’ Sister Sadie bandmate Deanie Richardson will play fiddle.

Here’s a look/listen to one of her solo releases from her debut album with Mountain Home, Think Again.

Don’t worry Sister Sadie fans, she’s not going anywhere.

Congratulations to Jaelee Roberts on her solo Opry debut! I’m sure we’ll all be watching and listening.

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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.