The Nashville area home of Keith Bilbrey, former radio announcer at WSM and the Grand Ole Opry, was severely damaged by fire early this morning. Always a good friend to bluegrass music, he and his wife were barely able to escape as the house became quickly engulfed in flames.
Many people these days know Bilbrey primarily as the announcer for the Huckabee show, airing weekends on the Trinity Broadcasting Network with former Arkansas Governor, Mike Huckabee. He and his wife, Emy Jo, also hosted a TV show called Nashville Country Cookin’, and Keith served as host for Music City Roots, and continues to host a syndicated radio program, Classic Country Today, on many stations around the country. Nahvillians remember him as an on air personality on WSM-TV, and NBC affiliate in town for more than two decades, where he appeared regularly on The Ralph Emery Show, and as an announcer on Larry’s Country Diner.
According to Emy Jo, she and Keith just had time to grab their dog and run out of the house with nothing but the clothes on their backs. She offered thanks to the firefighters who were able to save Keith’s musical instrument collection, but they were unable to save their vast store of Opry memorabilia, or his trove of cowboy boots. Their vehicles were also badly damaged in the fire, and they lost phones, tablets, computers, and almost all their personal photos and effects.
These past few years have been a struggle for the Bilbreys, as Keith was unexpectedly terminated from WSM radio in 2009, a move which outraged local listeners. Then in 2018, their son, Mark, died in an automobile accident during a severe storm.
In a Facebook message this morning, Emy Jo asked friends and fans to pray for them as they try to put their life back together.
Best of luck to them both.