One of my favorite county music female singers would have to be Tammy Wynette. I remember as a little girl listening to her on the radio and I would sit there singing along. In 6th grade, the teacher had us to write a letter to someone we’ve always wanted to meet. I, of course, wrote mine to Tammy Wynette. Little did I know, our teacher would send off a few of our letters. It was a few weeks later, I got an envelope in the mail with a personal letter and hand signed photo from Tammy herself. Needless to say, I was an ecstatic 11 year old. I’ve kept that photo with me over these years and now it sits above my desk in a simple frame matted. Tammy has been with me musically speaking over the years. I was sad when she passed away several years ago. I never got to see Tammy in concert, nor did I get to meet her in person. However, that letter and photo made me feel like I had somewhat of a connection to her.
These days in the world of digital technology, musicians are trying to get to the heart of the fans, more in a much more massive way. With all the social networking of Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, etc. one message can be sent to reach thousands for free whereas sending out a letter via snail mail wouldn’t reach as many and would be slower. However, I actually have a box of memories of music – fan club newsletters, photos, the little extras in fanclub kits. Let’s see, at one point or another, I was in John Michael Montgomery, Clay Walker, Billy Ray Cyrus, Montgomery Gentry, Dierks Bentley, Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton, Josh Turner and the list goes on and on of Fan Clubs. I remember spending $20-25 of hard earn money for the newsletters, membership card, perhaps a signed photo, folder, bio, and little extras. These days, artists are “all digital” and the only benefit of a fan club is easier access to meet & greets, better concert seats, and the occasional message board.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.