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Holly Dunn Recalls Sadness of Losing Opry Membership

Holly Dunn cancer

Holly Dunn, one of country music’s breakout stars of the mid-1980s, walked away from her singing career after 25 years, a string of hit records and awards nominations. For the past decade, she’s been following a new passion — art — but Dunn’s difficult decision came at a price: A member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1989, after being gone from Nashville for two years, the singer best known for the hit “Daddy’s Hands” received a call saying she was being removed from the Opry cast list.

“They like to keep the Opry roll at about 70 people who are actively performing,” Dunn tells the9513 of the Opry’s call explaining their decision. “I knew they’d been adding people since I left. But it hurt. Because I loved the Opry. And I still love the Opry. And I had really participated as a younger member. I hosted the TV show and backstage show for two years. I was Bill Anderson’s substitute host when he couldn’t be there. And I did commercials for them and radio for them. I loved the Opry and what it stood and stands for.”

Dunn says that while she understands the need for keeping the cast fresh, she wishes the rules could be eased a bit out of respect for the older artists.

“I have some amazing memories. I wish there was a way, though — just to make a suggestion to them — to keep a list of folks that were members in the past. This whole total expunging you from the list is sort of a little harsh, I think,” she notes. “There are people on that list that I know for a fact might make it once a year if they’re lucky. It’s a little subjective. That’s my only gripe.”

Dunn insists that she has no second thoughts about retiring from music. She currently lives in the Southwest, near her mother, who is also an artist.

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