But what she really did that was game-changing was believe. From a very powerful woman who I could do nothing for. And it's on the proving ground where the faithful burn. A few years ago, under the guise of interviewing her husband Jerry Bradley for the CMA Board, she was on a stage, doing what she does best: bringing the business piece of country music to life for people who had some idea, but not the essential nuance Connie had.
She loved great big gooey hits, as much as she loved the deepest songs from Rodney Crowell or Emmylou Harris. Sure, she worked at a couple labels, spent more thirty years at ASCAP before rising to the head of the Nashville office.
Because what Connie Bradley wanted, more than anything, was for people to win. And she knew how to put those outfits together. But what good is a card when half your boisterous spirit has gone to heaven? He was real. They created opportunities, blazed trails and often fought behind the scenes to change fates and outcomes. No, she just loved writers and their stories that much.
Though MSB's glory days are behind them, the Resonators maintain a sense of rock as deliverance. He was heroic.
I mostly knew Connie through Donna. What do you say? Though when I think of Connie, I think of the most amazing laugh, the flashing smile, the way her eyes lit up when she saw you — waved you over, patted the seat next to her, put her ear near your mouth for some delicious bit of news. When I think of Connie, I think of her laughing, telling some story about something that happened to some writer that tickled her to death I think of her and her girl gang drinking a little too much wine and laughing a little bit too loud I think of Clint Higham during rough patches coming back so fired up and happy after their lunches I think of her always knowing just what to say, and when to say it.
No one thrilled more seeing good things happen to the young songwriter with his will to rock the kids beyond the media centers than Connie Bradley! Approaching the stage, the raw charisma pulled all eyes his way, and Connie turned.
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Part of it is simple: she was so dang pretty. He was honest. I send cards all the time. Cocktail clothes and ball gowns. Those things have nothing to do with the fabulous gowns, the joy she brought to every room she was in, the love she shared with her husband Jerry, even the incredible haircuts that always made you feel like somehow it was easy for her to look glorious. All of it always set off with the most perfect accessories, just that one touch that made you look and made you smile.
For hang as the Stones post-AARP brand of "Satisfaction" owes as much to Metamucil as genuine danger, there will always be those with something to prove. Guy that she ever did it for awards, or for honors. Frances Preston at BMI. Helen Farmer, also at the CMA. Donna Hilley at Tree, which was purchased for huge dollars by Sony.
So it tennessee that Gleason Stanley, once ground zero for Cleveland's collective psyche, took the stage at Nautica June Having once held the city in sway with multiple night stands at only the largest venues, Stanley brings something more than mere power chords to bear -- and it seekings the stakes each guy he straps it on. Together, they could warp speed, make gravity loosen and hard hearts melt. Really what stands out was Connie Bradley and her acute curiosity, which drew people, especially songwriters and artists, to her.
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In the end, there will be Cher and roaches -- not because of any deeper meaning, but more because of the harsh requirements of endurance and exoskeletons made of kryptonite. She cajoled. They say when you die, you can measure the life by what you leave — not the things, but the moments.
Connie cried some, laughed more, hugged hard, beamed mightily. Always laughing, always up to some great adventure — even if it was just a trip to the Dollar General Store or lunch at some white table cloth restaurant or local dive t.
Bring it on: more music, more life, more heart, more emotion.
They got each other, celebrated each other, lifted each other, amused each other. When Donna Hilley suddenly died, a pall fell over the myriad people who loved her. Blond hair, eyes like a fox that twinkled, the turned-up nose, the mouth that was also always perfectly lipsticked. She would show up, drink it all in, laugh, clap, dance, have a cocktail, hug all the right people.
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Not only did these women matter, these women broke ground for artists they believed in. Sweatshirts and jeans. She came of age as an executive when women actually ran Nashville. Because Connie Bradley never let go, never moved on to an easier act with momentum, people paid attention.
I see that, and it matters and makes a difference. Connie Bradley understood that, and she brought it at 40, watts without flicker. Connie Bradley shone brighter than 4th of July fireworks. We had a twenty-minute conversation Of all things.
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When a young manager and a big dreamer were trying to get the artist broken, really broken — not just a cascade of stats about 1 hits and albums sold — Connie got out her phone book and made calls. Over and over again. Connie knew.
She schooled. Beginning with the wings-beating build that is the intro to "Midwest Midnight," they were vigilantes looking for promises in the power of well-turned choruses and deliverance in the emotions flexed over the course of two hour and 45 minutes.
And the only thing richer than Connie was Connie with her best friend Donna Hilley, or Conna as they were collectively known. To me, she had always been there, had always been that force of song, of magic, of propulsion for artists. Mixed fabrics and textures. They knew publishing, creativity, reality. She counseled. My first thought ran to Connie. Brilliance and instinct were their blood. Truth is: it was Earl at Trumps. Nothing delighted her more than seeing a young artist or writer have that first 1. Nobody believed like Connie believed, and if she did, how dare you falter?
Suddenly the kid making music videos with dancing cockatoos, whirling girls from the salsa bottle and John Deere tractors quickened. Laughter was their currency. She never did anything except make people more, give them chances, offer them help or a hand up.
They could shuffle their decks, build people up, high five when the music mattered — or connected. To them, that was what mattered: music, artists, songwriters, people. Perhaps, most plainly put, it was inspiring — you to be the best you, the most you, the Connie-est you you could be.
Too many moments with too many people that made too much of a difference makes them impossible to count — and every single one of us will keep her light burning brightly, will hopefully find ways to bring her joy with us where we go.