Jimmie Allen like many around the world is deeply affected by the passing of Charley Pride this weekend, (Dec 12, 2020).
24 hours after the news broke of Charley’s death, Jimmie posted an 18 minute video to fully express his grief because what he wanted to say “couldn’t really (be) put into a caption on social media.”
Jimmie remembers being a teenager with dreams of making music, and sharing that with his dad, who then said to Jimmie there was an artist that he should get to know. His dad sat him down to listen to Charley’s music. Jimmie told his dad, “cool, he’s got a good voice, I like his voice” to which Jimmie’s dad said “No, you need to see what he looks like.” After looking at Charley Pride’s picture for the very first time Jimmie recalls saying “Whoa! OK. Alright, I get it now.”
Seeing that picture was a revelation for Jimmie, because now he could say that there was someone who looked like him in every genre of music he knew about.
Over the past few years, Jimmie’s relationship with Charley evolved, “He went from being a hero, to a friend, to someone that became like a grandfather to me.” Jimmie adds “We talked on the phone, he would tell me a bunch of different stories.”
Jimmie shares a great story about his own debut at the Grand Ole Opry in 2018. It turns out that they had been looking for a date for Jimmie to perform, and after having to change a couple of times they finally had one that worked for everyone.
Luck has it, that was also the night the Opry was honoring Charley’s 25th year as a member. Jimmie remembers being on stage, singing “Best Shot”, and then looking to the right. where saw his dad’s favorite country singer, Aaron Tippin, his own son, and Charley Pride. Jimmie recalls thinking at that moment “What in the world is life right now?” He jokes that he was trying to wrap his head around the fact that the “Superman of black people in country music” just watched his Opry debut.
Jimmie also revealed on the video, how his CMA Awards connection to Charley started 4 years prior to the two performing together on stage in 2020.
Jimmie had just moved, and was tight on cash…he had his publishing deal, but had yet to be signed to a record label. Jimmie found out that Charley would be performing at the 50th Annual CMA Awards. He knew he had to go. This might be his one and only time to see Charley perform live. So, he spent what felt like his last hundred dollars, and went. Of course, this was all done without the knowledge that he would meet and become friends with Charley 2 years later, and 4 years later Jimmie would be presenting Charley with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, and they’d share the stage singing “Kiss An Angel Good Morning.”
“The world is going to miss him, I’m going to miss him” Jimmie says “I hope, through this, people that didn’t know about Charley Pride or who he was, or what he did, I hope they get to know him through his music.”
Jimmie capped his emotional video tribute by saying “Charley, love you. Miss you. Thanks for everything you’ve done.”
Jimmie Allen’s video tribute to Charley Pride can be seen here…
Photo Credit: Dustin Haney