LifeNotes: Singer-Songwriter Kelley Sallee Snead Passes

Kelley Sallee Snead

Kelley Sallee Snead, known to many for her years working at Music Row businesses and as a regular at “in-the-round” songwriters’ nights, has died at age 58 following a battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Snead spent 10 years at the Country Music Hall of Fame as the administrative assistant to Kyle Young. After leaving the Hall of Fame, she worked for three years at BMG Music. She also held jobs at music law firms and at Crye Leike Realtors.

She performed often in Nashville nightspots as a singer-songwriter. CCM artist Lisa Daggs Charette, Americana troubadour Lee Domann and the Texas group The Doak Snead Band were among the artists who recorded her songs. She was also a demo singer.

Raised in Oklahoma, she was the daughter of former Reprise and Dot recording artist Vikki Sallee (1941-2013), known as “The Queen of Hillbilly Hollywood.” Snead was the stepdaughter of banjo player Doug Dillard (1937-2012) of The Dillards and Andy Griffith Show TV fame.

Singer-songwriter Doak Snead was once a staff writer for Reba McEntire’s Starstruck publishing company. Kelley and Doak met in 1990 in Nashville and were married in 1992. They had daughter Emma Claire Snead in 1995.

In 1999, Kelley Sallee Snead was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which robbed her of her singing voice and rendered her severely handicapped. Doak Snead compiled his wife’s earlier song demos and work tapes to create her CD Roses & Tumbleweeds in 2015.

Kelley Sallee Snead passed away on Monday, May 8.

She is survived by Doak and Emma, as well as by stepdaughter Rachel McCarty, sister Kristi, brother-in-law James Ritson, aunt Bobbie Rivarde, cousins, nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 13, at Harpeth Hills Funeral Home, 9090 Hwy 100, Nashville, TN, 372221. Her funeral will follow at 2:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in the name of Kelley Sallee Snead to MusiCares, 1904 Wedgewood Ave., Nashville TN 37212.

Read the full obituary here.


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Robert K. Oermann is a longtime contributor to MusicRow. He is a respected music critic, author and historian.

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