Longtime Grand Ole Opry member Stonewall Jackson passed away Saturday morning (December 4) at the age of 89, following a battle with vascular dementia, a family member confirmed.
The "Don't Be Angry" singer was born in Tabor City, North Carolina in 1932 and moved to Nashville in 1956 looking to catch his big break in country music. The singer was known to have performed his songs for anyone and famously strolled into Acuff-Rose, one of Nashville's music publishing companies around that time, "just to see if anyone in country music would talk to me."
The bold move worked. Stonewall's songs got him a meeting with Grand Ole Opry founder George D. Hay and manager W.D. Kilpatrick. In a previous interview, Stonewall recalled that the music execs "took me down the hall and signed me to a regular member's contract ... I've been here ever since."
Before his music journey with the Opry took off, he would ship the long-running music broadcast's souvenir books, the Opry website says.
It was his 1958 hit "Life to Go" to changed everything for Stonewall and set his music career at full speed.
Throughout the late 1950s and into the 1960s, Stonewall recorded several hit songs including, "Smoke Along the Track," "B.J. the D.J." and "Waterloo" which would go on to be his signature tune.
Nancy Jones, wife of the late George Jones, wrote a statement on Stonewall's passing, recalling the origins of their collaboration in Nashville.
"Stonewall's breakout hit 'Life to Go' was written by George and they both became members of the Opry in 1956. They held a special friendship over the years and although Stonewall was retired, he participated in the final George Jones No Show event after he passed. I will always have a special place in my heart for Stonewall. May he rest in peace!"
The Grand Ole Opry dedicated a performance to Stonewall Saturday night (December 4).
Funeral arrangements are still being made.