Opry star Jimmy C. Newman passes away

Sunday, June 22, 2014 – Grand Ole Opry star Jimmy C. Newman passed away Saturday night in Nashville after a brief illness at 86.

The Louisiana native joined the Opry in 1956 and last performed there on June 6 with his band, Cajun Country.

He was born in Mamou, La. in 1927, and in his youth with his brother Walter, helped support his mother and father on their family farm. The Newman brothers enjoyed singing Jimmie Rogers tunes together. Later, Jimmy C. Newman formed his own band and began enjoying regional success, hosting a show on KPLC-TV in Lake Charles and joining the Louisiana Hayride.

He was known for mixing Cajun and country music. His first association in Nashville was a songwriting contract with Acuff-Rose Music, which led to a recording contract with Dot Records. Along with Opry membership in 1956 came songs Newman penned including "A Fallen Star" and "Cry, Cry, Darling" as well as the Cajun-infused "Diggy Liggy Lo," "Alligator Man" and "Bayou Talk." He was honored to receive a Canadian Gold record for "Lache Pas La Potate, " sung entirely in French in 1976.

Career honors included induction into the Cajun Hall of Fame, the Cajun Music Hall of Fame, and the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

A public service will be held Wednesday, June 25 at the Ryman Auditorium at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a private visitation and memorial service for close friends and family. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Grand Ole Opry Trust Fund.