The singer brings her love for God, Country and Family
Want to go?
• The Beacon Theater, Hopewell VA
• Date: Saturday March 13, 2021
• 2 Shows: Doors open 1:15 PM and 6:45PM
• For tickets check the website:
by Millie Voliva-Wiggs
After a tough year for the music industry, Irlene Mandrell is glad to be back to playing on stage.
“This last year has been a challenge in so many ways for me and I'm sure for most of us it was about the heartbreak of losing loved ones and for a lot of people it was that they lost their businesses.”
With her signature positive attitude she adds, “There was also good that came from it and that was that we spent a lot of time that we wouldn't normally have gotten with our families. My youngest daughter Christina blessed me with a granddaughter (Blakely, four years old) and I spent a lot of wonderful precious time with her. Now, I'm excited because my oldest daughter Vanessa is going to bless me with a grandson in April. His name is Wyatt.”
Born Ellen Irlene Mandrell — the youngest daughter of Mary Ellen (1931) and Irby Matthew Mandrell (10/11/1924 – 3/5/2009). Both parents were accomplished musicians. Her mother hails from rural Wayne County, Illinois. Her father Irby was a World War II naval veteran and Texas police officer from Garland County, Arkansas. They used their impeccable social skills and knowledge of the music industry to manage all three of their daughters' careers for over three decades.
There have been many talented families in the history of Country Music, but only a few could come close to the pure talent of the Mandrells.
You could say Irlene was born into music. Music is her family’s right to life. By age 11, Irlene was touring as a drummer/percussionist with sister Barbara's band — The Do Rights. She is noted as one of the first commercial female drummers and also plays vibraphone and mandolin. Though music has always been the Mandrells' foundation, other forms of entertainment appealed to Irlene. She sought opportunities in film, television, and video.
The Texas native first rose to prominence as a model for CoverGirl, and later gained national attention when she appeared on the world famous variety show, Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters television show, featuring her sister Barbara (host of the show) and sister Louise. The Trio aired on NBC to over 40 million viewers.
Irlene, the youngest of the trio, has proven herself as a performer (singer/musician), a model, a comic, show host, a woman of the outdoors and mother of three.
She’s been busy but the down side of 2020 is that Irlene has missed seeing her full family.
“The part of my family that I have missed seeing — is all of you. I started performing when I was 11 years old playing drums with my sister on the road. Maybe because we were a family group, but everyone treated us like we were their family and after our TV show, ‘Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters,’ they especially saw us as family because we went into their homes every Saturday night. I loved it because I felt the same way right back — as if everyone was my extended family.”
That will all change on March 13, 2021 when she brings her high energy and classic style to the stage of the The Old Dominion Barn Dance (ODBD) — her first show of 2021.
“I am so excited to be back out,” she says, “where I can see everybody again! What a great way to start back out on the road, performing at the Old Dominion Barn Dance that I have heard about for so many years! The greatest thing when I hit the stage is the feeling of being home.”
“I have so much love for my audience because I feel that we share a lot of the same memories. I sing a lot of songs that are special to me in either lyric or tradition of country music,” she continues. “What is most important to me is God, country and family.”
She took those subjects to heart when she recorded her first ever album, “We Will Stand.”
“The first thing that I recorded was a patriotic album that I dedicated to military and first responders. I do a few patriotic songs from that album on stage. The last two songs that I released we're country songs because they will always be my roots and my latest single is a Christian song that I love dearly. I can't wait to share it with everybody because the words are so strong. I do have plans of recording more Christian songs for an album in the future.”
In addition to her live performances, Irlene has appeared on numerous television shows like The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Mike Douglas Show, and Oprah Winfrey. She co-hosted Bright Lights & Country Nights and This Week in Country Music, and televised benefits with such names as George Lindsey, Bob Hope, and Sammy Davis Jr. She appeared as a celebrity panelist on Password Plus in 1981 and Match Game in 1982.
Irlene, the actress, is also known for her work in “The Misadventures of Amy Everhart” (1999), “The Love Boat”(1977- and can still be seen on CBS All Access), A Belle for Christmas (2014) and “Every Other Holiday” (2018). She has also been a celebrity spokesperson for several companies including Cover Girl, Lanne Skin Care products, and NineWest.
Among her many awards, Irlene has received two Music City News “Comedy Act of the Year” and received the Swift Award for “Women in Film.” She also holds a NACMAI Award and her own star on the Country Music Walkway of Stars.
After the Mandrell Sisters came to an end, Irlene found work in the cornfields of the famed television show — Hee-Haw. She eventually became a ‘Hee Haw Honey,’ a sought after role on the show, and often did skits as Kornfield Kounty’s telephone operator. She starred on the show for its last eight years along with Roy Clark, Minnie Pearl and Buck Owens.
And that journey continues — sort of.
“Besides performing solo or with my two beautiful daughters and handsome son when they can make it, I also have tour dates with some of my friends that were on ‘Hee Haw’ with me — my ‘Kornfield Friends,.’ she tells us,
"If you get a chance to come to one of those shows, I think you'll have a lot of fun! It takes us all back to a time that laughter was plentiful along with some great music! It certainly is good for me to be around my wonderful Hee Haw friends!”
Irlene has been blessed with wonderful family and friends. Her life experiences has led her to become a believer in miracles. She’s heard many stories. And her love of the lord and her faith inspired her to write a book.
“A couple of years ago, I wrote a book called God Rains Miracles. I don't get really technical about whether something is a blessing, healing or miracle. I think everything is a miracle — even life itself,” she admits, “In this book I consider it a miracle if it's something for good that is out of the ordinary realm of everyday life and this book is mostly about miracles that have happened within my family and friends.”
In May 2020, the inspirational publication inspired her to host a weekly show on Nashville Country Network’s internet radio station, Renegade Radio Nashville. The show shares the same title as her book, God Rains Miracles and focuses on everyday miracles. The show airs every Sunday 12 PM ET – (repeats Wednesdays 7PM ET).
“I have a lot of artists including family that have done the show.” She adds, “The book is heartwarming, but hearing people tell their stories themselves is especially touching.”
If you think you’ve heard the last of the Irlene Mandrell — think again. The multi-talented artist still has plans on her roster. She will bring her high-end energy and classic style to her show at the Old Dominion Barn Dance. The crowd is sure to be pleased!
“My dates although they have been changing alot this last year (2020) are listed on my website www.irlenemandrell.com,” she informs us, “I hope you'll come to my shows because I would really love to see all of you!”
… and the beat goes on.
March 13 – Old Dominon Barn Dance – Hopewell, VA
March 15 - Hard Rock Casino Ballroom - Catoosa, OK - PRIVATE
March 19 - Bama Slam Saloon - New Brockton, AL
May 8 - Kewadin Casino - Sault Ste. Marie, MI
May 15 - The Birchmere – Alexandria, VA
May 16 - Roanoke Island Festival Park - Manteo, NC
May 17 - The Maryland Theater – Hagerstown, MD
June 5 - Opryland Hotel – Nashville, TN - Irlene Mandrell - PRIVATE
June 27 - Sugar Creek Casino - Sugar Creek, OK
Nov 5 - Paramount Center For Arts - Saint Cloud, MN
Nov 14 - Washington High School Auditorium – Washington, IN
Nov 15 - Lucille Tech Center For The Arts – Spencer, WI
Dec 12 - McComb Bruchs Performing Arts Center – Wautoma, WI