My memories of Jim Reeves

The Story of a star-struck Kentucky girl Joyce Gray, who grew up, moved to Nashville where she worked behind-the- scenes on behalf of such Music City legends as singer Jim Reeves, diva Dottie West, pianistFloyd Cramer, stylist Willie Nelson and mentor Mae Axton (writer of Elvis Presley’s first #1 million- seller ‘Heartbreak Hotel’).

The Grand Ole Opry’s Justin Tubb immortalized her in his hit composition ‘Take a Letter, Miss Gray,’ and she had flirtations with luminaries like singer Johnny Tillotson and songwriter Hank Cochran.

Read about the heartbreak and tragedy experienced, along with her spiritual rebirth, as she shares an insider’s perspective on friends and colleagues. Among those are Mary Reeves, Doyle & Teddy Wilburn, Johnny Russell, Patsy Cline & Charlie Dick, Waylon Jennings, Jan Howard, John D. Loudermilk, Dennis Weaver, Wilma Burgess, Faron Young, Jumpin’ Bill Carlisle, Jean Shepard, Ralph Emery, Jody McCrea, Jeannie Seely, Joe Allison, Kitty Wells and her daughter Ruby Wright, romance novelist Katherine Sutcliffe, as well as her own original poems and rare photographs.

Joyce Gray moved to Nashville, Jan 19, 1958. Ten days later she was working for Gentleman Jim Reeves.

“I was with Jim until his untimely death six-and-a-half years later (July 31, 1964). I remained with Jim Reeves Enterprises until Jan. 31, 1988. I lived and worked in Nashville for close to 50 years, and while there I had the opportunity to meet and become friends with many people in the music industry. Some I got to know better than others.

Joyce Gray Jackson (seen above with friends Jeannie Seely and Brenda Lee) was recently recognized as a 2009 SOURCE Foundation Award honoree, a pioneer female in the Nashville music industry.


Now you can own the book fans are calling




Now available in both paperback and hardcover from the links below.


You may contact Joyce’s publisher NOVA BOOKS by using this link to their website
or by writing to: Nova Books P.O.Box 477 Madison, TN 37116.
And by calling 615-868-3248

66 thoughts on “My memories of Jim Reeves

  1. “There are so many pictures in the book. Joyce must have had shoe boxes full of these photos under her bed all these years! They beautifully illustrate her life, and I do mean ‘beautifully.’

  2. My family was right in describing it as ‘a fascinating read.’ Most fans are probably not aware that Joyce writes about 140+ stars and celebrities! It’s not just about Jim Reeves.

  3. All the stories in the book are just wonderful. It is an easy book to read.. it is hard to put down once you start reading it. This book is a loving tribute to many, it may make you shed a tear here and there, but most of all it will make you smile. Thank you Joyce for your gift to us. This book gets a big thumbs up from me. If you don’t have it yet, order it, you will be so glad you did!

  4. Just wanted to let all of you know I finished Joyce’s book – lots of interesting things about lots of performers I listened to (and saw some in live performances) – always nice to know a little bit more about them, especially from someone who really knew them. Hope all of you have your copies by now and enjoy reading it as much as I did. It will certainly be a ‘keeper’.

  5. JJ, I have read the book, and I liked it very much. It was very well written and paced. I even learned a few things too. Any way as we say in the music business..’YA DONE GOOD, KID.’ I hope it goes on and does well for you.

  6. Your book came today, I am reading it and it is wonderful! It brings back many great memories of happy times. I am so happy to read that you are telling it like you saw it, you are not padding it or ‘covering up’ anything. What you saw is what we get! I’ll probably be reading until midnight or later.

  7. Hi Joyce, I have just finished reading your book and enjoyed it so very much. What an extraordinary life you have had, meeting and working with all these wonderful people. At times it brought tears to my eyes and other times it made me smile. It is a book to treasure.

  8. I found this book very interesting and well written. Loved the pictures. Joyce has a way of making you feel like you were right beside her in her meetings and dealings with all these people.

  9. Wonderful book. I was so elated with this book. It isn’t only about the author’s memories of the Celebrities that she had met but it is also a reference book, or you might even want to call it a history book as it does have a lot of history about Country Music Greats. If you are a country music fan I highly suggest that you purchase this book.

  10. I have read Joyce’s book. This lady has an amazing story to tell. Her recollections are quite vivid, and her storytelling ability made me feel as if I was in the room with her and the many talented stars she befriended. The pictures are priceless.

  11. An excellent read. An exciting look at these Country stars from an insiders view. Joyce writes from the heart. Especially interesting was her take on The Late Great Gentleman Jim Reeves and how she related to him as his personal secretary. It seems like it’s a small industry with everyone in the Country Music scene at that time knowing everybody else! Very interesting. Thank you Joyce for sharing.

  12. Thank you, Joyce, for a very nice book. I enjoyed reading it very much. I learned things that I did not know. There are so many interesting stories. If you are a country music fan, this is a must read. Mom and Dad would be so proud. I can feel them smiling. I love you.

  13. Dear Joyce , as we told you before this book is writen so very well ,it is just like siting and listning to you sitting beside us and read for us from this wonderfull book and yes ,all folks thats like country music must get this one and of couse all fans of Jim Reeves must have it too. it must be a rule , we are sure you all agree. Hanne and I know for sure all her Family and Jim and Mary up in heaven are so proud of that wonderfull Lady Joyce and we are so thankfull to call her our Family Friend. We pray for all folks around will be able to get this fantastic well writen book.

  14. Joyce, loved your book. My only complaint…it was too short. You touched on so many people. You really captured the real Charlie Dick. I’ve seen him make those random phone calls. Great picture of Patsy from Kansas, never seen it. Thanks for sharing your memories, it make me relive some of mine.

  15. Thanks for sharing your life of memories with us. The night it came, I didn’t put it down until I discovered it was time to get up the next morning and go to work! You are very kind and selfless to share-Joyce,thank you for giving us your memories to make our own. My aunt would have loved to read these precious words about Jim.

  16. Great book Joyce! Loved the pictures especially (and of course the stories) TOO SHORT, THOUGH!! Eagerly awaiting the sequel.

  17. Finished the book and you make me proud!! There were a few surprises in there along with some great stories I’ve heard before as I was growing up! I highly recommend this read for anyone who has any interest in the good ole days!! You done good!!!

  18. This comment is not to me but to all of you that have posted your thoughts about my book. I do so appreciate all of you and thank you for all the good comments. This truly does make me a happy camper and I’m so glad you all liked reading about my memories of so many wonderful good old friends of mine. Thanks and I will of course appreciate all you do to help promote “MY MEMORIES OF JIM REEVES, And Other Celebrities”

  19. OH OH OH MY Joyce!!! What an INCREDIABLE BOOK. NOT ONLY A BOOK OF SO MANY MEMORIES but also what a HISTORY Book it is of country music stars for so many people who are fans but do not have the knowledge of country music until this book was written and I thank you Joyce for sharing your life in counrty music with all of us. Even though you have so many long time friends and associates I have been so blessed to be one of your friends since 1965 when moving to Nashville.

  20. Joyce, I have heard you tell many of these stories at work, & they read just as if you were telling them again. I enjoyed the book very much. Your life & memories are fascinating to me. You wrote a good book about a life well lived.

  21. Joyce, thank God you are you. I remember you from La Grange, Ky. and as a classmate. I am so very proud to have been your friend. I am ordering your book today and will ask my many friends in Nashville to get your book. (my wife Catharine has a lit of family in Nashville), may you be so very successful with your book. God bless you and your family.

  22. So happy that you indeed chose to share with us such happy memories of so many Country Music greats. Must mention also the beautiful gifts and talents of ‘heart to heart’ poetry with such true descriptions of actually sharing your life with several outstanding wonderful stars on such a personal level. Truth,as brouht to your remembrance encourages and brings to others many happy thoughts of songs and dates as we recall some lingering, special memories. PeeWee Valley, Kentucky (your hometown) should have a Joyce Gray-Jackson Lane in the near future! You still live in Colorado, however, you have not forgotten your dear friends in Tennessee, nor could we ever forget you. WE LOVE YOU!

  23. Hi Joyce, I thought the book was very good, I indexed it and know it is helping when you need to check something.

  24. Joyce, I am so proud of you for writing your book. It was a dream for so long and now it is a reality. I know just how much you meant to Jim and Mary and what a valueable employee and personal friend you were. Your loyalty to Jim and Mary far exceeds friendship. You have stood by me as I have battled thru the court system to protect Mary and then to protect Jim’s legacy. You are an authority on so much of Jim and Mary’s life. You were there! Thank you so much for sharing some of your memories with others. May God richly bless you!…….

  25. Joyce, I think your writing is honest and the stories told with warmth and humanity, with intriguing revelation…I am particularly interested in your revelation that Dottie West had learned who had betrayed her near the end of her life.


  27. I just heard from Bob Stoess that you will be in LaGrange, Ky JUNE 14 for a book signing that I plan attending.I look forwarding to meeting a class mate who has done well in the music industry.

  28. Just got through listening to Joyce’s radio interview with Neil Williamson and Fast Eddie out of Springfield,Ill. The interview lasted about 45 minutes.Stu and I listened to it in its entirety. I thought it was a great interview and I hope a lot of other people got to listen to it. Neil I thought you did a great job. The interview was very informative. Joyce you did a great job also. It was if you were right in my den talking to me. It all came through very clear. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to listen to the interview.I was very proud of you. Even though Stu and I have read the book we enjoyed the interview very much.

  29. Joyce, looks like you’ve got a winner!! I enjoyed the radio interview with Neil and Fast Eddy. We’re all wanting you to get back home now. Be cool. Love, Brother-in-law, Stu Baby.

  30. Congratulations MaMa Joyce!!! Sooooo Loved the book. Makes us feel like you are here telling us those stories-by the way, wish you were here. For as long as we have known you we never realized how many friends you had in the music industry. It was facinating reading about the many experiences you shared with so many Celebrities. It is an easy read chocked full of interesting tid-bits and such a thrill to be able to see into the life of our spiritual MaMa! Thanks for opening up a whole new world for us to share and enjoy with you. You are the BEST and we are proud to call you MA.

  31. Hi Joyce! What a great and fun book to read. I’m so happy to know you, to listen to (and now read!) your stories. It’s almost like being there. Thank you for sharing your WONDERFUL memories!

  32. Hey “Little Bit” I really enjoyed your book and wish it were longer. Good luck to you and remember who loves ya!! Stu-Baby.

  33. Thank you so much for the book. As a boy I used to lay in bed listening to the Grand Ole Opry until it went off the air in our area. As I recall one of the latest segments was that of Jim Reeves. It was my introduction to him. I enjoyed many others from that show, but I mostly liked the country “crooners” like Jim Reeves, George Morgan, and Marty Robins. Later as a teenager I got a part time job working for a country music promoter in our area ( Phill Simon), I was just a kid he paid to help make sure everything went smoothly at the areans where the shows would take place. Part of my “pay” was a pass to go backstage and run errands for the entertainers as needed. I was able to meet quite a few stars that way, and it was a big deal to me. Jim Reeves was scheduled to appear at the Walker Arena in Muskegon MI in October of 1964, I could hardly wait. Needless to say I never got to see him.I have called our local public service tv station to find out why there is never a special about Jim”s career. I have seen specials on Marty Robins, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Buddy Holly, and Roy Orbison, but nothing on Jim. I never get an answer. I think it is so unfair. Well I guess I’m just rambling. My wife and I would love to meet you someday. Again, thanks for the book.

  34. The book was so great, to learn about all the people you knew and know. And since I had to go see the rest of the clan. It was perfect.Love Marsha and Stu, he is so great with what he does. I love you all,even if I didnt meet any one famous. The book makes me seem like I knew them.

  35. Joyce, I loved your book. You and your life have always facinated me. Not only did you know Jim Reeves, but you knew him and Mary in such a personal way. I am a hugh Jim Reeves fan and collector, and sing alot of Jims songs at Nursing Homes, etc. from Lufkin, Texas (my home) to Carthage , Texas, every time I get a chance. I have collected alot of Jim Reeves items, also of hand written song lyrics, original reel to reel tapes of his demos and shows from Norway, etc. but my most prized possession is his original contract, dated June 29, 1954, between Horace Logan of station KWKH in Shreveport, Louisiana, and Jim Reeves, where Jim signed as an “Artist” on the Louisiana Hayride….It is the original contract, still in mint condition, and witnessed by Sally Lark and Gladis Hurley. I love to look thru these items, the hand written lyrics, etc. It seems I can almost feel Jims presence sometimes in them. May God Bless You, Joyce

  36. Hi Joyce , loved the intrevew , thanks so much , you are great strength to us all . i am a country singer and a long time fan of Jim Reeves music . i am in, Emerald , Queensland Australia , and am associated with radio 4EEE in Emerald . we play Jim Reeves music every single day , in fact i recorded a Jim Reeves written song some time back , and was awarded best new talent across Australia in 2007 , by the radio dj votes . i thank you for such a fantastic music promotion and all the talented folks over there that gave us the best gift in music , from the writers to the singers to the producers and folks like yourself that worked faithfully so we could enjoy a better life . high scool students over here still enjoy Jim Reeves music , incredible as it seems . take care of yourself & God bless you in the days ahead.

  37. Hey girl, As always, it was a treat to see you today. I will miss you terribly when you return to Nashville. However, I understand. Sometimes we just have to go home. This is awesome that you have a “site”. Now I can keep up with you. Take care. Love, Lee

  38. I felt like I was sitting in your living room with Jim and Mary and listening to these wonderful stories first hand. When I am missing you in Colorado, I will pickup the book and start to read, then it will not be so bad. Love ya and will miss ya lots when you return to your home town. Will watch for your poems to be published. Keep in touch Love ya lots

  39. I am Debra Barker’s daughter and I received your book on a special day when I really needed to lifted up. I have read your book at least 4 to 5 times and always find something new in each story. My dad has listened to Jim Reeves all my life so I have always loved country music. Thank you Joyce for giving me something I can pass along to my children.

  40. Hi Joyce, Have read your book over and over, the photo’s are a memory in themselves and when I think of how many you must have left out, well perhaps you may show them on your new website with the appropriate story when the time is right. I feel some what close having the privilege to know you and call friend, we have spent some time together in Nashville and my home hear in England. A lot of people have the home video’s that me and David Bussey filmed in Nashville back in 84, the likes of Chet Atkins, Harlan Howard, Ray Baker, Owen Bradley and of course Leo. You drove us all over Nashville and without your introduction and relationship with these wonderful people we would most certainly not have what has since become somewhat historic video.
    You came to my home and remember that big Brother computer typewriter we scripted out the original outline for the “Gentleman Jim, Story of a legend proposal. And in David Bussey’s home in Harrogate you got to meet some of the fans and that memory is a treasure I am sure. You always have the time for Jim’s fans and they appreciate that.
    I travel and sing Jim’s songs now, and I’ll tell you, Jim’s songs and his music is and will always be loved and treasured, no age barrier, some of us have known for a while but perhaps now with this book, more people will realize just how much contribution and loyalty to preserving the memory of your friend and boss Jim Reeves you have made.
    With all the story’s and memories I would not be surprised to see you next time associated with the Country Music Hall of Fame!
    Time waits for no one, I hope to come and visit soon, look forward to seeing you again,

  41. Joyce, it is good to hear stories of Jim from someone who was there, not reported third or fourth hand and embellished beyond recognision. You have bought joy to so many people with this wonderful book, i hope there is a sequel !! kind regards and best wishes from the channel islands.

  42. Hey Ms’re book is truely a walk that you took me on that otherwise I would not have had the honor of taking. I am now going to start it over again. Reading your book was like you were right with me and I could hear your voice, reminds me of the first time I met you at the break table in Walmart and you started telling me about your life and memories of Nashville and all the blessings it brought you and now all of your readers. I think about all the kindness you gave me and I am so excited about your book and you getting to go back to Nashville where you belong. Ms Joyce you are truely one of the most beautiful people that I have have ever met.I know great things await you, so God speed. Miss you and love you girl……

  43. Joyce, Well girl you have done it!! It is a great book!! You have had a blessed life to meet all of these people and you did not have to share all of your memories but, you have. Thanks,

  44. Congratulations on the book! You are dearly missed in Colorado! May you be blessed in Nashville, Joyce. You have touched our lives with your warmth and love.

  45. I hope you contact me as I would love to talk to you! My phone number is 502-229-9869 and I still live in Frankfort, KY.

  46. Hi Joyce!! I was thinking about you the other day at work and wanted you to know that you are missed here! How is Tennessee treating you? I hope that you are well and that your book sales are still going strong! Take care.

  47. Joyce thanks for your wonderful book,reading the book was like listening to my Jim Reeves favourite songs,which is 1, aletter to my heart, 2 missing angel and 3. i’ll fight the world before i ever let you go. i’ve been a Jim Reeves fan since 1958 Jim died a day after my birthday july 31, 1964.It was a very sad day in the caribbean. I was born on the island of st.lucia, i will always and forever miss Jim. Growing up on the island, we called Jim the daddy of them all,may he rest in peace. Joyce may the good Lord bless and keep you. I mailed 4 bookes to my friends in the caribbean,God bless.

  48. Joyce, I hope that I have found the right person. I was raised in a “community” in west Texas. Are you familiar with a lady that conducted business in the back of the post office,her name was “Eldora”? That is where I was, when a very special “Lady” sat and sang “The Frog That Went a Courtin’” to me.(That was the first time that I had heard that song, and I was “MESMERIZED”), of couse we are talking about an “AMAZING LADY”.

  49. Hi everyone: It’s hard to believe that a year plus has come and gone since this book came out, but it has and I have had a lot of fun with book signings and one on one conversations with folks from all over and this is truly a blessing for me. Thanks again for your wonderful comments and to all of my friends in Colorado, I miss and love all of you. Keep in touch.

  50. Joyce, I have read and enjoyed your book very mucj. I emailed you some time ago and indicated my introduction to country music as a fan via the Opry back in about 1950. I almost got into the business as a promoter, but that is another story. I mentioned in my former note to you my interest in having a documentory of Jim’s career made for TV. I have seen them covering other artists of his era. I have talked with our local public TV station about this but there seems to be little interest. My wife and met with John Rex Reeves and his wife Neva a couple years ago in Branson MO but he did not seem very interested in the idea. My wife and I would love to meet you and mayby some of your friends to talk about this seemingly intentional ignoring of Jim’s part in the country music saga. If I am barking up a wrong tree with this please let me know. This is not about money or attention for me, I would just like to see other great stars of the past get their just credit. My email is davi! Again thank you for the book.

  51. Received my book in the post this morning.What an amazing story,I just could not put it down thoroughly enjoyed reading it

  52. Joyce, I met you many years ago in Nashville thanks to Margaret – the owner of the Record Shop in Nashville. Do you know how I can contact Margaret? I would love to talk to her again. Thank you, and thank you for your book. It’s nice to see someone writing positive things instead of that filth by whatever his name was.

  53. Joyce, Leo Jackson is my Uncle. I want to buy the book you dedicated to him. What is the name of it? Please e-mail me with the info. I miss him more than he will ever know. He was the last one, the end of the line…I am 62. Email address is

  54. Dear Joyce, I just finished the book that you gave to my mother, Jim’s sister, Louie (McNeese) Reeves. After she had read it she gave it to my brother Bill and then he gave it to me to read. I honestly could not put it down until I had completely read the whole book. I remember talking to you on occasion when I would call Jim and Mary’s office years ago. Thank you for all the memories you shared with us and as far as I’m concerned it was a very good picture of your life with them. They were a very wonderful couple and I know that you feel blessed to have been so close to both of them.

  55. hi joyce,i’m one of leo’s neices,one of my cousins told me about book and we just had to buy it.i enjoyed it very much.i also bought one for each of my siblings.i was very moved by the things you said about uncle leo,didn’t know about joy,she is very beautiful.wish we could have known you all the pictures,of course i realy liked the ones of my uncle as i had not seen them.thank you so much.i will treasure my book always,that was so sweet of you to mention uncle leo in the dedication. thanks again for the memories.god bless you and your familey.

  56. Hi Joyce..LOVE your book i’m reading now for the 3rd time. I’m trying to find out some info Wilma Burgess, not much here online. Do you know if there is a book out about her or anyone around who knew her? Many thanks, Dustin

  57. Hello Joyce, Haven’t heard from you in a while. I understand that you have moved back to Nashville; is that correct? Would like to hear from you. My email is Remember my phone # is 336-475-9292. Enjoyed reading some of the comments on your book. They were all good & well deserved. Take care and let me hear from you.

  58. Joyce, My wife, Connie, and I will be in Nashville during the first part of January, and would love to meet you. I wrote to you on this site some time ago concerning my attempts to stir some interest on the part of our local PBS television station to do a documentary on Jim Reeves. I have been a fan of Jim’s since the mid 50′s and would love to meet anyone who worked with him. My email address is My wife and I live in Grant Michigan. P.S. I enjoyed your book very much, and am looking forward to Larry Jordan’s book.

  59. Hi Everyone: Yes, I have now moved back to the Nashville area. In fact I have been back a little over a year. For those of you that have included your e=mail address, I will contact you privately, but I want to thank all of you for your wonderful comments. The book is still doing pretty good, but of course not as good as I would like, ha!

    If you would like to contact me via my e-mail, it is:…Put the words Your book in the subject line so that I will be sure to open it.
    ~Thanks again..Joyce

  60. Loved the book and it has a special spot in my country music bookcase ! Writing this on 3-9-12 to wish you a Very Happy Birthday tomarrow ! God Bless db

  61. Just to say it is a wonderful book albeit much too short, reading this book you want it to go on forever.Have Larrys book and this book too has all the facts and it shows Jim as a human being, faults and all. I think if Jim were alive today he would have approved of these wonderful books.
    I found Jim in1964 at the age of 11 and to this day still buy his recordings. You can never tire of that wonderful rich voice and Joyce I envy you for knowing and working along side him. Best wishes Gary. United Kingdom

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