Hall of Fame greeter has her own country music history - WSMV News 4

Hall of Fame greeter has her own country music history

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Every day, 92-year-old Rose Lee Maphis says "hello" to hundreds of visitors at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

She's a volunteer greeter, but what visitors don't know is that her country music goes far beyond the word "hello."

"I used to be a musician," Maphis said. "I even was a hillbilly, I don't mind that at all."

Maphis spent 60 years on stage with her husband, Joe Maphis, as part of the duo known nationwide as Mr. and Mrs. Country Music.

"And in those days, every little radio station had their own country hillbilly band," Rose Lee Maphis said.

The demo sheet for the 1950s hit, Dim Lights and Thick Smoke, is on exhibit inside the Hall of Fame.

Every Saturday night for 10 years, the couple starred on television in Los Angeles. Rose Lee Maphis always remained sassy.

"But Joe wrote a song, I'm going to wear the pants," she said. "Then I'd sing, but I'll tell you which pair to wear."

Channel 4 showed Rose Lee Maphis YouTube videos of her old performances.

"I don't know that I ever saw it," she said. "That's like another lifetime ago."

That lifetime is on display just two floors up inside the Hall of Fame. Rose Lee Maphis' guitar and memories are all there, right next to Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner, and Tammy Wynette and George Jones.

Rose Lee Maphis said maybe that's why she's out front welcoming visitors five days a week.

"It's about like I belong here," she said.

Joe and Rose Lee Maphis were great friends with Mother Maybelle Carter and later Johnny Cash. The couple's son is also a prominent Nashville musician.

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