At a concert on Sunday night, the Oak Ridge Boys dedicated “Farther Along” to McCready. The group’s Joe Bonsall recalls, “I remember meeting a very vibrant, youthful, talented young woman many years ago whose life turned into negativity and sad situations... Seemingly one after another... I feel so sorry for Mindy!! A tormented soul who chose the wrong way out!! I pray for her children and for God's mercy! This is as sad it gets. Life is God's greatest gift.”
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Wayne met McCready when he first moved to town. He was signed to Acuff Rose Publishing and met her at their offices one day when she was looking for songs to record.
Mindy McCready: 1975-2013
• McCready Dead at 37
“She had already put one album out. I remember the day she came in. She was wearing a brown suit. It wasn’t an exercise suit, but it was a real comfortable suit, a jacket and fleece-like pair of pants. She jumped up and sat on top of the executive’s desk and said 'Play me some damn songs or I’ll shoot you with this water gun,' and she said there was pee in the water gun. That was just her personality. That’s just how aggressive she was. She just dominated the room instantly.
“I saw her in concert after that [meeting at Acuff Rose] and she did the same thing on stage: She dominated it. She had everyone in the audience in the palm of her hand. She just somehow could get everybody there.”
He saw her later at a writer’s night in Nashville, and she reached out to him when she saw that he was by himself at the event. “She yelled out from her table, ‘Jimmy Wayne, get your ass over here and sit with us!’ She made me feel like I was family. She made me feel so welcome. I went over and sat beside her and she was the queen. People were sitting around her, just eating it up. They just loved to be around her.”
Wayne says he didn’t interact with her later in her career, when things began to unravel. “To see how she had been in such control and then lost control is sad, but most of all it’s sad that she left behind two kids and one of them is less than a year old. That’s the saddest part of the story.”
Publisher Charlie Monk of Monk Family Music never worked with the singer, but he did see her occasionally in various social settings. “I found her to be a warm, affable, talented lady that made great records. She obviously had demons that none of us could understand. I hope she'll be remembered for her music.”
Industry veteran Marty Martel of Midnight Special Productions had been McCready’s most recent booking agent, though he found the going rough in securing dates for the singer. "I had her on my roster for a while after everyone seemed to give up on her," Martel tells Billboard.biz. "She was going through a lot of personal problems and could not seem to get her life in order. Trying as hard as I could, I was unable to find personal appearances for her. I predicted that if she kept on the road she was traveling on during her young life, she might meet her own demise. There will never be any doubt in my mind that she was taken advantage of, but I also felt that she was a super talented young lady."
Like everyone else, Martel is saddened by McCready’s death. “I wish there were words to say that would comfort her family and her children, but there are none,” he says. "She is in my prayers, and especially her children as they will face life without their mother. So much talent taken advantage of and never able to reach the top rung of the ladder in music industry. So sad."
McCready’s public relations company, Music City Media, released a statement Monday, announcing her passing with “the deepest sadness” and saying that a memorial will be held in Nashville in the coming days, with details to be announced soon.