As a child, Tina Marie Hosey cried when her father told her Patsy Cline was killed in a plane crash.
But now the country music legend comes alive each time Hosey takes the stage and mesmerizes the audience with a rendition of Cline’s hits.
Cline was only 30 years old when she died in the crash nearly 57 years ago on her way to Nashville, Tennessee, but her popularity hasn’t diminished. On YouTube, her song “I Fall to Pieces” has racked up 14 million views.
Tina Marie is Hosey’s stage name and she has a split personality — she finds it hard to keep Cline quiet for very long.
As she was going over a list of her favorite Cline recordings, Hosey belted out:
“See the pyramids along the Nile,
“Watch the sunrise on a tropic isle,
“But just remember darling all the while,
“You belong to me.”
Hosey, 51, who lives in Dadeville, said she was smitten by Cline and other country music stars of that era when she was just 5 years old.
“Mama had this huge old record player and I would stack up the records of Patsy Cline and Jim Reeves and Hank Williams, Marty Robbins and Johnny Cash,” Hosey said. “I would stack it full all day long. I would sing to empty chairs and dream there was a huge crowd there as I was singing.”
Cline was her favorite back then and she wanted to see her in person.
“I told my daddy I wanted to go see her in a concert,” Hosey recalled. “But he said, ‘Baby, she has died,’ and I cried. I was 7 or 8 years old. I didn’t know. Her music was so full of passion and I didn’t realize she was dead. When daddy told me the story, I cried because I really wanted to see her.”
Like her idol, Hosey never had any formal music training.
“I’ve never had any lessons,” she said. “God gave me the ability I have. He truly did and I give Him the praise and glory. It don’t have anything to do with me. It’s just that I love it, it’s my passion, and I’ve done it since I can remember.”
A song Hosey wrote titled “God, the Guitar and Me” pretty much sums up her life.
Hosey said she was 10 when she first sang before a small audience with Country Boy Eddie and his band at a show in Pell City. For the show, she sang Dolly Parton’s hit song “Me and Little Andy.”
“I had the fire and the soul to sing, I always wanted to,” Hosey said. “But singing in front of a crowd, it was like, ‘Yep, I love it,’ and I’ve loved it all my life.”
The lyrics of “Me and Little Andy” describe a girl from a poor family. The mother has abandoned them and the father has become a hopeless drunk.
Hosey said her father was an alcoholic back then and after he heard her singing that song he sobered up.
“My daddy got saved because of a line in that song,” she said. “It kept ringing in his head, ‘My daddy is drunk again in town.’”
Hosey said at 18 she sang “God Bless America” before 22,000 people during a break in an Atlanta Braves game. Most recently, she performed her Cline routine at Millbrook Theatre before about 200 people, she said.
Hosey said she puts her heart and soul in every one of her performances whether it’s before 22,000 people or a room full of empty chairs at her old home.
Songs can have an amazing effect on people and actually change lives, she said. One such incident occurred after she performed at Copper’s Grill in Dadeville.
“I just love to share,” she said. “I love to share my songs because I love to write songs that tell a story. I love to sing songs that tell a story. It’s just what God gave me to do. I believe that God gave me that ability for a reason and a purpose.
“I sang Patsy Cline songs down at Copper’s Grill. There was a gentleman there and he was very sick. He was elderly. And I went around and I sang to him specifically. His daughter saw me a few months later and she started crying. I asked her what’s wrong and she said, ‘Do you remember singing to my daddy at Copper’s Grill?’ and I said yes. She said, ‘He’s passed away but you were all he talked about, singing to him, how special you made him feel.’”
Hosey has pretty much given up on any dreams of performing at the Grand Ole Opry but that doesn’t bother her.
“I did a lot of praying about it,” she said. “I spent a lot of time in Nashville and I met some important people. I realized in the past five or six years God didn’t want me to be a superstar. He has a purpose for me here.”