Wilma Lee Cooper
When the Grand Ole Opry radio show was finally televised in the eighties, country fans both old and new got a glimpse of the men and women who had laid the foundation for modern country music. One such legend that they were introduced to was Wilma Lee Cooper, who had joined the Opry cast in 1957. However, her musical journey began long before that. By the time those viewers at home caught a glimpse of her, she had already parted ways with her previous long-running radio show, and had lost the other half of her long-running act.
Wilma Lee had begun her career with her sisters back home in West Virginia. She grew up singing gospel songs, a genre she would return to later in life. The trio gained nationwide attention when they won a state contest in 1938, where they were chosen to represent West Virginia at the National Folk Festival in Washington, DC. Their fast-rising star led them to add members to their band. Stoney Cooper signed up to be their fiddle player, but within a year, he had given Wilma his name.