Country Music Hall of Fame member, the legendary Jean Shepard has had quite a story to tell about her life and career, but never had the right opportunity. That is until now.

Gus Arrendale and Larry Black put their heads together to help Jean publish and distribute her long-awaited autobiography, "Down Through the Years". It will be released this week as CMA Music Festival fans descend upon Nashville.

Shepard presents a first-hand account of her life and over-60-year iconic career. Regarded as a pioneer for women in country music, Shepard was signed to Capitol Records at a time when it was thought women could not sell records.

Here are a few excerpted facts that you may not have known about Jean Shepard:

  • At age 19, Jean couldn't legally travel through the states without a guardian, so Ferlin Husky was granted guardianship. Jean went on to record the duet with Husky “A Dear John Letter” which became a #1 single.
  • Shepard started out in an all-girl band called the Melody Ranch Girls with whom she’s stayed in touch throughout her career.
  • Johnny Horton was one of Jean’s first boyfriends. She continued to be a close friend until his death in 1960. Jean was in a near-fatal bus accident while traveling with Hank Williams Jr.  When Jean was eight months pregnant, Jean’s husband, Hawkshaw Hawkins, was killed in a fatal plane crash that also claimed the lives of Patsy Cline and Cowboy Copas

Admired by her peers and emulated by countless up-and-coming female Country Music singers, Jean Shepard continues to be a strong influence in traditional music. "Down Through the Years" finally provides a female artist’s perspective on the "golden age of Country Music."

She will roll out this 224-page, beautifully-bound hardback at a special book signing (while supplies last) at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Friday, June 6 from 1 to 2 pm. After the signing, the book may be purchased exclusively online or by calling 800-820-5405.

Let's go down through the years watching this of Jean Shepard: