The family who is at the center of one of Jelly Roll’s most moving sequences has talked up about their relationship with the singer and what first drew them to him and his music.

At the Grand Ole Opry last fall, Chanel Clarke, her mother Minia Smith, and Smith’s 16-year-old granddaughter Abby found their way backstage, and it didn’t take them long to start crying.

This sequence was included in Jelly Roll: Save Me, which you can watch on Hulu. Even more moving yet terrible, Clarke and Abby’s account of how they got there was shared with Taste of Country.

In Clarke’s description of her mother’s emotional first encounter with Jelly Roll, “she said it was like getting a chance to hug my brother again.” The other women’s tears are also captured on a cell phone video that was shared with Taste of Country.

Brandon Smith, Minia Smith’s son, was fatally shot in his Phoenix home in March 2021. His wife would be detained by the police and then charged with his murder.

At the time, their 14-year-old daughter was at home. She subsequently recalled hearing gunshots and entering the living room to discover her father lying wounded on the floor. Moreover, the household dog was shot.

The couple’s daughter is named Abby. Since then, she and Clarke have relocated to Tennessee to begin a new life. The family purchased tickets when they learned that Jelly Roll would be performing at Bridgestone Arena last October. They later learned that he would be appearing at the Grand Ole Opry even sooner.

“First I bought front-row tickets (to the Opry), and then I made him a flannel with the words “Mama Tried” on the back,” the author recounted.

Before leaving the stage, Jelly Roll picked up the flannel, and the gang sort of barnstormed backstage in the hopes that fate would direct them to the vocalist. It succeeded!

Diane Smith’s issues with her mental health are detailed in a report by ABC 15 in Phoenix, as is her husband’s struggle to seek her care. Her brother was aware that his life was in danger, Clarke continues. In reality, in the three months leading up to his passing, everyone feared his wife of 13 years; yet, he refused to go because he couldn’t do so without his daughter.

She explains to Taste of Country, “We had blankets covering our windows because ours was the corner house on the side of the street. She frequently threw things in our backyard. I wouldn’t even allow them to play in our backyard because I had two young children.

When “Save Me” began playing in January 2021, Clarke recalled cleaning the home while listening to music on YouTube. She stopped moving as she took in the lyrics.

Jelly Roll sings, “Somebody save me / Me from myself / I’ve spent so long living in hell.”

“I was just standing there thinking, ‘Oh my gosh.’” That sounds just like what my brother is trying to express to us, she explains.

“Glitter” by Jelly Roll had a similar effect. These statements meant far more since he is no longer there.

In a video sent to Taste of Country, Minia Smith tells Jelly Roll, “We played your song at his funeral.” You can hear her telling the hitmaker their story while she’s crying, and when her cell phone camera pans up, it shows him overcome with emotion.

At the conclusion of their visit, Jelly Roll takes Abby and addresses her directly. In this unedited version of the video, his effort and feelings are more evident. One can actually see how their tale affected him.

We are supposedly conquered by the force of our testimony, according to an old saying. You have a really strong testimony, Jelly Roll tells Abby in a fierce whisper as he is inconsolable.

And one day, you’re going to use it to accomplish a lot of good for the world. I can hear you. You can cry over it whenever you want. Never allow someone to dictate how you should grieve. You proceed slowly. If it’s what you need to get by, you talk about him every day. I promise you that one day you will laugh when you remember him.

Abby muses, “It was truly remarkable how he said that to me. I felt so special, and just — it couldn’t have been better.”

The teen appears to be paying attention to what her favorite performer has to say. She acknowledges that she is content to live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee, despite being soft-spoken and still being put under a lot of pressure. She recently disclosed this to Clarke, her adoptive mother.

“I feel like I have a second chance at life,” she hugged me and said.