Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Grand Ole Opry 1/20 & 1/21

The Grand Ole Opry has posted the line ups for the 2 shows this weekend, 1 on Friday night and 1 on Saturday night. The big event his weekend will be on Saturday night, when the Opry honors Emmylou Harris on the 20th anniversary of her Opry membership. (Her actual Opry induction date is January 25, 1992). The Opry is going to devote a whole hour to Emmylou and she will be celebrating with a bunch of her friends, including Vince Gill, Rodney Crowell and Buddy Miller.

According to Pete Fisher, Opry vice president and general manager, "Emmylou is treasured not just by all of us at the Grand Ole Opry, but also by fans around the world. She's shared so many great musical moments with us over the past 20 years, singing with and introducing us to some of her favorite musical collaborators. We're excited to celebrate her Opry anniversary at the Ryman, a stage on which she's displayed such incredible artistry through the years."

Taking the information from the Opry's press release, "During her career, Harris has successfully erased boundaries between country, folk and rock n' roll. During the 60s she fell in love with folk music and began performing while in college. In the late 60s Harris met Gram Parsons, formerly of The Byrds, and he became her mentor and singing partner, drawing her into the 70s country rock movement. She toured with and recorded with Parsons until his death in 1973. Since then, Harris has continued to develop her musical style by combining folk music with an electric base and has a sound that is uniquely her own. She has enjoyed seven No. 1 and 27 Top 10 hits. Among her most memorable releases: 'If I Could Only Win Your Love,' 'Together Again,' 'Sweet Dreams,' 'Making Believe,' 'To Daddy,' and 'Heartbreak Hill.' In 1999 Billboard Magazine recognized her distinguished career achievements with its highest honor-the Century Award. Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and has won 12 Grammy awards."

As far as my comments, I will admit that I am an Emmylou Harris fan. I have seen her many times at the Opry and she has always done a fine job. When she joined the Opry, I was pleased and being located in Nashville and an active part of the music community, I really thought Emmylou would take her Opry membership seriously and would have appeared on the show more than she has. In that respect, she has been a disappointment. In 2006, she appeared at the Opry 9 times, and that is her high water mark. In 2010, she made 8 appearances, but only 2 last year. Since 2000, she has made just 44 Opry appearances, or an average of just under 4 per year.

When I see her at the Opry, she seems to really enjoy it. She gets a great crowd reaction, will usually host a segment on which the Opry will allow her to bring pretty much anyone she wants to perform with, and will usually dance a bit with the square dancers. I do know that she enjoys the Ryman Auditorium more than the Opry House, and most of her appearances with the Opry have come when the show is at the Ryman.

My other issue is not so much with Emmylou but with the Opry. In the past year, the Opry has devoted large segments of their shows to honor Vince Gill on his 20th anniversary as an Opry member, to honor Randy Travis on 25 years on Opry membership and to honor George Jones on his birthday. I know that they tried very hard to get Alan Jackson in to honor him for 20 years as an Orpy member last year, but they couldn't come up with a date. (I guess Alan was too busy for the Opry!!). My issue is how they have treated the real milestones of Opry membership. When George Hamilton IV, Jimmy C Newman, Billy Grammer, Charlie Louvin and Jean Shepard all celebrated 50 years of Opry membership, they were "allowed" to sing 2 songs, get a watch from Pete Fisher, and then sent on their way. They were not even given the honor of hosting a segment on their big night. Granted the Opry did better with Bill Anderson's 50th anniverary last year, and I am sure there will be a big, big show for Loretta Lynn's 50th anniversary later this year.

Opry membership is important to many of the artists and all should be honored for reaching certain levels of membership. While George, Jimmy C, Billy, Charlie and Jean were not the big stars they once were, they are still important to the history of the Opry and of country music. The Louvin Brothers might be the greatest duo in country music history. Honor them the way they should be honored!!

My thinking is that you can mark the occasion of an artist being an Opry member at the 10 year mark, then at 20 years and every 5 years after that. And special mention should be given to those artists who actually show up and support the show. To me, the biggest laugh was honoring Randy Travis on 25 years of Opry membership and he probably hasn't even done 25 Opry shows in his life

Anyways, sorry for being on the soapbox.

As far as the rest of this week's line up, both nights look very good. In addition to Emmylou and Vince on Saturday night, Craig Morgan will be on. The Friday Night Opry will feature Opry members Diamond Rio, Terri Clark and Ricky Skaggs.

Friday January 20
7:00: Mike Snider (host); Jimmy C Newman; Connie Smith; Diamond Rio
7:30: Jimmy Dickens (host); Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top X-Press
8:15: Jeannie Seely (host); Terri Clark; Darryl Worley
8:45: John Conlee (host); Eric Paslay; Ricky Skaggs

Saturday January 21
7:00: Jimmy Dickens (host); Jeannie Seely
7:30: Jim Ed Brown (host); Jean Shepard; Jesse McReynolds; Craig Morgan
8:15: Emmylou Harris (host); Shawn Colvin; Rodney Crowell; Vince Gill; Buddy Miller; Kimmie Rhodes; The Whites; Opry Square Dancers

With 1 more slot to be filled on Friday night, there are currently 12 artists scheduled, of whom 10 are Opry members. On Saturday night, there are currently 13 artists scheduled, with 1 slot to fill. 9 of those are Opry members.

This week's Ernest Tubb Midnight Jamboree will feature an archived show hosted by Mac Wiseman. That should be a good one.

For the ranting that I did, both shows this weekend look pretty good and my congratulations to Emmylou Harris on 20 years of Opry membership.


  1. Byron, if there's room on that soapbox, I'll climb next to you.

  2. Fred in Bismarck here:

    I love Emmylou also. Her "Roses in the Snow" album c. 1980 was part of the big turnaround real country enjoyed there for a while. And, agreed, her Opry appearances have always been rousing affairs. One of the all-time greats, no doubt.

  3. Hi Byron, I hope you are doing well.

    I wrote you a couple of weeks ago regarding the lack of Opry appearances by Marty Stuart. Just to let you know, according to the Opry website, Marty is scheduled to appear on the Friday night Opry, February 17th along with Steve Wariner & Diamond Rio. By chance would you happen to know when his last appearance in 2011 was? Just curious, that's all & thank you ...

    As far as today's column is concerned, please make that three of us on the Opry soap box!!! I could go on forever on this subject and I won't. I see Michael's comments all the time on when they report on an artist who is an Opry member.

    It certainly is a head-scratcher as to why so many members do not appear. I am wondering if Pete Fisher just wishes to book country artists whether they are members or not for nothing more than diversity. Of course it could be because the artists are out on tour & won't give up a Friday or Saturday paycheck in favor of appearing on the Opry stage for a mere pittance of "scale pay." I don't boot up the computer or turn on my XM radio too much to listen in anymore. There was a time when I turned the tv on to watch the Saturday night Opry show when it was still on CMT & Vince Gill appeared every other Saturday night & there were times when he was on both Friday & Saturday shows back to back weeks - every time I turned around that guy was on & I loved every moment he was on stage - just love that guy. However, I think those days are gone for the most part ... even Ricky Skaggs doesn't appear very often. Ricky, Vince & Marty Stuart had started to become the very columns that held the Opry House up - now, where are they? There has got to be a reason & it may not all be the artists' doing. About 15 years ago, on one of my "Fan Fair" vacations, I met Justin Tubb in one of the fairground buildings where the artists went to sign autographs. I didn't know him from Adam but he told me how the Opry never called him to appear. No one knows what really goes on behind that beautiful red curtain but for all country music lovers it appears something is really wrong & someone is getting the wrong end of the stick. And we won't even get into the Country Music Hall of Fame subject - just know I go toe to toe with the CMA on Facebook about putting Connie Smith in. They never respond but I keep at them about inducting her. I have lost count on how many times I have said that to them. Her voice alone tells me she should have a plaque hanging in the rotunda of that beautiful building that her husband over saw as it was being built and if and when the day comes that she is inducted I will be in Nashville pronto to see that plaque.

    As for me, tonight is the first night of American Idol. I was thrilled that not one but two country artist wannabe's won first & second place last year. Steven Tyler actually picked Lauren Alaina to be last year's winner. He was off by one person - that's pretty darned good on his part wouldn't you say? I may not be much of an Aerosmith fan but I really like his style as a judge - he closes his eyes, sways to the music & one can tell he is really listening to these singers. He knows what he's listening for & I was extremely impressed with him.

    Thanks Byron ....


  4. Thanks for the great comments!!! Regarding the Hall of Fame, I do know that Connie Smith was a finalist last year, and while I have not seen the list of finalists for this year, I am sure she is on it. The election is going on right now and the new Hall of Famers will be announced at the end of January or the 1st part of February. I do know that The Browns are finalists again this year, with strong consideration for Bobby Bare, Archie Campbell and the Wilburn Brothers. There are some tough choices there.

    Marty Stuart made 9 Opry appearances last year. Those dates were:

    Friday February 11
    Friday February 25
    Friday March 18
    Friday April 22
    Saturday April 23
    Friday April 29
    Friday June 3
    Friday July 1
    He also did his Marty Jam in June.

    I could really go on about the appearances by the legends, but I will save that for another time. But, I think one reason they have been adding the week night shows, including the upcoming Wednesday night shows, is to get some of the bigger names at the Opry, who would normally be on the road over the weekends.


  5. Jeanene, thanks. And to explain, whenever Hazel Smith talks about how lovely someone is and that someone is an Opry member who doesn't appear, I go on the site and ask if that member is a hypocrite or a liar. I'm not very nice, I guess!

    Jeanene's story about Justin Tubb isn't unusual, from what I understand. There always are rumors. I read one long ago about how Hal Durham supposedly was going to purge a bunch of older members, there was a members' meeting with Durham, and Porter Wagoner stood up and looked at Durham and said, almost in so many words, "You aren't going to do it, that's all there is to it, and I'm leaving." So it was said.

    Byron, about the Hall of Fame. The five you list are all worthy. No question. I'm not among those who believe that the Hall of Fame should be wide open. For what it's worth, when I see Teddy and Doyle, I think, gee, they didn't have many hits. Then I think, ah, yes, the TV show, the publishing company ... they were incredibly influential. And as I recall, Teddy couldn't get on the Opry much, either!

  6. Bryon:
    What are your thoughts regarding that "Veterans" catagory of the CMHF, after the inductions of Connie Smith, The Browns and Bobby Bare (let's face it, they are all going in within the next 3-4 years).
    I'm fearful that the CMA will change that "Veterans" criteria and open it up for some artists such as Gene Watson, Hank,Jr., Vern Gosdin, Kenny Rogers..etc.. to be elected in that catagory, rather than the "Modern" catagory. I believe all of those guys should be indcuted, but from the Modern Catagory. Here is why: I personally believe Jerry Lee Lewis, Jack Greene, Stonewall Jackson, The Osborne Brothers, The Stanley Brothers (Ralph is still w/us)..also should be considered for the "Veterans" catagory while they are still around to enjoy their induction. And also, I'm afraid some deceased artists, Archie, The Wilburn's, Stringbean, Hank Locklin, Dottie West...etc...may have seen their last days past to get elected.
    I believe the CMA is going to be looking for ways to get artits such as Garth, Brooks & Dunn, Clint Black..etc.. in ASAP.
    Just wondering your thoughts on it all.

  7. Let's face reality. When Garth, Brooks & Dunn and the others get in, it will give the Hall of Fame a big publicity boost and with the expansion project about ready to get started, they will need to increase the attendance at the Hall.

    There are several artists that could fall into either the "modern" or the "veterans" category. For example, last year when Reba got elected in the "modern" category, I was told that Connie Smith was one of the other 2 finalists in that category. And let's face it, Connie is not going to get elected unless she falls into the "veterans" group.

    Being realistic, of the veterans that you listed above, I do think that Archie Campbell has a chance, along with The Wilburns and Dottie West. I don't think Stonewall Jackson, Hank Locklin, Stringbean or Jack Greene will get it. And, it is just about impossible for any bluegrass group to get elected into the Hall, especially since bluegrass now has their own Hall of Fame, so to speak. And I don't think that bluegrass fits the definition of what country music currently is.

    Finally, I am fearful that once Garth and some of the younger ones start to get elected, that it will shut out many artists from the 70s and 80s that could be getting in. Except for Reba last year, and Vince Gill several years earlier, most of the "modern" members currently getting elected are from the late 70s, into the 80s. So it would seem that the Hall of Fame voters do care about getting in some of those from that era before getting into the late 80s and early 90s crowd. Of course, that could all change this year.


  8. Just to finish the thought, one of the reasons that the Hall of Fame and the CMA changed the categories for the Hall of Fame election several years ago (if you remember, the original veterans category was elected once every 3 years and was for the era before the 1950s), was because most of the voters thought that there were no more worthy candidates from the early era of country music to put into the Hall. That is debatable.


  9. I personally believe Jerry Lee Lewis might get in someday. But I'm afraid your right on many of the other artists. And I half-way agree on the Bluegrass part. Eventhough I'm certain Ricky Skaggs will get in someday (and properly soon)

    I really wish the electors would consider Stringbean. He was such a mainstay in Country Music for many years. His early death is properly the very reason he will never be elected either.

    I personally just like Hank Locklin. He has a half-dozen real country standards from the Golden era. To me he is just as worthy as some who are already in: George Morgan, Brenda Lee, Johnny Bond..etc..

    If Locklin, Stringbean, The Wilburns, Johnnie & Jack (forgot them earlier), Dottie West, Jack Greene, Archie Campbell, The Killer and Stonewall would get elected I would properly throw up my hands and say "OK now you can move on". Those particuler artists are my hang up.

    But I also believe that the pre-1950 acts, Bradley Kincaid and Lulu Belle & Scotty should already have been inducted. I wish they would be considered in the future.

  10. Holy smokes ... it appears I opened up a hornets nest of sorts. We are all very passionate about this music & about the Opry & Hall of Fame - to us we want to preserve the music & the hallowed halls - to the other side, it is a business & they will never make everyone happy.

    Byron, thank you for providing the dates of Marty's appearances. It just seems a whole lot longer than July of his last appearance. I would love nothing better than to attend one of his Late Night Jams' but I won't be attending the CMA Music Fest any time soon.

    I would really like to learn how someone gets to be on a ballot & then a finalist & hopefully a "chosen one" to be in the Hall of Fame. Are there ballots that are sent out with all veteran's names on it - I do not know the process in which these artists are chosen. What can I read to learn this, does anyone know? Is it the same as I hear how "voting" goes for the CMA awards? Where much of it is political? I am happy for each & everyone that enter the Hall of Fame - not everyone will but that doesn't' mean they didn't put out some darned good music. I just hope that Connie Smith's turns comes up soon. If the Browns get in, I will be very happy for them as well - Archie Campbell? Who can argue with him or the Wilburn Brothers?

    I am good with "modern" members being inducted - Alabama, George Strait, Vince Gill & Reba. I'm waiting for two more - Marty Stuart & Alan Jackson. No matter what anyone thinks of the Opry members amongst this list & whether they appear on the Opry stage or the lack of their appearances - they have pushed country music in the right direction - Marty's radio career didn't last long but one look at his "resume" & beyond who could argue with his induction & Alan Jackson? His brand new song, "So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore" is just killer & I can't say the same for the last few of the songs he put out for radio & he was not played. His body of work is right up there with Merle Haggard's - they both have a way with words. That is my opinion & not everyone will agree. I would also love to see Ronnie Milsap, Ricky Skaggs and The Oaks get in but again, everyone who does get in I am happy for. Bryon, I fully understand and agree with you that once artists like Garth Brooks go into the H.O.F. that many of the older artists will be pushed aside and yes, I do recall the H.O.F. changing their categories.

    On one of my trips to Fan Fair, I was in line at the Opry booth - Jack Greene was giving autographs. When I gave him whatever it was that I asked him to sign he started signing & he asked me where I lived. I responded "Chicago." He stopped signing, looked up at me, smiled & said "WJJD's Shower of Stars from radio station WJJD." I was so taken aback that he would remember that. We chatted for some time about those shows. Those package shows were fabulous - I saw & heard them all - Buck, Merle, Dolly, George, Tammy, Connie, Loretta, Jimmy Dickens, Johnny Cash, Jack Greene, Bill Anderson - so many I can't name them all. All I know is when I was a young kid I heard some unbelievable music. The music from the listed names are the reason why we are so passionate about this subject matter.

    Michael, continue doing what you are doing on - I fully "get" why you do & say what you do & say. Carry on .... don't worry about how you sound.

    Have a good weekend everyone - thanks for all the input!


  11. May I join you on both soapboxes!!

    I was looking through some old magazines in which I had an opinion column. I wrote a column in 1996 titled "An S.O.S. for the G.O.O.?" in which I discussed how many Opry members, who all sang that "the Opry means so much to me and to country music" song when they became members, were M.I.A. I had friends who were GUESTING on the Opry more times than five members!! Another problem -- and I hate to say this, but it really needs to be said -- is I think the Opry is resting on its laurels. If you look at the other "legendary" barn dance shows, they suffered the same fate. The National Barn Dance, the Louisiana Hayride, the Ozark Jubilee, all gone because they thought their "name" or "status" would bring in the crowds. It's sad to say, but I really don't look for the Opry to last much longer. As the "classic country" generation dies off no one is going to replace them when they would have to pass up playing at a 20,000 arena in favor of union scale (I think a star used to get $300 a night; now, with the one show instead of two, it's probably $150). And, given that the younger singers and fans are far more heavily rooted in rock music and know more about Elton John than Elton Britt, the Opry means NOTHING to them, and if it disappears tomorrow they won't know or care.

    As for the Hall of Fame, I hate to say it but I look for the inducted "veteran" this year to be either Hank Locklin or Jerry Reed. Reason being, this is the first year they're eligible again after being off the ballot for three years following their deaths. I absolutely DESPISE acts getting in after they die (but this has been a long-standing practice with the Hall of Fame: when Chet Atkins was inducted in 1973 he quipped, "I didn't even know I was sick!") so their spouses and/or children (or in some cases [should Al Dexter or Elton Britt ever get their deserving induction] grandchildren) have to accept the plaque. Every year I put my list out there and hope that I'll see someone from the list on it. I would especially love to see the Browns this year, given that the last time I talked to Jim Ed he said Bonnie is not in good health. I am not a fan of the "non-performer" category, given that the CMA usually uses that section to induct the current or just-retired president of the CMA (a friend of mine, visiting the Hall of Fame, noticed how many CMA executives have been inducted and said, "There's a lot of self-serving interest on these plaques." I couldn't disagree with him!), but I'd like to see someone OUTSIDE of Nashville inducted. I think the Hall of Fame is too Nashville-centric, which IMO is why it took people like Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Ray Price (the first words of his induction speech: "it's about time!") so long to get inducted.

    Keep preaching, brother, even if you are preaching to the choir!! These things need to be said!

  12. Wow. This will be a great night of music.

  13. Some great opinions and responses. Thanks to all!!

    I believe that Hank Locklin and Jerry Reed would make good Hall of Fame members, but I think it is going to be pretty tough for either to get in. I think the main problem for the Wilburn Brothers is that Loretta Lynn is still alive (and I am glad that she is), but I think they will be hard pressed to get in as long as her opinion is out there. And there are many who remember the battle that she had with the Wilburns and many feel that the Wilburns, while legally right in this case, were still wrong in how they treated her.

    The electors are kind of funny. 2 years ago, Bobby Bare was a finalist, yet last year was not. Connie Smith was included in the "modern" category instead of the "veterans." One of the main reasons Jean Shepard was elected last year was because Bill Anderson pushed her case and called in just about every I.O.U. that he had with the voters. (and Jean did deserve to be elected). As discussed before, Stringbean's biggest problem was that he died way too early. I think if he had lived and stayed on the Opry, he would have been elected much like Grandpa Jones and Bill Carlisle were.

    While I don't know who all is on the final ballot this year, and we may never know unless someone leaks it, I would suspect the same names as in past years. There are a couple of names that have not been mentioned that have received strong consideration in the past and those would be Ronnie Milsap, the Oak Ridge Boys and Randy Travis. And yes, I do suspect that at some point Ricky Skaggs will get in. I will also say that of those in the pre-World War II era, that Bradley Kincaid is the one that should be in. I know he was a finalist for a number of years, but it just seems like after Pop Stoneman got elected. they decided that was it.

    It was asked if there are politics involved in the Hall of Fame voting. If they were still alive, all you would have to do is ask Webb Pierce and Faron Young for starters. Webb had so many people mad at him that a lot of the voters said that they would never vote for him while he was still alive. And he was the biggest hit maker of the 50s. Same issue with Faron Young. Or you could ask Don Gibson, Ray Price and Porter Wagoner. They all had to wait because of issues.

    I would have to double check the voting process, but at one time a list of 20 nominees were picked by a panel of country music insiders and then there was an election of that group. The top 5 were named as finalists and then another election was held. I am pretty sure it is still that way.


  14. Jeanene, thanks for the kind words.

    Byron and I are baseball fans, and this discussion mirrors what goes on with the Baseball Hall of Fame, mostly about the old-timers and who's deserving and who's not. A friend of mine calls these barstool debates, and that's a good description.

    In both cases, there's a ton of politics. I'm not knocking anybody and don't mean to when I say the following. Would George Morgan have gone in if his daughter weren't a big star and he had been a beloved friend to a lot of people? Doubtful. I remember my mother, who really introduced me to real country music, complaining when Rod Brasfield went in because Minnie Pearl talked about lobbying for him so he wouldn't be forgotten. Now, I think Brasfield deserved it. But my mother's point was, Minnie loving him isn't reason enough.

  15. Rod Brasfield did deserve it. But I do not believe he would have made it in, had it not been for Minnie.

    Same goes for Jean Shepard. I love her music. She needed to be in the Hall of fame. But let's face it. If Bill Anderson and Vince Gill had not pleaded her case and five more years would have past, I don't think she would have made it.

    Now, look at the class of 2001. I think they just put a bunch of names in a bag and drawed out 10 or 12.

    Webb Pierce and Don Gibson were "had toos" by this point. Waylon said it did not mean one thing to him to be inducted. So, "WOW" he goes in with the 2001 class. That must have been real handy for the CMA.

    How Homer & Jethro and The Everly Brothers got in before Johnnie & Jack is a mystery to me??

    And why did it take until 2001 to get Ken Nelson elected?

    2001 just did not seem very "special" to me. They inducted to many in one year.

    I think 6 would be a good number to honor. 1 pre-1950; 2 1950-1975 and 2 1975-1990 or so; plus the rotating, musican, songwriter and non-performer.

    So in "my perfect world" in 2012 I would have on my ballot; Bradley Kincaid, The Browns, Bobby Bare, Hank, Jr. and Vern Gosdin.; with the musican being, Bashful Brother Oswald.

    In reality I would say this year it will be The Browns and either Kenny Rogers or Ronnie Milsap. The Musican??? I have no clue??????

  16. Like him or not, Kenny Rogers should have been in ages ago. This man has been having hit records and been relevant for more than 50 years. And to be honest, other than Dolly Parton, nobody else has had the worldwide impact on country music than Kenny.

  17. David and Jimmy, I think you make some great points (of course, why does my opinion matter!). I agree about Rod and Jean, and I would add that in her case, she has been an outspoken critic of modern country music, so I'm sure a lot of ruffled feathers were against her.

    Byron knows a lot more about this than I do, but I think the 2001 class put in previous finalists. That year, Bill Anderson was elected and wanted it made clear that he was NOT part of the "group." If I am right, Don Gibson was the other one elected that year on his own, but Byron may need to correct me.

    To emphasize the point about politics and return to a post above, Faron Young had said--on live TV--that if he didn't get it when he was alive, he didn't want it when he was dead, and that he thought it was all a crock. Also, when Chet went in, he had just had cancer surgery and said soon afterward, Owen Bradley had a heart attack. He called Bradley and told him he'd go in next ... and he was right.

    So I think those who really know are well aware that it's political. It's a great honor, to be sure. But I hope nobody is really losing sleep over whether s/he will get in.

  18. Mike, if I remember right, the other one elected that year on his own merit, and not part of the big class was Sam Phillips. Bill Anderson was elected in the performer category and Sam went in for the non-performer class.

    The 2001 induction class was considered a chance for the Hall of Fame to catch up on some of the inductions because they realized there was a backlog of candidates. The other consideration was that the new Hall of Fame was opening and they wanted to create some additional excitement. From what I read, most of the performers were not happy about the large induction as they felt it took away some of the special meaning of being in the Hall. And you are right, Bill Anderson was very vocal about it and wanted to make sure everyone knew that he was elected on his own merit and not part of a catch up.

    It is true that some of those elected in that class did not take part in their induction and did not acknowledge being in the Hall. I believe Don Gibson was one of those and from what I heard, he never did go and see his plaque in the hall. I know that for a number of years Waylon Jennings did not acknowledge his induction, but I understand that before he died he did visit the Hall and see it.

    I think that a lot like baseball (which Mike and I share a love of), while some entertainers may say that the Hall of Fame doesn't mean anything to them or is not that important, I think all of them deep down want to be in the Hall of Fame. I forget who said it, but somebody was elected to the Hall a few years ago and he said that long after he died, that plaque would always be there for his children and grandchildren to see.

    A final point and I think this goes to some of the issues with the old-timers. Many of the old-timers had the majority of their careers before film or video, before there was Billboard and the other sales tracking methods and before concert appearances were documented. They made few recordings and most of those recordings were very primitive in nature. For example, while we all may know in our minds how good Bradley Kincaid was, how do you convince a voter who never saw him? And that goes to some the other names out there. I really hate to say it, but I think for many of them, there time has passed and they are not going to get elected to the Hall.


  19. Byron, thanks, I'd forgotten about the two categories.

    As Aesop would say, some of the grapes are sour. In Don Gibson's case, he died in the next year or two, so he may have had some health issues, not to mention that he struck me as becoming increasingly shy over the years. In any event, I remember my mother saying when Grandpa Jones went in that Bradley Kincaid really had discovered or promoted him, and how do you put in the protege first? Then we saw Dolly go in before Porter. Well ....

    As for musicians and non-performers, I'll make a baseball reference. A couple of years ago, Doug Harvey, the greatest umpire I ever saw, went into the Hall of Fame. There have been some excellent umpires, but only nine are in Cooperstown. The problem is, how, exactly, do we judge them? Especially the old-timers? Most of us don't really know what makes a great umpire. Well, Ken Nelson was a great A&R man, but I think there are many behind-the-scenes people for whom a case could be made--and people who were out front, like musicians. In the end, we are stuck with depending on memories or arguments that never can really be solved.

  20. Can I add my two cents?

    I am glad that old timers like Homer and Jethro and Pops Stoneman are in the Hall, otherwise younger folk like me would never know about them. Last summer was my first time visiting Nashville and the museum. I was surprised to see Brenda Lee in the Hall, because all I know her from is her pop hits.

    I never understood why John Denver has never been elected to the Hall, and why no one talks about him going in? He's had huge pop and country hits.


  21. Fred here:

    This is one great thread.

    Every year about this time I start foaming at the mouth and trying to bite the edge of the carpet. To me, after 50 years the Hall has become so compromised that the only way to restore meaning would be to blow it up and start over. (Speaking figuratively here, Homeland Security.)

    To me the problem almost from the beginning has been the suck-up relationship that country, especially the suits, has had with pop -- country trying to borrow the glory of pop's larger success. The reverse was true, too, especially with the CMA -- shunning country that was "too."

    Remember about 40 years ago, when the Song of the Year was "Carroll County Accident" but the only trace of it on the awards show was a couple of bars played by an ork. No sign of Porter, of course.

    I agree bluegrass doesn't get treated as country by the CMA. (What is it -- rock?) But Bill Monroe and Flatt & Scruggs are in the Hall -- and where in the world are the Stanley Brothers, Reno & Smiley, Mac Wiseman, the Country Gentlemen and Seldom Scene, among others?

    Jean Shepard -- I would not have elected this second-tier artist -- but not Wilma Lee Cooper? The Everly Brothers -- not only pop, rather than country, but with a short effective career -- and not the Blue Sky Boys? Brenda Lee, for the love of heaven, and not Jerry Lee Lewis, who had all those wonderful country hits?

    Where, in the name of heaven, is the Chuck Wagon Gang? Not country, maybe? "The most colorful hillbilly band in America," the Maddox Brothers & Rose?

    You get the flavor of my affliction. A friend who is more grownup than I, and a football and racing fan, points out that every hall of fame inspires these kinds of arguments. (Michael mentioned baseball's, which is certainly good for a discussion every year.)

    I'll try keeping this in mind when the news comes down this time.

  22. I think Brenda Lee was elected because she's been a part of the Nashville community for so long, as she never really had a big country career. Don't get me wrong, I love Brenda and she can sing a country song just as well as anyone, but that's not what she's known for.

    It also ruffles my feathers a bit that Elvis is inducted, yes he made some good country records, but still...

  23. Fred again:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Elvis is in the Hall. I could sure make a case for him ahead of many others in there, like Glen Campbell.

  24. Fred,Elvis Presley IS in the Hall of Fame [1999].Look it up.I know I said this before,but I think a mass induction is the right way to get those old timers in.People like Sam & Kirk McGee,Fruit Jar Drinkers,Coon Creek Girls,Blue Sky Boys,Stanley Brothers,Wilburn Brothers,Archie Campbell,Hank Williams,Jr., Johnny & Jack,Bradley Kincaid,Dottie West,Wilma Lee & Stoney,Lula Belle & Scotty,many others.They have been around a long time.I say 2012 is the right time for them to get in.If it wasn't for them we would not have these modern day singers.Or else tear down the hall of fame,start over and do it right.

  25. Yes, Elvis is in the Hall of Fame. Also, in an earlier reply, I mentioned that when Reba was elected last year in the "modern" category, that Connie Smith was one of the 3 finalists. I forgot to mention that Ray Stevens was the other finalist.

    While it would be great to get in a lot of the old-timers that Johnny mentioned, it is just not going to happen. Of those listed, I would say the only one for sure that will get elected at some point is Hank Williams Jr. As for the others, the Wilburn Brothers and Dottie West stand a decent chance, while Archie Campbell might. As for the rest, there is no chance.

    While folks like the McGee's, Fruit Jar Drinkers, Coon Creek Girls and Blue Sky Boys were fine performers for the various barn dance shows, they really are not Hal of Fame material. Johnny & Jack you could discuss and the same with the Cooper's. The Hall of Fame stopped inducting bluegrass performers long ago, and with bluegrass having their own Hall of Fame, I really would be surprised if any more bluegrass performers get in. Ricky Skaggs will, but it will be more for his traditionalist country career rather than for bluegrass.

    People can say what they want about Brenda Lee, but I will tell you she is very well respected and liked in the Nashville community and had a very nice country music career. She has always lived in the Nashville area and at one time had a lot of influence in the music community. While I will argue that some of the Hall of Fame inductees are boarderline, in my view, she is not one of those.


  26. Fruit Jar Drinkers? I never heard of them in my life. Not even in a passing reference. What kind of influence did they have? I don't even remember seeing them when I visited the Barn Dance exhibit at the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. And I doubt any act with the name "Coon" in it will ever get in.

    If acts like the McGees or Blue Sky Boys deserved to get in, why didn't they make it way back in the 60s and 70s? Why in the world was there a period of time when only one person was honored a year? That was a mistake I think.

  27. Back when the Hall of Fame started, the voters wanted to keep it exclusive and wanted to make sure that only the worthy candidates got in, so that was one of the reasons that they limited the number to one per year. Of course in those early years, there wasn't the backlog of candidates that has developed since. In the first election in 1961, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams and Fred Rose were elected. In 1962, Roy Acuff got in. In 1963, the voters decided that nobody was worthy enough for election!! 1964 was Tex Ritter and then Ernest Tubb in 1965. After that, the categories started to expand a bit.

    The Coon Creek Girls were actually a pretty good act in the earlier days of country music and had a very good following. The were out of Kentucky and in fact, the group, though modernized, is still out there today. I would have to check my facts, but I do believe that the original members are part of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.

    The Fruit Jar Drinkers were one of the early string bands on the Opry, starting in 1927. They originally consisted of Uncle Dave Macon along with Sam & Kirk McGee. The Fruit Jar Drinkers would remain a part of the Opry until the 1980s, when the remaining string bands were consolidated into the Crook Brothers group.

    Again, while the Fruit Jar Drinkers, Crook Brothers, Sam & Kirk McGee and some of the others were nice musicians, I do agree that they are not Hall of Fame worthy. The other thing to remember was that most of these early Opry acts were not full time musicians. They all held jobs and did the Opry and other musical events for fun.


  28. Another comment regarding the Country Music Hall of Fame. Last night I watched on RFD-TV the Country Family Reunion show - Kornfield County - that Larry Black recently filmed. Larry has done such a great job putting all of these series together & thankfully there is a channel, RFD-TV, that carries these shows. So many of the people that were originally on Hee Haw that were able to appear. What great memories & it is so hard to believe Hee Haw originally started airing in 1969. Lulu Roman looks great. Thankfully she kicked her drug addiction, looks great having lost a great deal of weight & has a fabulous voice. I am happy to see that Roy Clark was well enough to be there. He played a banjo tune with Buck Trent & played a fiddle tune with Ramona Jones. Just wish Buck Owens & his Buckaroos & Grandpa Jones were on. While Grandpa was funny & could play a mean banjo apparently he had quite the temper. His widow, Ramona, did agree to that fact when she was asked. All the wonderful & sometimes quite hilarious stories were told.

    Here's where I am going with all of this ....

    Charlie McCoy played the "Orange Blossom Special" obviously on his harmonica. Everyone just could not believe he could play that fast, for so long. He received quite the hand & the start of a standing ovation after he was done & once done all I thought was "THAT is why you are in the Hall of Fame." He played harmonica on "Bandy, the Rodeo Clown" that Moe Bandy sang about his brother - they did the song on the show & the two of them did such a great job that it sounded exactly like the original recording. Bill Anderson then named so many songs Charlie played on over the years & that list was quite impressive. Charlie served as the music director of Hee-Haw for 18 years. So he did bring something very special to country music & it is just my opinion, that musicians should have just as much an opportunity to be in the Hall of Fame as anyone else.

    And as Cathy Baker would say ... "That's All!"


  29. Fred again:

    Sorry about my miscue on Elvis (1998). I had it right on my list, copied off the Hall website, but somehow missed it in my review for this blog.

    I still will stick up for the Blue Sky Boys, who besides being radio stars sold an awful lot of records for Bluebird and RCA all the way from the 1930s to the beginning of the 1950s. They are big in re-issue to this day. If people like them; Moon Mullican; the Coopers; Johnnie & Jack; Slim Whitman; Carl Story; and Jimmie Skinner are truly out of luck, now and forever, that is just too bad.

  30. One of my regrets is that our cable in Las Vegas doesn't have RFD-TV. For that reason, I think my wife is glad! But seriously, some musicians stand out and go beyond their playing--Chet Atkins as an RCA executive, among other things, for example, and Floyd Cramer as THE sessions pianist and a best-seller in his own right. Charlie McCoy, I felt, was incredibly deserving, and Jeanene reminded us why. I would add, so was Harold Bradley, when he went in. I think Johnny Gimble would be a great choice among musicians.

    Fred, I follow you on the Blue Sky Boys, in part because they did a lot to pioneer the harmony/brother acts, so if the Louvins and Delmores can be in .... But let's face it, we're never going to get in everybody who should be, and there always will be some in there who probably shouldn't be. I think a case can be made for Slim Whitman not only as an important recording artist but as a marketing pioneer--the first, if I am not mistaken, to go into advertising and thus beyond the usual ways most stars sold their records, for example. Then again, sometimes the Hall of Fame surprises me in the right direction. The year Ferlin Husky got his long-overdue call, they inducted Jimmy Dean and Don Williams, and I thought to myself, they hadn't topped my list, but, you know, they SHOULD have.

  31. Michael - I have satellite service, & RFD-TV comes automatic on satellite, of course I have to pay for the level of service RFD-TV is on but it is worth it. Marty's show is just something else - tonight he had on Don Maddox - he is the last remaining Maddox brother of that family. I have heard about the Maddox Brothers & Sister Rose but their music was before my time. That is where Marty gives everyone a country music lesson & brings these people to us. So my opinion of Marty becoming a Hall of Famer stands - he envelopes one to listen with his infectious style - he is just a performers performer & without one realizing it, they have learned something. What a fabulous 30 minutes of music. Don still plays the fiddle & did a fabulous job for being 90 years young! I just love Marty's show - it is the #1 rated show on RFD-TV. You mentioned Floyd Cramer. I loved the music he put out - rare is the instrumental these days except obviously on an album, if that. Last year Marty had Paul Schaefer from the David Letterman show on his show. Paul is a native Canadian & he told the audience just how much he loved Floyd Cramer's music. He loved his music so much he taught himself how to play "Last Date" & "On the Rebound" & with that, he got behind the piano & played both songs. Paul perfected those two songs & all I can say is that my jaw just dropped. My eyes watched as Paul played those songs to a "T" while I heard Floyd Cramer - there literally was no difference. He did an unbelievable job & he was so thrilled to be on Marty's show.

    I agree, Johnny Gimble would be a great choice to go into the Hall of Fame. This reminded me of all the information Byron provided about Connie Smith - she was named the "Artist in Residence" at the Hall of Fame back in August & September - 3 evenings in the Ford Theater it was all about Connie Smith & her music. I am so keeping my fingers crossed.


  32. I'm pretty sure Paul Shaefer performed the two songs you mentioned on the 'Opry. I was beyond impressed.

  33. Fred here:

    Michael, yours is the grownup attitude and one I will try to cultivate.

    Ditto on good old Furlined Husky. He had been out of the loop -- though still on the circuit -- for so long I had given up hope of this incredible showman getting his due. His "Drunken Driver" was one of the first three 45 records I bought with lawnmowing money in 1954. (I remember the others, too, such is our inkblotter memory when we are young; they were "I Don't Hurt Anymore" by you know who and "More and More" by good old Webb.)

    I was lucky enough to catch a Ferlin Husky show in Cleveland -- at the old Circle Theater, which might ring a bell with Byron -- in 1955 and in Bismarck in 1979. He was just as good the second time as the first, the complete showman. He was so hot in the late 1950s I remember him subbing for Arthur Godfrey on occasion.

    Jeanene, I appreciate your comments on Marty Stuart as well. I'd do about anything to get RFD and Marty except sign up for satellite TV, which is what it would take here. Marty is truly the Renaissance Man of country music, an incredible resource and treasure. Long may he thrive!

    By the way, there is a lot of Maddox Bros. and Rose music out there in re-issue. Visit County Sales, Collectors Choice or one of the other big mail-order spots and pick something up. They were true originals.

    Thank you, Byron and everybody else, for a great discussion!

  34. Tom,
    In regard to your comment about Pop Stoneman and Homer & Jethro: I suggust you go to YOUTUBE and listen to some old recordings of Bradley Kincaid. He is the most deserving "old timer" (as you said) that has not been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame. If anyone from Pre-1950 is ever considered again, it should be him.

    You can hear everyone from Johnny Cash to Grandpa Jones to Emmylou Harris to Wilma Lee & Stoney Cooper in his singing style. I would even say Bob Dylan and others in the Rock & Pop fields.

    He was an Opry member for awhile (correct me if I'm wrong Bryon!), in the 1940's. He lived until 1989.

    Look Him up.

  35. Thanks David. I learned all about them when I read their plaques in the Hall; my point was that I didn't know anything about them before that. Just as I've never heard of Fruit Jar Drinkers. (But WSM played an old Opry show last night and I heard them for the first time!)

    The Hall keeps the memory of these artists alive and teaches the next generations.

    I'd like to see Johnny Horton make it into the hall one day.

  36. Fred, I somewhat remember hearing about the Circle Theater in Cleveland, but I was never there. I know at one time, Cleveland was a pretty popular stop for country music stars. Pee Wee King did his television show from Channel 5 in Cleveland. That was back in the days after he quit the Opry because WSM would not do television and he relocated to Louisville.

    I will say that Marty Stuart does a great job with his television show and that RFD has done a great job bringing back the old country music shows such as Porter Wagoner and the Wilburn Brothers. I did hear that they are trying to make a deal to bring the old Bill Anderson shows to RFD. That would be great. And, as I have said many times before, RFD is where the Opry needs to be.

    Johnny Horton has never received any serious consideration for the Hall of Fame, and he might be one of the most overlooked stars in country music history. He led a strong lifestyle and that may have had something to do with things, but he was still a great singer.

    I want to thank everyone for the comments on this topic. I think this is the most any one post has received. I appreciate everyone's views, and whether we agree with each other or not, we are all learning something. Thanks!!


  37. Thank you for the nice words, Fred - I just think Marty is so under-rated - he has dedicated his life to country music. He left home at 13 to go on the road with Flatt & Scruggs as most people may know. He has traveled the world over several times & has a major country music collection of all sorts of artifacts that is valued at well over $1M. It was reported on both & websites within the last week that he is looking to build a museum in his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi to share this collection with everyone. Back in 2008 I went to Nashville & while there I went to see his Sparkle & Twang collection - oh my - there were so many rhinestones on display they were close to being blinding. His own stage wear, Porter Waggoner, Connie Smith, Loretta Lynn, Hank Sr.& more. No matter where I looked the collection got better & better & it was just a very small part of what he owns. He has been given stage wear & instruments by people in & out of the business. So good for him & yes long may he thrive!!

    For those interested, RFD-TV has given people the opportunity to watch shows live online, smart phones & tablets. The cost looks to be very reasonable. The website gives all details & they have a huge library of past shows as well. So this may be an option for some of you with cable which does not carry this channel. I love this station for the country music programming - Larry's Country Diner, Country Family Reunion, Porter Waggoner, and much, much more .... hope this helps.

    Have a good Sunday!


  38. A couple of thoughts on this subject.

    I would love it if RFD brought the old Bill Anderson show to the channel AND I would love it if they could find a way to acquire Ralph Emery's Nashville Now show - that was a great show. Ralph had his own show on RFD but I am not sure he is coming back for another season.

    I fully agree with Byron - RFD-TV NEEDS to bring the Opry to its channel. I read an e-column that Chet Flippo, from wrote about a year or so ago that the Opry was being shopped around & not even the Nashville PBS channel would bite. That has to be because of Pete Fisher/Gaylord Entertainment. I am a Facebook friend with a woman who lives on the left coast & she is involved with Josh Turner's fan club. She said that Josh stays totally away from Pete Fisher when he's at the Opry & Josh was scheduled to appear on the Opry next month but was scratched in favor of someone else - what does that tell us?

  39. Anonymous at 9:43 AM, that is quite a story about Josh Turner. I confess to a dream. Years ago, the producer of 60 Minutes and some other CBS News legends got fed up with what was being done to the network of Murrow and Cronkite, got together, and offered to BUY CBS News from CBS so they could save it. Garth, Vince, Alan ... you guys have some money ....

    Jeanene, I get to offer a slight correction, and it always thrills me when it's for somebody who I KNOW knows more about country music than I do. Marty worked for Lester Flatt and the Nashville Grass. But he's told this story. He met Bob Dylan in 1979. Dylan asked, how's Lester. Marty replied, dying. Dylan asked if he and Scruggs had ever reconciled. Marty said no. Dylan said that Abbott and Costello were supposed to reconcile and Costello died before they could talk. Marty immediately went to the phone and called Earl Scruggs, who then went to the hospital and saw Lester. Just for THAT, Marty is on my all-time team. That and managing to say something the night he was inducted that should have been bleeped, and apologizing the next time he was there. He said he was doing a song for "you old" and then he used an affectionate term that normally refers to breaking wind. I loved him for it.

  40. It's bothering that the Maddox Brothers & Rose are not CMHOF inductees and much lesser knowns like the Fruit Jar Drinkers are.

    RFD would be a great home for the Opry. The Opry was incredible on TNN and CMT. However when GAC took over, it went far downhill. I think their broadcast quality is even below that of RFDTV.

    I love Marty's show as well. Although, I've always found his marriage to Connie to be quite strange. She is one of the most unpleasant people I have ever encountered in my life... this could explain why Marty drinks so much.

  41. When talking about the Opry's television deal, let me add a couple of things, if I may. I will tell you that Steve Buchanan and Pete Fisher hate dealing with GAC. GAC makes all the decisions regarding their broadcasts and while Steve and Pete are listed as the producers of the show, when it is televised, GAC is calling the shots. I have been told that GAC has veto control over what artists are on and they decided when to televise the Opry.

    The reason that the Opry is on GAC is that, as stated in the post by anonymous, they could not make a deal with anyone else. While Pete Fisher is the Opry's vice-president and general manager, Steve Buchanan, in cooperation with Gaylord management, makes the major decisions at the Opry. I do have a lot of respect for Steve. I have met him and he worked his way up through the ranks and does care about the Opry. The Opry did shop around for a new television deal, and as anonymous stated there were no takers. The basic problem is that the Opry was asking for a dollar amount that nobody else would pay, forcing the Opry to go back to GAC. I can't speak for the management of RFD to even tell you if they made a bid on the Opry or not, or if they were even asked.

    But, let's face it. There are not that many television partners that Gaylord and the Opry can go to for a television deal. CMT has no interest as they gave up the Opry to start with and have moved on. Outside of GAC and RFD, there are no other national country music outlets.


  42. We don't even get the anniversary Opry specials anymore. It was always a thrill to see the big Opry specials every 10 years hosted by Dolly Parton and featuring the biggest stars of Country Music.

  43. Ahhh! the opry specials. I remember the one from 1990. I was 10 years old. I taped it on a blank cassette tape and listened to it until it wore out. I would love to watch the video of it again.

    One thing I remember is Roy Clark's segment sitting around a circle with some hall of fame members, namley; Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Pee Wee King, Little Jimmy Dickens, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn and Chet Atkins. They all sang, "Will The Circle be Unbroken" and told several stories. I often wondered why Hank Snow was not included in that?

    Even at age 10 I had a passion for "real" country music!!

    I always looked forward to those and the CMA awards. Now, I wouldn't pay a nickel to watch a CMA show.

  44. The one from 95-6? was one of my favorites... a lot of great pair-ups on that one. Barbara Mandrell & Reba McEntire singing "I Was Country (When Country Wasn't Cool)" together and Emmylou Harris & Patty Loveless on "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues" and Lorrie Morgan & Jeannie Seely doing "Candy Kisses". Dolly opening the show with "Wabash Cannonball" and the salute to George Jones were incredible as well.

  45. Fred here:

    David B., we need pure hearts such as yours among the younger segment. Keep the faith, and we will never be defeated!

  46. David, I especially remember the one from 1985 because they "sort of" reenacted the opening of what is still called the new Opry House. They started with a photo of Mr. Acuff and his early version of "Wabash Cannonball," then dissolved into the entire cast singing it with Mr. Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys up front (the only one of that group still alive is Larry McNeely). And that special caused a bit of a ruckus. Alabama got a couple of songs as guests, including with the Crook Brothers--a bridge from past to present or an insult to the last surviving original member. Dolly Parton got to sing despite rarely showing up at the Opry while Porter Wagoner only got to narrate a segment about Opryland.

    Hank Snow wasn't on that one and I suppose that affected what happened in 1990. Apparently, he was told that on the 60th anniversary special, he would do a verse and a chorus of "I'm Movin' On," and that was it. And he said fine, count me out. He said in his autobiography that he probably turned down more TV appearances than any other artist in country music history because the production people drove him nuts and to no end.

    As for the CMA show, David, one of the reasons it took Jean Shepard so long to get into the Hall of Fame was that she said CMA stands for "Country My A--."

    By the way, if you like tributes to legends, The New Yorker has one to Earl Scruggs by Steve Martin. Here's the link: It's very loving, and I got a sinking feeling when I read it. Earl is, after all, 88.

  47. Byron: Much talk has been made on here the last few days about the hall of fame. Any ideas when the class of 2012 will be announced? Also, any ideas on that musicians category? Crossing my fingers that Bashful Brother Oswald will get in someday.
    Maybe there will be a tie again in that veteran category. The Browns or Bobby Bare elected with Archie Campbell would be a delight for me.

  48. I haven't seen a date yet for the announcement. Usually it is at the end of January or the first part of February. I think some of it is based on getting those elected and still alive, over to the Hall of Fame for the announcement. If you remember last year, Reba had to cancel at the last minute because of her Father's illness.

    If last year is any indication, the Hall of Fame sent out a press release the day before the announcement alerting the media. They also showed the announcement live last year on their website, which was neat to see.

    So far in the musician category, they have elected Charlie McCoy (09), Harold Bradley (06) and Floyd Cramer (03). I really have no idea if they will go with a studio musician or someone like a Don Rich, Boots Randolph or Danny Davis, all of whom had great commercial success. If you look at a studio musician, Paul Franklin comes to mind. Buddy Emmons, Billy Byrd and of course Brother Oswald are others. And I know I am missing a lot. This is one category that has a lot of possibilities and a lot of worth candidates.


  49. In addition to Bashful Brother Oswald I personally would like to see Hank Garland, Don Helms and Leon Rhodes considered. Don Rich, Hargus Robbins, Pete Drake also come to mind. I really don't know how far back into Country Music History these electors will look??? Much like the Veterans category.

  50. Michael: Thank you for the correction & you are right. Marty worked for Lester Flatt. Marty's Mother trusted Lester & he was responsible for Marty since he was so young & Marty did get Earl to the hospital before Lester passed away. Those HAD to be great days for him, learning from the masters. No wonder he is as diversified as he is. I do recall Marty saying what he did the night he was inducted into the Opry. I may have it on tape, not sure. It was funny ... HE is funny - always has something good to say about someone & making someone laugh or smile.

    David B: I agree with you regarding the CMA show - in my opinion when they took the show out of the Opry House & took it downtown to the huge arena located by the Ryman, it took on a "rock concert" feel. When it was at the Opry House with fewer seats "to sell for a profit" it just seemed like it was the Grand Daddy of country awards show it used to be. And why can't they get more country artists to give out the awards? So many seem to be from NASCAR, Hollywood & the sporting world. They can't get any country artists? Seriously I wish they would work on that. For the artists who aren't played on radio anymore - say from the 70's 80's & 90's - they should do something like that but they won't - can't have anyone older than 35 on the darned stage. And when the CMA decided to make the break & separate the Hall of Fame inductees from the awards show was shameful. The very people going into the Hall are the teachers to the ones getting the awards. It used to go hand in hand - they fixed something that was never broke. I just have never understood that move & most likely never will. And when they took the show to NY I just about wrote the show totally off but they did as they said, it went back to Nashville but that is not to say it is better. I am of the opinion that bigger is not always better but I still watch it.

    Byron: I also watched the Hall of Fame announcement online last year & I agree with you, it was just great. I hope they carry it online again this year. I felt bad for Reba not being able to attend, but her Father was taken to the hospital in an emergency & that is where she should have been.

    Here's to all who will get "in" this year and all the best to those who don't for next year's voting process.


  51. Jimmy's comment about Connie and Marty surprised me. In dozen or more times i have met them she has been the sweet and gracious person she always appeared to be. And re: Marty, i felt he had pretty much given up his partying after his last dwi years ago. They remain at the top of my list and I hope they both make the hall.

  52. Shame on you for not inducting some of the old-timers and veterans.There the ones who started country music.If it wasn't for them,there wouldn't be any modern day singers.Maybe that's why I have my private country music hall of fame.Like Spade Cooley used to sing ''SHAME ON YOU''.

  53. I have a great idea;Why not have a special wing in the hall of fame for all those old timers and veterans from the 1920s-1960s.

  54. Here is some for the hall of fame,Boxcar Willie,Jerry Clower,Skeeter Davis,Lonzo & Oscar,Dave Dudley,Cousin Jody,Elton Britt.

  55. What about John Denver?

    Didn't he have hits that made it big on the country chart? I don't understand why he's not in.


  56. Johnny: I'd rather a "special wing" for all the pretenders who have slipped in from the 1970s on. Like in the alley. -- Fred

  57. Anonymous If you think people like Glen Campbell,Charlie Pride,Dolly,Porter,Marty Robbins,Johnny Cash and other pretenders from 1970 on,then you are screwy.

  58. Johnny: I am guilty of speaking inexactly. I certainly did not mean to say that all, or even most, admitted since 1970 are undeserving. At the same time, I think your suggestion of a kind of affirmative-action, mercy wing for older performers who were genuinely country; very big in their day; and helped build the stage a lot of lesser people stand on today is, well, insulting. -- Fred in Bismarck

  59. Fred,I am not insulting.I just meant to say that most of those old timers & veterans should be remembered.That's what the country music hall of fame is all about.To honor and remember all those great stars from years past.They are the ones who started this music for us to listen to.That's why I say they should have a ''special wing''.That's why I started my private hall of fame way back in 1990.Enough said.

  60. As I said before, it's a barstool debate. Some Hall of Famers are so obvious that there can be no debate. Some are more debatable, and then we get into the qualifications, too. I can think of a couple who I'm not sure belong, and many who really do belong and will, ideally, get in.

  61. Agree Michael!!


  62. There you go ... unanimous! -- Fred

  63. All right,it's show time.Bring on the new Hall of Famers of 2012.[whoever they might be].

  64. I'm still hoping for a mass induction like the one they had in 2001.

  65. This is ideal Hall of Fame class of 2012:1925-1950 [Sam & Kirk McGee,Gid Tanner & Skillet Lickers,Riley Puckett,Bradley Kincaid,Blue Sky Boys,Carl Sprague] 1950-1975 [Wilma Lee & Stoney,Lulu Belle & Scotty,Johnny & Jack,Del Wood,Johnny Horton] 1976-present[ Hank Williams Jr.,Dottie West,Tanya Tucker,Alan Jackson,Clint Black,Randy Travis.]Executives & others,Irving Waugh,Harold ''Pappy'' Dailey,Charles K.Wolfe,historian,Crook & Chase,broadcasters,Bashful Brother Oswald,musician,Charlie Collins,musician,Billy Byrd,musician,Stringbean,musician,Cousin Jody,musician.Comics,Jerry Clower,Lonzo & Oscar.Sidemen,Texas Playboys,Drifting Cowboys,Bluegrass Boys,Smokey Mountain Boys,Western Swing,Spade Cooley.There's the Hall of Fame I like to see.

  66. Interesting article from Billboard to stir the puddin' a little. But, apparently, no one made any significant contribution to country music prior to we can go on ignoring Bradley Kincaid, The Maddox Brothers and Rose, Lulu Belle and Scotty and the like. Shoehorning people into one of three catagories seems to me to cause just as many problems as it solves but you don't want me to get started on that subject.

    In the musician catagory, my vote went to Bashful Brother Oswald with Don Rich running a close second. I can't think of any other "sidemen" who were as closely associated with their boss but Os gets the extra point for longevity.

    To the blog contributors: Interesting comments by one and all. All good opinions and all valid. I took up too much real estate on this topic last year so I'll just bring up a couple of names that I haven't seen here and then I'll shut up.

    Of all the names mentioned, I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Bill Walker or Anita Kerr in their lists. Bill Walker may well be the most famous musician no one has ever heard of but his arrangements have been heard on countless hit records and for years every major award show and television special out of Nashville featured the Bill Walker Orchestra. Johnny Cash's tagline "Good night, Bill Walker!" closed all of his network TV shows and he was featured every week on the Statler Bros. TNN show (most prominently as the piano player for their gospel song).

    For years, if the Jordanaires were doing backup vocals in the Music Row studios, The Anita Kerr Singers were. Her work as an arranger and vocalist are unmatched...but while she deserves a place in the Hall, you can't leave out the more prominent members of her groups (there were several) like Dottie Dillard, Gil Wright, Louis Nunley or Millie Kirkham (another backup singer whose concert work with Elvis Presley and her "high vocals" on "Blue Christmas", "Gone" and "He Stopped Loving Her Today" put her at the top of my musician's short list as well) and that sort of political rat's nest may be what's kept her out so far.

    Great debate here. We'll get the 2012 results shortly!

  67. Wilf Carter aka ''Montana Slim'',Billy Walker,Charlie Walker,Jimmy C.Newman,Judy Canova,Weaver Brothers & Elviry [?],Jamup & Honey,Tillman Franks,producer,Marshall Grant,Don Helms,Jimmy Wakeley,Eddie Dean,Uncle Cyp Brasfield and wife Aunt Syp.

  68. Barry, I am amazed that none of us thought of Bill Walker. If I recall, Chet Atkins brought him to Nashville to do arrangements, so he was also a vital part of the Nashville Sound. I'd vote for Oswald (my male cat is named Kirby, after all), but I don't think anyone could complain on that one.

    The Billboard article does indeed suggest that nobody mattered before 1950 ... which happens to be the year June Carter joined the Opry as part of the Carter Family with her mother and sisters!

  69. June Carter Cash in the Hall of Fame

  70. Nobody important before 1950? What about Jimmie Rodgers,Carter Family,Roy Acuff,Bill Monroe,Minnie Pearl,George D.Hay,Red Foley,Hank Williams,Sr.,Eddy Arnold,Ernest Tubb,Delmore Brothers,Roy Rogers,Sons of the Pioneers,Gene Autry,Tex Ritter,just to name a few.That Billboard article was written by a freakin' retard.

  71. For die-hard Country Music fans , this Hall of Fame debate is a strong one. I have been reading and contributing to this blog for well over a week now. So pull up a barstool, here comes David B.'s opinion on the "Veterans" category. This will be my last "hoo-raw" on the subject until the announcement of the winners (hopefully soon). Now I will say up front I realize that acts like Jerry Reed, Vern Gosdin, Jerry Clower, Ray Stevens, Johnny Paycheck, Hank, Jr..etc. could go in the "Veterans" category, however their careers ran so far past 1975 I really see all of them being elected from the "Modern" category. That is why they are not included in this. I have picked a list of 30 Veterans who have been talked about, nominated, or considered for the Country Music Hall of Fame. After doing a lot of studying and research (and listening to A LOT of classic country music), this my opinion of who should make it in and who should not in the future. Hopefully the "Veterans" category will continue well into the future and acts from the 50's & 60's and the beginning of Country Music will be considered for induction.
    Acts listed in alphabetical order;
    1. BOBBY BARE - A solid journeyman of Country Music. A unique style unmatched. My vote - YES
    2. ELTON BRITT - I love to hear "Someday (Who'll Want Me To Want You), but just because Vince Gill lists him as an influence, does not make him Hall of fame worthy. Others of his generation should go in before him. My vote -NO
    3. THE BROWNS - Possibly the last "superstar" act of the late 1950's not inducted. Jim Ed himself is Hall of fame worthy just as a solo act. My vote - YES (and properly this year!)
    4. ARCHIE CAMPBELL - A country comedy genus. His work on Hee Haw alone as cast member and writer should get him in. Not to mention his longevity on the Grand Ole Opry, and his often forgotten musical ability and songwriting. My vote - YES
    5. MOTHER MAYBELLE & THE CARTER SISTERS - Possibly the most recognized and loved acts of the Grand Ole Opry during the "Golden Era". No hit records, but who could say no? My vote - YES
    6. RAY CHARLES - Modern Sounds In Country & Western Music was a great album. "Seven Spanish Angels" with Willie Nelson was awesome. But Ray Charles is not a country singer. My vote - NO
    7. WILMA LEE & STONEY COOPER - Were they Country? Were they Bluegrass? Were they gospel? Face it! They were just good. If the Smithsonian Institute can honor this beloved act, why can't the CMA? My vote - YES
    8. COWBOY COPAS - Took to soon. But had already established himself as a Country Music and Opry favorite. He was the "star" of the fatal plane crash in 1963. Patsy's star would grow with time. My vote - YES
    9. SKEETER DAVIS - If I had to choose a female singer for induction in the Hall of fame from the golden era (after Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, Kitty Wells, Connie Smith, Dottie West and Jean Shepard) it would be this Grand lady of the Opry. My vote - YES
    10. AL DEXTER - He was the hottest thing happening for a few years there in the mid 1940's. But faded into the sunset before the end of the decade. I love "Pistol Packin' Mama", but; My vote - NO

  72. 11. JACK GREENE - First CMA Male vocalist of the year. Singer of the classics "Statue of A Fool" and "There Goes My Everything". One of the greatest voices ever. But the majority of his career falls too short. My vote (& I'm grinding my teeth) - NO
    12. JOHNNY HORTON - Much like Keith Whitley, he was "hot" when he left us. Too short of a career and too much hard living. I love his music, but; My vote - NO
    13. STONEWALL JACKSON - He has been a solid journeyman since the 1950's. True country to the core. One of my favorite singers, and I hate to admit it, but; My vote - NO
    14. JOHNNIE & JACK - Yes, there was country duos before Brooks & Dunn. Just a notch under the The Louvin Brothers to me is this wonderful country duo. My vote- YES
    15. BRADLEY KINCAID - A musical genius. No Pre-1950 act needs to be inducted before this man. My vote- YES
    16. JERRY LEE LEWIS - Take away his career as a Rock-in-Roll legend and just listen to those great honky-tonk records of the 60's & 70's. Those alone should be enough. After, the Browns, Connie Smith & Bobby Bare, the next living veteran needing to be elected is "The Killer". My vote - YES
    17. HANK LOCKLIN - Much like to the careers of Stonewall Jackson, Billy Walker, George Hamilton IV, Del Reeves and Ernest Ashworth, he was a solid country music and Opry journeyman. But unlike those other acts, his hit records far exceed the others. My vote - YES
    18. LULU BELLE & SCOTTY - When mentioning pioneer women of Country Music, Lulu Belle is often overlooked. Scotty was a top-notch songwriter of the day. Known as "The Sweethearts of Country Music" , this country husband/wife duo should have been considered over 30 years ago. My vote - YES
    19. ROSE MADDOX - A member of "The Maddox Brothers and Rose" (not a solo act) in the 1940's. Her solo work in the 1950's & 60's are breathtaking (just listen to her version of "Lonely Teardrops"). I might get rotten tomatoes thrown in my direction, but I just can't see a hall of fame career. My vote - NO
    20. JIMMY C. NEWMAN - I do not like Cajun music. I'm sorry. But If Bill Monroe made the Hall of Fame for "fathering" a style of music, why not the undisputed King of Cajun Country Music? My vote - YES

  73. 21. MOLLY O'DAY - A voice of a angel. Where her career could have gone is unknown. She just left the industry too soon. Too short of a career. My vote - NO
    22. THE OSBORNE BROTHERS - Besides Bill Monroe, Ricky Skaggs and Flatt & Scruggs, the next most successful Bluegrass act that has established themselves in Country Music is this brotherly duo. If the CMA ever elects a bluegrass act again from the "Veteran" era, it should be them. My vote - YES
    23. JEANNIE SEELY - "Miss Country Soul". Lorrie Morgan lists her as an influence. But like her duet partner Jack Greene, her career falls a bit short. My vote - NO
    24. CONNIE SMITH - Possibly the sweetest voice in the industry. It should happen in 2012 or 2013. My vote - YES
    25. THE STANLEY BROTHERS - A true bluegrass group. They are superstars in that field. But not Country Music. My vote- NO
    26. STRINGBEAN - His tragic murder cut his career too short. Like his friend Grandpa Jones and fellow Opry member Bill Carlisle, a long established career with the Opry would have already have seen him inducted. Focus on the time we did have with String! He was a mainstay ! My vote - YES
    27. BILLY WALKER - I love the music of this dear gentleman. He was just a nice guy. However, nice guy's sometimes finish last. Like Stonewall Jackson and Jack Greene, he falls a bit short. My vote- NO
    28. DOTTIE WEST - Love her or hate her, Dottie West still has a fan following out of this world 20 years after her death. Just below Jean Shepard, and a notch above Skeeter Davis. My vote - YES
    29. THE WILBURN BROTHERS - Personally, I do not like them. Their music or some of their controversial ways on handing Loretta Lynn. But like Porter Wagoner, they brought country music to households VIA television that would have never gotten there otherwise. My vote - YES
    30. MAC WISEMAN - Like the Stanley Brothers he had a career unmatched for his style of music. The style however to me, is not Country Music Hall of Fame material. My vote - NO
    So if I had my way 18 of the 30 would make the cut. But let's be real, it won't happen. And I may be fooled and some of the ones I voted "no" on, may make it in (hopefully Jack Greene!).

  74. Good list. Great points. I agree with it 99 and 44/100 percent. But let me be an old fly on the horse's rear for a second and see what I can stir up! :P I'm thinking if the Osborne Brothers would be a good choice as a bluegrass act then I couldn't discount the Stanley Brothers BECAUSE they're a bluegrass act. The Stanleys had a unique sound that was all their own (I don't even think Ralph doesn't like to label their music as "bluegrass") and have had a profound influence on numerous musicians (Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley, most prominently). The Osbornes would be a good choice on the strength of "Rocky Top" alone but they were bold innovators who helped move the music forward (you might say they kicked it forward and hard!) and that's supposed to a very important factor with the electors. So I would ask you to reconsider your no vote on the Stanley Brothers.

    I agree with you that Rose Maddox's solo career wasn't HOF caliber but "The Maddox Brothers and Rose" had a huge impact on the West Coast country music scene in their day and and were the forerunners of what we now call "rockabilly". I've often said they were the first rock and roll stars...which, come to think of it, might just be why they've been passed over to this point.

    I would also make an argument for Elton Britt and Al Dexter. Even though they didn't have a long string of hits, the songs for which they're known ("There's A Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere" and "Pistol Packin' Mama) were the type of monster hits that helped define country music along the way and THAT would be the factor that would put them in. Hank Locklin falls into that group with "Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On" and "Please Help Me I'm Falling" as does Leroy Van Dyke on the strength of "The Auctioneer" and "Walk On By" (still the most played song in country music history).

    I think it would be great to see Maybelle Carter honored along with her girls. June, Helen and Anita were all stars in their own right...certainly some of the most hard-working and enduringly popular performers in the business. And Maybelle wouldn't be the first to be honored twice. Roy Rogers is in the Hall twice (first with the Original Sons of the Pioneers and later as a solo artist) so the precedent has been set.

  75. One final thing and I'll shut up. Promise! I know the Wilburn Brothers weren't the most popular people in Nashville but if there are electors who are still holding some kind of personal grudge they need to get over it and now. Doyle has been gone for almost 30 years and Teddy for 10. If you wanted to make sure they couldn't enjoy the honor while they were living then that "goal" has been achieved. If the qualifications for election to the Hall of Fame include success in a variety of areas of the industry then the Wilburns achieved that. Hit records? Check. Business success? Check. It was called Sure Fire Music. More business success? Check. The Wil-Helm Agency was one of Nashville's premiere booking agency for years. Long-running television show? Check. (On a side note: watch the show some time...the Wilburns were one of the best dressed acts in country music. They were pros and they looked like it!) Fan favorites at the Opry? Check. Influence on the career of others? Check. The gave Loretta Lynn and Patty Loveless priceless exposure early in their careers. So I'm not seeing any reason to continually pass them by. They weren't nice guys? There are several inductees who shouldn't be there based on that factor. Quite a few of the people who toss that one out aren't exactly choir boys themselves. So get over it, Nashville. Honoring those who have had the most significant impact on the music should be the purpose of the Hall of Fame and not a popularity contest. End of rant. Stepping down off the soapbox.

    Love your taste in music, David B!!

  76. Perhaps it would also be helpful to have the list of the current Hall of Fame membership for reference purposes:

    Roy Acuff—1962
    Bill Anderson--2001
    Eddy Arnold—1966
    Chet Atkins--1973
    Gene Autry—1969
    Deford Bailey--2005
    Johnny Bond—1999
    Bobby Braddock--2011
    Harold Bradley--2006
    Owen Bradley—1974
    Rod Brasfield—1987
    Boudleaux and Felice Bryant—1991
    Glen Campbell--2005
    Bill Carlisle--2002
    The Carter Family (A.P. Carter, Maybelle Carter, Sara Carter)—1970
    Johnny Cash—1980
    Roy Clark--2009
    Patsy Cline—1973
    Paul Cohen—1976
    Floyd Cramer--2003
    Vernon Dalhart--1981
    Jimmie Davis—1972
    Jimmy Dean--2010
    The Delmore Brothers (Alton and Rabon)--2001
    Jim Denny—1966
    Jimmy Dickens—1983
    Ralph Emery--2007
    The Everly Brothers (Don and Phil)--2001
    Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs—1985
    Jim Foglesong--2004
    Red Foley—1967
    Tennessee Ernie Ford--1990
    Whitey Ford (The Duke of Paducah)--1986
    J.L. Frank—1967
    Lefty Frizzell--1982
    Connie B. Gay—1980
    Don Gibson—2001
    Vince Gill--2007
    Merle Haggard—1994
    Tom T. Hall—2008
    Emmylou Harris--2008
    George D. Hay—1966
    Homer and Jethro (Henry Haynes and Kenneth Burns)--2001
    Roy Horton—1982
    Harlan Howard—1997
    Ferlin Husky--2010
    Sonny James--2006
    Waylon Jennings--2001
    George Jones--1992
    Grandpa Jones—1978
    The Jordanaires (Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker, Neal Matthews, Hoyt Hawkins)--2001
    Pee Wee King—1976
    Kris Kristofferson--2004
    Don Law--2001
    Brenda Lee--1997
    Hubert Long—1979
    The Louvin Brothers (Ira and Charlie)--2001
    Loretta Lynn--1988
    Uncle Dave Macon—1966
    Barbara Mandrell—2009
    Charlie McCoy—2009
    Reba McEntire--2011
    Roger Miller--1995
    Bill Monroe—1970
    Patsy Montana—1996
    George Morgan—1998
    Ken Nelson--2001
    Willie Nelson—1993
    Buck Owens—1996
    Dolly Parton--1999
    Minnie Pearl—1975
    Ralph Peer—1984
    Sam Phillips—2001
    Webb Pierce--2001
    Elvis Presley--1998
    Frances Preston—1992
    Ray Price—1996
    Charley Pride--2000
    Jim Reeves--1967
    Tex Ritter—1964
    Marty Robbins--1982
    Jimmie Rodgers—1961
    Roy Rogers--1988
    Fred Rose—1961
    Wesley Rose--1986
    “Uncle Art” Satherley—1971
    Jean Shepard—2011
    Billy Sherrill--2010
    Steve Sholes—1967
    Carl Smith--2003
    Hank Snow—1979
    Sons of the Pioneers (Bob Nolan, Lloyd Perryman, Tim Spencer, Roy Rogers, Karl Farr, Hugh Farr)--1980
    Jack Stapp—1989
    The Statler Brothers (Harold Reid, Don Reid, Phil Balsley, Lew DeWitt, Jimmy Fortune)--2008
    Cliffie Stone—1989
    Ernest V. “Pop” Stoneman--2008
    George Strait--2006
    Hank Thompson—1989
    Mel Tillis--2007
    Floyd Tillman--1984
    Merle Travis—1977
    Grant Turner--1981
    Ernest Tubb—1965
    Conway Twitty—1999
    Porter Wagoner--2002
    Cindy Walker--1997
    Jo Walker-Meador--1995
    Kitty Wells--1976
    E.W. “Bud” Wendell—1998
    Don Williams—2010
    Hank Williams—1961
    Bob Wills—1968
    Tammy Wynette—1998
    Faron Young--2000

  77. Barry: Always good to see that list of Hall of Fame inductees. Like it or not, they are all HALL OF FAMERS.

    I can see the point of someone who would say, "Why is Johnny Bond a Hall of Famer and not Elton Britt and Al Dexter? And that is a good question. Of the two I can see Britt going in. I think I read he was even a finalist last year. I'm sure his biggest lobbyist is Vince Gill. But I doubt Mr. Gill pulls it off. But I could be fooled?
    I love the music of Britt and Dexter, but I can't imagine either of them going into the Hall of Fame with these current electors. They would have a better chance if there was a "veterans" special committee (much like the National Baseball Hall of Fame).
    Now, why did the electors find Ernest "Pop" Stoneman more worthy than Bradley Kincaid? To me, it's a no brainier. Kincaid far exceeds Stoneman in musical diversity and influence. However, Stoneman lived a long life in the Nashville scene, which I'm sure helped his efforts. I read were Kincaid once said that working the Opry was "not high on his lists of achievements" and preferred WLS in Chicago. That properly didn't help him any.

    I doubt if The Osborne Brothers or The Stanley Brothers get in at all. The only "Bluegrass" act I see getting inducted in the future is Ricky Skaggs. Maybe Alison Krauss (way in the future). My point was, of the two, the Osborne's are more "Country Music Hall of Fame" worthy. The Stanley's had basically no commercial success at all in Country Music. Unlike, Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, The Osbornes and Jim & Jesse. But there is a big push to get the Stanley's elected and I may get fooled.

    To me without "The Auntioneer" and "If A Women Answers (Hang up The Phone)", the classic "Walk On By" would have made Leroy Van Dyke Country music's biggest "one hit wonder". He just didn't have a solid career. I certainly would put Locklin, Stonewall, Billy Walker and Jack Greene in before Van Dyke. Sorry.

    On The Maddox Brothers and Rose. I halfway see your point. But I will not change my "no" vote. In a way it also effects Wanda Jackson. If my list had a number 31 it would be her. With a "no" vote at the end. There is a Rock-a-billy Hall of Fame, of which I think both are members. But not the Country Music Hall of Fame.

    O...just announce the winners already. I have no fingernails left! Ha.. I've searched, and searched for an announcement date online, but have not found one.

  78. Barry, as always, thanks for the great, great comments. And David, thanks for joining us. Your contributions and thoughts are also outstanding!!!

    If it means anything, last year's Hall of Fame announcement was made on March 1st, and I wouldn't be surprised if that is the date again this year. David, I know you mentioned looking for an announcement date online, but from past experience, the Hall of Fame will wait until the day before to announce the press conference. Those elected are usually notified a couple of days before the announcement.

    In looking at the names everyone mentioned on their reply's, I think just about anyone in the history of country music has been mentioned. I know I have shot a few names, but let me now give you, in my opinion, the "serious candidates", who I think will earn votes and mention.

    If you look at the veterans, I would include the Browns, the Wilburn Brothers, Bradley Kincaid, Archie Campbell, Bobby Bare, and if she falls into this category, Connie Smith. Elton Britt has been a finalist many times before, including last year, and I am sure he will get some mention. And Barry is so right about Anita Kerr.

    In the modern category, let me throw out a couple also. Ray Stevens was a finalist last year, and don't underestimate his contributions to the industry. Ronnie Milsap is another. Tanya Tucker has received some mention in the past and when you think about her long career, a case can be made for her. Charlie Daniels? Hank Williams, Jr? Both are well liked on Music Row.

    When looking at the candidates, make sure to look at their connections and relationships to the executives and Music Row types who are doing the voting. When you look at the Hall of Fame members, those who were on the "inside" tended to get elected well before those who were not connected with the "insiders". To say that the election is political would be an understatement. Those who retired early or have moved away from Nashville, tend to get overlooked in the voting.

    On a final thought, remember this about Ray Stevens. Many years ago, he lived across the street from Webb Pierce and his famous swimming pool. Ray got so fed up with Webb and the tour buses stopping in front of his house that he sued Webb and won. The buses could drive by but they could not stop. Ray was considered a her for taking on Webb, and we all know that just about everyone in Nashville did not care for Webb. Don't be surprised if the voters at some point, remember that!!!


  79. Sorry, that 2nd to last sentence should have read, "Ray was considered a hero for taking on Webb." (sorry)


  80. What a great debate! I'll add a couple of things because ... I am a big mouth!

    I'm glad to see David vote for Jimmy C. To be fair about it, while I think Bill Monroe invented bluegrass (with Lester, Earl, Chubby, and Cedric certainly vital to that), Newman didn't "invent" Cajun music in the same way. But he took it national and made it popular, and he was important behind the scenes as a music publisher (Tom T. Hall will tell you how much he owes him) and he brought both Doug Kershaw and Eddy Raven to Nashville.

    That leads me to the problem with these debates, and the Wilburn Brothers help me make that point. Like Newman, they didn't have spectacular careers on the charts. But there are people in the Hall of Fame partly for what they did behind the scenes or in the business end, and what they did in Nashville. YouTube now has Bob Wills's Hall of Fame induction, and it hit me that Ernest Tubb went in three years ahead of him. I can't object to that in the least, and I'm not doing so. But Tubb went to Nashville while Wills pretty much remained in Texas, and ET did so much to help other artists. Either could have gone in first, it seems to me. So, there are intangibles. Byron makes that point about Ray Stevens--old-timers will smile at the thought of him taking on Webb Pierce, who, of course, didn't live to see his induction mainly because people didn't like him.

    David, I think you're a little generous to some possibilities there, but again, there's nobody automatically disqualified. We could make a case for anybody on that list. It was Byron who first mentioned Jim Ed Brown in a way that opened my eyes, and then I remembered: he is the only person to be #1 as a single, duo, and trio on a regular basis, not as an "event." He hosted hit TV shows. He crossed over without leaving country music. He should be in there.

  81. I agree 100% no if,ands or buts.Ther ALL hall of fame worthy in my book

  82. Mickey Gilley,Salty & Matty Holmes,Boxcar Willie,Jerry Clower,Moon Mullican,Red Sovine,Spec Rhodes,Lonzo & Oscar,Spade Cooley,Lew Childre,T.Texas Tyler.How's that for a list?

  83. Mickey Gilley may make it in someday. Jerry Clower too. The others; not a chance. But I love Boxcar Willie.

  84. Fred in Bismarck here:

    Byron, would you be good enough to tell us just how many votes it takes for election to the Hall? The Hall's site mentions a 100-member committee that passes judgment on the nominees, but fails to tell the rest of it. Thanks!

  85. Tanya Tucker should have been in long before Alabama, Vince Gill, and several others who have been inducted recently. Tanya was a superstar in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

    Jimmy C Newman... please no. We get enough of him on the Opry. Jimmy C and Riders In The Sky are the only times I cringe when listening to the Opry... minus the occasional Jim & Jesse performance. I don't find Jimmy C to be worthy of a hall of fame induction.

    I really hope The Browns move in this year, they are well deserving.

  86. Fred, there is no set number of votes to get it. It is simply the person in each category with the most votes, and ties. And we have had a couple of ties in recent years.


  87. I know Jimmy Dean & Ferlin Husky got in on a tie.I wonder who else went in by a tie.Can you tell me? Who got in the hall of fame via ''open category'' I knoe Dolly & Porter got in by open category.Who else?

  88. David B. Looking at your list of 30 great and near great country stars,I agree with 98% of them.But when you say Sringbean had his career cut short----WHAT? Stringbean was on the Opry for 30 years [1943-1973] You call THAT short? DUHHHH But I would like to say about those country singers who had short career like Johnny Horton and Molly O'Day,there should a special wing in the hall of fame just for them.

  89. Johnny, there is a difference between "short" and "cut short." Stringbean was murdered. He was about 57. Now, I'm not saying he should or shouldn't be in the Hall of Fame, nor am I saying that of Bill Carlisle, but he was in his nineties when he was elected. Had he retired or died younger, would he have made it? Oscar Sullivan retired in the mid-1980s and still has performed a bit, but if he had kept going, he could still be on the Opry today in his early nineties--and he first came to the Opry, I believe, in 1942 with Paul Howard's Arkansas Cottonpickers. Would he be in the Hall of Fame if he had not retired? Probably.

  90. Johnny:
    I was comparing Stringbean's career to that of Grandpa Jones and Bill Carlisle. If Grandpa and Bill had left us in the early 1970's like String, it's doubtful either of them would be in the Hall of Fame today. If Stringbean would have been able to stay in the public eye like Grandpa and Bill well into his late 80's and 90's, like Jones and Carlisle (and especially with help from "HEE HAW"), I believe he would proudly have a bronze plaque hanging in the Hall of Fame today.

  91. I agree String would have been in the hall of fame had he lived longer.I also know John & Marvin Brown murdered String and wife Estelle just for his money which they never found.String has money in pocket of his overalls and more money in the fireplace [which was later found in 1996.]Talk about stupidMarvin Brown died in 2003,while John Brown is still alive.

  92. How about the Bailes Brothers? Nobody ever mentioned them.They were great in their day.

  93. Would anyone mind commenting on why John Denver is not in the Hall of Fame?


  94. My guess regarding John Denver is that while he sang songs that could be classified as country, he did not identify himself as a country singer. And John was a great talent who died way too early.

    Johnny, the other recent tie vote was with Tom T Hall and the Statler Brothers.

    Mike, Fred and I have discussed Stringbean before. As Mike mentioned, there is no doubt that Stringbean would be in the Hall of Fame if his career had not been cut short.


  95. Everyone remembers (or at least has seen) a clip or photo of Charlie Rich burning the CMA Entertainer of the Year Award, naming John Denver the winner. I believe 1975.
    I find it funny now, loving classic country music like I do, listening to "Take Me Home, Country Roads" vs "Rollin' With The Flow", to me Denver was the true country boy.

    Also, of the two I believe John Denver today has a better chance of becoming a Hall of Famer. It's doubtful however, that either one of them make it.

  96. Anonymous Thank you for the tie votes.I'm sure there are more.

  97. I counted at least 55 Opry members who made the hall of fame.Of that number,only 10 Opry members/Hall of Famers are on the current list.

  98. Correction;I counted at least 60 Opry members who are in the hall of fame.

  99. 2nd Correction;I counted 63 Opry members who made the hall of fame.I also found out that there were 20 Opry members [1950s] who made the hall of fame---more than any other decade.The 1940s had 11 Opry members who went to the hall of fame.There are 20 current & former Opry members still alive.

  100. I'm coming up with 61 entertainers (including members of groups)who have been a member of the Opry at one time or another:
    Hank Williams, Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter, Ernest Tubb, Uncle Dave Macon, Eddy Arnold, Jim Reeves, Red Foley, Bill Monroe, Maybelle Carter, Patsy Cline, Pee Wee King, Minnie Pearl, Kitty Wells, Grandpa Jones, Hank Snow, Johnny Cash, Lefty Frizzell, Marty Robbins, Little Jimmy Dickens, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, The Duke Of Paducah, Rod Brasfield, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, George Morgan, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Faron Young, Bill Anderson, Alton Delmore, Rabon Delmore, Don Everly, Phil Everly, Don Gibson, Charlie Louvin, Ira Louvin, Gordon Stoker, Ray Walker, Neal Matthews, Hoyt Hawkins, Webb Pierce, Bill Carlisle, Porter Wagoner, Carl Smith, DeFord Bailey, Sonny James, Vince Gill, Mel Tillis, Tom T. Hall, Emmylou Harris, Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell, Ferlin Husky, Don Williams, Reba McEntire and Jean Shepard.
    And of course George D. Hay & Grant Turner (not members, but my goodness you have to associate them with the Opry).
    There are other executives who are Hall of Famers that were affiliated with the Opry for several years as well.
    And there is Chet Atkins, who (Byron informed me a few weeks back) was dismissed from the Opry, but was never actually ever made a member!

  101. Right on,David B.That leaves several hall of famers who was not a Opry member.[Jimmie Rodgers,Merle Haggard,Original Carter Family [although Mother Maybelle Carter was a Opry member with her daughters in 1950],Kris Kristofferson,Alabama,Bob Wills,others.

  102. One of the great stories I heard (which may or may not have any basis in fact) regards the Webb Pierce/Ray Stevens tour bus feud. Webb invited 'em onto his home's parking lot, Ray hated 'em.
    Webb was reported to have said ‘That’s what he gets for livin’ across the street from a star’
    Gotta' love Webb Pierce.,48192

  103. Fred here:

    'Gotta love Webb Pierce' -- for sure! While I don't think a long list of hit records should, by itself, be a ticket to the Hall, Webb had so many other bona fides that the long delay to his election stinks to heaven. Exhibit A for the necessity for higher-minded and/or better qualified electors capable of setting the politics aside.

    A hundred years from now, nobody is going to care that Webb was disliked by some and Brenda Lee was loved by everybody. There will just be the music. Then the Hall electors will look like the monkeys so many of them are.

  104. I call those electors not only monkeys,but retards.So what if Webb was not popular,who cares.The fans love him.It grips me no end to see webb get to the hall of fame 10 years after his death.Deford Bailey got to the hall of fame 23 years after his death.Not fair,not fair at all.If I had my way,Webb would be in before death,and Bailey goes in the hall of fame in 1963.[1963 was the year where nobody got inducted].My way would see several country stars go in the hall of fame in 1963. [Carter Family,Uncle Dave Macon,George D.Hay,Blue Sky Boys,Sam & Kirk McGee,Herman Crook]In fact I would see a mass induction every 4-5 years [1961,1965,1970,1975,1979,etc.]

  105. Speaking of the hall of fame inductions,we can all remember the inductions used to be in October-November.But now the inductions are in February-March.Can you tell me the reason why that is.When was the first induction in February? I know the Duke of Paducah was inducted in Feb.1986.

  106. I found this list floating around the internet. I do not know if these are the finalists in each category, but I wouldn't be surprised as there are 5 names listed and each category usually has 5 finalists.

    Here we go:

    In the Modern Era:
    Garth Brooks, Ronnie Milsap, Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers and Ricky Skaggs.

    In the Veterans Era:
    Archie Campbell, June Carter Cash, Jerry Reed, Connie Smith and Hank Williams, Jr.

    Touring Musician:
    Don Rich, Hargus Robbins, Hank Garland and Johnny Gimble.

    Remember, the electors only get 1 vote in each category. They are all deserving.


    1. Byron: I found this same list last week. I suspected the same thing as well. Could the writer of the article possibly be an elector?

  107. All deserving, indeed. They can't go wrong with any of them, but, IF I had to vote: Oak Ridge Boys by a nose over Kenny and Ricky; Archie just ahead of Connie; and Johnny Gimble only because while I think Don Rich is really deserving, I'd like to see Johnny smell the roses.

  108. Just as I suspected ! Hank, Jr. and Jerry Reed have sneaked into the "Veterans" category, when much of their biggest success happened after 1975 or so. But in all fairness, their careers did begin 40+ years ago. Missing is The Browns and Bobby Bare, who have been nominated in recent years. I hope their efforts have not been forgotten.
    If these are the five finalists, I suspect Connie will go in this year.

    The Modern Category is not a surprise at all to me. Kenny & Ronnie should go in first, but I suspect Garth will for a publicity shot. (And not that he is not deserving, but it's just too soon).

    Michael, we agree on Johnny Gimble. He is about 85 or so now, let him enjoy it!!! However, the others are just as deserving... BUT ... add Bashful Brother Oswald to the list.

    Now Byron if these are the finalists, any predictions from you???

  109. I agree with that list.For the Veterans I would add 5-7 more.That's my own personal opinion.All in all,everybody is deserving.Wouldn't it be great if everybody goes in?

  110. David, I agree we can't go wrong, and please understand, I was making my choices from the list. I think Oswald is long overdue, as are the Browns and the Bare. Frankly, Jerry Reed could go in via the musician category!

  111. Michael,I'm going to take a wild guess:For the modern era either Kenny Rogers or Oak Ridge Boys.For the veterans either Hank Jr. or June Carter Cash.For touring musician either Oswald or Don Rich.Would you bet me $5 if I'm right.

  112. Johnny, I live in Las Vegas, but I'm not a betting man! Also, when I try to figure out the thinking of Hall of Fame voters, I get a headache!

  113. OK Michael let's just wait and see who go in.

  114. This would be great to see;The Carter Family [1970],Johnny Cash [1980],June Carter Cash [2012].We just have to wait and see what happens.

  115. I will add my guess along with everyone else, In the modern category, I would like to see Ronnie Milsap go in. He is deserving, but again, so are the others. Veterans, my first choice would be the Browns, but if I had to pick from the 5 listed, I would go with Connie Smith. Don Rich is the obvious choice in the musicians category.

    Sorry Johnny, but I would not like to see 5 or 7 be elected each year, especially in the veterans category. I think if you go in that direction, too many borderline candidates would get in and the exclusiveness of the Hall of Fame would be lost.

    Just to remind everyone, the timeline between the modern category and the veterans changes each year. Hank, Jr. Jerry Reed and Connie Smith all started their careers in the early 1960s. While their great success came a little later, I think the Hall of Fame is doing them a favor by putting them in the veterans class. I believe they stand a much better chance of getting elected from that group than if they stayed in the modern era. Once Garth, Randy, Alan and the others start getting elected and dominating that era, the others will get lost in the shuffle.


  116. To avoid the shuffle,the electors better change the rules.That way some of the country stars of earlier times will not get lost and forgotten.

  117. Ralph Stanley for the Hall of Fame.Let him enjoy it---after all,he is 85.

  118. Now I'm wondering how many country stars of the 1980's will be enshrined in the Country Music Hall of Fame. I have manly focused on the "Veterans" category (which I believe is Country's Golden Era, and I have a passion for) but with talk about this "class of 89" going in soon, now I'm wondering if some worthy candidates from 1975-1988 won't turn into a Wilburn Brothers, Dottie West, The Browns and Bobby Bare case. Will they or will they not make it in.

    Some of our biggest legends (Conway, Merle H., George J., Willie, Waylon..etc), that enjoyed much success in the late 1970's and much of the 1980's have already been inducted. And now with Reba, Alabama, George Strait, The Statlers, Vince Gill, Don Williams, Barbara Mandrell and Emmylou Harris all already being in the Hall, who will the electors look at next?

    I would say Ricky Skaggs, Kenny Rogers, Tanya Tucker, Randy Travis, The Oaks and Ronnie Milsap will all make it. I would hope Vern Gosdin and Gene Watson.

    Earl Thomas Conley was one of the biggest hit-makers of the decade. Will he go in? Keith Whitley? John Anderson? The Bellamy's?

    Then, like Kenny Rogers, there is Anne Murray and Crystal Gayle, who both were huge and enjoyed a large amount of success as cross-over artists. A case cold also be made for John Denver as well.

    In comparing with others who have been inducted in the past, I'm finding very few female candidates from the 1980's, who may have the "criteria" to make it in someday. Other than non-performers and Minnie Pearl & Sara & Maybelle Carter, the only females to be inducted have been Patsy Cline, Kitty Wells, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Montana, Brenda Lee, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Barbara Mandrell, Reba McEntire and Jean Shepard. Statistically, that is one every four and a half years. And thankfully that number has jumped a lot in the last 15 years.

    So with Reba, Emmylou and Mandrell in already, who's left? Yes, I will say I believe Tanya Tucker is a shoe in. What about The Judds?, Janie Fricke?, Patty Loveless?, Kathy Mattea?

    I believe Country Music's most exclusive club might get just a little more exclusive in years to come.

    1. **a case COULD be made for John Denver ..sorry

  119. David B.You forgot non-performers Frances Preston [1992],Jo Walker Meader [1995],and songwriter Cindy Walker [1997].I agree that more woman should be inducted.

  120. Songwriter Felice Bryant [1991]

  121. They should change the rules a little bit.Like inducting 2-3 people from 1960s,then 2-4 people from 1970s-1980s.That could work for awhile.Right?

  122. I talked to a CMA rep today and she indicated to me that "the election process was still going on".

  123. That's good David B.I hope the the induction comes out the way we like it to come out.You never know----it just might turn into one big surprise.

  124. I found this page yesterday:

    This writer is throwing out some of same names, Jerry Reed, Hank, Jr., Connie Smith, Kenny Rogers, Ricky Skaggs...etc...

    I will say I do not agree with his "personal" choices. I do not believe Gram Parsons or David Allan Coe need to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

  125. I just read Wikipedia on Gram Parsons and David Allen Coe.I am not quite sure about Coe,but Parsons while one of the founders of country rock & alt country he could be considered a hall of famer of sorts.Even though Emmylou Harris says he is.Parsons is the most infuential artist yet to be inducted in either Rock & Roll Hall of Fame or Country Music Hall of Fame.I agree with that.

  126. I just heard 3 great songs from the late great Woodrow Wilson ''Red'' Sovine on youtube.Teddy Bear,Giddy Up Go,Phantom 309.In a career that goes back to 1935,Red is best known for his recitations.You electors,Please put Red in the Hall of Fame where he belongs.