Tuesday, March 1, 2011

McEntire, Braddock, Shepard named to Country Music Hall of Fame

Reba McEntire, songwriter Bobby Braddock and Jean Shepard have all been named to the 2011 class of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Braddock, 70, was named in the new songwriters category. He has written songs, including He Stopped Loving Her Today, D-I-V-O-R-C-E, Golden Ring, I Wanna Talk About Me, Time Marches On and People Are Crazy. Braddock also discovered Blake Shelton and has produced his albums. He also was the piano player for Martin Robbins, starting in 1965.

"Oh gosh are you sure?" he asked. "Is this for certain?...I"m still wondering if someone has made a mistake. We songwriters are used to being low profile and traveling underneath the radar and not used to all this excitement. This, I was not expecting. Three of the last 112 inductees - only three have been non-performing songwriting inductions. I'm not sure I deserve it. It doesn't mean I don't appreciate it. I do very much...Right now, I kind of feel like Minnie Pearl. I'm so proud to be here."

Shepard had a slew of hits including A Satisfied Mind with Ferlin Huskey. Her first hit, "A Dear John Letter", a 1953 duet with Husky, was the first post-World War II record by a woman country artist to sell more than a million copies. Shepard, 77, had 44 charted hits between 1953 and 1978 and has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry for more than 50 years.

"I can't tell you what a thrill it is to be inducted into the hall of fame. "When Mr. Moore (Country Music Hall of Fame Chairman Steven Moore) called, I said,' you're kidding. Where you been all this time?" She said the award was uplifting because she had lost her sister the previous day.

"There were no interstates. We traveled interstates pulling a trailer. Our reward was when we got to the date and we got paid. Boy, that was a chore, getting the money." She talked about doing it for the love of music.

Shepard also talked about not forgetting those who have yet to join the hall including the Wilburn Brothers and Skeeter Davis.

Shepard joined as a veterans nomination.

McEntire was not present because she was in Tulsa, Okla. where her father fell into a coma and was in a hospital. Kix Brooks, who made the announcements, read a note from his friend McEntire. "I'm so appreciative of being selected as one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. This is an emotional honor at a very (difficult) time in my life."

"This is a huge blessing for me, knowing how all-important it was to him," McEntire said in the note. Her father is in a comatose state, but McEntire was able to tell him the news a few days ago.

CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor. Inductees are chosen by CMA’s Hall of Fame Panels of Electors, which consist of anonymous voters appointed by the CMA Board of Directors. As of 2010, there are currently 112 members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Members are inducted at a special Medallion Ceremony at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the Ford Theater. During the Medallion Ceremony, friends and colleagues pay tribute to each inductee through words and song. The inductee's bronze plaque is unveiled that will be on display in the Museum's rotunda.

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