Country Music Hall of Fame to Honor Singer Millie Kirkham

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will resume their quarterly program series, Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians, with a salute to singer Millie Kirkham on September 29. The in-depth interview will take place at 1:30 p.m. and is included with museum admission. It will also be streamed live at countrymusichalloffame.org. [...] Read More

2010 Rewind: No. 10 — Loretta Lynn’s 50th Leads Legends

It was quite a year for the Coal Miner’s Daughter — 2010 marked the 50th anniversary of Loretta Lynn’s emergence as a national star, and she was honored in a slew of ways, including parties, awards and a tribute album by some of today’s top artists. Loretta was joined by several other legends as 2010 honorees, including Merle Haggard, Jimmy Dean and now Dolly Parton. The recognition paid to the genre’s pioneering acts represents the No. 10 entry in our countdown of country music’s dozen top stories of the year. Loretta’s first single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl,” came out in 1960, and it seemed like every few months during 2010, the music business found some way to pay homage to her impact. Early in the year, she was accorded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, though she was unable to attend the Los Angeles ceremony. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” was added to the National Recording Registry, she was saluted with an anniversary party at her Tennessee home, she was celebrated with a Reba McEntire-hosted Recording Academy Salute at the Ryman Auditorium, and a bunch of her classics were remade in the album Coal Miner’s Daughter: A Tribute To Loretta Lynn. That latter project brought Loretta the opportunity to sing the title track with Miranda Lambert and Sheryl Crow on the Country Music Association Awards. The album also features Lee Ann Womack, Kid Rock, the White Stripes, Alan Jackson and Carrie Underwood, among others. Loretta hand-picked all of the contributors — appropriate, because she’s not one of those veteran stars who dislikes newer versions of country music. Read More

Jimmy Dean, Don Williams Join Hall of Fame

Don Williams and Jimmy Dean, two vocalists who approached their public presence from very different angles, were officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame Sunday night in front of family, friends and a rather elite set of peers. A singer, comic and television pioneer, Jimmy built his career as a multi-faceted entertainer. Don worked several detail-oriented jobs before his breakthrough — he was a co-partner in a furniture store and an office administrator — and he made his public mark in a workman-like manner, eschewing the party circuit and putting his efforts into finding and delivering well-constructed songs. Neither singer was able to claim his medallion in person. Jimmy died in June, just a few months after he was told in a phone call that he would have a bronze plaque enshrined with his likeness in the Hall of Fame’s Rotunda alongside such fellow performers as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Jimmy’s childhood idol, Gene Autry. Read More

Loretta Lynn Honored for 50 Years of Music

Five decades ago, Loretta Lynn and her husband-manager, “Mooney” Lynn, drove station to station around the U.S. promoting her first single, “I’m A Honky Tonk Girl.” All these years later, she’s a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and a global symbol for country music, and she was honored Friday at her Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum in Tennessee for 50 years as an American icon. A bevy musicians and music-industry executives were on hand for the occasion, including Marty Stuart, Crystal Gayle, Jack Greene and Terri Clark. Ronnie McDowell presented Loretta a painting he had created, depicting her when she was 10 years old and living in Kentucky. A string of presenters included John Carter Cash, arranger Bill Walker and Ray Walker, of the Jordanaires, the Hall of Fame vocal quartet that backed Loretta on such classics as “You’re Lookin’ At Country,” “Blue Kentucky Girl,” “Don’t Come A-Drinkin’ (With Lovin’ On Your Mind)” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” There were also video tributes from Wynonna, Big Kenny, Keith Anderson, Martina McBride, Kellie Pickler and Dolly Parton. The ceremony took place in a sweat-filled tent outside the museum, which houses an extraordinary volume of memorabilia, including letters from presidents, stage wear and a string of awards. None of which have led Loretta to think of herself as anything other than the little girl who grew up in poverty in an eastern Kentucky shack. Read More

Ferlin Husky, Billy Sherrill Join the Hall of Fame

Some of music’s finest talents — Ronnie Milsap, Shelby Lynne, Craig Morgan, Ricky Skaggs and Vince Gill — were among a bevy of significant artists and Music Row executives who witnessed Sunday’s induction of two new members to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum: Ferlin Husky and songwriter-producer Billy Sherrill. In a here-today-gone-tomorrow culture, the names might not ring familiar to everyone. A girl in her 20s outside the Hall asked at the end of the night about Sunday’s soiree, then shrugged her shoulders in a “Who?” sort of manner when told the names of the inductees. But both men provided important building blocks to get the genre to the mainstream idiom it is today. Read More