Alan Jackson, Jerry Reed, and Don Schlitz to Join Country Music Hall of Fame

Not exactly breaking news, as it was announced last month, but what a great list of inductees:

Jackson will enter in the Modern Artist category, Reed in the Veteran Era Artist field and Schlitz as Songwriter, an honor awarded every three years.

Some thoughts on each inductee:

First, Alan Jackson. In my opinion, he is the most talented male country artist of the past forty years. As both a singer and a songwriter, he’s worthy of mention in the same breath as Merle Haggard. He has kept things traditional through most of his career but the occasional detours, such as Like Red On a Rose and The Bluegrass Album, showcased the sheer breadth of his talent. He can do ditties without sacrificing his dignity and sentimental songs without getting too saccharine. There wasn’t a more worthy Modern Artist awaiting induction, so I’m so happy that the Hall of Fame got this one right.

Jerry Reed! Known for his crossover novelty records like “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” and “Lord Mr. Ford,” his stunning instrumental prowess has been long overdue for acknowledgment. I wish that he was still alive to receive this honor.

Finally, Don Schlitz. With songwriters only eligible once every three years, the Hall of Fame will never be able to recognize all of the worthy inductees. But Schlitz is a great choice for the Hall of Fame. News reports about the induction are noting “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “The Gambler,” and “When You Say Nothing at All” as his signature compositions. Among my personal favorites of his: “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” (Mary Chapin Carpenter), “The River and the Highway” (Pam Tillis), “Almost Goodbye” (Mark Chesnutt), “You Can’t Make Old Friends” (Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton), “One Promise Too Late” (Reba McEntire), “On the Other Hand” (Randy Travis), and “40 Hour Week (For a Livin'” (Alabama).

Later this week, I’ll be counting down the ten most deserving inductees in each of the performer categories. In the meantime, let us know in the comments what you think about this year’s crop of inductees, and who you think should join them in the years to come.

7 Comments

  1. I’m not a big fan of AJ. I have his Greatest Hits albums but only half a dozen are in my i-Tunes library. For me, his greatest achievement was writing “Where Were You”.

    Jerry Reed – I liked “When you’re hot, you’re hot”.

    Don Schlitz is one of my favorite songwriters. I’ve seen him ten times at the Bluebird. Don’s website mentions about 60 of his best songs. Check it out. (Altogether, he has 477 writing credits on ASCAP.) He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Association Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012.
    One of my favorite Schlitz songs is missing from his website and it was recorded by a very famous country artist, Tim McGraw. The song, “Blank Sheet of Paper”, was on his 2004 album, “Live Like You Were Dying”. Don wrote it with the Warren Brothers, Brad and Brett. It was not released as a single. Maybe that’s the reason it does not appear on Don’s website.

    John Denver should be in the CMHOF but I know that will never happen.

  2. I was thinking the other day that a special way to honor Keith Whitley would be to induct him into the CMHoF in 2019, to mark the 30th anniversary of his passing. This would be a nice gesture, especially since the country music community let the 20th and 25th anniversaries pass without any significant acknowledgment whatsoever. It would be a classy move, and I feel like the Country Music Association only make classy moves with regards to HoF inductees these days.

    I also wonder if Dallas Frazier should’ve been inducted before Don Schlitz. Don’s contributions as a songwriter are indisputable, but I feel like he’s almost too modern. I kind of wish they had chosen based on seniority. Alan Jackson was the only choice this year, a foregone conclusion. If he hadn’t been chosen, I would’ve been dumbfounded. There’s been too much talk about his induction for too long, for it not to have been his year. I have little connection to Jerry Reed so I can’t appropriately speak to that choice.

    Besides Keith Whitley, I’d like to see Hank Williams JR enter the hall if only so we can move past him to other people. Ricky Skaggs and Brooks & Dunn are high on my list for modern legends who should be recognized. As far as veterans, I’d honor Tanya Tucker. Crystal Gayle and possibly The Judds should be in our conversation, as well.

    But there are also two other names I’ve seen constantly thrown around: Dottie West & Rose and the Maddox Brothers. The fan base around a West induction has reached fever pitch.

  3. Let me add one additional name into the mix: Rodney Crowell. His contributions to the genre should make him a shoo-in. I’m surprised his name hasn’t been floated around more seriously these past few years. He should definitely get in before The Judds and Brooks & Dunn. In my book, he’s equally as important for recognition as Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley.

  4. Yes, Don Schlitz may have seemed like a “modern” choice, but that’s what made it a pleasant surprise for me. There’s no doubt that he deserves it!

  5. Three VERY deserving men being inducted this year. Alan Jackson could’ve went in ten years ago as far as I’m concerned. He is country music as much as anyone is.

    But while I’m so happy for Jackson, I do hope they catch up with those from the 70s and 80s who are still waiting for an invite before they begin bringing in all the 90s acts. I can’t believe that Hank Jr, Tanya Tucker, Dottie West, Crystal Gayle, Ricky Scaggs, Lynn Anderson, Marty Stuart, and Steve Wariner still haven’t made it in.

  6. All three deserving inductees

    Among the most deserving future inductees should be Dallas Frazier, Bradley Kincaid, Lloyd “Cowboy” Copas, Tanya Tucker, Hank Jr., Rose Maddox, Lloyd Green and Crystal Gayle. After that Jack Green, David Houston, Lynn Anderson, Gene Watson, Johnny Gimble and Ricky Skaggs deserve consideration

    The artists of the 1930s and 1940s have received inadequate consideration, but I don’t expect that will ever be rectified

  7. Great analysis on the legends but like you said this is old news.

    Alan Jackson is top 5 all time.

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