Barbara Mandrell

Hall of Fame, By the Numbers

March 16, 2009 // 11 Comments

My good friend and favorite sports blogger Charles Geier, of The Widening Geier fame, has long used statistics-based reasoning when making the case for the best in sports, whether for the current season or throughout the history of a given sport. He recently launched an in-depth site called Sports Statistics – By the Numbers, which details the crucial importance of statistics, and of course, it got me thinking about country music. Music statistics are difficult to use in the same way, if only because chart success is but one measure of an artist’s impact. However, with country music being such a commercial genre, it’s interesting to see how the most successful chart acts have fared among Country Music Hall of Fame inductees. Looking through Joel Whitburn’s Hot Country Songs 1944-2008 and Hot Country Albums 1964-2007, it’s immediately clear that the charts are important. All of the top ten country singles Read More

Country Music Hall of Fame Names Three New Members

February 4, 2009 // 9 Comments

Roy Clark, Barbara Mandrell and legendary session musician Charlie McCoy are the newest inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame, as announced this morning in a press conference at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.   Roy Clark, one of country music’s greatest ambassadors, served as the co-host of the popular syndicated show, Hee Haw and regularly appeared on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show and numerous other television programs.  The 1973 CMA Entertainer of the Year and a 1987 Grand Ole Opry inductee, Clark’s hits include “I Never Picked Cotton,” “Tips of My Fingers” and “Yesterday When I Was Young.” In 1983, he opened the first theatre in Branson, Mo., firmly establishing the Midwest town as an entertainment mecca. Barbara Mandrell also starred on the small screen with her early-80s variety show Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters, a showcase for her glitzy, glamorous performing style.  A two-time CMA female vocalist of the year, Mandrell Read More

Six Pack: Hall of Fame Candidates

February 3, 2009 // 12 Comments

On Wednesday, February 4, the Country Music Hall of Fame will announce its newest members. The genre’s highest honor, induction into the Hall of Fame is bestowed upon the absolute best of country music. In 1996 the CMHOF developed a set of categories to sort candidates, an effort intended to recognize the great breadth of the genre. The Hall will admit three new members in 2009, one each from the following categories: Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980 Performer, career achieved national prominence between WWII and 1975 Performer, career achieved national prominence between 1975-current Below are six living Country Music Hall of Fame candidates that deserve induction in 2009.

Grammy Flashback: Best Female Country Vocal Performance

January 25, 2009 // 23 Comments

Revised and Updated for 2009 While the Grammys have honored country music from the very first ceremony in 1959, they did not begin honoring by gender until 1965, when the country categories were expanded along with the other genre categories. This is a look back at the Best Female Country Vocal Performance category. It was first awarded in 1965, an included single competing with albums until the Best Country Album category was added in 1995. When an album is nominated, it is in italics, and a single track is in quotation marks. I’ve often made the case that female artists were making the best music in the 1990s, and the Grammys did a great job nominating songs and albums that were ignored at the CMA and ACM awards, which is not surprising, given that those shows have so few categories that are actually for songs and albums. As usual, we Read More

Dean Dillon

November 1, 2008 // 6 Comments

Although he started his career in front of a microphone, Dean Dillon soon transitioned into one of the finest songwriters in Nashville, notably enhancing the careers of one of its legends and illustrating an uncommon power in melody and verse. Dean Dillon, born on March 26, 1955, in Lake City, TN, was entranced with country music from an early age. At 15, he appeared in a local Knoxville variety show as a songwriter and performer, and that experience stirred his interest in a career of performing. Soon after arriving in Nashville as a teenager, Dillon accepted a job at the Opryland theme park. In 1976, he landed the role of Hank Williams in the Country Music Show at Opryland. While there, a friend introduced him to songwriter John Schweers, who became Dillon’s mentor. Three weeks later, Barbara Mandrell recorded three of Dillon’s songs. In 1979, Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius had a Read More

100 Greatest Women, #14: Barbara Mandrell

June 16, 2008 // 25 Comments

100 Greatest Women #14 Barbara Mandrell Every once in a while, an artist comes along who both defies and redefines expectations. Barbara Mandrell was one of those artists. She completely transformed the notion of what a country music entertainer should be, breaking down barriers for women and raising the bar for all of those who followed her. She was a musical prodigy, already playing the accordion at age five. Her father owned a music store, so Barbara and her sisters had a myriad of musical instruments at their disposal. Barbara took full advantage of this, and began playing an assortment of core country instruments, becoming particularly adept on the banjo and the steel guitar. She also learned the saxophone. When she was just eleven, she began playing professionally. By age thirteen, her skill on the steel guitar had her playing on tour with the biggest acts of the day, including Read More

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