Good news for three legends of the genre, one of whom we lost to cancer only four years ago:
Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman and the late Hank Cochran are the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Wiseman got his start in music after contracting polio as a child, which kept him out of the fields in his native Virginia. He was an original member of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs’ Foggy Mountain Boys, made his Grand Ole Opry debut with Bill Monroe, was an executive with the influential Nashville independent label Dot Records and a founding board member of the Country Music Association.Milsap, inducted in the modern era category, was an established talent by the time he arrived in Nashville in the 1970s. He’d played in J.J. Cale’s band in the early 1960s and moved to Memphis to work with Chips Moman at the hit-making American Studios, where he worked with Elvis Presley, among others, before accepting an invitation to go to Nashville to record for RCA Records.
It was something of an experiment for Milsap, known as an R&B and rock singer, but he made sure he had a regular gig before he hit town, playing nightly at Roger Miller’s King of the Road Hotel.
He found country fans were open to his style, and he went on to win several Grammy Awards, the CMA’s entertainer of the year award in 1977 and four album of the year awards between 1975 and 1986.
Cochran, who is being inducted posthumously in the songwriter category, probably secured his place in country music history when he got Willie Nelson a songwriting job at Pamper Music by forgoing his own raise.
He wrote the Ray Price standard “Make the World Go Away” and Patsy Cline’s second most-memorable song, “I Fall to Pieces” (following Nelson’s own “Crazy”), among many others.
He died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer shortly after a touching bedside singalong that included friends Jamey Johnson, Buddy Cannon and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Source: Associated Press via CBS News
Very happy to see Milsap make it. I’m not that familiar with the others. Maybe John Denver will make it in 2114. No? How bout 2214?
Mac Wiseman and Jimmy Martin are my two favorite bluegras vocalists, so I was delighted to see Mac gain entrance. Known as “The Voice With A Heart” Mac Wiseman was actually one of the few true “renaissance men” men of the genre, being involved in virtually all aspects of the industry
As a singer Mac was effective at folk, country , pop, bluegrass and western swing – actually I think his strongest genre would have been western swing, had he spent much time there. “Tis Sweet To Be Remembered” indeed
I’m happy with these inductions. With Ronnie and Connie Smith in my top two from a few years ago are now in.
I’ve been polling my country listening friends and family over the past few weeks to see who we collectively thought should be in the hall next. These are the top 10 as picked by us. (note: skews modern as most polled were under 30.)
01. June Carter Cash
02. Alan Jackson
tie. Tanya Tucker
04. Patty Loveless
tie. Ricky Skaggs
tie. Randy Travis
07. Brooks & Dunn
08. Oak Ridge Boys
tie. Dwight Yoakam
10. Linda Ronstadt