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.