Who Are The Country Music Hall Of Fame's Next Inductees?

This appeared on CMT.com - February 5, 2008

Gather ‘round, chillun, and place your bets on who'll be the next members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. They're making the announcement on February 12, but don't ask me how the voting process works or who's involved in it. I've no idea. But I do have it on good authority that the electors wear purple masks to ensure their anonymity and are capable of curing sexually-transmitted diseases. They're a mighty powerful bunch. Anyway, I'm rooting for Emmylou Harris. Besides making gorgeous, emotionally luminous music, she's been a model of good citizenship, valiantly supporting the Country Music Foundation and an array of progressive social causes -- from lobbying for the humane treatment of animals to the outlawing of landmines. She should have been in the Hall ages ago.

And what about Kenny Rogers? Did anyone stand taller or stretch the boundaries of country music wider than he did in his long and hit-filled heyday? Nor dare we forget the Browns -- Maxine, Jim Ed and Bonnie -- the celestial vocal trio that set the standard for smooth, cosmopolitan country. Then there are all those bluegrass brothers -- the Stanleys, the Osbornes and Jim & Jesse -- who helped keep the genre alive when history seemed intent on passing it by. Not only did they endure, they proselytized, embedding this most visceral form of country music into the cultural bloodstreams of truck drivers and grad students alike.

Like me, my list of worthies goes on and on: Barbara Mandrell, the Stonemans, Dottie West, the Oak Ridge Boys and, before too long, I hope, Ricky Skaggs and Marty Stuart. If we can't get all these folks inducted in one big sweep, let's at least hand them Hall passes that say they have a right to be there. Give them the rose while they live.

By Edward Morris

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