Three More Names Cemented In Bronze: The Class Of 2012
|This appeared on Jonathan Pappalardo's blog - March 7, 2012|
As winter slowly turns to spring and the chill begins to exit, a celebration is brought fourth where more than a century of tradition is whisked back into the spotlight, if only for a brief time.
The importance of this commemoration knows no bounds as the past and present collide to bestow an honor upon three worthy individuals whose contributions have been revolutionary.
This recognition, which concludes with a medallion ceremony later in the year, elevates greatness, yet sparks fierce debate among those who object to this honor coming too soon or far too late.
But one ideal will always rise victor the highest professional honor in country music is induction into the Hall of Fame. And in 2012, that prestigious mark of upmost respect shines a light on Hargus, Pig Robbins, Connie Smith, and Garth Brooks.
In three unique and different ways, each inductee has left a stamp on country music not likely to be erased with time. Through his paino-playing on iconic songs such as Dont It Make My Brown Eyes Blue and White Lightning, Robbins has redefined the essence of the studio musician.
With Once A Day, a little tune pinned by Bill Anderson, Smith did the impossible becoming the first female artist to log eight consecutive weeks at #1. That feat, accomplished more than forty years ago, has yet to be topped.
And Brooks took our notion of what a concert tour could be, turned it on its head, and ran with it.
Unless you are far too close to mainstream country music, the release of Long Line of Heartaches last August brought fourth much joy. It was Smiths first album since 1997 and an excellent reminder of countrys rich past.
At 70, Smith sounds better today than most female singers in the business. I was recently scanning the television channels when I came across The Marty Stuart Show on RFD-TV. A homage to all the great variety shows from the 60s and 70s, The Marty Stuart Show is a shining example for classic country music in a world in which country rock knows no bounds.
Martys guest that evening was none other than Smith, his wife. For half an hour she took to the stage and sang from Heartaches. She performed more than half of the album and even brought her three daughters on stage for Take My Hand.
The show can be hicky at times, but Smiths voice shined loud and clear. It was so nice to have an outlet from which to see her perform and I knew I was witnessing something special.
My first vivid memory of Smith came in 1997 when I watched her perform on the Grand Ole Opry from my grandparents living room. I dont remember what she sang, but I remember it airing after she married Stuart. Being young and naive, I didnt understand what I was watching and thought she looked tough.
The next time I remember paying attention to her was during a duet of Once A Day live on the Opry with Martina McBride in 2005. That performance is on YouTube and very good, although Smith steals the show (as she should have).
Like Jean Shepard last year, Smiths induction is long overdue. Her importance to country music may be quiet in comparison to the likes of Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and Dolly Parton, but she belongs with them in a class of her own.
With a better understanding of her importance, and a deep love of Heartaches, I now can say Im a bonafide fan.
By Jonathan Pappalardo
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