Country Modern (25)

The Country Music Hall Of Fame began simply as a way to record and remember the history of country music, but has grown into one of the world’s most extensive musical collections for one of America’s oldest recorded music genres. The first country music recording was in 1922. Country music is a distinctly Southern American sound; a genre that combined blues, ranchera, Cajun, Appalachian, African-American music, folk, Celtic and many other styles into an important musical tradition. But what country music sounds like has changed throughout it’s over 100 year history. From the cowboy westerns of the 1930’s, to the rockabilly of the 1950’s, to the countrypolitan of the 1960’s into the outlaw movement of the 1970’s, even to the bro-country of the 2010’s, with various other sounds, styles and subgenres in between. It can get very difficult to pinpoint exactly what country music is (though the common expression “three chords and the truth” is what most people seem to lean on). The Hall Of Fame came along in the 1960’s to make sure every bit of that sprawling genre history is marked and preserved.

So with that large history, it can be extremely tough trying to determine who is going to be picked each year, since Country’s Hall Of Fame is notoriously one of the hardest to get inducted into. And unlike the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, the country genre is a lot more focused on being a part of the Nashville machine to judge achievements (like radio career length, charting hit singles, awards from the industry, etc.). For the most part they only induct 3 people per year: one in the “Modern” category, one in the “Veteran” category, and one in a rotating group (either “Musician”, “Songwriter”, or “Non-Performer”, which rotate every year). A performer is eligible for the “Modern” category 20-40 years after they achieved ‘national prominence’ and a performer is eligible for the “Veteran” category 40 years after they achieve ‘national prominence’. For this list of predictions I am putting together, I will only be focused on the “Modern” and “Veteran” categories. One additional rule: nobody can be inducted for a stretch of 12 months after they die.

On that note, let’s get started with the predictions. Here are 25 predictions for the “Modern” category:

Sincerely,

 

The Not in Hall of Fame Rock and Roll Committee.

Starting his radio career in the mid-1980’s, Dwight was a superstar with audiences right out of the gate but he didn’t start out that way. Trying to get a recording contract in Nashville didn’t seem to be working for him, as he was playing traditional honky-tonk music instead of the pop-country that was all the rage at that point in…
Now in the category of short-lived but important careers, we have the case of Keith Whitley. When he was a teenager, he was a contestant in a music contest. There he befriended another teenage contestant by the name of Ricky Skaggs (who would become a country music legend and get inducted into the Hall in 2018). They became best friends…
Not only one of the biggest country stars of all time, but one of the biggest stars of any genre, Shania helped change the game for country music in the 1990’s. I mean, her album “Come On Over” sold more copies by itself then most artists sell in their entire careers (over 40 million copies, and it remains the best…
Kenny started out getting a couple hits, but not really separating himself from the pack. Then after a few years he found his beach bum persona, and that allowed him the huge success that he has achieved to this date. So much success, that he has sold over 30 million albums and still has a radio career to this date…
Chasing your dreams can be intimidating, but sometimes they can work out better than you ever dreamed. On the day that his hero (Keith Whitley) died in 1989, Tim made the decision to drop everything and move to Nashville to see if he could make it as a country star. In 1994, Tim began a stretch of top twenty hits…
With the Hall having already added Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt is another member of the legendary “Class Of ‘89” in country music. 1989 was an important year in country music where a brand new class of artists debuted, which while they faded out some of the older singers, this was also a turning point for bringing in…
Now we have one of the artists that should technically be in the “Veteran” category, but the Country Music Association (who runs the voting to decide who is getting into the Hall Of Fame) likes to bend the rules here and there sometimes. Larry (as a solo act) was beginning to get country hits in 1974 with a song called…
And here we have another graduate of the “Class of ‘89”. Clint went pretty traditional with his music throughout his career, so he was never going to have the crossover success of Garth Brooks or Shania Twain. But even without being a crossover star, Clint ended up being one of the big country stars of the 1990s. He wrote all…
I’m sure growing up as one of the children of an astronomical musical force like Johnny Cash could bring about a fair share of difficulties, but having the most popular singers coming in and out of your house as a teenager also helps to get you a foot in the door. Connecting up with some of those singers and a…
Coming onto the country scene in 1980, Earl became popular for his “thinking man’s country” style of country music that he recorded throughout his career; his songs involved characters, well written stories and heartbreak. He started out in the business as a songwriter, getting some hits for country artists Mel Street and Conway Twitty. Spending those years just writing songs…
One of the biggest female country voices of the 1990’s, Martina used her star power to sing songs dealing with female empowerment and other topics including abuse, disabilities and cancer. The journey to her career started out in 1988 when she married her husband John, who was a sound engineer. The two of them moved to Nashville hoping to get…
And here we have another case of a female singer getting help from Garth Brooks, and then going on to be a successful country singer of the 1990’s (although, after all was said and done, Trisha ended up becoming Garth’s wife). Trisha began as a background singer on the demos of new artists, and one of those artists ended up…
After graduating high school, Toby worked jobs in the oil field and as a football player until he made the decision to move to Nashville and try his hand at music. He tried for a while to make it, but he just couldn’t get any traction so he packed up and went home. But thanks to a demo that he…
When Ted and Edna Perry adopted a small infant girl in 1967, they probably did not guess that she would grow up to be one of the most successful country artists of all time. Her singing talent was noticed early on, and she was up on stages by the time she was 7 years old. At 19, she quit her…
Here we are completing another husband and wife couple on this list. This is Lorrie Morgan, the former wife of #2 on this list, the late Keith Whitley (Whitley passed away in 1989). And in another family connection, Lorrie is the daughter of country legend (and Country Music Hall Of Fame member) George Morgan. George had her singing on the…
Patty Loveless had a lot of connections before she even started her radio career. Being a cousin of 1988 inductee Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle (who herself is on the Veteran list) was the beginning. Then before she even finished school, she was touring during the summers with Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton. After graduating and moving to Nashville, she…
Steve Wariner is a country music guitar hero who worked his way to a hall worthy resume. As a teen, Steve learned how to play guitar (as well as various other instruments) and played with his father’s band in local clubs. Then, one day, Hall-Of-Famer Dottie West walked in to the club him and his Dad were playing. She drafted…
This angelic voiced bluegrass prodigy may not have charted huge hits, but she has become a legend all her own. With her mother being a banjo player, Alison grew up around bluegrass music. She learned the style well enough that she was winning contests by the time she was 10 and recording her first album at the age of 14…
John was born and grew up in Florida, where his main musical influences were the rock and roll artists like the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Then once he was 15, he discovered a love for country music thanks to legends like George Jones and Merle Haggard. He fell so hard for country that after playing in rock bands in…
Laura Lynch, Robin Lynn Macy, and sisters Martie and Emily Erwin came together in 1989 to form a bluegrass band named the “Dixie Chicks”. From 1989-1995, they released three independent albums, got awards at bluegrass festivals and gathered a small fan base together. Also in that time, Lynch and Macy departed the group. Their steel guitar player Lloyd introduced Martie…