When it comes to Kentucky, there is an abundance of music to be celebrated. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame will be celebrating the music of an elite class of six members in country, bluegrass, rock, and gospel music. The diverse lineup of inductees includes David “Stringbean” Akeman, Dale Ann Bradley, Jason Crabb, Billy Ray Cyrus, Jackie DeShannon, and Bobby Lewis.
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame 2018 Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, May 11, at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center New Barn. The event kicks off at 6:00 p.m. Tickets are available to purchase now by calling 1-800-765-7464 or going online at www.renfrovalley.com. Tickets are $50 and the event includes special performances by inductees at this once in a lifetime event.
Here is a look at the 2018 class of inductees into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame:
David “Stringbean” Akeman
Raised in Annville at the gateway of the Appalachian Mountains, David “Stringbean” Akeman made a name for himself as a comedian and banjo player. Stringbean performed with Bill Monroe after meeting him while they both played semi-pro baseball in the mid-1940s. He was an important part of Hee Haw and the Grand Ole Opry. He became friends and neighbors with fellow Kentuckian, Grandpa Jones. His tall, slim figure and comedic demeanor provided the nickname that many knew him by. Stringbean and his wife were murdered in November 1973 after an Opry performance. His musical influence remains in Jackson County as they host the annual Stringbean Memorial Bluegrass Festival each summer.
Dale Ann Bradley
Dale Ann Bradley was born in southeast Kentucky in the small town of Middlesboro. In high school, she began her musical journey with a group called Backporch Grass, featuring her band director and his wife. They would perform in the finals of Marlboro Country Music Round Up contest. Although they did not win, Dale Ann met fellow bluegrass musicians that would become known as The New Coon Creek Girls. Dale Ann Bradley and the group performed at Renfro Valley until 1997. She recorded several albums both as a solo female and part of The New Coon Creek Girls and Sister Sadie. Dale Ann Bradley has been honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association as being the Female Vocalist of the Year five times. She has also been a Grammy Award and SPBGMA Award nominee. She continues to perform and releasing new music, including her latest self-title release.
Originally from Beaver Dam, Jason Crabb brings in his Gospel and Christian musical roots to the Hall of Fame class. Jason rose to prominence singing with his siblings as the Crabb Family. They became one of the most successful groups in the genre. Jason released his first solo album in 2009, and it earned him his first Grammy the following year. Since then, he’s amassed numerous industry accolades, among them 21 Dove Awards, including wins in the “Artist,” “Male Vocalist,” and “Song of the Year” categories. In addition to his recording career, Crabb is also an actor and author. He shared his life story in the inspiring book, “Trusting God to Get you Through,” and has written a series of successful children’s books. He is set to release his newest album, “Unexpected” on April 20th.
Billy Ray Cyrus
As a native of Flatwoods, Billy Ray Cyrus’ career took off in the early 1990s with his hit song, “Achy Breaky Heart.” It would help launch his career as a multi-platinum selling recording artist. He would also be known for several ballad songs, including the powerful “Some Gave All,” in tribute to Military Veterans. He would expand his entertainment horizons by playing on television shows such as “Hannah Montana,” “Doc,” and “Still the King.”
It is very likely that you have heard one of the many hits that Hazel native, Jackie DeShannon, has written and performed on. The Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee is one of the first premier female rock and roll songwriters. She was best known for her vocals behind “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” and “What the World Needs Now is Love.” At the age of 16, she was signed to Liberty Records. Her songwriting credits include hit songs “When You Walk in the Room,” “Don’t Doubt Yourself,” “Dream Boy,” “I Want to Go Home,” and “Don’t Turn Your Back on Me.” In 1982, she teamed up with Donna Weiss to win the Grammy Song of the Year for “Bette Davis Eyes.” Jackie was a supporting act for The Beatles when they had their first tour in the United Sates in 1964.
Hailing from Hodgenville, Bobby Lewis released over 40 country singles charting a span of over twenty years from 1966 to 1985. His most notable tune was “How Long Has it Been,” reaching to number 6 on the charts. He was garnered the nickname “The Boy with the Lute” as being the only country music artist to perform a custom 6-string guitar lute on stage and in the studio. His first lute is on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Bobby is a member of the Grand Ole Opry. He received a Grammy nomination for Best Male Performance of a Country Record (Single and Album) for “From Heaven to Heartache” in 1969. Bobby Lewis also has received 16 ASCAP Awards and 9 Chart Buster Awards for many of his hit songs. He is best known for “Hello Mary Lou,” “From Heaven to Heartache” “Love Me and Make it All Better,” “How Long Has It Been,” and many more. Most recently, Bobby Lewis released his newest album in 2015 called “Here I Am Again.”
About Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum opened in 2002 with a vision to bring recognition to Kentuckians who have made a significant contribution to the music industry. With that vision in mind, a collection of artifacts and memorabilia highlighting the careers of the over 50 inductees fill the museum. You can also learn the history of music dating back to the 1800’s. A common misconception is that the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame focuses mainly on country and bluegrass related artist; however there are inductees from all genres of music as including The Backstreet Boys, Loretta Lynn, Florence Henderson, Rosemary Clooney, Keith Whitley, Boots Randolph, and so many more.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website. The Berea College graduate has been a music journalist and historian for over 20 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, historical articles, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite musicians. Jessica is proud to be a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the FFA and 4-H Clubs. In 2018, she was named one of Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award Recipients. In 2019, she was a member of the Inaugural class of BRIGHT Kentucky as part of Leadership Kentucky. She has been featured on the Kentucky Music Preview podcast, Hollercast podcast, Overtones radio show, WFKY Nashville News Roundup, KET, and more. Beyond music, she enjoys traveling, helping her community, collecting gnomes, and Volkswagens.