When you think of Kentucky, one thing you can be certain of is good music. From the mountains of eastern Kentucky, down through the plains of western Kentucky, music has brought this state together. From Loretta Lynn to Merle Travis, there is something that is special about the music in our heartland.
Today, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame announced their 2013 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Inductees. Among those include Exile, The Kentucky Headhunters, Skeeter Davis, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Hilltoppers, Ole Joe Clark, and Emory & Linda Martin.
Exile is best known for their hit rock ballad, “Kiss You All Over.” They also had a string of country music hit songs, including “Woke Up in Love,” “Give Me One More Chance,” and “She’s a Miracle.” The band is out on tour and will be playing multiple shows in Kentucky.
The Kentucky Headhunters of Knob Lick, Kentucky, got their start many years ago as three of the members formed the group, Itchy Brother. The southern country rock band released “Pickin on Nashville” in 1989 and became a household name. Their hit songs include “Dumas Walker,” “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line,” “Oh Lonesome Me,” “and “Walk Softly On This Heart of Mine.” They continue to tour and promote their album, “Dixie Lullabies.”
Skeeter Davis of Erlanger, Kentucky, was best known for her country pop songs during the 60s. Her biggest hit was “The End of the World.” She was a Grand Ole Opry Member, but was suspended from the Opry after dedicating a gospel song to street evangelists arrested by the Nashville police. She would be reinstated into the Opry. Sadly, she passed away in 2004 due to breast cancer.
Steven Curtis Chapman is a well-known Contemporary Christian Music artist. He has won over 50 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, sold over 10 million albums, and is active in his charity work. His work includes “Built to Last,” “His Eyes,” and “Cinderella,” in memory of his daughter Maria. In September 2011, Steven and Mary Beth were awarded the Congressional Angels in Adoption award by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington, D.C.
The Hilltoppers were originally from Bowling Green, Kentucky. The group was composed of Western Kentucky University students Jimmy Sacca, Donald McGuire, and Seymour Speigelman. They recorded “Trying” which became a top 10 single. Their 1953 release, “P.S. I Love You,” sold over one million copies. They even appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show.
Old Joe Clark is a well-known banjo player from Kentucky. In fact, the song, “Old Joe Clark,” is about him and has been sung by many, including Bill Monroe. Joe was born in 1839 in Clay County. He would fight in the Civil War and was given a disability discharged. Clark also ran a moonshine still, as well as a country store. Old Joe Clark would be murdered in a plan to try to take his farm.
Emory and Linda Martin were well known for their work with the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. Emory played banjo by using one hand. Linda was a fiddler from Indianapolis. Both would marry after meeting during the tent shows, as well as radio shows. They would leave the music business in 1958 as they called Mt. Vernon home. However, they continue to make appearances during annual reunions of the Renfro Valley Entertainers.
Past inductees include musical legends such as Loretta Lynn, Patty Loveless, Steve Wariner, Keith Whitley, Crystal Gayle, Dwight Yoakam, Wynonna & Naomi Judd, Ricky Skaggs, Tom T. Hall, Bill Monroe and many more
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame & Museum honors Kentucky performers, songwriters, publishers, promoters, managers, broadcasters comedians and other music professionals who have made significant contributions to the music industry in Kentucky and around the world. It is located in Renfro Valley, in Rockcastle County. For more information on the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum and what it represents visit www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com
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.