Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Inductees – Class of 2015 – photo by Jessica Blankenship
Last night, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inducted 8 new members into its 2015 class. With such a wide variety from pop, soul, country, and Appalachia folk, there was something for everyone. Over 700 were in attendance for the event that helps raise money for the museum, located in Renfro Valley, as well as furthering music education in Kentucky.
Harlan County native, Doc Hopkins was remembered for his Appalachian folk musical style that was well known throughout Kentucky. He was a frequent performer of the Berea Folk Festival for many years. In tribute, his nephew accepted his award and performed “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
In managing the careers of Brooks n Dunn, Rascal Flatts, Terri Clark, Jason Aldean, among others, Clarence Spalding has made a name for himself in Nashville. When his acts have played a Kentucky venue, he said, “I always tell them that Rupp Arena is my home. When Jason Aldean and Eric Church played there, I proudly wore my UK hat as I graduated from here. Eric Church, being from North Carolina, said that he didn’t get the fuss about the Wildcats. It’s in our blood, especially if you graduated from there.”
The Moonglows gained success through their Motown sound over the years. They were best known for their song, “Sincerely” and “Most of All.” Harvey Fuqua’s family accepted on the behalf of the group, as well as performed two songs at the ceremony.
When you think of Kentucky country music, you must first think about Pete Stamper. Stamper has been a performer with Renfro Valley Entertainment Center. He’s performed on the Porter Wagoner Show, as well as the Grand Ole Opry. At one time, he was Dolly Parton’s road manager.
Country music singer-songwriter Larry Cordle made sure to let others know where he is from. During his acceptance speech, he said, “I am proud to be from Appalachia and from Lawrence County.” Cordle would play two hit songs that he wrote, ‘Murder on Music Row’ and ‘Highway 40 Blues.’
Not only did Montgomery Gentry get elected into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, but Lexington Mayor, Jim Gray, declared April 10th as Troy Gentry Day. Needless to say a surprised Gentry came on stage to accept the plaque. In their acceptance speech, Eddie Montgomery was excited as he shouted, “We love Kentucky! It is the greatest state in the country!” They would go on to perform ‘Where I Come From,’ ‘My Town,’ and ‘Folks Like Us.’ The room provided a standing ovation to the duo who have been playing for over 20 years and got their start right there in Lexington.
As the montage tribute to Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys played on the screens, the shouts and woos got louder with each photo shown. Both Littrell and Richardson spoke about how Kentucky is where their roots are and they are proud to show off their state to others worldwide. Prior to the ceremony, Kevin Richardson stated that, “our fans are the greatest. We love being able to go out there and promote our home state. We are honored for being inducted, especially when you are in great company such as Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn, Bill Monroe, and so many more that we grew up listening to.”
With an interesting twist, the cousins brought out two college students to play an Appalachian bluegrass playing style of their hit songs, ‘I Want It That Way’ and ‘Larger Than Life.’ They truly went back to the roots of Kentucky’s musical heritage in doing so.
For more information on the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, be sure to check out www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com. You can visit the museum, which is located in Renfro Valley in southeast Kentucky.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.