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CMA ANNOUNCES HANK COCHRAN, RONNIE MILSAP, AND MAC WISEMAN AS NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

The Country Music Association announced today that Hank CochranRonnie Milsap, and Mac Wiseman will become the newest members of the revered Country Music Hall of Fame.

Milsap will be inducted in the “Modern Era Artist” category, while Wiseman will be inducted in the “Veterans Era Artist” category. Cochran will be inducted in the “Songwriter” category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980” and “Non-Performer” categories. Cochran, Milsap, and Wiseman will increase membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 121 to 124 members.

“Induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the highest honor achievable for a Country Music artist, songwriter, or industry leader and this year’s inductees are all highly deserving,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “Hank’s songs have been recorded by everyone from Burl Ives to Etta James, George Strait to Ella Fitzgerald. Mac is a revered figure in the world of bluegrass and a founding Board member of the Country Music Association. And Ronnie is an incredibly gifted pianist and performer who is also one of the most successful and versatile crossover artists in our genre.”

“When you start listening to the radio as a kid, you want to hear your songs on there, because songs are bits of people’s lives, including your own,” said Milsap. “Then you dream that your songs and your music will mean enough to the people that, one day, they’ll put you in the Hall of Fame. Not for you, exactly, but for all the songwriters and musicians and especially the fans who tell you their life is in your songs. To me, that’s what the Hall of Fame is all about: how many people’s lives were held in your music. So many people I admire and have heard my story in their songs are already in the Hall, and I love the idea that maybe my music meant – to others – what those artists have meant to me.”

“Being a founding member of CMA, I have always been proud of my role in helping make Country Music popular,” said Wiseman. “Being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the icing on the cake and certainly a highlight of my career.”

Induction ceremonies for Cochran (who passed away in 2010), Milsap, and Wiseman will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in the CMA Theater later this year. Since 2007, the Museum’s Medallion Ceremony, an annual reunion of the Hall of Fame membership, has served as the official rite of induction for new members.

CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with Country Music’s highest honor.

“All these distinguished Southerners overcame serious hardship before finding the opportunity to hone their talents to professional levels and make the inspired Country Music that has led to this moment,” said Kyle Young, Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Their indelible mark has earned them Country Music’s highest honor, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Songwriter

Hank Cochran – Garland Perry “Hank” Cochran was born Aug. 2, 1935 in Isola, Miss. After his parents’ divorce when Cochran was nine, he moved to Memphis to live with his father. But post-Depression life proved to be difficult and Cochran’s father ended up placing him in St. Peter’s Orphan home. After Cochran’s third attempt at running away from the orphanage, his father took him back to Mississippi to be raised by his grandparents.

At the age of 10, Cochran was playing guitar and singing at church. At 12, he and his uncle Otis hitchhiked from Mississippi to Hobbs, N.M. to work in the oilfields. But work as a roughneck was not only physically demanding, but dangerous. So after spending two years in the oilfields, Cochran headed to Los Angeles. Once there he got a job at a Sears & Roebuck. The company insisted he return to school since he was not yet 16.

While in Los Angeles, Cochran entered various amateur talent contests in the area with much success, giving him the idea to form a group to play at clubs and local events. His search for a guitar player led him to Eddie Cochran (no relation) who shared his passion for music. The teens formed a rock ‘n’ roll duo called The Cochran Brothers, which had minor success.

After the duo disbanded, Cochran made the move to Nashville in January of 1960 and began working as a songwriter for Pamper Music. That year he penned “Make the World Go Away,” which was recorded by both Ray Price and Eddie Arnold.

In addition to writing songs for Pamper Music, he also helped the company sign other songwriters, as well as acquire songs and get them recorded. Among those he signed to the publishing company’s roster was Willie Nelson, whom Cochran discovered singing at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge.

In April of 1961 Patsy Cline released Cochran’s “I Fall to Pieces” (co-written with Harlan Howard), which afforded Cochran the opportunity to give up his extra jobs and become a full time songwriter. Soon after, Cochran was playing guitar with Justin Tubb on the Grand Ole Opry, touring with Price, and scoring his first hit as a recording artist with the Top 20 single “Sally Was a Good Old Girl.” He also earned three BMI Awards for songs he had written on his own, and became a co-owner (along with Price) of Pamper Music.

In 1974 Cochran was unanimously voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.

In 1996, Cochran topped the Americana chart as a recording artist with Desperate Men: The Legend and the Outlaw. In 2002 he released another album, Livin’ For a Song: A Songwriters Autobiography.

Cochran’s songs have been recorded by a wide variety of artists including Chet Atkins, Junior Brown, Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Cash, Elvis Costello, Bing Crosby, Vern Gosdin, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Tom Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dean Martin, Wayne Newton, Elvis Presley, Reba, Linda Ronstadt, George Strait, and Lee Ann Womack. He has penned some of music’s classic tunes including “She’s Got You,” “Set ‘Em Up Joe,” “The Chair,” “Is It Raining At Your House,” “Miami, My Amy,” “Ocean Front Property,” and “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me.”

His catalog has generated more than 36 million performances, which, if played back-to-back, would amount to more than 200 years of continuous airplay.

Cochran passed away on July 15, 2010 surrounded by friends, family, and music – Jamey Johnson, Billy Ray Cyrus, and producer/songwriter Buddy Cannon were passing a guitar around in Cochran’s bedroom, singing songs and telling tales.

Veterans Era Artist

Mac Wiseman – Malcolm B. “Mac” Wiseman was born May 23, 1925, in Crimora, Va. At six-months old, Wiseman contracted polio, which he felt was a blessing. Because of his illness, he was kept inside and was not subjected to the field work that most children of the rural Shenandoah Valley were expected to do. His father would set the phonograph up by the wood stove and Wiseman would listen to old records over and over. His mother would write the lyrics from songs she heard on the radio into composition books for young Mac.

In 1943, Wiseman applied for a job at the Merck and Co. chemical plant, but because of the polio damage to his leg, he was turned down. That was when he made the decision to pursue his music.

Wiseman attended the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music in Virginia with help from the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which would later become the March of Dimes. There Wiseman excelled in a radio course and accepted a job offer from WSVA in Harrisonburg, Va., where he read the news and farm reports and spun pop and Country records.

In 1946, Wiseman joined Molly O’Day’s band, where he developed a love of classic Country.

In 1948, Wiseman made his first foray into what would become known as bluegrass music. He joined Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs as a member of the Foggy Mountain Boys, singing high harmonies and booking the band’s first concert dates. And in 1949, he joined Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys where he played the Grand Ole Opry for the first time. He also recorded the classics “Traveling This Lonesome Road” and “Can’t You Hear Me Callin’” with Monroe. He left the band in 1949 to set out on his own.

Wiseman soon attracted the attention of the independent label Dot Records and was offered a recording contract. In 1951, Dot released Wiseman’s first single, “Tis Sweet To Be Remembered,” which became a career-making song and earned him the nickname the “voice with a heart.” Wiseman went on to record other classics including “Love Letters in the Sand,” “Jimmy Brown, the Newsboy,” “Ballad of Davy Crockett,” and “Shackles and Chains.”

Wiseman became a record executive in 1957 when he was tapped to head the Country Division of Dot Records. And in 1958, Wiseman was instrumental in the founding of the Country Music Association, becoming the organization’s first Secretary/Treasurer, demonstrating the respect he had earned as both an artist and a record executive.

During the 1960s Wiseman was a staple on the folk festival circuit and on college campuses. But he also played Carnegie Hall in 1962 on a bill headlined by Johnny Cash, which garnered him rave reviews inThe New York Times.

From 1966 to 1971, Wiseman was Program Producer and Talent Director for the WWVA Wheeling Jamboree. During his tenure he stabilized the cast of performers and gave bluegrass prominence.

Most recently, Wiseman has released his music on his own Wise Records including a six-disc boxed set entitled The Mac Wiseman Story, featuring songs he recorded in the 1970s and a DVD collection calledMac Wiseman – An American Treasure. In 2007, he recorded a duet album with John Prine, Standard Songs for Average People, which was released by Oh Boy Records. He has also just completed an album with Merle Haggard, Vince Gill, and The Isaacs that will be released in 2014 and is also being interviewed for inclusion in the upcoming Ken Burns PBS documentary on Country Music. Wiseman will also be the first inductee into the Shenandoah Conservatory of Music Hall of Fame later this month.

Modern Era Artist

Ronnie Milsap – Ronnie Lee Milsap was born Jan. 16, 1943, in Robbinsville, N.C. A congenital disorder left him almost blind, and he was raised by his grandmother in the Smoky Mountains until the age of five, when he was sent to the Governor Morehead School for the Blind in Raleigh, N.C.

Showing an interest in music early on, at the age of seven his teachers recognized that he had considerable musical talent. He began studying classical music and learned several instruments, eventually mastering the piano.

His youthful passion for rock music led him to form a band with some high school classmates called The Apparitions. Briefly attending Young Harris College on a full scholarship, Milsap left before graduating to pursue a career in music.

In the early 1960s, Milsap played his first professional gigs as a member of J.J. Cale’s band. In 1965, he released “Total Disaster,” his first single as a solo artist, which achieved some local success in the Atlanta area.

In 1965, Milsap signed with New York-based Scepter Records where he scored an R&B Top 5 with the Ashford and Simpson-penned “Never Had It So Good.” While at Scepter, Milsap shared concert stages with James Brown, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles, who encouraged the young man to apply himself to music.

In 1969, Milsap moved to Memphis to become a session musician. Working with the legendary Chips Moman, he played keyboards on Elvis Presley’s “Kentucky Rain” and can be heard singing background on “Don’t Cry Daddy.” When not doing session work, Milsap and his ensemble served as the house band at the local music hotspot T.J.’s Club.

In 1970, Milsap found success on the pop charts with “Loving You Is a Natural Thing.” He recorded and released his eponymous debut album – produced by Dan Penn – in 1971.

In 1972, Milsap was performing at the Whiskey A-Go-Go where Charley Pride happened to be in the audience. Impressed with his soulful singing style, Pride encouraged Milsap to focus on Country Music. Moving to Nashville later that year, he began working with Pride’s manager, Jack D. Johnson. A year later, he signed with RCA Records and later that same year released his first Country single, the Top 10 “I Hate You.”

In 1974, Milsap scored two No. 1s: “Pure Love” and “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends,” which won his first Grammy. Another No. 1 followed the next year with “Daydreams About Night Things.”

In 1976, Milsap solidly established himself as one of Country Music’s biggest stars. A string of seven No. 1 hits in a row, including “(I’m a) Stand By My Woman Man,” “What a Difference You’ve Made in My Life,” and “It Was Almost Like a Song,” which was the most successful single of the 1970s. “Songwas the singer’s first crossover hit, peaking No. 7 on the adult contemporary chart and paving the way for Milsap to be named Billboard’s Artist of the Year (in any genre) in 1976.

This string of hits also kicked off a remarkable run in American pop music. With songs “(There’s) No Getting Over Me,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World,” “Any Day Now,” “Stranger In My House,” “Lost in the Fifties Tonight,”  “She Keeps the Home Fires Burning,” “Snap Your Fingers,” and “Where Do the Nights Go,” Milsap did not leave the Top 10 for 16 years.

Milsap also received myriad awards and accolades during this period. He won four CMA Album of the Year Awards (1975, 1977, 1978, and 1986), three CMA Male Vocalist of the Year trophies (1974, 1976, and 1977), and the coveted CMA Entertainer of the Year Award (1977). In addition, he won five Grammys for Best Male Country Vocal performance (1974, 1976, 1981, 1985, and 1986) and one Grammy for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 1988 for the Kenny Rogers duet “Make No Mistake, She’s Mine.”

In 1993, Milsap left RCA and signed with Liberty Records and released the album True Believer.  In 2000, he released the two-CD set, 40 No. 1 Hits.

In 2004, Milsap recorded Just For a Thrill, a collection of American popular/jazz standards, which was nominated for a Grammy. Returning to Country in 2006 at his original home of RCA Records, he released My Life. It was followed in 2009 with Then Sings My Soul, a two-CD set collection of hymns and gospel songs.

On March 18 of this year, Milsap released Summer #17, his 31st album, which he describes as an homage to the music that inspired him. Hailed byUSA Today, The Tennessean and NPR: National Public Radio, the set pays tribute to the influences that shaped Milsap’s singular brand of soul-steeped Country.

With 40 No. 1 hits and more than 35 million albums sold, Milsap remains one of Country’ Music’s most successful and beloved crossover artists. At 71, he continues to tour the country, playing his music for multiple generations of music lovers.

About CMA: Founded in 1958, the Country Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,000 music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards, which annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; the CMA Music Festival, which benefits music education and is taped for a three-hour special; and “CMA Country Christmas,” featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics for broadcast during the holiday season.  All of CMA’s television properties will air on the ABC Television network through 2021.

 

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CMA Keep The Music Playing All-Star Concert

CMA Foundation presents check of $1,000,000 to Metro Nashville Public Schools to support music programs.

CMA Foundation presents check of $1,000,000 to Metro Nashville Public Schools to support music programs.

On Tuesday, January 28th, CMA held its 5th Annual Keep The Music Playing All-Stars Concert at the CMA Theater inside the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. Continue Reading →

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CONTEST | Want To Win A Pair Of Tickets To See The CMA Songwriters Series Show On Tuesday, November 5th?

love-and-theftWant to win a pair of tickets to see the CMA Songwriters Series show happening this Tuesday at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville? Hosted by Brett James and featuring CMA Awards Nominees Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Love and Theft.  All you have to do is subscribe to FOCUS on the 615 (right on the upper right hand corner of the front page of the site with your email) and you’ll be entered to win.  Better hurry! The winner will be drawn on Sunday, Nov. 3rd @ 12 pm CST. Continue Reading →

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Lee Greenwood: American Patriot

Lee Greenwood

On the 29th anniversary of “God Bless the USA” being released to radio, it is only fitting that today would be the day the Lee Greenwood: American Patriot exhibit be revealed at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The spotlight exhibit incorporates numerous artifacts and memorabilia spanning the artist’s 50 years in the business.

“Everything in here signifies a special moment of my career,” said Greenwood. “I could tell you a story behind each and every one of them… but this is just a small portion.”

And a story for each is no stretch of the imagination if you’ve ever spoken to Lee Greenwood. The man has a million stories, a photographic memory, and loves to talk. When asked about which artifact in the expansive display stood out to him the most, he brought me over to his 1994 award for winning Wheel of Fortune Music Stars Week, and proceeded to tell me the entire fascinating story.

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“Lee Greenwood: American Patriot” Spotlight Exhibition To Open This Friday

Lee Greenwood

The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will unveil a special spotlight exhibit dedicated to singer Lee Greenwood on May 10. Lee Greenwood: American Patriot, which will be located within the museum’s permanent exhibit on the third floor, will incorporate costumes and other artifacts spanning Greenwood’s 50 years of musical activity. The exhibition will run through April 25, 2014.

Lee Greenwood: American Patriot traces the artist’s personal and professional life from his musical childhood in California to his award-winning music career. The exhibit also places a special focus on Greenwood’s most beloved song, “God Bless the USA,” and his work with military and veterans organizations.

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Chris Janson Becomes Honorary Friends And Family Member Of The Country Music Hall Of Fame And Museum

Photo (back - from L to R): Kyle Young (Director, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum), Jay Orr (Vice President, Programs), Rachel Weingartner (Membership Manager, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum) and Chris Janson

Photo (back – from L to R): Kyle Young (Director, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum), Jay Orr (Vice President, Programs), Rachel Weingartner (Membership Manager, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum) and Chris Janson

Hot country newcomer and dynamic multi-instrumentalist Chris Janson was invited to become an honorary “Friends and Family” member of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum yesterday, April 23, 2013.

Since releasing his chart-climbing single “Better I Don’t,” Janson has been garnering nationwide buzz from media and fans alike. Already a fan-favorite live, “Better I Don’t” will be featured on his debut full-length album produced by Keith Stegall (Alan Jackson, Zac Brown Band), which is expected for release later this year via Bigger Picture Group.

With undeniable charisma, Janson brings a blue-collar, working-class, boot-stomping hillbilly redneck attitude to bear on every live performance, earning him opening slots for music legends Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr. The talented songwriter co-wrote Tim McGraw’s fastest rising single of his career with “Truck Yeah” and began writing at just 18 with an impressive group of musicians from the likes of Guns N’ Roses to Bill Anderson. The Perryville, Missouri, native first broke onto the Nashville music scene when he landed a year long, four show a day gig at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge on Nashville’s Lower Broadway.

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Keith Urban Announces Fourth Annual “All For The Hall” Benefit

Tickets on Sale March 1 at 10:00 a.m. CST

Keith Urban

2005 CMA Entertainer of the Year and four-time Grammy Award winner Keith Urban and Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill will return to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday, April 16, for We’re All for the Hall, a concert to benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Reserved seating tickets, which are priced at $35 and $50 (does not include Ticketmaster surcharge), will go on sale March 1 at 10:00 a.m. CST.  A limited number of VIP ticket packages will also go on sale on March 1 at Ticketmaster.com. (Complete ticket purchase information is below.)

This year’s theme Rebels and Renegades, the Outlaws are IN will feature performances from an all-star line-up including Urban, Gill, Trace Adkins, Jason Aldean, Rosanne Cash, Eric Church, Brantley Gilbert, Kid Rock, Kris Kristofferson, Loretta Lynn, Tim McGraw, Montgomery Gentry, Willie Nelson, Billy Joe Shaver and Hank Williams, Jr.  It promises to be yet another in a line of one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime concert events highlighting great music, friendship and camaraderie.

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