Photoset: Larry Cordle, Montgomery Gentry, the Backstreet Boys and more (KY Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Lexington KY)
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame held a star-studded induction ceremony Friday night in Lexington, Kentucky. The legends honored in 2015 were (in photo above, from left to right) Larry Cordle, Clarence Spalding, Brian Litrell, Kevin Richardson, Eddie Montgomery, Troy Gentry, and Pete Stamper. Also inducted were the late Doc Hopkins and doo-wop group the Moonglows.
Bentley Cromer, the Vice Chairman of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, stated the selection process for inductees generally takes two years, and that process will begin again shortly after this year’s ceremony is concluded.
HALFWAY TO HAZARD
The night began with Halfway to Hazard performing an acoustic rendition of “My Old Kentucky Home” that brought the crowd to its feet. The duo of David Tolliver and Chad Warrix then received a humanitarian award for their work raising money across Kentucky from music programs in schools and replacing worn out instruments. Halfway to Hazard recently started working on a new record, and are filming a reality show about the music business.
The late Doc Hopkins was then announced as the first inductee of the night. Accepting the honor on his behalf was his nephew, Kenneth Hopkins, who reminisced about the time he spent visiting his uncle in Chicago where he became a “pioneer in live radio” on WLS. Hopkins was widely known during the middle of the twentieth century as “America’s favorite singer of American folk songs.” Kenneth then picked up his acoustic guitar and sang “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”
Doo-wop group the Moonglows was the next act honored. Representing the group was Theosious Fuqua, the cousin of the late Harvey Fuqua. Ron Lewis and friends performed two of the Moonglows’ hits, “Sincerely” and “Ten Commandments of Love.” The group had already been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000.
Clarence Spalding has been working with artists for many years as a manager and has witnessed many changes in the industry. He said the biggest challenge of working with younger, inexperienced acts is getting the music on ever-shrinking radio playlists, which are generally restricted to sixteen to twenty recent songs. In addition, getting the music right by tweaking the songs without losing the sound that led to the signing of young acts is a common hurdle.
Pete Stamper is a legend in the Renfro Valley area, performing comedy routines frequently at the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center and hosting radio programs on WRVK. He did not disappoint during his acceptance speech, cutting up with the audience and causing ripples of laughter throughout the Bluegrass Ballroom.
Singer-songwriter Larry Cordle has written songs for some of the biggest names in country music (such as Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Trisha Yearwood) while also fronting his own group, Lonesome Standard Time. When asked what his favorite composition was, Cordle hesitated before answering, “Fields of Home,” recorded by Ricky Skaggs on his 1989 Kentucky Thunder album, and more recently by Cordle himself with Kenny Chesney on All-Star Duets. Cordle gave a disclaimer with his answer, however, stating that he might change his mind and give a different answer if asked the same question tomorrow. After thanking the crowd and saying how proud he was to be from Kentucky, Cordle performed two of his most enduring songs, “Murder on Music Row” and “Highway 40 Blues.”
Montgomery Gentry is one group that did not lose their unique sound while finding success on country radio beginning in 1999. Eddie Montgomery and Troy Gentry have crafted a tremendous career with a string of popular country hits that retain a bit of an outlaw edge. After receiving their Kentucky Music Hall of Fame trophies, the duo launched into raucous performances of “Where I Come From” and “My Town,” and treated the audience to their brand new single, “Folks Like Us,” the title track from their newest album, scheduled for a June release. The crowd responded with a well-deserved standing ovation.
BRIAN LITRELL and KEVIN RICHARDSON of the BACKSTREET BOYS
Brian Litrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys are Kentucky natives, but their fan base is truly international. The “boy band”—which has sold over 130 million records—is preparing to hit the road in China next week, and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. Litrell quipped, “I just turned forty, and they still call us a boy band. And I’m okay with that.” College students Josh Turner and Carson McKee joined Richardson and Litrell in a “Kentucky-style performance” of the hits “I Want It That Way” and “Larger Than Life,” complete with acoustic guitars and a banjo.
Each inductee was well-deserving of the honor, showing humility in the distinction of being chosen as Kentucky Music Hall of Famers, while showing pride in their Kentucky roots.
Learn more about the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame.
Posted on April 11, 2015, in music and tagged Backstreet Boys, Clarence Spalding, Doc Hopkins, Halfway to Hazard, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, Larry Cordle, Montgomery Gentry, Pete Stamper, The Moonglows. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.