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Goodbye, Troy Gentry

(April 5, 1967 – September 8, 2017)

Country music singer Troy Gentry died today in a helicopter crash in New Jersey. The Montgomery-Gentry star was born in Lexington, and the duo was honored by the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2015.

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Photoset: Larry Cordle, Montgomery Gentry, the Backstreet Boys and more (KY Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, Lexington KY)

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inductees

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

Halfway to Hazard Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

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.

Halfway to Hazard Kentucky Music Hall of Fame


DOC HOPKINS

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.”

Kenneth Hopkins Doc Hopkins Kentucky Music Hall of Fame


THE MOONGLOWS

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

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

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.


LARRY CORDLE

Larry Cordle Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

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.”

Larry Cordle Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Larry Cordle Kentucky Music Hall of Fame


MONTGOMERY GENTRY

Montgomery Gentry Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

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.

Montgomery Gentry Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Montgomery Gentry Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Montgomery Gentry Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Montgomery Gentry Kentucky Music Hall of Fame


BRIAN LITRELL and KEVIN RICHARDSON of the BACKSTREET BOYS

Brian Litrell and Kevin Richardson Backstreet Boys Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

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.

Brian Litrell Backstreet Boys Kentucky Music Hall of Fame

Kevin Richardson Backstreet Boys Kentucky Music Hall of Fame


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.

Hall of Fame videos

The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Class of 2015 is Montgomery Gentry, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys, Doc Hopkins, Pete Stamper, Larry Cordle, The Moonglows, and Clarence Spalding.

Montgomery Gentry

Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys

Doc Hopkins

Pete Stamper

Larry Cordle

The Moonglows

Clarence Spalding (manager for Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn and more)

The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum 2015 Induction Ceremony will showcase some of Kentucky’s greatest musical talent through live performances from pop icons Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys, country music superstars Montgomery Gentry, acclaimed duo Halfway to Hazard, comedian Pete Stamper, rhythm and blues/doo-wop group The Moonglows, songwriter Larry Cordle, and additional surprise acts, including a moving tribute to the late Doc Hopkins.

Taking place on Friday, April 10 at the Lexington Center, Bluegrass Ballroom, the ceremony will honor the 2015 class of inductees to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, including Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys, Clarence Spalding, Doc Hopkins, Larry Cordle, Montgomery Gentry, The Moonglows, and Pete Stamper. These honorees will join other Kentucky native music professionals to be eternally recognized for their contributions to music in the state of Kentucky and around the world. The event will also honor those who have lent their time, talent and resources to preserve the state’s rich musical heritage.

For more information on the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum 2015 Induction Ceremony, please visit www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com/induction.html.

How does Kentucky celebrate its diverse musical heritage?

From the Backstreet Boys to Montgomery Gentry, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame embraces diversity. It is called the Bluegrass State for good reason, but Kentucky residents appreciate more than just banjo music. Influenced by the Nashville scene to the south, many Kentucky musicians go the country route. Past inductees to the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame include Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Dwight Yoakam, Keith Whitely, and John Michael Montgomery.

On April 10, 2015, Eddie Montgomery will join his younger brother as the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry is inducted into the Hall of Fame. montgomery gentryTen days later, the group’s eighth studio album will be released on Blaster Records. I still recall hearing “Hillbilly Shoes” for the first time in 1999. I was the program director for a radio station in southern Kentucky, reviewing new country singles for possible airplay. As soon as I heard Troy Gentry’s baritone voice, I knew this song would be in heavy rotation—not only on our station, but on country stations across the nation. What I could not predict was the immense popularity the duo would enjoy throughout their career as other artists of the time faded into obscurity.

The Backstreet Boys also have eight albums to their name since 1996, and have enjoyed massive Backstreet Boyssuccess particularly among the female population. Two members of the boy band, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson, hail from Lexington, and will be honored as 2015 Kentucky Music Hall of Famers. Littrell and Richardson are more than just bandmates—they are first cousins. Littrell has appeared on all BSB records, as well as the NKTOBSB compilation with New Kids on the Block. Richardson left the group after the 2005 release Never Gone, but returned for 2013’s In a World Like This. The Backstreet Boys have toured extensively since 2013 to promote that release, and are scheduled to perform in Asia less than a week after the Hall of Fame induction.

The other 2015 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame inductees are country singer Doc Hopkins, country music comedian Pete Stamper (“A Chevy-Kaiser-Olds-Mo-Laca-Stud-War-Linco-Baker”), vocal R&B group The Moonglows, manager Clarence Spalding, and singer/songwriter Larry Cordle (“Murder on Music Row”).
Kentucky Music Hall of Fame
The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will take place April 10, 2015, at the Lexington Center. Tickets to the historic event are still available and include a three-course meal served banquet-style, giving attendees the chance to “dine with the stars.” Reserve your table today by calling 877-356-3263 or 606-256-1000.

For more information about the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, please visit www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com.

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Announces 2015 Induction Class

Honorees Include Montgomery Gentry, Backstreet Boys’ Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell, Larry Cordle, Clarence Spalding, Pete Stamper, Doc Hopkins & The Moonglows

Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony To Take Place April 10, 2015

Kentucky Music Hall of FameRENFRO VALLEY, Ky. (October 29, 2014) – From the unadorned and untrained mountain music performed on front porches to the refined and ever-expanding boundaries of today’s sounds, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame will once again honor all forms of Kentucky music at the Induction Ceremony on April 10, 2015 at Lexington Center’s Bluegrass Ballroom. As varied as Kentucky’s scenic landscapes, the 2015 honorees include: Country duo Montgomery Gentry, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys, singer-songwriter Larry Cordle, artist management icon Clarence Spalding, country comedian, songwriter, musician and broadcaster Pete Stamper, Kentucky legend Doc Hopkins and pioneer R&B group The Moonglows. The 2015 induction class will join other Kentucky native music professionals to be honored for their contribution to music in the state of Kentucky and around the world. Tickets for this prestigious induction ceremony are currently on sale. For more information on the 2015 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, please visit: www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com.

Kentucky, which is known as the “Bluegrass State,” is rich in its musical heritage across all genres including pop, rock, country, Gospel and folk. Since its founding in 2002, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame has inducted over 40 of Kentucky’s most notable musicians including Dwight Yoakam, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, John Conlee, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Florence Henderson, Patty Loveless and Steve Wariner, to name a few. The Kentucky Music Hall of Fame provides Kentuckians, young and old, with a coherent picture of their musical past. The contribution which Kentucky has made to all genres of American music is immeasurable. The preservation effort of artifacts and history is underway. For more information on the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, please visit: www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com.

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