Country Chatter

2017 Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

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Three of the most popular and successful Country artists will join the Country Music Hall of Fame when neotraditionalist, Alan Jackson; chart topping songwriter, Don Schlitz and the personable and talented musician and singer, Jerry Reed are inducted later this year.

The Country Music Association (CMA) announced the class of 2017 of inductees for the Country Music Hall of Fame yesterday in an event hosted by Hall of Fame member Vince Gill and attended by Jackson and Schlitz. Reed passed away in 2008.

All three inductees had major success in Country music and expanded the borders of the genre with their singing, songwriting and musicianship. Jackson, is one of the best selling solo artists in any music category, Schlitz has written number one records that are considered classics and Reed was known for his guitar work, and later for his songs after he paired up with a guy named Burt Reynolds as a sidekick in a movie that defined the 70’s.

Alan Jackson

As a songwriter, recording artist, and performer, Alan Jackson brought tradition-drenched country music into the new century.​

A member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Jackson has sold more than sixty million albums and notched twenty-six Billboard #1 country singles. His often-autobiographical songs are marked by humility, humor, and eloquent simplicity. He is a three-time CMA Entertainer of the Year, and his plainspoken “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” won a Best Country Song Grammy.​

Jackson revived songs recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame members Tom T. Hall, George Jones, and Don Williams, and he wrote gems including “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,” “Drive (For Daddy Gene),” “Livin’ on Love,” and “Remember When,” all of which mined personal experience in communicating communal truth. In a recording career that began in 1989, he has lived by a simple edict that Cleveland Country Magazine has utilized since 1991 –  “Keep it Country.” ​

Don Schlitz

Don Schlitz is among the most impactful and eloquent songwriters in country music history.

Schlitz’s first hit came in 1978, when Kenny Rogers recorded “The Gambler,” an epic composition that garnered a Grammy Award and that became both a signature song for Rogers and a highlight of country music’s modern era. Schlitz went on to co-write major hits including “On the Other Hand,” “Forever and Ever, Amen,” “When You Say Nothing at All,” “Strong Enough to Bend,” “Old School,” “Gimme Wings,” “Deeper Than the Holler,” “I Take My Chances,” “I Feel Lucky,” “Learning to Live Again,” and many more. His songs have been recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame members Alabama, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Ronnie Milsap, George Strait, and Randy Travis.

Elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1993 and to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2012, Schlitz is known for songs that brim with wisdom and empathy. For decades, those songs have been heard during regular appearances at Nashville’s Bluebird Café, where Schlitz co-created the now-prevalent “in-the-round” format with collaborators Fred Knobloch, Paul Overstreet, and Thom Schuyler.

Jerry Reed

Jerry Reed made indelible marks on country music as a recording artist, a songwriter, and a virtuoso guitarist.

Reed’s guitar work was marked by syncopation and complexity, while his songwriting and stage persona conveyed strutting wit and backwoods intelligence. Raised in Georgia, he moved to Nashville in 1962, taking jobs as a session guitarist and writing songs for country heavies including Porter Wagoner. Encouraged by guitar great Chet Atkins, Reed developed an instantly recognizable and idiosyncratic guitar style that suited humor-filled compositions including “Guitar Man” and “Amos Moses.” He and Atkins won a 1970 Grammy for instrumental album Me and Jerry, and Reed followed that a year later with a Grammy for country male vocal performance on “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot.” A third Grammy, this one for country instrumental performance, came in 1993 for another duo effort with Atkins.

Other major Reed hits include “Lord, Mr. Ford,” “East Bound and Down,” and “She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft).” He also won positive notice for his acting roles in films including W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings, and Smokey and the Bandit.

“Every move he made was to entertain, and make the world more fun,” said Reed devotee Brad Paisley. “Because he was such a great, colorful personality with his acting and songs and entertaining, sometimes people didn’t even notice that he was just about the best guitarist you’ll ever hear.”

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