Country Chatter

Dottie West, Ricky Skaggs and Johnny Gimble to be Inducted into Country Music Hall of Fame


Dottie West, Ricky Skaggs and Johnny Gimble were announced as the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame on Tuesday (March 27). The revealing of the inductees was hosted by Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood in the rotunda of the hall in Nashville.

The Class of 2018, was selected by an anonymous panel of industry leaders assembled by the CMA and will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame during a medallion ceremony in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s CMA Theater later this year.

Dottie West is best known for her hits “Country Sunshine” and “A Lesson in Leavin’.” She is the 2018 Veterans Era inductee.

Dorothy Marie Marsh was born outside McMinnville, Tenn. on Oct. 11, 1932. She moved to Nashville with her husband in the early 1960’s so she could follow her dream of country music. West began writing her own songs and in 1963 “Is This Me,” became a hit for Jim Reeves. She was then signed on to RCA Records and scored her first Top Ten with “Here Comes My Baby” in 1964. The success of the song helped her to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a Grammy Award for Best Female Country Performance.

In the early 1970s, West’s Coca-Cola jingle, “Country Sunshine,” became one of her biggest hits and eventually became her signature song. She and Kenny Rogers recorded together later in the 70’s and had a hit with “Every Time Two Fools Collide.,” They took home the Vocal Duo of the Year honors at two consecutive CMA Awards. She released her last album, Just Dottie in 1984. She died on September 4, 1991, several days after she was in a car accident that left her with serious injuries.

Ricky Skaggs is a 15-time Grammy Award winner and has been making music for more than five decades. He is the 2018 Modern Era inductee.

He has had many #1’s including “I Don’t Care,” “Honey (Open That Door),” “Uncle Pen” and “Country Boy.”

Skaggs was born in Cordell, Ky. on July 18, 1954 and by the time he was five-years-old, he was playing the mandolin.  At six years old, he shared the stage with the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe; at seven, he appeared on Flatt and Scruggs’ television show.

When he was in his teenage years, Skaggs and his friend Keith Whitley joined Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. The teens played numerous concerts with the bluegrass great and appeared on his “Cry From the Cross” record. After few years of Stanley’s grueling schedule, Skaggs left the Clinch Mountain Boys.

During the 1970s, Skaggs was a member of some of the finest bands in country and bluegrass history including the Country Gentlemen, JD Crowe and the New South and Emmylou Harris’ Hot Band. He currently fronts his own top-notch group, Kentucky Thunder.

Skaggs began to pursue his own solo career in the late 70’s and early 80’s. He recorded his first No. 1 country hit, “Crying My Heart Out Over You (a song originally recorded by Flatt and Scruggs) in 1981. He became a Grand Ole Opry member in 1982, and in 1985, he won the Entertainer of the Yewar Award from the Country Music Association. In addition to his latest honor as the newest member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, he is also a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and Musicians Hall of Fame.

Johnny Gimble, who had a career as a Western Swing Fiddler that spanned 60 years and performed with artists including Bob Wills, Willie Nelson and George Strait. He is the 2018 Recording and/or Touring Musician inductee.

John Paul Gimble was born May 30, 1926 near Tyler, Texas. He learned to play the fiddle and mandolin as a boy and was inspired by many of the days musicians of other genres including jazz violinist Stuff Smith and Western Swing fiddler Cliff Bruner. By the time he was 12-years-old he was performing at dances and on radio stations with his brothers in a band that would eventually be named the Rose City Swingsters.

After serving in World War II, things really took off for him. In 1949, he joined Bob Wills’ Texas Playboys and three years later, Gimble fiddled on Marty Robbins’ debut single, “I’ll Go on Alone,” which topped the country charts.

He moved to Nashville in the late 1960s. In Music City, he was an in-demand session player. He appeared on now-classic recordings like Connie Smith’s “If It Ain’t Love,” Merle Haggard’s “If We Make It Through December,” Chet Atkins’ 1974 album “Superpickers” and George Strait’s version of “Right or Wrong.”

Gimble won two Grammys for his work with Western Swing outfit Asleep at the Wheel, five Instrumentalist of the Year Awards from the Country Music Association and Fiddler of the Year Awards from the Academy of Country Music. In 1994, he was awarded a prestigious National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1999.

In 2010, released his final album “Celebrating with Friends,” a collection of collaborations with artists like Nelson, Haggard, Ray Benson, Dale Watson, Vince Gill and others. Gimble died May 9, 2015 at the age of 88.

The official Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place later this year. The Class of 2018 will be the 58th group of country music artists to be inducted into the Hall of Fame adding to the current 133 members.

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