Monday, April 20, 2009

Celebrating Music City's Famous

This is April, and in Tennessee, unlike in Texas, the WHOLE of April is a REAL month of Spring. This includes abundant rainfall, which makes this the "greenest State in the land of the free."

Nashville certainly DID receive plenty of rainfall over the weekend, which led to an indoor contingency for a celebration that was initially planned for outdoors. It's a biennial celebration, and at the one last November the weather was such wintry bluster that it really would've been excellent to have had an indoor contingency for it too!

The biennial celebration to which I refer is the Induction Ceremony for the Music City Walk of Stars. The one back in November was on the Ninth, just before I commenced this blog; it surprises me that I ignore the Walk Induction in my first blog. But whatever. . . I went to that Induction because Martina McBride and Randy Travis were two of the inductees. And I've liked both of these country stars since they first hit the airwaves in the 1980s. In fact I liked them BEFORE either became members of the Opry cast. That day was indeed a wintry bluster, so I didn't stick around for the other inductions, even tho' the last of the six was Trace Adkins and I like him, too.

But as I said, today's Induction came with an indoor contingency plan, It was in the Visitor Center at the Broadway and Fourth Ave. corner of the Sommet Center. Part of the Visitors Center is round, being at the bottom of the round tower that tapers upward here. It has a wall of glass windows, looking out on the Nashville Convention Center across Broad, the honk-tonks of Lower Broad, and Ryman Auditorium just up Fourth. This is where the actual ceremony would be held, and seating was reserved. So I sat in the rectangular other portion of the center, before the ticket windows for the Sommet.

As with the ceremony last November WSM's Bill Cody was Emcee, and was dressed in a nice suit, green shirt and blue necktie. Before he opened the program, talented guitarist David Andersen, "The Ambassador of Music City", played instrumental entertainment for us. Six people were inducted this time.

Dr. R.H Boyd was a posthumous inductee. He was important a century ago in National Baptist publishing, and was key to the preservation of traditional African-American music, the music of his people. His descendant, Dr. T.B. Boyd, represented him on the dais during the ceremony.

"Cowboy" Jack Clement, casually dressed in a blue Western jacket and open-neck shirt, is a local Tennessean who performed music but spent most of his life in discovering and producing other who became country music stars.

Mike Curb is the name in this class of inductees that I had known of the longest. You see, for decades I've heard the Mike Curb Congregation -- a singing group probably best known for Disney "It's a Small World". But apparently Mike and his family have been more influential in the production aspect of music, with Curb Records and other endeavors. Know also, dear reader, that the Curb name is on a major new building erected on the Belmont University campus.

Cece Winans is probably next to Mr. Curb the name I've known of the longest. I can remember years ago when she sang gospel duets with her brother Bebe. Then she launched a solo career, and remains quite popular in gospel circles. During her acceptance speech she put things into perspective: her faith and her family are above her singing!

Josh Turner is a name I was surprised to read on the list of inductees, since he's comparatively new to country music popularity -- his first hit "Long Black Train" being less than a decade old. At 31 he's also the youngest inductee ever. But when Bill Cody gave his biographical sketch of young Josh, I could understand that his rise has definitely been meteoric -- sort of like George Strait's two decades earlier! Like Cece, Josh's acceptance speech contained testimony to his lively Christian faith.

Marty Stuart, the final inductee, is also the only inductee who is a member of the cast of the Grand Ole Opry. But he's almost a "Renaissance Man", with personal efforts in writing, photography, preservation of country music and the mementos of country stars. And he has his own, self-named television show on the RFD-TV channel. See my post of 24 February for my attendance at taping for that show.

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