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CHARLIE DANIELS, FRED FOSTER, AND RANDY TRAVIS AS NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

CMA ANNOUNCES CHARLIE DANIELS, FRED
FOSTER, AND RANDY TRAVIS AS NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

NASHVILLE – The Country Music Association announced today
that Charlie Daniels, Fred Foster, and Randy
Travis
will become the newest members of the revered Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

Daniels will be inducted
in the “Veterans Era Artist” category, while Travis will be inducted in the
“Modern Era Artist” category. Foster will be inducted in the “Non-Performer”
category, which is awarded every third year in a rotation with the “Recording
and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980” and “Songwriter” categories.
Daniels, Foster, and Travis will increase membership in the coveted Country Music
Hall of Fame from 127 to 130 members. It is the first time that all of the inductees
hail from the same state (North Carolina) since 1985.

“Each year, the announcement of the new Country Music
Hall of Fame inductees is always a cause for celebration,” said Sarah
Trahern
, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s class features
three individuals who are revered for their respect of Country Music’s deep
traditions, but are equally regarded for forging their own unique paths, taking
the industry in new directions, and growing the fan base.”

“I have harbored many lofty ambitions,
but I was almost afraid to dream that I would ever be inducted into the Country
Music Hall of Fame, what a surprise, what a blessing. Thank you God,” said Daniels.

“The halls of fame are
built for, and by, those that make a difference in their chosen career,” said
Travis. “I chose a career that I loved – and, it made a difference in me!
My greatest joy was sharing my song and my God-given talent with family, friends,
fans, and the industry. Thank you for giving me the chance, for believing in me
along the way, and for allowing me to ‘hang my hat’ alongside some of my greatest
heroes. I am honored to join those before me, and humbled to go ahead of those
that will follow into Country Music’s Hall of Fame: no greater award could I
ask to receive. God bless CMA and God bless our country’s music—Forever and Ever, Amen!”

“Being involved in Country
Music is like being part of an extended family,” said Foster. “We all share
common goals and we do our best to honor the heritage and tradition of the music. 
Having been able to make a living doing what I love for 58 years has truly been
a blessing.  Without the support of so many talented singers, songwriters,
musicians and engineers, this award would never have been possible. I share this
honor with all of them. Thank you CMA; this will go to the top of my most cherished memories.” 

Formal induction ceremonies
for Daniels, Foster, and Travis will take place at the Country Music Hall of Fame®
and Museum in the CMA Theater later this year. Since 2007, the Museum’s Medallion
Ceremony, an annual reunion of the Hall of Fame membership, has served as the
official rite of induction for new members.

CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961
to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the
format with Country Music’s highest honor.

“I marvel at the contributions of these three pathfinders
who make up the class of 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees,” said Kyle
Young
, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. “Fred Foster,
Charlie Daniels, and Randy Travis came along in different eras and specialized
in different things, but they each arrived with inventive, highly individualistic
creative approaches. They ran against the grain of history, and in so doing they
created their own indelible, historical marks.”

Hosted for the second year by Hall of Fame member Brenda
Lee
, the announcement was made today in the Rotunda of the Country Music
Hall of Fame in Nashville and could be seen via live stream on CMAworld.com
with the archived footage being available through the end of the month. Media
assets are available for download at vistalive.net/CMAHOF

Veterans Era Artist
– Charlie Daniels
Few musicians have had as varied and enduring
an impact on Country Music as Charlie Daniels, the hard-charging, North Carolina-born
fiddler who brought down-home sounds to the suburbs in a variety of ways and helped
spread the genre to its widest audiences yet.

With the crossover hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,”
Daniels left an indelible mark on pop music with a song that was as much folk
tale as blazing rocker. The song displayed everything that was exciting about
Daniels and his band, perfectly capturing the blend of genres and styles he likes
to call “CDB Music” with its pace and virtuosity, mythos, and fiery sense of righteousness.

Daniels was born Oct. 28,
1936, in Wilmington, and his musical roots are informed by Pentecostal gospel,
local bluegrass bands, and the seemingly conflicting sounds of Nashville’s WSM
and WLAC, Nashville’s Country and onetime R&B station, respectively, whose
signals carried across the Appalachians.

Those four sounds combined to create rock ‘n’ roll
around the time Daniels graduated high school in 1955. Already proficient at fiddle,
mandolin, and guitar, Daniels formed his first band, the Jaguars, and began to play live.

The group stopped in Fort
Worth, Texas, on its way to California to record a song with producer Bob Johnston.
Nothing much came of the instrumental “Jaguar,” which had been picked up by
Epic Records for national distribution. But Johnston’s friendship would shape
Daniels’ career in other ways for decades to come.

In 1964 Daniels and Joy Byers co-wrote “It Hurts
Me,” a B-side recorded by Elvis Presley. Over the next few years Johnston tried
to convince the multi-instrumentalist to move to Nashville and in 1967 Daniels
took his distinctive bull-rider hat, wild beard, and outsized persona to Music
City where he quickly made an impact in the studio.

Daniels recorded with musicians as diverse as Al Kooper,
the Marshall Tucker Band, and Marty Robbins, among his many credits, and made
significant contributions to the historic sessions that yielded Bob Dylan’s
Nashville Skyline. He also appeared on Dylan’s enigmatic albums New
Morning
and Self Portrait. During this time Daniels also produced
the Youngbloods’ 1969 album Elephant Man and toured Europe as part
of Leonard Cohen’s backing band.

Importantly, he also began work on his first album, Charlie
Daniels
, released by Capitol Records in 1970. His next three albums on Kama
Sutra Records yielded only the modest hit “Uneasy Rider.”

Daniels’ shaggy sound began to
connect with the public with the release of 1974’s Fire on the Mountain.
The singles “The South’s Gonna Do It” and “Long Haired Country Boy”
charted in 1975 at a time of renewed interest in Southern culture and the album
went Platinum. The LP started a strong run for Daniels and his band with five
of their next eight albums going Platinum or Gold.

The peak of this run came in 1979 when Daniels released
Million Mile Reflections, a title that referred to CDB’s countless
days on the road. The album included “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” a song
that became a cultural phenomenon. “Devil” went to the top of the charts at
Country, peaked at No. 3 on the pop list, and appeared on the soundtrack for “Urban
Cowboy,” the Country-popularizing movie in which Daniels made a cameo appearance.

The song helped the group
earn a number of honors, including the CMA Award for Single of the Year and a
Grammy Award. The song remains both a radio staple and a favorite cover nearly 40 years later.

Daniels continued to have
success as both a recording and touring act for decades to come. Over the years,
he continued to explore musically, recording songs inspired by his faith and political
beliefs. He contributed “Kneel at the Cross” to the Grammy-winning compilation
Amazing Grace: A Country Salute to Gospel, and “Just a Little Talk
With Jesus” to its 1997 sequel. In 2002 he released How Sweet the Sound:
25 Favorite Hymns and Gospel Greats
.

Still busy creating music and performing, in 2014 Daniels
released a tribute to the music of Dylan, Off the Grid: Doin’ It Dylan.
He followed that up in 2015 with Live At Billy Bob’s Texas, a 14-track
project that brought the talents of the Charlie Daniels Band together with the
likes of legendary Country artists including Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Gary
Stewart, David Allen Coe, Pat Green, Randy Rogers Band, Stoney LaRue, Charlie
Robison, and many others as a member of the Live at Billy Bob’s Texas family. 

Daniels, now 79, has overcome
two major health scares – prostate cancer in 2001 and a mild stroke in 2010
– and continues to perform more than 100 dates a year. He was inducted into
the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and the Musicians Hall of Fame in 2009. 

Modern Era
Artist – Randy Travis
Very few figures in Country Music stand
out as signposts along the way, the trendsetters who fearlessly predict and influence
the future of the genre. Randy Travis is one of these performers, and his impact
still reverberates in the modern-vs.-traditional ebb and flow of popular trends.

Blessed with a voice straight
from the church altar, Travis immediately reminded fans of Country Music’s roots
when his songs came to popular attention for the first time in the mid-1980s after
years of rejection. Travis’ voice helped launch the neo-traditionalist movement
with heartfelt Country and gospel songs that sounded so earnest and honest because,
it turned out, the North Carolina-born singer had lived those hard times and sometimes
found the redemption he sang about.

Born Randy Traywick on May 4, 1959, in Marshville, N.C., Travis
grew up on a rural farm and began performing as a child with his brother Ricky
as the Traywick Brothers. Travis often clashed with his father and dropped out
of school, getting into scrapes with the law that continued until he won a Country
Music singing contest at a club run by Elizabeth “Lib” Hatcher in Charlotte.
She took an interest in the teen and gave him a job at the club.

This was the start of a professional
and personal relationship that would shape Travis’ life for the next 25 years.
The two moved to Nashville in 1982 to pursue a recording deal for Travis and married
in 1991. Hatcher took over as manager of the Nashville Palace and hired Travis
to sing and cook there. After initial failures in North Carolina and Nashville
– Travis says he was turned down by every label in town at least once for being
too Country – Warner Bros. Records A&R executive Martha Sharp took notice
of the singer after hearing him perform at the Nashville Palace and set out to
champion him as Randy Travis.

Travis’ first single, “On the Other Hand,” barely registered
on the charts in 1985, but the next, “1982,” rose to the Top 10. Warner Bros.
re-released “On the Other Hand” and it quickly became Travis’ first No.
1 single, beginning a run of 10 more chart-toppers out of his next 12 hit singles.
The subsequent album Storms of Life was the first of six straight Platinum
certifications for sales in excess of one million units and announced Travis as
an exciting new voice.  He would win the Horizon Award for best new artist at the 1986 CMA Awards.

“Forever and Ever, Amen,”
the first single from his 1987 album Always & Forever, also went
to No. 1 and helped Travis score the first of seven career Grammy Awards. Always
& Forever
also took Album of the Year at the 1987 CMA Awards, where Travis
also won Male Vocalist and Single of the Year.

With his next four albums – Old 8×10, No
Holdin’ Back
, Heroes & Friends, and High Lonesome –
 Travis  would go on to have 16 No. 1 songs, charting more than
50, and selling more than 25 million albums. The singer pursued an acting career
in the 1990s and scored more than 40 motion picture and television roles, including
“The Rainmaker” with Matt Damon and a run of several “Touched By an Angel” episodes.

Travis turned primarily
to gospel music around the turn of the century, giving his career an unexpected
boost with the release of the iconic single “Three Wooden Crosses” in 2002.
The song went to No. 1 on the Country and Christian charts and was the 2003 CMA
Awards Song of the Year. Travis earned eight Platinum certifications and four
Gold records in his career and is one of Country’s top-selling artists.

The 56-year-old singer’s
public performance career was put on hold in 2013 when Travis suffered a stroke
as a result of a viral infection in his heart. With doctors telling the family
that hope was virtually lost and after spending six months in the hospital, he
has fought back harder than ever and is now able to walk. His speech and singing
continue to improve with hopes of being back in front of his loyal fans one day soon. 

He is currently living
on his ranch in Texas with his wife Mary Davis-Travis, where he continues physical
rehabilitation and has been making special appearances including attending the
Opry Trust Fund dinner honoring Warner Bros. Records executive Jim Ed Norman;
attending the recent TJ Martell Honors Gala; and last year at Cowboys Stadium,
where he received a standing ovation from the 70,000 people in attendance.

Non-Performer
– Fred Foster
When producer and label owner Fred Foster moved
Monument Records from Washington, D.C. to Nashville in 1960, he came to town to
create something different than what the established Music City recording industry
was then producing. Within a decade, Foster’s fearless musical tastes helped
launch the iconic careers of fellow Country Music Hall of Fame members Kris Kristofferson,
Dolly Parton, and Willie Nelson while also writing an important chapter in rock ‘n’ roll music history.

Foster cemented his pIace
in the annals of music history with the signing of Roy Orbison. Their recordings
remain towering achievements and added an emotional complexity to the nascent
genre and inspired a legion of future rock ‘n’ roll stars, including The Beatles
and a young Bruce Springsteen.

Orbison’s success with Monument gave Foster the confidence
and capital he needed to forge his own path in Nashville, a habit developed in his teen years.

Born July 26, 1931, in
rural North Carolina, Foster took over the family farm at age 15 when his father
died. Two years later he left for D.C., where his sister Polly lived. Resolving
to be anything but a farmer, Foster began to write songs with local talent while working as a hotel carhop.

His first job in the music
business was as a record store clerk and his early work involved promotion and
distribution. He began recording local acts on the side, even helping future fellow
Hall of Fame member Jimmy Dean cut early tracks. He joined Mercury Records in
1953 and eventually became Head of National Country Promotion. But after making
his first trip to Nashville to determine why Country sales were flat, he clashed
with executives over the direction of the label’s sound, which he felt was antiquated in the age of rockabilly.

During his short tenure
at ABC/Paramount (1956), he acquired the master to the label’s first million-seller,
“A Rose and a Baby Ruth” by George Hamilton, IV. He also signed Rock and
Roll Hall of Fame member Lloyd Price to the label. Price’s hits included:
 “Stagger Lee,” “Personality,” and “I’m Gonna Get Married.”  

Soon after his stint at
ABC/Paramount, Foster started Monument Records – a nod to the nearby Washington
Monument – and publishing house Combine Music in 1958. He used the earnings
from the company’s first hit song, Billy Grammer’s “Gotta Travel On,”
to move to Nashville two years later.

He soon signed Orbison and began a run of recordings
from 1960 to ‘64 that included “Only The Lonely,” “In Dreams,” “Running Scared,”
“Blue Bayou,” “Blue Angel,” “Dream Baby,” “Crying,” “Candy Man,” “Mean Woman Blues,”
“It’s Over,” and “Oh, Pretty Woman.” 

Around this time Foster signed a young Parton, helping
her shape not only her sound but the infectious and bawdy persona that won over
the nation. Of Parton, Foster said: “Sometimes you just know…sometimes. And
that makes up for all the times you had to guess.” Foster recorded her first
album, Hello, I’m Dolly, which yielded the hits “Dumb Blonde” and
“Something Fishy.” The songs immediately identified Parton as a star and showed
she was anything but a dumb blonde.

Foster worked with a number of noted artists during this time,
including Grandpa Jones, Nelson, Ray Price, Boots Randolph, Ray Stevens (Foster
produced the No. 1 “Guitarzan”), Billy Walker, Tony Joe White, and Jeannie
Seely, recording her 1967 Grammy Award-winning song “Don’t Touch Me.”

The producer also met Kristofferson
during this period and recognized he was more than a poetic songwriter, urging
him to record and perform his own songs. Their first album together, 1970’s
Kristofferson, displayed the singer-songwriter’s transcendent talent
and contained many of his hallmark songs, including “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’
Down,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “For the Good Times,” and
“Me and Bobby McGee.” Foster shares a co-writer’s credit on the latter for
suggesting the song title “Me and Bobby McKee,” named for a nearby female
office worker. Kristofferson misheard him and eventually delivered “Me and Bobby McGee.”

Foster, now 84, sold Monument
and Combine in 1990, but has continued to produce music, winning a Grammy for
his work with Nelson and Price on Last of a Breed in 2008. He was inducted
into the Musician’s Hall of Fame in 2009 and, along with his friends Kristofferson
and Nelson, received the prestigious Dale Franklin Award from Leadership Music
in 2010. Two years later, his home state inducted Foster into the North Carolina
Music Hall of Fame. Foster received a Trustees Award for his contributions to
music from the Recording Academy earlier this year.

About CMA: Founded in 1958, the Country
Music Association was the first trade organization formed to promote a type of
music. In 1961, CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame to recognize artists
and industry professionals with Country Music’s highest honor. More than 7,450
music industry professionals and companies from around the globe are members of
CMA. The organization’s objectives are to serve as an educational and professional
resource for the industry and advance the growth of Country Music around
the world. This is accomplished through CMA’s core initiatives: the CMA Awards,
which celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and annually recognize
outstanding achievement in the industry; the CMA Music Festival, which benefits
music education and is taped for a three-hour special; and “CMA Country Christmas,”
featuring Country artists performing original music and Christmas classics for
broadcast during the holiday season.  All of CMA’s television properties
will air on the ABC Television network through 2021.

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