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CMA ANNOUNCES JOHNNY GIMBLE, RICKY SKAGGS AND DOTTIE WEST AS THE COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2018

NASHVILLE—The
Country Music Association held a press conference this morning to
announce the 2018 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame—Johnny Gimble, Ricky Skaggs and Dottie West.

Gimble will be inducted in the “Recording and/or Touring Musician”
category, which is awarded every third year in rotation with the
“Songwriter” and “Non-Performer” categories. Skaggs will be inducted in
the “Modern Era Artist” category, while West will be inducted in the
“Veterans Era Artist” category. Gimble, Skaggs and West will increase
membership in the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame from 133 to 136
members.

“This honor is the highest achievement in our industry, and each of
this year’s inductees have helped define Country Music throughout the
decades,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “We’re
thrilled to congratulate them today and welcome them into the
distinguished circle that is the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

Upon receiving the news, Gimble’s family shared their immediate
reactions: “Touched. Happy Hearted. Proud of Papa. Grateful. Honored.
Blessed. Amazingly Graced!”

“I was totally shocked and I burst into tears when I heard that I was
going to be the newest inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame,”
said Skaggs. “When I came to Nashville in 1980, I came to play music and
hopefully get a record deal. All of that happened, but I never dreamed
that I’d ever be a member of this hallowed Hall. ‘Why me? And why now?’
was going through my mind. There are so many others that have inspired
me, encouraged me, ones that I’ve truly learned from, and ones that have
made such great contributions to Country and Bluegrass music. I’m
humbled and very grateful to soon be listed among my many heroes.”

“The whole West family is full of emotion,” said West’s daughter,
Shelly West. “When I got the news that Dottie was being inducted, I
don’t remember if I was laughing or crying louder! My heart just swelled
as I knew that Mom’s fans would soon hear this sweet news. Our deepest
thanks to our great and hardworking CMA folks and our special friends at
the Country Music Hall of Fame. Although she sings in the angel’s band
these years, she has needed her resting home on earth. She will have
that home here at the Country Music Hall of Fame, sharing her love with
all.”

A formal induction ceremony for Gimble, Skaggs, and West 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.

“This year’s class of inductees is notable not only for their indelible
individual achievements, but also for the extent to which they have
aided other artists’ greatness,” said Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of
Fame® and Museum Chief Executive Officer. “Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West,
and Johnny Gimble are revered for their open-minded approaches to music,
but beloved because of their open-hearted approaches to life.”

The press conference was hosted by Country Music Hall of Fame member,
13-time CMA Awards winner and reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Garth
Brooks, as well as three-time CMA Awards winner Trisha Yearwood. The
announcement was made in the rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame
in Nashville and livestreamed on CMA’s YouTube channel. Media assets are available for download at CMApress.com.

Recording and/or Touring Musician – Johnny Gimble 

One common thread between the music of Jimmie Davis, Bob Wills, Merle
Haggard, Willie Nelson, and George Strait is that each man’s musical
odyssey would eventually carry them to the rotunda of the Country Music
Hall of Fame. A key ingredient in each of those iconic artists’ musical
paths was the fiddle playing of Johnny Gimble. Now, the legendary
musician will be represented alongside these artists as a 2018 inductee
into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the Recording and/or Touring
Musician category.

Gimble was born May 30, 1926 in Tyler, Texas. The music bug bit him
early, as he was playing the fiddle by age 10. Before the 1940s, he was
playing professionally as a member of a band called the Rose City
Swingsters alongside his brothers. One of his early gigs was playing
music during Jimmie Davis’ campaign for Governor in Louisiana. After
serving his country in World War II, Gimble returned to his native Lone
Star State and performed on local radio shows. His musicianship would
merit the attention of Bob Wills, who hired him to be a member of his
Texas Playboys in 1949, an association that would last on and off
through the 1960s.

His fiddle work would be heard on hundreds of classic hit recordings
over the years, with Marty Robbins’ 1952 chart-topper “I’ll Go On Alone”
being one early example. His tasty licks would grace classic hits from
Connie Smith and Conway Twitty. In 1970, Gimble added his touch to Merle
Haggard’s seminal A Tribute to the Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World (or, My Salute to Bob Wills).
Over the years, Gimble’s work was heard on television series such as
“Hee Haw” (where he was a member of the Million Dollar Band) and “Austin
City Limits.” He was also a key element of the 1973 disc Superpickers from
Chet Atkins, which featured (in addition to Atkins) Country Music Hall
of Fame members Hargus “Pig” Robbins and Charlie McCoy.

In 1979, Gimble once again took on the role of a road musician, with a
two-year stint in Willie Nelson’s band – also appearing in the singer’s
“Honeysuckle Rose” film. In 1982, he went in front of the camera to
portray the man who gave him his first major musical break – Bob Wills –
in the Clint Eastwood theatrical release “Honkytonk Man.”

All along the way, Gimble continued to make melodies with his fiddle
that found their way into the hearts of millions of Country Music fans
around the world. In 1983, a rising young artist who grew up enamored by
the music of Wills named George Strait utilized Gimble’s magic on his Right or Wrong
album. This working relationship would prove to be one of the longest
associations of his career. He would appear on 10 of Strait’s albums
through 1992, becoming a key part of Strait’s early sound on such hits
as “Baby’s Gotten Good At Goodbye” and “All My Ex’s Live In Texas.”

Gimble’s work earned him 15 CMA Awards nominations, including 14
nominations for Instrumentalist/Musician of the Year from 1975 through
1990. He won five times, in 1975, as well as 1986-87, and 1989-90. Along
the way, he also tallied two Grammy trophies.

Johnny Gimble died on May 9, 2015 at the age of 88. Fans can celebrate
the collection of legendary musicians as it grows a little larger with
the induction of Johnny Gimble into its hallowed ranks.

Modern Era Artist – Ricky Skaggs

Born July 18, 1954 in the hills of Eastern Kentucky, Ricky Skaggs was
influenced by a wide variety of sounds and artists. The bluegrass music
of his region set him on his musical trek early, playing a mandolin
given to him by his father, Hobert, at age five. By the age of 10, he
had already shared the stage with heroes Bill Monroe and Flatt &
Scruggs, honing his skills as a player and as a singer in many bands
around the area in the years that followed.

It was in one of those bands where Skaggs met Keith Whitley, the two
forming a lifelong friendship. Their musical chemistry together
impressed Ralph Stanley, who selected the two teenagers to play and sing
in his Clinch Mountain Boys band. Throughout the 1970s, he continued to
develop his chops, playing with The Country Gentlemen and J.D. Crowe
before launching his own musical troupe, Boone Creek (which featured
Jerry Douglas and future Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill). 
He then came to the attention of Emmylou Harris, who invited him to
join her Hot Band – where his musical talents continued to gain a
following.

In the early 1980s, he set out on his own solo journey, signing with
Epic Records in Nashville. His first single, “Don’t Get Above Your
Raising,” was a remake of a Flatt & Scruggs classic. Released during
the peak of the “Urban Cowboy” movement, the record made it to No. 16
on the Billboard Country singles chart. His third single, a
stone-cold Country performance of another Flatt & Scruggs single –
“Crying My Heart Out Over You” – topped the chart in April of 1982.

Whether it was making classic Country sounds by Ray Price or Webb
Pierce cool to younger generations, or releasing such musically
exhilarating sets as Highways and Heartaches or Country Boy,
Skaggs became a musical tour de force in the 1980s. He racked up awards
just as quick, from the CMA Awards Male Vocalist of the Year as well as
the Horizon Award in 1982 to the Entertainer of the Year trophy just
three years later.

As trend-setting as he was as a recording artist, where Skaggs dazzled
the most was on the stage. Whether at the Grand Ole Opry (where he
became a member in 1982) or across the pond (site of his landmark 1985 Live In London
disc), his performances are truly magical. He also demonstrates
wizardry in the studio, producing not only his records but sets from
acts such as The Whites and Dolly Parton, as well as the recent Love Remains disc from Hillary Scott & The Scott Family.

In the mid-1990s, he made a promise to Bill Monroe, as “The Father of
Bluegrass Music” was nearing the end of his life, that he would help to
keep the flame of the music that Monroe created alive. Beginning in 1997
with the formation of Skaggs Family Records, he did just that with
albums that introduced those sounds that impressed him as a youngster to
a new and receptive audience.

Chart numbers – though plentiful in the 1980s – simply don’t do the
Skaggs story justice. Neither do the eight CMA Awards wins, 15 Grammys,
and 13 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards trophies.
One need only look at the sheer magnitude of the artists that Skaggs
has shared a microphone with over the years – ranging from Flatt &
Scruggs to Bruce Hornsby to modern-day superstars such as Keith Urban –
to see the evolution and musical genius of Ricky Skaggs, from teenage
prodigy to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, and now, his fitting
induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Veterans Era Artist – Dottie West

If ever there was an example of a Country Music artist rising above the
odds to achieve stardom, it would be Dottie West. The events of her life
flowed like the lyrics of the songs that became favorites of fans
around the world. Her penchant for composing – as well as identifying –
lyrics that struck a chord with listeners carried her on a journey that
includes the Grand Ole Opry, television stardom, and now, her induction
into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Born Dorothy Marie Marsh on October 11, 1932 near McMinnville,
Tennessee, she endured an abusive childhood at the hands of her father
while working as a teenager in her mother’s restaurant. Music became her
outlet to escape the real world, as she began playing guitar with a
local band while in high school.

After graduation, she continued her education with a music scholarship
at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. It was there she
would meet Bill West, whom she would marry. The young couple moved to
Cleveland, Ohio, where she began to appear on a local television
program. All the while, West continued to keep her heart and mind
focused on that musical mecca just a few miles up the road from her
hometown – Nashville.

She made repeated trips to Music City in hopes of getting her songs
heard throughout the 1950s. By 1959, she achieved her goal – a recording
contract with Starday Records. Though recording success would elude her
there, her compositions began to be heard around town, as she toured
and became friends with such performers as Patsy Cline. 

In 1963, superstar Jim Reeves recorded her song “Is This Me?” and the song became a No. 3 record on the Billboard Country
singles chart. She soon signed with RCA Victor, where she recorded with
Reeves on “Love Is No Excuse” and then hit solo stardom with the
self-penned “Here Comes My Baby.” The song helped West become the first
female artist in Country Music history to win a Grammy and launched a
run of hits that included “Would You Hold It Against Me” and “Paper
Mansions.”

Two of West’s hits for RCA Victor – “Country Girl” and “Country
Sunshine” – were featured in television campaigns for Coca-Cola, with
the latter winning a coveted Clio award for television advertising.

In 1976, West signed with United Artists Records, where she found an
immediate hit with “When It’s Just You and Me.” Not long after, she was
finishing up a recording session one afternoon when the next artist who
happened to show up early was Kenny Rogers. The two began to harmonize
on a song that she was going to record, and the rest was history. That
record, “Every Time Two Fools Collide,” topped the charts in short order
and served as the catalyst for a pair of Gold-selling albums,
back-to-back CMA Awards for Vocal Duo of the Year, and one of the most
successful tours in Country Music history.

The duets with Rogers also propelled West’s solo career to new heights,
with songs such as “Are You Happy Baby?” and “A Lesson In Leavin’”
becoming fan favorites. In addition to her own recorded work, she was
instrumental in the careers of several other artists, musicians, and
songwriters including Grand Ole Opry members Larry Gatlin, Jeannie
Seely, and Steve Wariner. As she entered her fifties – an era where
women in the format typically slowed down – she continued to plow ahead
in new creative fields including film and theater.

On her way to an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry in August of 1991,
West was involved in an automobile accident. Despite three surgeries,
and a valiant fight for her life, she succumbed to her injuries at the
age of 58. Now, the career trajectory of Dottie West places her in the
same destination that her previous duet partners of Jim Reeves, Kenny
Rogers, Don Gibson, and Jimmy Dean have landed – the Country Music Hall
of Fame.

About the Country Music Association

Founded in 1958 and celebrating its 60th Anniversary in 2018, the
Country Music Association is 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 7,800 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 annually recognize outstanding achievement in the industry; CMA
Fest, which benefits the CMA Foundation and music education and is taped
for a three-hour network television special, “CMA Fest”; 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 air on the ABC Television network

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