Lexington, KY (April 18, 2013) – Kentucky music’s finest were honored at the 2013 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
held at Lexington Center’s Bluegrass Ballroom
on Friday evening, April 12
, to a sold out crowd. The event, sponsored by Rockcastle Regional Hospital & Respiratory Care Center
and UK HealthCare
, recognized the accomplishments of Exile, The Kentucky Headhunters, The Hilltoppers, Skeeter Davis, Old Joe Clark, Emory & Linda Martin, Halfway to Hazard, Josh Bleidt
and Steven Curtis Chapman
. To view additional photos from the event, or for more information on the 2013 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony, please visit: www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com
The highlights of the evening included: a chorale tribute to the Hilltoppers by the Western Kentucky University RedShirts; a tearful remembrance of Skeeter Davis by brother James Penick and his wife, Peggy; and powerful performances by Exile and The Kentucky Headhunters.
Exile, who closed the show, expressed their deepest gratitude to all the previous members of their group, including the great Jimmy Stokley, who was recognized posthumously. Kim Owens, Jimmy Stokley’s cousin, accepted the award on Stokley’s behalf.
“It’s such a great honor and such a highlight to be recognized,” expressed a humble Les Taylor, lead singer of the group Exile. “But it’s even more of a highlight to join our friends, The Kentucky Headhunters, Richard Young and the boys, in this honor.” This year, Exile celebrates their 50th year.
Kentucky, which is known as the “Bluegrass State,” is rich in its musical heritage across all genres including pop, rock, country, Gospel and folk. Since its founding in 2002, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame has inducted over 40 of Kentucky’s most notable musicians including Dwight Yoakam, The Everly Brothers, Ricky Skaggs, John Conlee, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Florence Henderson, Patty Loveless and Steve Wariner, to name a few. For more information on the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, please visit: www.kentuckymusicmuseum.com.
Exile burst onto the music scene in 1978 with their hit “Kiss You All Over” from Mixed Emotions, which sold five million copies. Following the departure of lead singer Jimmy Stokley, in 1983, the band re-invented themselves and signed to Epic Records. With a new country twist, the group enjoyed wild success landing nine consecutive No. 1, singles including “I Don’t Want To Be A Memory,” “Give Me One More Chance,” “Woke Up in Love,” and “I Can’t Get Close Enough.” In the decades to follow, the band’s achievements include three gold albums, two greatest hits CDs and several multi-platinum singles including 11 No. 1 hits. The band received 13 award nominations from the Academy of Country Music (ACM) and the Country Music Association (CMA). For more information on Exile, please visit: www.exile.biz
About The Kentucky Headhunters:
The Kentucky Headhunters, best-known for their blues and rock infused country fried sound, exploded onto the charts in 1989 with their tongue and cheek album, Pickin’ on Nashville which hit No. 2 on the U.S. Country Charts. Fans clamored for the perfect marriage of country and rock, propelling the Headhunters’ rendition of the Don Gibson’s classic, “Oh Lonesome Me,” to No. 8 on the Country Billboard chart. Other fan favorites included “Dumas Walker,” “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine,” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Angel.” The band was awarded a GRAMMY award for “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.” Their sophomore album, Electric Barnyard, hit No. 3 on the U.S. Country Chart, which included another fan favorite “Only Daddy That Will Walk the Line” Prior to their chart success, The Kentucky Headhunters had a rich history dating back to 1968 when they originally formed as the Itchy Brothers, enjoying regional success throughout the state of Kentucky. The Kentucky Headhunters still enjoy an active touring schedule and are a cult favorite of fans that enjoy country and rock. For more information on the Kentucky Headhunters, please visit: www.kentuckyheadhunters.com
About The Hilltoppers:
The Hilltoppers started out as a vocal trio at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. Don McGuire, Jimmy Sacca and Seymore Spiegelman soon welcomed Billy Vaughn; Although Vaughn was considerably older than the trio of friends, he fit their vocal style well perfectly thus becoming their fourth member. He brought with him a song he had written called “Tryin,” which the foursome recorded, and through this single the group attracted the attention of Randy Wood, the head of Dot Records in Nashville, Tenn. Without hesitation, Wood signed the Hilltoppers to the label. The single peaked at No. 7. After “Tryin,” a the Hilltoppers produced a series of top 10 hits including “PS I love You, “ “I’d Rather Die Young,” “To Be Alone,” “Love Walked In” “From the Vine Came the Grape” and “Till Then,” and “Marianne” making The Hilltoppers one of the top U.S. vocal groups of the 1950s.
About Skeeter Davis:
Mary Frances Penick, better known as Skeeter Davis, began her solo career in the 1950s making her mark as a pop-country crossover artist. From 1960 to 1962, Davis had top-10 hits with the songs “(I Can’t Help You) I’m Falling Too,” “My Last Date (With You),” “Where I Ought to Be” and “Optimistic.” Davis was the first female country singer to be nominated for a GRAMMY for her single “Set Him Free.” Skeeter was also the first female country artist to be featured on the Midnight Special. Davis went on to receive a total of five GRAMMY Award nominations, including four for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. In 1963 She released her widely-recognized pop classic “The End of the World.” Hailed as an “extraordinary country/pop singer” by The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, Skeeter Davis continued to achieve major stardom in country music as a solo vocalist and songwriter. Davis penned nearly 70 songs, earning two BMI awards for her songs “Set Him Free” and “My Last Date With You.”
About Old Joe Clark:
As a tap dancing, guitar-strumming, mountain balladeer, Manuel “Speedy” Clark joined the ranks of a local band that was playing the schoolhouses and theaters throughout East Tennessee. After 12 years of learning his craft as an all-around entertainer he made his way to Renfro Valley Barn Dance where Mr. John Lair, Renfro Valley’s founder, recognized this young man’s potential as a full-time comic and helped him develop an old man character he called “Uncle Joe Clark,” named after a popular fiddle song of the day. Old Joe’s fame grew over the radio, television and movies. The character appeared in such classics as “Country Music on Broadway,” “Second Fiddle,” “A Steel Guitar,” “Marshall of Windy Hollow” In addition, he even played the Grand Ole Opry with illustrious performers like Bill Monroe.
Emory and Linda Lou Martin:
Billed as “The World’s Only One-Armed Banjo Player,” Emory Martin emerged as one of the most transcendent and revolutionary musicians Nashville had ever seen. Emory played banjo for Kitty Wells and Uncle Dave Macon’s band as well as performing regularly at the Grand Ole Opry. In 1943, he married Linda Lou Arnold and went on to become a regular at the Renfro Valley Barn Dance. Emory dabbled in other professions, but his heart always remained with his wife, Linda, and with country music. In 1991 Emory and Linda published a memoir called “One-Armed Banjo Player: Early Years of Country Music with Emory Martin.” Emory Martin died in April 2006 and is survived by his wife Linda Lou Martin.
Beginning her professional solo career in the late 1950s, Jackie DeShannon encompassed many different sub-genres of music including teen pop, country ballads, rockabilly, blues and Gospel. Her big break came in February 1964 when she supported The Beatles on their first U.S. tour. Her music was heavily influenced by the American West Coast sounds and folk music. Performing in England led to a songwriting partnership with Jimmy Page, followed by DeShannon’s iconic hit of the Bacharach-David classic “What the World Needs Now Is Love” in 1965. DeShannon scored another smash with her own composition, “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” in 1969. Her songwriting skills have delivered hits to other artists including Kim Carnes, Al Green and Annie Lennox, Marianne Faithful, Brenda Lee and others. Jackie won a Grammy for co-writing “Bette Davis Eyes” and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Jackie DeShannon’s achievements as a singer and songwriter make her a well-deserved recipient of the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Halfway to Hazard and Josh Bleidt:
Country music duo, Halfway to Hazard is composed of singer-songwriters David Tolliver and Chad Warrix. Alongside their manager Josh J. Bleidt, of Average Joes Entertainment, Halfway to Hazard has earned great respect in country music and songwriting. Their debut single, “Daisy”, was a Top 40 hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Charts 2007. Halfway to Hazard has toured with heavy hitters like Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill and received a nomination from the Academy of Country Music for Duo of the Year. Tolliver now writes full time for Tim McGraw’s publishing company, StyleSonic. Tolliver and Warrix have penned the tracks “Die by My Own Hand,” “Let Me Love It Out of You” for Tim McGraw’s 11th and 12th studio albums. For more information on Halfway to Hazard, please visit: http://www.halfwaytohazard.com/