Gill, Tillis Emery to be inducted in Country Music Hall of Fame
By JOHN GEROME
Associated Press Writer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vince Gill, Mel Tillis and Ralph Emery have been selected for induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Their selection was announced Tuesday by Barbara Mandrell, Brenda Lee and Hall of Fame Director Kyle Young. They will be formally inducted in October.
Inductees are chosen by the Country Music Association’s Hall of Fame Panel of Electors, a group of more than 300 voters appointed by the CMA board of directors.
Gill, whose hits include “When I Call Your Name” and “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away,” said he was overwhelmed by the honor and feels blessed to be able to create and perform music for a living.
“Out of all the things you’ve ever done – it just matters, it matters so much,” said the 50-year-old singer, who was accompanied by his wife, Amy Grant, whom he thanked for being a “beautiful friend.”
“It’s been an amazing journey since I learned to play ‘Wildwood Flower’ on the guitar,” he said.
Tillis, who turns 75 Wednesday, said he was working in his garden when he got the news.
“I dropped my eggplant,” he joked, adding that the hardest thing for him – a self-professed “blabbermouth” – was keeping quiet until the announcement.
“I kept my word,” said Tillis, who has stuttered since he was a child but not when he sings. Then he paused a moment and stuttered, “Well, I think I told my son. I’m not going to lie to you.”
Tillis began his career as a songwriter, writing classics such as “Detroit City” and “Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.” His hits as a recording artist include “Good Woman Blues,” “Coca Cola Cowboy” and “Southern Rain.”
He became a member of the Grand Ole Opry this year.
Emery, 74, was selected in the nonperformer category. He was a disc jockey on WSM, which broadcasts the Grand Ole Opry. He also hosted TV programs including “Pop! Goes the Country” and “Nashville Now.” His current show, “Ralph Emery Live,” is on the cable network RFD-TV.
“I never thought I’d be in the Country Music Hall of Fame, at least not in my lifetime,” he said.
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