Country Music Hall of Fame Reveals Its Class of 2018: Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West and Johnny Gimble
The Country Music Hall of Fame revealed its Class of 2018 inductees on Tuesday (March 27): Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West and Johnny Gimble. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood emceed the special press conference at the Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
The Country Music Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 comes from three different categories: Veterans Era Artist (West), Modern Era Artist (Skaggs) and Recording and / or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980 (Gimble). Each year, a Veterans Era (eligible for induction 40 years after first achieving national prominence) and Modern Era (eligible for induction 20 years after reaching national prominence) artist are inducted into the Hall of Fame, while the Recording and / or Touring Musician category rotates with the Non-Performer and Songwriter categories.
A 15-time Grammy Awards winner, Skaggs admits in a press release that he was "totally shocked" and "burst into tears" when he first learned of his Country Music Hall of Fame induction. The bluegrass and country icon was also near tears numerous times during his speech during the press conference.
"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," Skaggs says. "I'm humbled and very grateful to soon be listed among my many heroes in this great Country Music Hall of Fame."
West was just 58 years old when she died following a 1991 car crash on her way to a Grand Ole Opry performance, but her induction into the Hall of Fame has long been championed by those who knew her. West was a true pioneer in country music, dominating the male-centric industry in the '60s with 15 albums (she even earned a Grammy along the way!) and teaming up with Kenny Rogers in the '70s and '80s for hits such as "Every Time Two Fools Collide," "All I Ever Need Is You" and "What Are We Doin' in Love." In true West fashion, she nabbed her first No. 1 on her own, with her 1980 solo release "A Lesson in Leavin'."
West's son Kerry and one of her dear friends, Jeannie Seely, accepted the Hall of Fame induction on West's behalf. Seely recalled West's love of light and noted, "I can't help but think that she's probably gonna have every damn light in Heaven burning tonight."
Also a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member (inducted in 1999), Gimble was a Tyler, Texas, native who began his career in bands with his brothers. After serving in World War II, he found work as a fiddler on Texas radio and in Texas dance bands, but things really took off for him when, in 1949, he joined Bob Wills' Texas Playboys.
Gimble worked with Wills until the early 1960s, and moved to Nashville in 1968. He also played, throughout his career, with Marty Robbins, Merle Haggard and many, many more. He died in May of 2015, at the age of 88. On Tuesday, his son Dick, daughter Cyndy and granddaughter Emily attended the Hall of Fame inductees announcement to share in the excitement.
The official Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place later this year. The Class of 2018 will be the 58th group of country music artists to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Here's the Full List of Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees