Country Music Hall of Fame inducts Ray Charles, The Judds, Pete Drake, Eddie Bayers
Country music’s strong roots in religion, family and celebration were tested on Sunday and proved resilient at the 2022 Country Music Hall of Fame medal ceremony.
The event honored iconic black country-loving musician Ray Charles, The Judds, and groundbreaking session musicians, guitarist Pete Drake and drummer Eddie Bayers.
“We’re not going to be sad today,” Hall of Famer Ricky Skaggs said as fellow Kentucky compatriots Naomi and Wynonna Judd were inducted into the Hall. His remarks referred to the death, just a day before, of 76-year-old Naomi from causes attributed to mental illness.
The decision to continue with the medal ceremony in the wake of the tragedy was the choice of the Judd family.
Skaggs continued, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” His quote from the New Testament book of Matthew 5:4 was one of many direct appeals to religion to heal grief and sadness throughout the evening.
Before Skaggs’ speech, Kyle Young, CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, said the Judds were synonymous with brothers Carter, Delmore and Everly in country music history. He then added that the duo “sang their hearts out loud and lived their lives out loud ‘while'[singing] on harmony even when they were not living in harmony.”
Following brief tearful remarks from her younger sister Ashley (“I’m sorry that [Naomi] couldn’t hold out until today”), Wynonna Judd spoke for four minutes. She said Naomi Judd, 76, died at 2:20 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. She said the last moments of life of his mother included the prayer of the 23rd psalm of the Bible.The crowd present recited the Psalm in unison with Judd to end his speech.
“It’s a weird dynamic to be so broken and blessed… But even though my heart is broken, I’ll keep singing,” Wynonna Judd said.
Joy was still part of the proceedings, however.
Eleven appearances by artists who have sold nearly 300 million albums over the past half-century were also a highlight. In particular, recent singer and artist of the year Carly Pearce, winner of the ACM and CMA awards, performing The Judds in 1984’s “Grandpa (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Old Days)” and the scintillating version of The War and Treaty . of Ray Charles’ 1962 track “You Don’t Own Me” “Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music” were warmly received.
Plus, Trisha Yearwood sang her classic (featuring Eddie Bayers drums) “Walkaway Joe,” along with veteran performer and recent The Voice runner-up Wendy Moten singing George Jones’ legendary “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” .
Artists such as Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, blues legend Bettye Lavette, as well as Gillian Welch and David Rawlings offered renditions of classic country anthems featuring the new inductees. Additionally, Marty Stuart closed the event with a rousing cover of the Carter family’s century-old anthem, “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.”
Charles was inducted by his friend and fellow blind country legend Ronnie Milsap. The joy on Milsap’s face joined the crowd present overcoming their sadness at the induction just before the Judds to stamp their feet on the floor and applaud when the opening piano chords of the Blind Pianist’s 1959 hit ” What I’d Say” played during his induction video.
Regarding the singer known for songs like “I Can’t Stop Loving You,” who died in 2004 as inimitable, Milsap, a 2014 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee, added, “There was one and one. alone. He sang country music as it should be.
As for session musicians Pete Drake and Eddie Bayers, they—as slide guitarist and drummer, respectively—were intrinsically responsible for the melodic and rhythmic moments that spawned two consecutive generations of country music’s pop-crossover eras.
Drake died in 1988, but as a member of Nashville’s A-Team of Top Session Musicians for two decades, he performed on songs such as Tammy Wynette’s 1969 “Stand By Your Man” and “He Stopped Loving Her Today” by George Jones, which is considered by many country aficionados to be one of the genre’s quintessential tracks.
His styles being so intrinsic to country music history – as well as being the inventor of the talking music actuator (or “talkbox”) that inspired artists like Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh of the Eagles and many others to experiment with voice-amplified instrumentation – landed him the first pedal steel guitarist to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
As for Eddie Bayers, he was described by Hall of Fame CEO Young as a “metronome with a heart”, whose most notable attribute was “serving the song, its singer and fellow musicians”. , more than himself.
As described, the man responsible for starring on many 90s country hits, after receiving his Hall of Fame medallion, highlighted the importance of his wife to his career. Ahe honored the Judds by noting that he was the drummer on the demo recordings that Naomi Judd passed on to producer Brent Maher, which led to the duo being signed to RCA Records.
Closing the medal ceremony, 2019 Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Artist-in-Residence and 2020 inductee Marty Stuart said, “Country music’s broad shoulders and even bigger heart have been presented here tonight”.