In a ceremony that started with Vince Gill and Marty Stuart teaming up to pay tribute to guitarist Grady Martin, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum welcomed its 2015 inductees during a star-studded evening in the CMA Theatre Sunday night in Nashville. Vince played the iconic Spanish guitar on “El Paso,” while Marty mastered the ballad’s myriad verses. Country and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Brenda Lee remembered her insistence Martin be the session leader on her classic recordings, as she officially bestowed the Hall’s medallion on the late guitarist’s family.
Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern recalled how Hall of Fame member Bill Anderson gave the coveted medal to Jim Ed Brown in the hospital, days before he succumbed to cancer this summer. Dierks Bentley proved he could replicate the signature “Pop a Top” sound before launching into Jim Ed’s biggest solo hit. Hall of Famer Bobby Bare remarked that everyone including Elvis had a crush on Bonnie Brown, while older sister Maxine told an off-color joke or two as The Browns took their place in country music’s most legendary ranks.
Entertainer of the Year nominee Garth Brooks, a member of the Hall himself, played guitar for wife Trisha Yearwood to sing the Oak Ridge Boys’ hit “I’ll Be True to You,” joining in himself toward the end. Lead singer Duane Allen’s daughter and her family, known as Martin Family Circus, took the stage to deliver a spirited rendition of the group’s biggest hit, “Elvira.” Then Kenny Rogers relived the Oak Ridge Boys’ transformation from gospel quartet to country music supergroup in the seventies, officially welcoming the Oaks into the fold.
The evening closed with the traditional singing of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” before a gala reception on the Hall’s top floor overlooking downtown Nashville.
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