The 2013 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame will be announced in March. And, as usual, I'm endangering my life by holding my breath (not recommended for asthmatics) to see if finally some decades-long overlooked people will make it.
My annual plea looks like this:
Modern Era: Keith Whitley or Ricky Skaggs. Given what Garth Brooks said in his speech when his induction was announced last March -- he felt it was wrong that he was going into the Hall of Fame ahead of the 80's trailblazers like Whitley and Skaggs -- I'm inclined to believe that one of the two will be inducted this year.
We can also hope for: Gene Watson or Ronnie Milsap. Both are worthy performers with the credentials to merit an induction. Milsap, in particular, was the first country performer to have a video make it to MTV.
Please NO!: Billy Ray or Shania. If either of these two are inducted it will be, as a friend of mine once said, based upon what they have done TO country music instead of what they have done for country music.
Veterans Era: Cowboy Copas. Any other year I would be pulling for the Wilburn Brothers to finally make it, but March 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Copas' death in a plane crash. There would be no better way to commemorate this terrible loss than to put this legendary act into the Hall of Fame.
We can also hope for: the list is way too long. The Browns, the aforementioned Wilburns, the Maddox Brothers and Rose, Jerry Reed, Hank Locklin, Archie Campbell, Ray Stevens, etc. etc. etc.
Please NO!: just one inductee this year. The backlog of worthy veterans is so long that something has to be done to play "catch-up" before the grandchildren of deserving acts like Elton Britt and Al Dexter die off. Induct two. Better still, induct five. That'll reduce the list of overdue acts by about .01%.
Rotating Category - Non-Performer: Syd Nathan. Syd didn't do very much for country music, he just founded the very first all-country music label in history (King Records) and introduced the world to Grandpa Jones, Homer & Jethro, Cowboy Copas, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Wayne Raney, Bill Carlisle, Moon Mullican, and re-introduced us to the Delmore Brothers.
We can also hope for: the late, great historian Charles K. Wolfe, author of dozens of books on the history of country music; or Lowell Blanchard, the WNOX program director who founded the Mid-Day Merry-Go-Round where Roy Acuff, Archie Campbell, Homer & Jethro, Don Gibson, Johnnie & Jack, Kitty Wells and the Louvin Brothers (among others) got their start.
Please NO!: a Nashville-based executive. The CMA has caught a lot of flack for appearing too self-serving through the years for giving their retiring president Hall of Fame induction instead of a gold watch. It's very difficult to find an industry inductee who wasn't based in Nashville (Ken Nelson is one of the few). Prove those nay-sayers wrong and induct someone outside of metro Nashville (and by that I do not mean it's okay if they live in Franklin or Hendersonville) for a change!