March means Hall of Fame ballots are in the hands of the 300 or so CMA and Hall of Fame members who are now deciding who will have their career crowned with induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2014.
And that means it's time for my annual plea. As I was like a baseball player in a slump last year (a big 0-fer) the list isn't going to change much this year.
Should Induct: The #1 act on this list isn't going to change until they get inducted. That's Teddy and Doyle Wilburn. C'mon, folks, I know these guys ruffled more than a few feathers in their lifetimes, but they are both gone now; and, Webb Pierce had more than his share of people he'd urinated on (or pissed off) in his life but he was eventually forgiven and inducted. Put the Wilburn Brothers in now.
Also Consider: Jerry Reed (who should've been inducted before he died); Hank Locklin (ditto); the Maddox Brothers and Rose (sole surviving Maddox Brother Don is now 92 and isn't getting any younger); the Browns; Archie Campbell; Cowboy Copas (see Eddie Stubbs' comment every time he plays a Copas song: "He did much more in country music than just die in a plane crash with Patsy Cline"); the Blue Sky Boys; Al Dexter; Elton Britt; or Johnny Horton. But honestly, don't consider any of these until Teddy and Doyle Wilburn get inducted.
Should Induct: Randy Travis. In fact, if I were a betting person I'd bet the ranch, the farm, and five wheel barrels full of Monopoly money on his induction this year. Why? Because of the near-fatal stroke he suffered last year. There's a rule that takes a person off the ballot for three years once they die to prevent the "sympathy vote;" however, there's no such rule for a serious illness. Sad to say that I think he'll be inducted because of the life-threatening medical problems he had in 2013; however, having said that, as Garth Brooks said at his induction a couple of years ago, there aren't too many people more deserving than this neo-traditional superstar.
Also Consider: Keith Whitley; Ricky Skaggs; Ray Stevens; Gene Watson; or Tanya Tucker.
ROTATING CATEGORY (Songwriter):
Should Induct: Hank Cochran. It's criminal that he wasn't inducted before he died. This is his first year of eligibility since his death, and I think the man who wrote everything from "I Fall to Pieces" to "The Chair" should be a shoo-in.
Also Consider: Rodney Crowell (if you aren't going to induct him as a performer put him in for being the incredible songwriter he is); Guy Clark (he may get a sympathy induction); Jenny Lou Carson (my initial response: "you mean she's not already in?"); or Curly Putman.
The announcements will happen sometime in the next six to eight weeks. If the Wilburn Brothers get inducted I'll probably be on CNN: "Writer arrested for doing back flips off statue in Buddy Killen Circle to celebrate Hall of Fame announcement."