The Country Music Association announced that this year’s inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame are Ronnie Milsap, Hank Cochran and Mac Wiseman.
Guests were welcomed to the Hall of Fame rotunda by CMA CEO Sarah Trahern, who brought Kix Brooks out to emcee the morning’s announcements.
2013 inductee Bobby Bare announced Hank Cochran as the representative in the “Songwriter” category, joking, “He fell in love at least once a month. And he married them.” But it was Hank’s wife of nearly 30 years, Sue, who accepted the honor on her late husband’s behalf while Jamey Johnson, who released a tribute album to the songwriting great—Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran—looked on. Among Hank’s numerous hits were Patsy Cline’s “She’s Got You” and “I Fall to Pieces,” co-written with Harlan Howard, George Strait’s “The Chair,” written with Dean Dillon, and “Ocean Front Property,” written with Dillon and Royce Porter.
Industry veteran Jo Walker Meador announced bluegrass great Mac Wiseman as the honoree in the “Veteran Era Artist” category. The humble singer regaled the crowd with a story of meeting fellow inductee Hank Cochran, who asked him about his Thermos. Mac explained that it “keeps hot things hot and cold things cold.” At their next meeting he discovered Hank had his own Thermos, so he asked what was in it. The legendary songwriter replied, “A cup of coffee and a popsicle.” Witty and charming, Mac also explained that while he suffered from post-Polio syndrome, he was still healthy and sharp and could recall events from the age of 4, but couldn’t remember what he had for breakfast.
Young country hitmaker Hunter Hayes was emotional as he announced Ronnie Milsap as the Hall of Fame’s new “Modern Era Artist” inductee and cited him as a great influence in his career. Hunter stated that the gifted pianist set the bar high for performers in country music and that he often tried to replicate Ronnie’s effortless vocals. The jubilant and youthful Ronnie stepped up to the microphone and proclaimed, “Let the celebration begin!” With a career that boasts nearly three dozen No. 1 singles and numerous awards, including six Grammys and eight CMAs, Ronnie was also quick to thank his wife for supporting him throughout his career.
Ronnie, Mac and Hank will be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame later this year at the annual medallion ceremony. Congratulations to the new members!