The 2011 Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place Sunday night in Nashville, Tenn., but it featured several Oklahoma stars.
Two Oklahomans were added to the hall: Reba McEntire, who hails from Chockie, and Jean Shepard, who was born in Pauls Valley. But several other state stars performed in honor of the 2011 induction class, which also included songwriter/producer Bobby Braddock.
The ceremony Sunday provided ongoing reminders of Oklahoma’s tremendous influence on country music, The Oklahoman columnist Bryan Painter reports from the ceremony. It began with Vince Gill, born in Norman and raised in Oklahoma City, joining the McCrary Sisters to sing the traditional opening hymn, performing “Down by the Riverside.”
On Sunday night, Reba sat in the Ford Theater listening to the songs that made her a household name. She joined the hall in its “Modern Era Artist” category.
Perhaps the most special of those was a duet as her sister Susie McEntire-Eaton and Trisha Yearwood, who lives in Owasso, sang “How Blue,” reports Bryan.
In another duet, friends Martina McBride and Kelly Clarkson performed the hit McEntire had with Linda Davis on guest vocals, “Does He Love You.”
Gill delivered “Somebody Should Leave.” But that wasn’t all for the Oklahomans as Garth Brooks, born in Tulsa, raised in Yukon and living in Owasso, sang “Whoever’s In New England.”
Country legend Dolly Parton ushered Reba into the hall of fame, and her appearance Sunday night was a surprise, Bryan reports.
The first time McEntire met Parton was historic as well. That was September 1977, and it was McEntire’s first performance on the “Grand Ole Opry.” Bryan reports that Reba’s voice tightened with emotion remembering that day more than 30 years ago.
“That was 30 years to the day that daddy won the All-Around at the Pendleton Round-Up,’” she said. Her father Clark McEntire, a three-time world champion steer roper, has been battling health issues this year, including strokes and was unable to attend.
Shepard, who was born in Pauls Valley, moved with her family to Hugo at age 3 and then grew up primarily in California, was inducted into the hall’s “Veterans Era Artist” category Sunday night by George Jones, according to Bryan’s story.
“The Grand Lady of the Grand Ole Opry,” as Shepard is known, told the audience, “I love my music, I love what I do and I do what I love.”
Braddock, who has delivered five decades of country hits, was inducted by Bill Anderson. Recently married Oklahoma country music stars Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert also performed the George Jones and Tammy Wynette hit Braddock wrote with Rafe Van Hoy, “Golden Ring.” Braddock produced Shelton’s first three albums and co-produced his fourth and fifth albums.
To read Bryan’s excellent full report, click here.