East of East Nashville, Hermit in Hermitage
Music City Walk of Fame Announces InducteesSteven Curtis Chapman, Merle Kilgore, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Wariner, Kirk Whalum and Hank Williams to be Cemented in Nashville’s Music Mile Nashville, Tenn. – Music City, Inc. today announced the fourth class of inductees to the Music City Walk of Fame, presented by founding sponsor Gibson Guitar: Steven Curtis Chapman, Merle Kilgore, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Steve Wariner, Kirk Whalum and Hank Williams Sr. The honorees will be recognized officially with the unveiling of commemorative sidewalk markers on Sunday, April 20, beginning at 3 p.m. in the Hall of Fame Park in downtown Nashville. The induction ceremony, which is sponsored by Great American Country (GAC), is free and open to the public. The Music City Walk of Fame is an official project of Music City, Inc., the charitable foundation of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau (NCVB), and is produced with the support of presenting sponsor Gibson Guitar and sponsors GAC, the City of Nashville and Metro Parks. “It’s a pleasure to honor the accomplishments of this talented class of inductees,” said Butch Spyridon, president of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Each honoree represents the immense talent, creativity and diverse musical styles that have made Nashville, Music City.” Created in the fall of 2006, the Music City Walk of Fame, on Nashville’s Music Mile, is a landmark tribute to those from all genres of music who have made significant contributions to preserving the musical heritage of Nashville and have contributed to the world through song or other industry collaboration. With the induction of this new class of honorees, there will be 24 total stars along the Walk of Fame. A new brochure promoting the Walk of Fame is now available in Visitors Centers, hotels and venues across the city. Permanent sidewalk medallions made of stainless steel and terrazzo, with each honoree’s name displayed in a star-and-guitar design, will be installed in the sidewalk along the Music Mile. The plaques for this class of inductees will be inlaid in Hall of Fame Park on Demonbreun, between 4th and 5th Avenues South. Nominations were open to the public and accepted in the categories of Artist, Musician, Songwriter, and Producer/Music Industry Executive. Application forms were reviewed by the Music City Walk of Fame anonymous selection committee. “The Music City Walk of Fame continues to celebrate the enormous talent which has originated from Nashville over the years,” said Henry Juszkiewicz, Chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar.“It continues to be an honor to be involved with the Walk of Fame program as it continues to grow and recognize the rich tradition and heritage that only Nashville can claim as its own.” The April inductees for the Music City Walk of Fame: Steven Curtis ChapmanIn his iconic musical career, Chapman has won five GRAMMY© Awards, most recently in 2005 for his release All Things New. Chapman has sold over 10 million records including two RIAA certified platinum albums and seven RIAA certified gold albums. Along with his Dove and GRAMMY © awards, Chapman has won an American Music Award, has recorded 44 No. 1 US radio hits as well as receiving numerous other honors. Chapman has also been awarded 51 Dove Awards, more than any other artist to date. Since his recording career began in 1987, Chapman has recorded sixteen projects with Sparrow Records. He has performed at the White House and has appeared on: CBS, NBC, ABC, CNN, MSNBC, CMT, FOX News, Hallmark, E! as well as the CBS Sunday Morning, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, among many others. Walk of FameOn a personal note, in a response to the miracle they saw in their own family through adoption and with a desire to help eliminate the obstacle of finances for families they knew, Chapman and his family established the Shaohannah’s Hope ministry in 2000. In 2002, as opportunities to financially assist families ready to adopt far outpaced the Chapman’s personal abilities to fund, the ministry began accepting donations to raise further financial grants for willing families. In 2003, Shaohannah’s Hope became an official 501c3 non-profit organization. Arriving at a milestone in October 2006, Shaohannah’s Hope announced the 1,000th grant awarded. To date, they have impacted over 1600 families with grants and receive approximately 125 adoption assistance applications a month, and with current funding capacity awards 30-40 grants each month with an average amount of $3,000. Chapman has become a voice for this cause, with fans, and strangers, and has mobilized hundreds of donors giving to the foundation, with a great need for thousands more. His message has impacted others, and a web of influence has been created through the ministry. For more information, please visit www.showhope.org. Merle KilgoreMerle Kilgore’s illustrious career involved every facet of show business, beginning at age 14 with his first gig carrying Hank Williams Sr.’s guitar at the Louisiana Hayride. He entered professional show business at age 18 as a disc jockey and penned his first million–selling song at age 22. Named one of Billboard magazine’s Top 10 songwriters, Kilgore wrote hit after hit, including “Wolverton Mountain,” “Ring of Fire” which he co-wrote with June Carter-Cash, “Johnny Reb,” and “More and More.”As a performer, Kilgore released multiple Top 10 records including his self-penned “Dear Mama” and “Love Has Made You Beautiful.” Kilgore’s acting career featured him in box office hits Coal Miners Daughter, Robert Altman’s Nashville and Roadie. Kilgore also had the rare opportunity to portray himself in NBC-Telecom’s Living Proof, the life story of Hank Williams, Jr.Kilgore began his management career at Shapiro-Bernstein Music in 1962 and in 1969 became the general manager of Hank Williams Jr.’s music publishing companies. He continued his affiliation with Hank Williams Jr. Enterprises for more than 30 years, serving as Williams personal manager for the last 16 years.Kilgore served as Vice President of the Country Music Association and as a member of its Board of Directors. He also served as president of both the Nashville Songwriter’s Association International and the Nashville Songwriter’s Foundation. Kilgore was voted by his peers CMA’s first Manager of the Year in 1990 and in 1998 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame.Nitty Gritty Dirt BandThe Nitty Gritty Dirt Band formed in Southern California during the spring of 1966 as a scruffy, young jug-band. Forty-two years later, the quartet (Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden, Bob Carpenter and John McEuen) is still going strong. Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s self-titled debut album, released in 1967, included the pop hit “Buy For Me The Rain.” But it was their 5th record, 1970's Uncle Charlie and His Dog Teddy, that would become band's breakthrough project, yielding 3 pop hits including their version of Jerry Jeff Walker's “Mr. Bojangles.” Among the many outstanding tracks on Uncle Charlie was a version of Earl Scruggs' “Randy Lynn Rag.” That cut set into motion what would become the Will the Circle be Unbroken album, a veritable summit of talent which included NDGB’s heroes: Scruggs, Doc Watson, Merel Travis, Roy Acuff and Mother Maybelle Carter. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's Circle... album, a three-LP set, recorded live in the studio in Nashville over six days in 1971, became a landmark event and a multi-platinum success. Circle remains such a significant effort that 30 years later it was one of 50 recordings to be honored and preserved by the Library of Congress. In the early 80’s, after a few more pop hits, the band returned to Nashville once again and began what would become a highly successful career in mainstream country music. Hits that included “Dance Little Jean,” "Workin' Man", "Long Hard Road", “Baby's Got A Hold On Me” and “Fishin' in the Dark” put them at the top of the country charts for over a decade. In 1989, the group revisited the Circle concept, gathering another impressive roster of performers (including Johnny Cash, EmmyLou Harris, Levon Helm, Chet Atkins, Bruce Hornsby, John Hiatt and Roseanne Cash) for sessions that had a pronounced country-gospel feel. Circle II would go on to win three Grammy Awards and the Country Music Association Album of the Year. In 2002 Circle III (with many current artists added to the previous cast) received similar accolades and attention, garnering the International Bluegrass Music Association Recorded Event of the Year award as well as leading to a 2005 Grammy for Country Instrumental Performance (with Earl Scruggs, Randy Scruggs, Jerry Douglas and the late Vassar Clements). With a career that spans five decades, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has gone from a hippie jug-band to pioneers of country rock, and their influence is still being felt today. Steve WarinerGrammy®-winning singer, songwriter, guitarist, producer and Grand Ole Opry member Steve Wariner has made indelible contributions to the world of country music, starting when he joined Dottie West's band as her bass player at the tender age of 17. Seven years later, in 1980, after working for Bob Luman and his musical hero, Chet Atkins, Wariner scored his first top-10 hit, "Your Memory," on RCA Records. Over 30 additional top-10 singles would follow, including 14 #1's—songs like "The Weekend," "Small Town Girl," "Some Fools Never Learn," "Tips of My Fingers" and "Where Did I Go Wrong." Wariner has also written many hit songs recorded by others, including Garth Brooks' "Longneck Bottle" and "You Can't Help Who You Love," Keith Urban's "Where the Blacktop Ends," Clint Black's "Nothin' But The Taillights" and "Been There," and Bryan White's "One Small Miracle." His formidable songwriting skills have earned him 16 BMI Country Awards and 10 BMI Million-Air Awards (for songs receiving over one million on-air plays). In addition to his songwriting awards, Wariner has won two Grammy® Awards—in 1992 for Best Country Vocal Collaboration and in 2000 for Best Country Instrumental. He won the Country Music Association's Single and Song of the Year awards in 1998 for his #1 hit, "Holes in the Floor of Heaven," which was also the Academy of Country Music's Song of the Year in 1999. Wariner has three gold albums to his credit—I Am Ready (Arista), Burnin' the Roadhouse Down and Two Teardrops (Capitol). He joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1996. In 2002 he started his own label, SelecTone Records, for which he has released three albums—Steal Another Day, Guitar Christmas and This Real Life. Known for his humanitarian efforts, Wariner has worked tirelessly on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, earning the 2006 JDRF Angel Award from the Los Angeles Chapter, and the 2004 JDRF Mike Coleman Award from the Knoxville Chapter. He was also the recipient of the 2002 Minnie Pearl Humanitarian Award. Kirk WhalumFrom his beginnings in Memphis, where he played in his father's church choir, Kirk Whalum drew inspiration from the rich musical traditions of that city, including gospel, R&B, blues, and eventually jazz. He received a scholarship to attend music school where he formed a band in 1979. Whalum opened for Bob James in 1984 and impressed him so much that he invited Whalum to play on his album 12. The following year, Whalum signed with Columbia and released his first solo album. The early '90s brought two more Columbia albums, each of which brought Whalum increasing commercial attention. A duet with James titled "Joined at the Hip" took Whalum's career to a new level with his first Grammy nomination. In 1997, Warner Brothers released Colors and the following year, Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter 1. The '90s also brought Whalum an amazingly diverse series of session and touring jobs, working with artists like Whitney Houston, Babyface, Yolanda Adams, Take 6, Bebe & Cece Winans, Barbra Streisand, Edwin Hawkins, Quincy Jones, Kevin Mahogany, Al Green and Luther Vandross. He worked on a number of film scores, including those for The Prince of Tides, Boyz in the Hood, Grand Canyon, and Cousins. Whitney Houston's hit song "I Will Always Love You," which appeared on the hit movie soundtrack The Bodyguard featured a sax solo by Whalum. And, his 1998 release, For You, spent nearly two years at the top of the Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart and yielded four Top Ten NAC hits. In 2000, Whalum released a self-produced album, Hymns in the Garden, which earned him a second Grammy nomination. Since 2001, Whalum has released four studio albums, including his second volume of gospel songs The Gospel According to Jazz: Chapter 2 and Kirk Whalum Performs the Babyface Songbook released on Rendezvous Music in 2005. Kirk's current release, ROUNDTRIP garnered him his eighth Grammy nomination in 2008. He is currently putting the finishing touches on CHAPTER III of the GOSPEL ACCORDING to JAZZ series. Since 2005, Whalum has hosted Music City’s Labor Day jazz festival. He’s also served as an ambassador for Music City, telling the world of the city’s rich musical heritage and diverse music offerings. Hank WilliamsHank Williams’s legend has long overtaken the rather frail and troubled man who spawned it. Almost singlehandedly, Williams set the agenda for contemporary country songcraft, but his appeal rests as much in the myth that even now surrounds his short life. His is the standard by which success is measured in country music on every level. Born in rural southern Alabama, Hank formed the first of his Drifting Cowboys bands in 1938 and the second, more successful, following the war. He quickly became the biggest hillbilly music star in Montgomery. In 1946, Hank signed with the famed Acuff-Rose publishing company and landed a recording contract with MGM the next year. His first MGM release, "Move It on Over," was a hit in the fall of 1947. In 1948, Hank moved to Shreveport, La. to appear on a new radio jamboree, the Louisiana Hayride.In Shreveport, Hank began performing “Lovesick Blues,” a show tune that dated back to 1922. It reached #1 in May 1949, and stayed there 16 weeks. The success of “Lovesick Blues” and its follow-up, “Wedding Bells,” convinced the Grand Ole Opry that Hank should be hired. Hank moved to Nashville in June 1949 and swiftly became one of the biggest stars in country music. Increasingly, he decided to perform his own songs, and, after the success of his own “Long Gone Lonesome Blues” in the spring of 1950, virtually all of his hits were his own compositions. He was one of the most successful touring acts in country music. Every one of his records charted. His songs began finding a wider market than his own recordings of them ever could. Starting with “Honky Tonkin’” in 1949, his songs had been covered for the pop market, but it was not until Tony Bennett covered “Cold, Cold Heart” in 1951 that he began to be recognized as an important popular songwriter. In six short years, Hank Williams lodged almost 40 chart hits, including the country chart toppers “Lovesick Blues,” “Long Gone Lonesome Blues,” “Why Don’t You Love Me,” “Moanin’ the Blues,” “Cold, Cold Heart,” “Hey, Good Lookin’,” “Jambalaya” and “I’ll Never Get Out of This World Alive.” Williams was the first artist elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame, a tribute indicative of his impact.About the Nashville Convention & Visitors BureauThe mission of the Nashville Convention & Visitors Bureau is to maximize the economic contribution of the convention and tourism industry to the community by developing and marketing Nashville as a premier destination. Visit the NCVB’s website at www.visitmusiccity.com.About Gibson GuitarGibson is known worldwide for producing classic models in every major style of fretted instrument, including acoustic and electric guitars, mandolins, and banjos. Gibson's HD .6X-PR Digital Guitar represents the biggest advance in electric guitar design in over 70 years. Founded in 1894 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and headquartered in Nashville since 1984, Gibson' Guitar Corp.'s family of brands now includes Epiphone, Dobro, Maestro, Kramer, Steinberger, Tobias, Echoplex, Electar, Flatiron, Gibson Baldwin Music Education, Slingerland, Valley Arts, Oberheim, Sunshine Piano, Take Anywhere Technology, Baldwin, J&C Fischer, Chickering, Hamilton, and Wurlitzer. Visit Gibson's website at www.gibson.com or www.gibson.com/press. About Great American CountryGreat American Country is America’s main street for the widest variety of country music, its artists and the lifestyles they influence. In addition to country music videos, GAC features original programming, special musical performances and live concerts, and is the exclusive television home of the Grand Ole Opry. GAC is available in more than 44 million households and online at www.GACTV.com. ### The Promise of Nashville, where the music is inspired, created, recorded and performed, is to provide the ultimate musical entertainment experience, celebrated throughout our diverse cultural and entertainment offerings, and presented in an authentic, unique, friendly and unpretentious atmosphere.
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