The Country Music Hall of Fame announced its newest members on Monday (March 18), at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Rotunda. Brooks & Dunn, Ray Stevens and Jerry Bradley are named the modern era artist, veterans era artist and non-performer inductees, respectively, of the Country Music Hall of Fame, to be officially inducted later this fall.
Upon accepting their honor, Brooks & Dunn’s Ronnie Dunn and Kix Brooks remarked on their career achievement and love for country music. “It’s beyond an honor to be here,” Dunn said to a room full of industry, Hall of Fame members and media. “It hasn’t soaked in and it probably will sometime, when I’m off by myself, I’ll have an emotional moment I’m sure.”
He then turned the microphone over to his partner, Brooks, as he congratulated him. Brooks, who came to Nashville in 1980, recalled first visiting the Country Music Hall of Fame during an early visit.
“Like most of the people in this room, I’m just a fan of country music. I grew up being a fan of country music, I’m still a fan of country music and that’s why we dedicate our lives to doing this,” he added. “The fact that we would be in the Hall of Fame, that’s just not something you think about. Even when you’re winning awards . . . the faces on this wall I will never consider my peers, most of them. I idolize them and the fact that I get to share a little space on that wall, it’s hard to describe how it makes me feel.”
Stevens, who will be inducted under the veteran artist category, also shared his gratitude for receiving the honor.
“This is without a doubt the greatest honor that anybody can ever receive, not only in Nashville but any place in the world,” he marveled upon his name being called. “It’s almost too much to take in to tell you the truth. To be recognized to being worthy of joining this group of folks who are already members of the Hall of Fame who I have admired for many years.”
Bradley, who will be joining his father, Owen, and uncle, Harold, in the Hall of Fame, was visibly emotional throughout much of his speech.
“I want to think the Country Music Association and the Country Music Hall of Fame for this great honor,” he remarked before tearing up, thanking his wife for being on his journey with him for 41 years. After thanking several people in the industry for giving him countless opportunities, including Chet Atkins, he choked up sharing his appreciation for his father and uncle, both members of the Hall of Fame.
“It certainly was fun working with Charley Pride, Alabama, Dolly [Parton], Waylon [Jennings] and Willie [Nelson], that one was really fun. Jerry Reed. That one was fun, too. Ronnie Milsap and all the other artists during my career at RCA. This is the greatest honor anyone could receive in country music and I want to congratulate the others,” he added. “I’ll be proud to take my place in the Hall of Fame along with my dad, Owen.”
A formal induction ceremony will be held for Bradley, Brooks & Dunn, and Stevens later this year at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The induction into the Hall of Fame is the pinnacle of achievement in country music.