It took decades and even some campaigns from journalists in country music (like our dearly departed friend Chuck Dauphin’s passionate pleas) but Hank Williams, Jr. is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame as of August 12, 2020. The county music Icon is joined in the 2020 Country Music Hall of Fame class by iconic songwriter Dean Dillon and country music historian and all around musical wizard, Marty Stuart.
Dillon will go in under the “Songwriter” category, which is awarded every third year in rotation with “Recording and/or touring musician,” and “Non-Performer” categories. Stuart is going in under the “Modern Era Artist” category while Williams will be inducted in under the “Veteran Era Artist” category.
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome Dean, Marty and Hank Jr. into the unbroken circle and honor this revered milestone,” says Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “I’m sad we can’t toast this year’s class in person at the Country Music Hall of Fame, but I hope this news can bring some joy and cause for celebration during this time that our world has turned upside down. In particular, our hearts are with Hank and his family following the recent loss of his daughter, Katherine.”
“I was just speechless,” says Dillon. “Trying to soak in the words that I had just heard. My life flashed before my eyes. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.”
"It is the ultimate honor in Country Music,” says Stuart. “I’m so honored to be included in this class and I’m honored to be included alongside Hank Jr. and Dean Dillon. I love those people. To be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is beyond words. I’m usually not at a loss for words.”
“Bocephus has been eyeing this one for awhile. It’s a bright spot during a difficult year,” says Williams. “I have been making Top 10 records for 56 years. I fell off a mountain and tried to reinvent myself as a truly individual artist and one who stepped out of the shadows of a very famous man...one of the greatest. I’ve got to thank all those rowdy friends who, year after year, still show up for me. It’s an honor to carry on this family tradition. It is much appreciated.”
“In this, the most exclusive of music halls of fame, we now have three new deserving members,” says Kyle Young, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum Chief Executive Officer. “One is the son of one of American music’s greatest masters who became a self-made master of his own. One is a child of tough-town Mississippi who became a force for togetherness, inclusion and righteous musicality. And the third is an East Tennessee kid who triumphed over a hard youth to write words and melodies that have enriched us all. In a year of turmoil, strife and dissent, this announcement is something all of us can cheer.”
In a normal year, the Hall of Fame would’ve had a big press conference to announce their new members but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the CMA traveled to Dillon and Stuart to capture their reactions. Details of the formal ceremony will be released at a future time and we’ll bring that info to you when it is. In the meantime, we hope you go check out the impressive catalogs of music from each of these three talented singer/songwriters! (Dillon, if you don’t know, is the frequent collaborator of George Strait and has written iconic songs like “Ocean Front Property,” “The Chair” and David Allen Coe, George Jones and Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” among others.