The Country Music Association has selected Hank Williams Jr. for entry into the Hall of Fame.
Williams will be inducted alongside Marty Stuart and songwriter Dean Dillon , but the 71 year old is expected to get the loudest whoops and hollers from fans and insiders.
Williams is being inducted in the "veterans era artist" category, Stuart was named in the "modern era artist" division and Dillon was selected in the "songwriter" category.
Although no one will doubt the worthiness of Stuart and Dillon, Williams will no doubt be the most talked about inductee in many years, largely because so many fans considered him overlooked in previous years. Williams' recording career and legacy of hits dates back to 1964.
The singer alluded to the idea that the award might have been a while in coming while expressing gracious thanks in an emotional statement.
"It's a bright spot during a difficult year", Williams said. (Pandemic aside, the singer suffered tragedy in June when his daughter, Katherine Williams-Dunning, died in a car crash.)
"I have been making Top 10 records for 56 years," Williams continued. "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 honour to carry on this family tradition." (His father was inducted into the hall in 1987.) "It is much appreciated."
Stuart is one of the form's foremost historians as well as one of its stars, and might be the one country music singer who would be completely capable of switching gears to run and program the Country Hall of Fame himself on a moment's notice.
Dillon is among the most revered of country songwriters, living or dead, and is most famous for a long association with George Strait that has included that superstar alone recording more than 50 of his songs. (Among the Strait/Dillion catalogue: hits like "Down and Out," "Marina del Rey," "The Chair," "Nobody in His Right Mind Would Have Left Her," "Ocean Front Property," "Famous Last Words of a Fool," "If I Know Me" and "Easy Come, Easy Go.")
"I was just speechless," said 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."
The hall said that news about the traditional medallion ceremony for 2020's crop would come at a later date.
Australian Associated Press