Reba McEntire joined Sarah Trahern, the Chief Executive Officer of the CMA, this morning to share the Country Music Hall of Fame’s 2021 inductees – Eddie Bayers, Pete Drake, Ray Charles, and The Judds.
This year’s inductees represent three categories – Modern Era Artist, Veterans Era Artist, and Recording or Touring Musician.
Drummer Eddie Bayers and late steel pedal player Pete Drake represent the Recording or Touring Musician category, both of whom represent the first of their instrument to be inducted in the CMHOF.
Bayers’ talent can be heard on over 300 gold and platinum records, where he played for artists including George Strait, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Alabama, Brooks & Dunn, Garth Brooks, Vince Gill, The Judds, George Jones, Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Randy Travis, Keith Whitley, Tammy Wynette, Trisha Yearwood. and more. He has been a member of the Grand Ole Opry house band since 2003, was named the ACM’s top drummer 14 times, and has been nominated for CMA’s Musician of the Year 10 times.
Drake has had an undeniable influence on the heart of Country music, as he played steel guitar on Lynn Anderson’s “Rose Garden,” Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man,” Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl” and George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” Throughout his career, his pedal steel can be heard on albums by Bobby Bare, Kris Kristofferson, Ronnie Milsap, the Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, The Statler Brothers, Hank Williams Jr. and Ray Charles. His influence made its way into the world of Rock and Roll, as well, where he played on projects for Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, and Ringo Starr.
Willie Nelson has often stated that “Ray Charles did more for Country Music than any single artist has ever done” throughout his career, especially with his 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. That record spent 14 weeks at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s pop albums chart, a record that would not be matched by another Country album for 30 years. The record truly showed the Country music industry the power of a crossover artist, and opened a new world of possibilities to producers and industry professionals alike. Throughout his career, Charles won 17 GRAMMYs, was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and was nominated for two CMA awards.
Naomi & Wynonna Judd complete the list of 2021 honorees. The Judds have long been recognized as one of the most successful duos in Country music, garnering 20 top 10 hits between 1984 and 1991, 14 of which made it to the No. 1 spot. The mother-daughter duo went on to win 8 GRAMMY awards, 9 CMA awards, and 7 ACM awards throughout their career, and together created some of the most instantly recognizable songs of the genre, like their chart-topping hits “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Grandpa (Tell Me ’bout The Good Old Days),” and “Love Is Alive.”
About this year’s inductees, Trahern shared:
“The works of this year’s inductees span crucial timestamps of Country Music history…this impressive career landmark is the pinnacle of accomplishment in Country Music and I’m so proud to see Eddie, Ray, Pete, Naomi and Wynonna getting their much-deserved plaques on the wall of the Rotunda. Today’s fans and generations to come will forever be reminded of the distinct impact each made on this genre.”
Headline Photo Courtesy of the CMA Country Music Hall of Fame