Music News & Reviews

Montgomery, Goins among Ky. Music Hall of Fame inductees

It won't convene for another year. But the 2011 Kentucky Music Hall of Fame induction class is now official.

Entering the Hall of Fame, in Renfro Valley, will be:

■ Chart-topping Nicholasville country star John Michael Montgomery.

■ Grammy-winning singer and guitarist Steve Wariner, who grew up in Russell Springs after living briefly in Louisville.

■ The Goins Brothers, the pioneering Eastern Kentucky bluegrass duo. Its 50-year career is maintained today by surviving sibling Melvin Goins of Catlettsburg.

■ Grammy-winning country-bluegrass vocalist Patty Loveless, a Pike ville native who grew up in Elkhorn City and, later, Louisville.

■ The late bluegrass singer-turned-country celebrity Keith Whitley, who was born in Sandy Hook.

■ Multiple Grammy-winning Danville gospel artist Larnelle Harris.

■ The late Pike County-born singer Molly O'Day, whose brief recording career (1946-51) helped define Kentucky country music.

"It's the ultimate achievement to be inducted into a Hall of Fame in your home state, where you grew up learning your trade, doing something you always loved to do," Montgomery said.

For Wariner, who was born in Indiana, the induction furthers the bond with the state he has long viewed as home.

"Kentucky has recognized me way more than Indiana has," he said. "This state has always taken me in as one of its own. That has meant a lot.

"Another cool thing for me is getting to go in with Melvin and John Michael, Patty and my buddy Keith Whitley. Keith and I were pretty close friends, so I'm really tickled about him going in."

An exuberant Goins said the induction was something of an affirmation for a bluegrass career that remains active after a half-century.

"Yes, sir, it's a great day here in Kentucky. And I'm glad to be part of it," he said. "An honor like this makes you think your years haven't been wasted. It's something you never thought would happen. But, boy, I'm glad to see it happen. This is a shot in the right arm."

Wednesday's announcement also marked the first time Montgomery and Wariner had met Goins. The two country artists marveled at the road stories Goins spun about touring with brother Ray Goins in the 1950s.

"Melvin was talking about the vehicles they toured in back then" Montgomery said. "He said they traveled in some old Buicks down all the curvy roads through each town, stopping at all the stoplights because there weren't any real highways. So I told him I wasn't going to complain anymore about the satellite not working on my bus."

The newest class, announced on WKYT (Channel 27), will be officially inducted at a ceremony on April 7, 2011, at the Lexington Center's Bluegrass Ballroom.

This is the fifth group of inductees for the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame. Previous classes have included Bill Monroe, Dwight Yoakam, Rosemary Clooney, J.D. Crowe and Loretta Lynn.