by Adam Gold
They — along with notables the likes of Jimmy Capps, Ben Keith, Will Lee, Corki Casey O’Dell, Velma Smith, Chris Layton, Tommy Shannon and Reese Wynans — will be honored at a Jan. 28 ceremony at the recently reopened hall’s new home, the newly renovated Municipal Auditorium.
The show (which is open to the public; tickets available here) will feature appearances from Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Neil Young, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons and twang master Duane Eddy (also a Musicians Hall member), along with The Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and Kanye West fave Brenda Lee. Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman” nabs the Hall’s “Iconic Riff Award.”
Though it’s journalistically improper to make assumptions, I’m gonna take a shot in the dark and hazard that Young will induct honoree Ben Keith, a legendary Nashville session and sideman best known for his pedal steel contributions to a dozen-plus Young albums, starting with Shakey’s 1971 landmark Harvest. Keith, who died in 2010, also appeared recordings by Patsy Cline, Todd Rundgren, Emmylou Harris, Warren Zevon, The Band, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and others.
The Musicians Hall of Fame opened in 2006, but this year’s award show and induction ceremony follows a three-year absence. In 2010, the city purchased and eventually leveled the museum’s original Sixth Avenue location under eminent domain in order to make way for the Music City Center. The Hall, which now occupies the first floor of Municipal Auditorium, reopened in August.
Previous Musicians Hall inductees include The Funk Brothers, The Nashville A-Team, Al Kooper, Billy Sherrill, Booker T and the MGs, The Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, Chet Atkins, Charlie Daniels, Billy Cox, Dick Dale and Toto.