Before they took the Nashville Municipal Auditorium stage for a loud, lively evening of all-star jams, a group of musical greats had an “unplugged” celebration one floor below.
Classic rocker Peter Frampton and country starBarbara Mandrell were among 12 new members inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame on Tuesday afternoon, in the Nashville-based organization’s first induction ceremony in nearly five years. After evacuating its former location in 2010 to make room for construction of Music City Center, the hall and museum found a new home on the first floor of Municipal last August.
Nearly all of 2014′s living inductees (save an absent Buddy Guy, and Frampton, who was busy rehearsing for the night’s concert) gathered at the museum to receive their medallions. That included famous performers such as Mandrell and Randy Bachmanof Bachman-Turner Overdrive, but also the unsung heroes of some iconic recordings: musicians like guitarist Jimmy Capps, who can be heard on “The Gambler,” and trailblazing female guitarists Velma Smith and Corki Casey O’Dell.
O’Dell moved to Nashville in 1970 and retired from recording and performing that same year. She was set to take the stage for the first time in 40 years on Tuesday to perform “Rebel Rouser,” one of many songs she recorded as Duane Eddy’s “sidechick.”
“This is just something else,” she said. “I keep pinching myself, because I think I’m dreaming. I would have never thought.”
Other inductees in attendance included Music Row figurehead Mike Curb and David Letterman band member Will Lee. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Neil Young was among those accepting medallions in honor of posthumous inductees — in Young’s case, it was for pedal steel guitar master Ben Keith, who was one of Nashville’s top session players before becoming a member of Young’s band for nearly 40 years until his death in 2010.
Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band Double Trouble attended and performed on behalf of the late blues guitar great, and members of Roy Orbison’s family accepted his “iconic riff award” for “Oh, Pretty Woman.”
Nashville Mayor Karl Dean recognized 2014′s class as “ingredients that make Nashville known as Music City” and said the hall’s owner and founder, Joe Chambers, was “going to save this building, to make it into something that all Nashville can be proud of, here on out.”
Taking the podium, an emotional Chambers was ready to put the spotlight on the hall’s first honorees since 2009.
“Officially, that’s going to be the last time I want my name mentioned, ever, in this, because honestly, it’s … ” He paused, composing himself. “It’s about the musicians.”
Courtesy of USA Today