2013 Inductees
  
DevastatingDinks Exceptions Ray Kerry
Chuck Mystic Playmate Tempests
Steve Wizards


Directors Award:
Clyde Bysom and The Junkyard Jazz


Directors Award:
Sherman Halsey

Bob Hapgood Award:
Larry Emmett & The Sliders

Devastating Dinks

Devastating Dinks, Salina    

This successor to the original Dinks was based out of The Lamplighter in Salina and initially included a member of the first Dinks, but the new band was soon very much its own band and took the name to new heights, playing all over the western half of the state surrounding states between 1968-70.

 

BandName

Exceptions, Topeka    

The Exceptions are one of the longest standing, most successful, popular, pop-variety band in the Midwest performing all styles of music. With an unprecedented variety of music, stunning lead vocals, and four-part vocal harmonies, the Exceptions always promise a successful event.

 

Ray Hildebrand

Ray Hildebrand, Prairie Village    

Ray Hildebrand smashed onto the music scene in '63 with the #1 hit "Hey Paula." Ray wrote the song that he & Jill Crawford recorded in Ft. Worth. Paul & Paula followed up with "Young lovers" and 5 other songs in the Hot 100. Ray became one of the founders of Contemporary Christian Music. He traveled for The Fellowship of Christian Athletes as a speaker and performer and later became a youth director for a church in Prairie Village. Ray was a frequent guest as a singer for the Billy Graham Crusades. In '83 he hooked up w/CCM artist Paul land. Land & Hildebrand have played together all over the US and have recorded 16 albums. Ray still does about 25 dates a year.

 

Kerry Livgren

Kerry Livgren, Topeka    

Kerry Livgren was a long time member of the rock group, KANSAS, whose big hits were "Dust In The Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son", both of which Kerry wrote. In 1980, Kerry became a born again Christian and left KANSAS to form the CCM band AD. He later became a solo artist. Kerry lives on a farm near Berryton and records in his home studio.

 

Chuck Mead

Chuck Mead, Lawrence    

After leading the Blinkies and Homestead Grays in his hometown of Lawrence back in the early 80s, Chuck Mead landed in Nashville, where he co-founded BR549. The band's seven albums, three Grammy nominations and the CMA award for Best Overseas Touring Act built a strong reputation. In 2009 Chuck released an acclaimed solo album and continues to tour with his band The Grassy Knoll Boys. He's also the Music Director of the Broadway smash show Million Dollar Quartet.

 

Mystic Number National Bank

Mystic Number National Bank, Kansas City    

The Bank played so many free concerts and anti-war demonstrations back in the late 60s that they were thrown out of the Musician's Union. Lead singer and drummer Glenn Walters later sang and played with California's Hoodoo Rhythm Devils. He's still playing for crowds in San Francisco in addition to a career singing on TV commercials and film soundtracks .

 

Playmate Blues Band

Playmate Blues Band, Hays    

This group was made up of some of the area's best musicians, two of whom (Mike Kelley and Rich Bisterfelt) went on to join the last lineup of the original Blue Things. These hard rockers toured extensively on the Midwest ballroom circuit of the 1960s.

 

Tempests

Tempests, Hays    

This 9-member R&B show band played the Midwest from 1965-68. When the band was playing in the 1960s, the age of the members ranged from 12 to 15. They were so young they had to hire college students to haul their trailer and equipment to gigs. After more than a 40-year hiatus, the band decided to reunite to play some shows during Hays High's homecoming weekend. The Tempests practiced for a week and played shows at the VFW for family and friends Friday and for the class of 1971 reunion.

 

Steve Werner

Steve Werner,     

Werner was a popular musician in Kansas City, where he led a popular band called Hot Foot. He is still revered there. He moved to L.A., where he had a great pop band called Snap Shots. He was the stage manager for the Hollywood Bowl for a time. Unfortunately, Steve died way too young.

 

BandName

Wizards From Kansas, Lawrence    

Originally called Pig Newton & The Wizards, they changed the band's name at the insistence of Mercury Records. Their sound was so similar to that of some of the bands coming out of San Francisco that many collectors and fans still think believe they were from California. Their one Mercury album regularly sells on eBay for more than $200 a copy. A reunion a few years ago resulted in a second album.

Junkyard Jazz

Junkyard Jazz, Lawrence    

Junkyard Jazz has been playing traditional jazz of the 1930s and 40s since 1981. The group plays every Thursday evening at the Lawrence American legion, attracting musicians from northeast Kansas to join them onstage. The dance floor is always full. They've lost a few long-time members but the tradition of Junkyard Jazz will never die. 95-year-old co-founder Clyde Bysom continues to play with the group.

 

Sherman Halsey

Sherman Halsey, Independence, KS    

Sherman Halsey is an American music video and television director, producer, and artist manager. Sherman Halsey has produced and directed hundreds of television shows and music videos for artists such as Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, BB King, Michael Bolton, Dwight Yoakam, and many more. Halsey began his career in the country music business at the age of 13, putting up posters and show bills for his father Jim Halsey's Management and Concert promotion company in the family's home town of Independence, Kansas. This would be the start of a father and son collaboration that continues in business today as an important part of the country music industry. While studying film at the University of Kansas, Halsey promoted concerts with artists from the Jim Halsey Company's roster such as The Oak Ridge Boys, Freddy Fender, Hank Thompson, Don Williams and many others. While at the university, Halsey worked for Dick Clark Productions in Beverly Hills one summer on the NBC Special "The Wild, Sensational, and Shocking 70's". As a result of this experience with Dick Clark, he built relationships with several veterans, network directors who taught him the art of directing and producing.

 

BandName

Larry Emmett & The Sliders, DeSoto    

The KC area's first homegrown rock band of note was Larry Emmett and the Sliders. Larry was a Native American, born on the Prairie Band Pottawatomie Reservation near Mayetta. His parents moved to DeSoto where Larry attended high school and began playing the guitar. In the late '50s and early '60s, the band played gigs from Kansas City to Omaha and many points in between.

 

 

 

  

 
2012 Inductees
  
Bloodstone Burlington_Express Max_Carl clocks
coletuckey finniganandwood johnnyisom krazykats
morningstar stanleysheldon tommystephenson craigtwistersteward
whiteclover


Directors Award:
Stephen Barncard

Bob Hapgood Award:
Jack Wesley Routh

Bloodstone

Bloodstone , Kansas City     

The sweet soul sounds of this r&b group took us on a "Natural High" to Billboard's Top 10 in 1973. The group was influential in the "black rock" and funk movements of the 1970s with their many hits, charting 13 songs between 1973 and 1984. Since leaving the charts, they have returned to make their base in KC, where they started out in 1962 as the Sinceres.

Burlington Express

Burlington Express , Topeka    

The Burlington Express was one of Topeka's top bands in the mid to late sixties. Members of the band were Greg Gucker, Blair Honeyman, Eric Larson and Mike West. They left behind some excellent recordings, but they sounded even better live. Lead guitarist Greg Gucker, now known as Greg Hartline, wrote most of their material, but they also covered other songs of the day.

 

 
Max Carl

Max Carl, Lawrence    

Max Carl Gronenthal is an American rock singer, keyboardist, guitarist and songwriter. His is the current lead singer of the classic rock band Grand Funk Railroad. In addition, he spent several years as the keyboardist and lead singer with 38 Special, for whom he co-wrote and sang the the hit song "Second Chance." Among his earlier bands was Lawrence's Fabulous Flippers.

 

Clocks

Clocks, Wichita    

The Wichita based Clocks arrived on the pop rock scene in 1982, and they almost immediately made an impact on the local music scene. They left us one of the most identifiable songs from that era. The band flourished a bit with the launch of MTV, as their video for "She Looks a Lot Like You" received some decent airplay. It showcased the band's signature keyboards with a hint of New Wave vibe. Their CBS/Boulevard single and self-titled album both charted nationally.

 

Cole Tuckey

Cole Tuckey, Lawrence    

This band was put together to open Lawrence's Off The Wall Hall in the fall of 1975. Led by guitarist Allen Weiss and featuring singer/violinist Janet Jameson, the band was soon known for its original songs and exciting live performances. There were a few personnel changes over the years, but whatever the lineup, they never disappointed the crowds that came to their shows. Eventually they broke up with Weiss relocating to California. Jameson, already a 2009 KMHOF inductee with Shooting Star, continues to play with that band, Rock Paper Scissors and Nation in Kansas City.

 

Finnigan & Wood

Finnigan & Wood, Wichita    

Keyboardist Mike Finnigan and guitarist Jerry Wood teamed up in this band back in the seventies. Their 1972 album "Crazed Hipsters" is considered a Midwest R&B/Rock cult classic. In 1973-74 another album was recorded but was ultimately shelved when Blue Thumb Records was sold to Paramount. They rocked like few bands of that era did

 

Johnny Isom

Johnny Isom, Kansas City    

Johnny Isom, or Johnny I, as he’s known since the mid-eighties, is a true version of the Midwestern Music scene. Johnny did a couple of years in the KC Chiefs band. In the sixties, Johnny put together the Stoned Circus. His current band, the Receders, is a regional favorite.

 

Krazy Kats

Krazy Kats, Kansas City (Moberly, Mo)    

The legendary Krazy Kats were formed on Valentine’s Day1957, when guitarist Lee Dresser, piano man Willie Craig and drummer Freddy Fletcher, three Moberly, MO, high-schoolers, decided they wanted to rock and roll like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and the rest of their favorites. Now based in Kansas City, the trio has logged in over 4000 gigs together. They were voted the “Best Band in Kansas City” in 1991, inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame in 1999, and their original songs are included on many US & European compilation albums. Over fifty years of rock and roll!

 

Morningstar

Morningstar, Kansas City    

Morningstar first formed in 1969. Their line-went through many changes over the years. Their recording contract with Columbia/CBS in 1978 produced two albums. The band seemed willing to play for anyone, anywhere. They opened for other bands and headlined some venues. In the late 70s disco was going strong and punk rock had just started to change the musical landscape. Record companies were dropping acts, so after two albums Morningstar and Columbia/CBS parted ways. Without funds to go any further, Morningstar disbanded.

 

Stanley Sheldon

Stanley Sheldon, Ottawa    

Stan is a bass guitar player best known for his work with Peter Frampton. He played on Frampton Comes Alive, the biggest selling live album of all time. His most recent collaboration was contributing as co-writer and bass player on Frampton’s 2007 Grammy winning album Fingerprints. He’s also played with Tommy Bolin, Ronin, Warren Zevon and Delbert McClinton. Stan was a part of the 2011 Peter Frampton tour.

 

Tommy Stephenson

Tommy Stephenson, Ottawa    

Tommy Stephenson, a veteran of versions of inducted bands The Blue Things and The Young Raiders, is a keyboardist with 15 Gold & Multi-Platinum CD's to his credit. A part of Tommy Bolin's Energy and Joe Walsh's Barnstorm, he's also recorded or toured with such artists as The Eagles, Eric Clapton, Albert King, The Band, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Paul Butterfield, Gary Wright, Poco, Chuck Berry & many more!

 

Craig Twister Steward

Craig "Twister" Steward, Wichita    

Harmonica player Steward played on a couple of Frank Zappa albums and performed live with Zappa's band as well. Now living back in Wichita, he plays at local clubs and works as the arborist for the city. Hohner Harmonica Company says, "Twister is the Hendrix of the Harp!"

 

Whie Clover

White Clover, Topeka    

When Phil Ehart's father retired from the Air Force the family settled in Topeka, where Phil started playing in bands. In 1969 me moved to New Orleans for three months, then he spent three months in England. After his visa expired, he returned to Topeka and formed White Clover. Later, Phil added Sarasota's guitarist/songwriter Kerry Livgren to the fold, and White Clover became the third, and final, version of Kansas.

 

 

 

2011 Inductees
  
Count Basie Central Standard Time Garth Fundis
James Gadson   Rudy Love Pat McJimsey
Charlie Parker The Rainmakers Riverrock Jesse Stone
Bobby Watson Jimmy Wilson   Chely Wright


Directors Award:
Garth Fundis

Bob Hapgood Award:
Jesse Stone

Count Basie 

Count Basie      Wikipedia

William "Count" Basie (August 21, 1904 -- April 26, 1984) was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years. Many notable musicians came to prominence under his direction, including tenor saxophonists Lester Young and Herschel Evans, trumpeters Buck Clayton and Harry "Sweets" Edison and singers Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams. Basie's theme songs were "One O'Clock Jump" and "April In Paris".

Kansas City Years --- The following year, Basie became the pianist with the Bennie Moten band based in Kansas City, inspired by Moten's ambition to raise his band to the level of Duke Ellington's or Fletcher Henderson's. Where the Blue Devils were "snappier" and more "bluesy," the Moten band was classier and more respected, and played in the "Kansas City stomp" style. In addition to playing piano, Basie was co-arranger with Eddie Durham, who actually did the notating. During a stay in Chicago, Basie recorded with the band. He occasionally played four-hand piano and dual pianos with Moten, who also conducted. The band improved with several personnel changes, including the addition of tenor saxophonist Ben Webster.

  

 

Central Standard Time 

Central Standard Time      website

Central Standard Time evolved out of the last of the original Red Dogs in January of 1970. Kent Leopold, Evan Johnson, Randy Shaw, Bob Meyerhoeffer, Roger Walls and Richard Tade were all members of the last original Roarin' Red Dogs Band when they decided to leave the mid-west on their quest to make it big in the music business. Since not all of the Red Dogs wanted to make this move, Mitch Bible, Mike Redd and Larry Church were added to the band that would soon become Central Standard Time. Kent Leopold and Evan Johnson were the leadership behind the band that landed the band it's first gig in Boston in February of 1970. Before leaving Kansas, the band changed it's name to Central Standard Time.
Below are the original members of Central Standard Time, instruments played and home town.

Kent Leopold - Sax and Flute (Coffeeville, Kansas)
Evan Johnson - Drums (Topeka, Kansas)
Bob Meyerhoeffer - Vocals & Guitar (Hastings, Nebraska)
Randy Shaw - Drums and Vocals (Council Grove, Kansas)
Mike Redd - Bass Guitar and Vocals (Wichita, Kansas)
Richard Tade - Hammond B-3 & Piano (Wichita, Kansas)
Mitch Bible - Lead Guitar and Vocals (Mulvane, Kansas)
Roger Walls - Trumpet & Vocals (Rose Hill, Kansas)
Larry Church - Trumpet (Wichita, Kansas)

Below are CST band members that played in later editions of the band.
Bob Eckhoff (trumpet)
Greg Ayers (trombone)
Doug Owen (vocals)
Jim Doherty (drums)
Dave Ferguson (lead guitar)
Moose (drums)
Robbie Barker (organ)

 

 
James Gadson 

James Gadson      myspace

Drummer, producer, singer, and songwriter -- James was born in Kansas City, MO, in 1939. As a teen he naturally took to the drums with the influence of his father Harold, who was a drummer in the legendary Kansas City scene. James eventually found his way to L.A. and joined the legendary 60's funky soul group, Dyke & the Blazers, where he laid down drums on "let a woman be a woman" which later would be sampled by the Bomb Squad for Public Enemy's "Welcome to the Terrodome." After Dyke's tragic murder and still in L.A., he and other members of the Blazers would end up forming The Watts 103rd Street Band and with the help of Bill Cosby hooked a record deal with Warner Bros. He wrote and sang on some songs like the soulful "dance a kiss & a song". He played on the best known 103rd Street cuts like "Express yourself," which was sampled by Dre for NWA's "Express Yourself". This was just the beginning for Gadson's prolific career, which next found him in the mix with Bill Withers producing, writing, and playing on the soulcessful Still Bill LP, which featured "Use Me," "Lean on Me," and the funky "Kissing my Love," which has been sampled to no end. The Jungle Brothers cut up his drums live for "Straight out the Jungle." From there he became one the most sought out studio drummers, playing on 300 gold records at last count, though you would never suspect it from his ever-humble disposition. He played on Marvin Gaye's "Let's get it on," the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack, Herbie Hancock's Manchild, and most recently Beck, Paul McCartney, and Ray Charles discs. Currently he is doing more sessions and is a founding drummer of the Keepintime project with photographer B+.

  

 
Rudy Love

Rudy Love      biography

Rudy Love & the Love Family were a sibling group headed by older brother Rudy. Over the years, non-siblings performed under the name, but Rudy remained the driving force; Love Family blood members are Bob, Gerald, Peggy, Denise, and Shirley. Rudy was born September 15, 1948, in Oklahoma and the family moved to Wichita, KS; it was a large brood as Rudy has 14 brothers and sisters.

He developed a love for singing and performing from his gospel singing/musician father, Robert, and went from there. A touring singer, Robert crisscrossed the country as a performing musician with gospel and R&B artists. Rudy, the eldest son, became the man of the house while dad was away playing. Through his father, Rudy met many of the top names in music when they passed through Wichita. He formed his first group in grade school and went through many others before settling on Rudy Love & the Love Family in college. The group performed locally, but didn't record since Wichita wasn't and isn't exactly a music mecca.

 

 
Pat McJimsey

Pat McJimsey      website

Wichita's Pat McJimsey began heading up bands at the age of 17 with Velvet Honey. Later he formed the Bear Valley Blues, the Entire British Navy and Four Brothers. Pat toured with John Manning, Finnegan & Wood, Leon Russell and Freddy King. Upon his death the PAT (Performers Assistance Trust) was established by the Wichita Blues Society to offer financial help to musicians who can' t play due to major illness, accident or medical emergency or to their survivors to help with final expenses.


Shortly before his death and due to many requests from his fans, Pat McJimsey digitally re-mastered the "I Dig Girls" Album originally released in the 80's.

He was very excited about this re-release and had plans to come out with a new, "all blues album", later in the year. Thanks to the magic of the internet,
and the devotion of his family and friends, Pat's extrordinary talent lives on to be experienced here by old and new fans alike.

 

 
Charlie Parker

Charlie Parker      wikipedia

Childhood -- Charlie Parker was born in Kansas City, Kansas and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, the only child of Charles and Addie Parker. Charles, an alcoholic, was often absent. Parker attended Lincoln High School. He enrolled in September 1934 and withdrew in December 1935 about the time he joined the local Musicians Union.

Parker displayed no sign of musical talent as a child. His father presumably provided some musical influence; he was a pianist, dancer and singer on the T.O.B.A. circuit, although he later became a Pullman waiter or chef on the railways. His mother worked nights at the local Western Union. His biggest influence however was a young trombone player who taught him the basics of improvisation.

Parker began playing the saxophone at age 11 and at age 14 joined his school's band using a rented school instrument. One story holds that, without formal training, he was terrible, and thrown out of the band. Experiencing periodic setbacks of this sort, at one point he broke off from his constant practicing.

Early career -- It has been said that, in early 1936, Parker participated in a 'cutting contest' that included Jo Jones on drums, who tossed a cymbal at Parker's feet in impatience with his playing. However, in the numerous interviews throughout his life, Jones made no mention of this incident. At this time Parker began to practice with great diligence and rigor, learning the blues, "Cherokee" and "rhythm changes" in all twelve keys. In this woodshedding period, Parker mastered improvisation and developed some of the ideas of be-bop. In an interview with Paul Desmond, he said he spent 3--4 years practicing up to 15 hours a day. It has been said that he used to play many other tunes in all twelve keys. The story, though undocumented, would help to explain the fact that he often played in unconventional concert pitch key signatures, like E (which transposes to C# for the alto sax).

Groups led by Count Basie and Bennie Moten were the leading Kansas City ensembles, and undoubtedly influenced Parker. He continued to play with local bands in jazz clubs around Kansas City, Missouri, where he perfected his technique with the assistance of Buster Smith, whose dynamic transitions to double and triple time certainly influenced Parker's developing style.

In 1938, Parker joined pianist Jay McShann's territory band. The band toured nightclubs and other venues of the southwest, as well as Chicago and New York City. Parker made his professional recording debut with McShann's band. It was said at one point in McShann's band that he "sounded like a machine", owing to his highly virtuosic yet nonetheless musical playing.

As a teenager, Parker developed a morphine addiction while in hospital after an automobile accident, and subsequently became addicted to heroin. Heroin would haunt him throughout his life and ultimately contribute to his death.

 

 
The Rainmakers

The Rainmakers      website

Missouri has long boasted of being the home of two of America's greatest artists, Mark Twain and Chuck Berry. However, it wasn't until The Rainmakers thundered into the national music spotlight in 1986, had anyone combined the guitar power of Berry with the social wit of Twain into a unique brand of Missouri rock n' roll.

Originally formed in 1983 as a 3-piece bar band known as "Steve, Bob, & Rich," these Kansas City rockers became an instant favorite throughout the Midwest. Soon, fans were standing in line to see this trio they described as "energetic," "intense," but most importantly "fun." Within months of finishing their first independent release, "Steve, Bob, and Rich" had signed a multi-album contract with Polygram Records, added a fourth member, and had changed their name to The Rainmakers.

Heralded as "America's Great Next Band" by Newsday, The Rainmakers were soon drenched in critical acclaim. Feature articles in Newsweek, Rolling Stone, CMJ, USA Today and others poured in singing the praises of this hard working Midwest band who provided new life to a traditional rock format.

Critics particularly enjoyed the unique writing style of Bob Walkenhorst, whose talent for choosing unusual and sometimes controversial subjects provided an eye-opening perspective of life, sprinkled with sarcastic humor. The Rainmakers received notoriety for their songs' lyrical content, including Music Connection's award for Lyric Line of the Year: "The generation that would change the world is still looking for its car keys," and in the unlikely source of author Stephen King, who twice quoted lyrics from Rainmakers songs in his best seller "The Tommyknockers," and again in his 1991 novel "Gerald's Game."

But success did not stop at the U.S. borders, as European countries supported the band increasingly with each new release. The song "Let My People Go-Go" gave the Rainmakers their first Top-20 single on the British charts. Critics abroad sang the band's praises, with feature articles in New Musical Express, Kerrang, Rock Power, etc. Frequently, The Rainmakers could be spotted on European television with live appearances on "Top Of The Pops," and "The Tube," and video play on MTV Europe.

European concert dates grew in number each year, with The Rainmakers often enjoying headline status on festival bills. Their reputation as an electrifying concert act eventually led to the recording of a live album at a sold-out show in Oslo, Norway for release solely in Scandinavian markets.

In 1990, after 4 albums, 5 videos, 500,000+ records sold, and concert dates too numerous to count, The Rainmakers put band business on hold to allow time for their personal lives and agendas. In 1994, the band returned to the studio to record a new album, entitled "Flirting With The Universe" - an album which achieved GOLD certification in Norway within 2 months of release.

Overwhelmed by the response to "Flirting...," The Rainmakers reemerged from the studio in 1996 with "Skin." With this effort, Bob Walkenhorst has again proved that no subject matter is too controversial by taking aim at pornography and its societal impact, via his unique perspectives - a Rainmakers trademark. A release, which in true Rainmaker form, is designed to provoke.

The Rainmakers are: Bob Walkenhorst (Vocals, Guitar); Steve Phillips (Lead Guitar, Vocals); Michael Bliss (Bass, Vocals); Pat Tomek (Drums)

 

 
Riverrock

Riverrock      website

Riverrock is "one of the most popular bands in Kansas City History," says the Kansas City Star/Times. Since 1974, Riverrock has been a name country music fans could count on for an exciting show of hot pickin', tight harmonies and spontaneous fun. They have shared the stage with dozens of recording stars, the likes of Vince Gill, Trisha Yearwood, The Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Hank Williams, Jr., Alabama, Suzy Bogguss, The Oak Ridge Boys, Minnie Pearl, Charlie Daniels, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Tanya Tucker, Tracy Byrd and Emmylou Harris. Many of these performances were at state and county fairs, concert halls, music festivals, rodeos, college campuses and popular night clubs.

  

 
Bobby Watson

Bobby Watson      website

Best known for his work in the Jazz Messengers and Horizon, this post-bop alto saxophonist has recorded 26 albums as a bandleader and plays on nearly 100 others. He moved home to Kansas City in 2000 and currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at UMKC. He still manages to balance live engagements around the world with teaching.

  

 
Jimmy Wilson

Jimmy Wilson

Saxophonist Jimmy Wilson has been part of the NE Kansas music scene for many years, beginning with Larry Emmett & The Sliders in the late Fifties. In the Seventies, he was part Lawrence's Used Parts and other groups. More recently he has spent several years playing in Johnny I & The Receders.

 

 

Chely Wright

Chely Wright      website

Lifted off the Ground may be Chely Wright's seventh album, but on a number of levels it feels and sounds like her first, revealing an artist who has undergone a dramatic artistic transformation, emerging as a singer/songwriter of the first order. But the new album would never have come to be were it not for an equally dramatic personal transformation, which she has candidly and painstakingly documented. Lifted Off the Ground will be released on Vanguard Records May 4, the same day Random House publishes Wright's autobiography, Like Me.

  

 
Garth Fundis

Garth Fundis, 2011 Directors Award      biography

An independent record producer, Fundis' credits include some of country music's cream of the crop; Trisha Yearwood, Keith Whitley, Don Williams, Sugarland, Terri Clark, Alabama, Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris as well as New Grass Revival, Doc and Merle Watson, Sheryl Crow and Townes Van Zandt. He has served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees for NARAS (01-03), past Trustee and President of the Nashville Chapter, serves on the boards of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares, Alumnus of Leadership Music. Fundis owns the renowned Sound Emporium Recording Studios. His latest project with Trisha Yearwood, "Heaven, Heartache and the Power of Love" is scheduled for release on November 13, 2007 on Big Machine Records.

  

 
Jesse Stone

Jesse Stone, 2011 Bob Hapgood Award     

 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)

Born in Kansas, Jesse Stone began performing in his family's minstrel show at the age of four. By the Twenties he was leading a jazz band that included saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, a future jazz legend. Jesse Stone and His Blue Serenaders became a fixture on the Kansas City jazz scene.

Jesse Stone was one of the greatest songwriters of the rhythm & blues and rock and roll era. Much of his best-known work was done at Atlantic Records, where he wrote, arranged and played on some key sessions. For the Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, he came up with "Money Honey," which topped the R&B and pop charts for 11 weeks in 1953 and was covered by Elvis Presley early in his career. Another of Stone's songs - "Sh-Boom," by the Chords -- was a doo-wop classic from 1954. "Shake, Rattle and Roll" - recorded by Big Joe Turner, Bill Haley and His Comets, and many others - became a turning point in early rock and roll history. The song served as a bridge to R&B for white teenagers, who accepted it as rock and roll.

Another standout from the era, "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash," was a hit for the Clovers. As a musician, Stone led the house band on Chuck Wills' rocking update of blues singer Ma Rainey's "C.C. Rider." On the jazz side, he wrote "Idaho," which became a standard. Benny Goodman's version topped the charts and Guy Lombardo's version reportedly sold more than 3 million copies. Stone penned "Smack Dab in the Middle," which became the signature song of Joe Williams, vocalist with Count Basie's band in the mid-Fifties. Other R&B classics written by Stone include "Flip, Flop and Fly" (Big Joe Turner), "Cole Slaw" (Louis Jordan) and "Don't Let Go" (Roy Hamilton). Ray Charles recorded Stone's "Losing Hand" and "Smack Dab in the Middle."