(CelebrityAccess News Service) – Floyd Cramer and Carl Smith are the latest country artists to be named into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Formal induction will take place during "The 37th Annual CMA Awards," which will be broadcast live on the CBS-TV, November 5 (8:00-11:00 PM/EST) from the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville.
Cramer, who died in 1998, is the first to be inducted in the new "Recording and/or Touring Musician Active Prior to 1980" category, while Smith is to be inducted in the annual "Open" category. All inductees are chosen by CMA's Hall of Fame panel of electors, consisting of more than 300 anonymous voters appointed by the CMA Board of Directors. Cramer and Smith will become the 89th and 90th members of the Country Music Hall of Fame.
"Well, that's fantastic. I'm honored, I really am," said Smith. "I appreciate it very much. I was afraid I was gonna have to die first," he told CMA Executive Director Ed Benon with a chuckle, who called and gave him the news.
Cramer's widow, Mary, was nearly moved to tears. "Well, how wonderful," she told Benson. "You're going to have me crying. I don't know what to say. I wish Floyd could be here to enjoy that, but I think somehow he'll know. The children will be so happy. I was hoping this would happen one day and I was hoping it would happen during my lifetime."
"One of the highlights of my year is telling our inductees that they have been elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame," Benson said. "The emotion, surprise and gratification that comes with being included in this impressive role call of talented and influential leaders is unparalleled by any other announcement in our industry." — by Jane Cohen and Bob Grossweiner
Kennedy Center to Honor Diverse Artists
WASHINGTON (AP) — James Brown, Carol Burnett, Loretta Lynn, Mike Nichols and Itzhak Perlman have been chosen for the 26th annual Kennedy Center Honors.
James A. Johnson, chairman of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, said Tuesday that all five are being honored "for the unique and extremely valuable contributions they have made to the cultural life of our nation."
–Brown, described by Johnson as "one of the most influential musicians of the past 50 years," is the legendary soul singer whose hits include "Please, Please, Please," "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" and "I Got You (I Feel Good)."
–Burnett, "a nationally treasured icon of television comedy," starred on "The Carol Burnett Show" on CBS from 1967-78.
–Lynn, "a singer whose name is synonymous with the heartbreak and joy of country music," recorded such classics as "Don't Come Home A-Drinkin' (With Lovin' on Your Mind)," "Woman of the World" and the autobiographical "Coal Miner's Daughter."
–Nichols, "an extraordinary director equally brilliant in the theater and on film," directed the original Broadway productions of "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Odd Couple" as well as the movies "The Graduate" and "Carnal Knowledge."
–Perlman, "a classical superstar of unsurpassed artistic achievement," is an Israeli violinist who has performed with orchestras all over the world.
President Bush and first lady Laura Bush will hold a White House reception for the honorees on Dec. 7, followed by a gala performance at the Kennedy Center Opera House. Stars from around the world take part in the performance, but the five winners traditionally remain in the audience.
The show will reopen the Opera House, which has been closed for refurbishing since last fall. For many years television newsman Walter Cronkite has been master of ceremonies, but this year's choice has not been announced.
CBS will present the show as a two-hour prime-time special later in December.
R. Kelly Heads to Awards Despite Charges
NEW YORK (AP) — R&B crooner R. Kelly is scheduled to appear at the BMI Urban awards Tuesday in Miami Beach, but he had to get a Chicago judge's permission to do so because of child pornography charges pending against him.
Other performers appearing at the event include Nappy Roots, Angie Stone, Ja Rule, Bilal and Floetry. The awards will honor Isaac Hayes as a BMI icon.
Kelly, 35, has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct in civil lawsuits. He was indicted by an Illinois county grand jury in June on 21 counts of child pornography stemming from a videotape that allegedly shows the singer having sex with an underage girl.
If convicted, Kelly could be sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined $100,000.
The singer has denied he is the man on the tape, while defense attorney Edward Genson said this week that the woman on the tape was not younger than 18 at the time the video was made. And according to a law enforcement source, the parents of the girl claim it's not their daughter in the video.
Kelly is known for hits ranging from the Grammy-winning anthem "I Believe I Can Fly" to sexually charged songs such as "Bump 'n' Grind," "Feelin' on Yo Booty" and "Your Body's Callin.'"
Cash Gets Trunkful of Awards Nominations
NASHVILLE, TN (AP) — Country music patriarch Johnny Cash will have lots of awards shows to attend this fall, if he chooses to go.
In addition to his six nods for the MTV Video Music Awards — the third-highest number of nominations — he has more Americana awards nominations than anybody else.
Cash is up for artist of the year, album of the year and song of the year, for "American Four: The Man Comes Around" and his haunting cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt."
His competition for artist of the year includes Alison Krauss, Lucinda Williams and Kathleen Edwards.
The awards will be handed out Sept. 19 in Nashville.
SoCal Festival Honors Singer Etta James
RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Blues singer Etta James won't have to travel far from home to pick up her latest award.
The 65-year-old vocalist, nicknamed Matriarch of the Blues, will be honored with a lifetime achievement award at the upcoming Temecula Valley International Film & Music Festival.
James will accept the award in September in Temecula. She has lived in nearby Riverside for the past 10 years.
Festival organizer Jo Moulton said James was chosen because in part because she overcame personal setbacks during her musical career, including a drug addiction.
"She's a legend in jazz and everything," Moulton said.
James this year was awarded her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and lifetime achievement honors from the Grammy organization. She was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993.
Born Jamesetta Hawkins, the singer was discovered in San Francisco in 1954 by bandleader Johnny Otis. She is best known for her 1960 version of "At Last," and is considered an influence on such singers as Diana Ross, Janis Joplin and Bonnie Raitt.
Others to be honored at the Temecula Valley festival include actress Diane Ladd and director Penelope Spheeris.
Judges Named for Shortlist Music Prize
NEW YORK (AP) — Dave Matthews, Mos Def, Tom Waits, Tori Amos, Perry Farrell and the Neptunes are among the judges for the 2003 Shortlist Music Prize, honoring the year's most creative and adventurous albums.
Music industry veterans Greg Spotts and Tom Sarig created the prize in 2001. Previous winners are Sigur Ros and N.E.R.D.
Judges also include Chris Martin, Flea, Pete Yorn, Erykah Badu, Spike Jonze and Cameron Crowe.
A list of about 100 nominees will be released in late August; 10 finalists will be named in mid-September, the Shortlist Organization said this week.
The prize will culminate in a multi-artist concert in Los Angeles in October. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize.
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