NASHVILLE, Tennessee – For the first time since the pandemic, four new music legends were honored at Music City’s Walk of Fame Park. Surrounded by friends, family, and fans, Connie Smith, Bobby Bare, Kevin “Keb’ Mo’” Moore, and Dierks Bentley each received their stars.
On April 5th, 2022, WSM DJ and Grand Ole Opry host Bill Cody welcomed the crowd to the 23rd Walk of Fame Ceremony on a rainy but exhilarating day.
Below is a summary of the four honorees.
The ceremony began with Connie Smith receiving her star. She is known for having the first-ever debut single by a female country artist to reach No. 1 with her eight-week chart-topper, “Once a Day.” Since then she has produced 54 studio albums, which included other hits such as “A Far Cry from You,” “Ribbon of Darkness,” “I Never Once Stopped Loving You,” and “Ain’t Had No Lovin’,” just to name a few.
In the mid-90s, “Smith began collaborating with master musician, songwriter, and producer Marty Stuart. The result was a great album and a classic love story, as the two were soon wed nearly 30 years after the 12-year-old Stuart declared he would marry her one day. Smith is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and has been a member of the Opry since 1965.
As Stuart presented the award he stated, “I can be Mr. Connie Smith talking, or I can look at this through the eyes of history, or I can be Connie Smith’s biggest fan. How about all three?”
A devout Christian, Smith said, “I am so thankful for all that God has done in my life. I can’t wait to see what He’s going to do next. I don’t feel I deserve any of this, so it’s all a blessing of God’s favor.”
Smith has lived in Nashville since 1965 and says she feels like it’s her hometown. She thanked the fans for their warm response.
When I interview talented singers/songwriters who really get country music, Bobby Bare is frequently mentioned as someone who influenced them. Rolling Stone named him in the top 50 of “100 Greatest Country Artists of All Time.”
With chart-topping songs like “Detroit City,” “500 Miles,” “Dropkick Me Jesus,” and “Marie Laveau,” Bare’s style was molded and led him to nearly five dozen Top 40 hits from 1962 to 1983. The original “Outlaw” of country music, Bare was honored with many awards and accolades, multiple Grammy nominations and wins, and an induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. In 2018, Bare was welcomed back home as a member of the Grand Ole Opry by Garth Brooks. In 2020, he released an album of Shel Silverstein songs recorded in the late ‘70s but never before released, titled Great American Saturday Night.
Cannon explains how in the late 1960s he and his band were playing in a local bar on the north side of Chicago. A blizzard was about to shut everything down. There were a couple of musicians who were stranded and couldn’t fly home. While Cannon was playing, in walked Bobby Bare and Tom T. Hall.
Cannon recalls, “Tom wanted to sit at the bar and think and drink beer, but Bobby wanted to sing and drink beer. We played every Bobby Bare song we knew.” That was the beginning of their longstanding friendship and they would continue to work together in Nashville.
Cannon read a note that he was given It said, “I’m glad my good friend, Bobby Bare is going into the Music City Walk of Fame. No one deserves it more. Congratulations Bare ~ Willie Nelson.”
Bobby Bare has been one of the biggest champions of songwriters that Nashville has ever known, nurturing the career of important writers such as Tom T. Hall, Billy Joe Shaver, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein, and others.
Concludes Cannon, “If Bobby Bare had done nothing more than to discover an unknown singer named Waylon Jennings singing in a honky-tonk in Phoenix, Arizona, we would and should still be here today honoring him.”
Bare lived in Los Angeles 10 years before moving to Nashville. He and his wife Jeannie did not feel that Hollywood was the place to have and raise their kids.
“We wanted to live in Nashville. That’s where all of our friends were,” he confirmed.
Now all his kids and grandchildren are native Nashvillians.
Lastly Bare stated, “This award is a big deal and I am very proud of it.”
Kevin, “Keb’ Mo’” Moore
The first time I heard Keb’ Mo’ was at Darius Rucker’s fundraiser for St. Jude’s. I knew immediately that I was learning about and listening to someone very special. When it was announced that he would be receiving a star, I was not surprised at all.
Keb’ Mo’ has been recognized for five Grammys, 14 Blues Foundation Awards, and a groundbreaking career spanning nearly 50 years under his belt. In 1994 he introduced the world to Keb’ Mo’ with the release of his widely acclaimed self-titled debut. Critics were quick to take note of his modern, genre-bending take on old-school sounds, and two years later, he garnered his first Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Blues Album with Just Like You.
He has collaborated with artists as diverse as Bonnie Raitt, The Chicks, Willie Nelson, B.B. King, Zac Brown, and BTS.
Keb’ Mo’ has composed music for television series such as Mike and Molly, Memphis Beat, B Positive, and Martha Stewart Living and even appeared as himself in Martin Scorsese’s The Blues, Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, and even the iconic children’s series Sesame Street.
A passionate philanthropist and outspoken activist, Keb’ Mo’ has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of social, environmental, and racial justice throughout his career and was a celebrity mentor with The Kennedy Center’s Turnaround Arts Program.
Even though he is a multi-instrumentalist who plays multiple genres, he is most known for his original blues music. However with songs like ”I’m a Hero,” “Good to Be,” “Good Strong Woman,” and “Sunny and Warm,” I find Keb’ Mo’ is among the most delightful blues artists I have ever heard.
Clint Black said about him, “All of our most beloved and celebrated artists want some Keb’ Mo’ to rub off on them.”
Black teased that the beloved musician was virtually unknown during the first 20 years of his career.
Keb’ Mo’ admitted, “I didn’t get in the music business to get famous, I got in the music business to make music.”
He moved to Nashville in 2010 for a fresh start and has been popular among everyone from fans to producers and especially the other singers and songwriters.
His recently released album Good to Be is not to be missed.
After hearing Dierks Bentley on the radio for years, in 2006 I first got to see him in concert at the BellSouth (now AT&T) Stadium in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Randy Rogers Band and Miranda Lambert opened for him.
Since moving to Nashville, I have been privileged to see him several more times. With iconic songs like “Drunk on a Plane,” “Somewhere on a Beach, and my favorite, “What Was I Thinking,” you know you are going to have a good time at his concerts.
In his nearly 20-year career, Bentley has had 20 No. 1 songs and over 6.4 billion streams of his music. He writes/co-writes many of his songs.
Marty Stuart said of Bentley, “When I met Dierks and shook his hand, I knew he belonged [in Nashville] and that that he was here for keeps.”
What makes Bentley unique is that he has forged his own path in an industry built predominantly on formula. Never aspiring to be a country music artist, he recalls the two songs that changed his mind about the country genre were Hank Jr’s “Man to Man” and Marty Stuart’s “That’s Country.”
He moved to Nashville to attend college and started playing country music with a bluegrass twist. He found his place in country music at the famous Station Inn.
Bentley joked that getting a star meant that he had “peaked” and was now on his way back down.
Stuart asked Bentley to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry 16 years ago and now has presented him with his star on the Walk of Fame.
Nashville, known also as Music City, earned its name due to the broad, creative, and diversely talented people who reside here. We are grateful for the songwriters, singers, musicians, producers, and conductors who create the fuel that feeds our souls. Providing a star in the Walk of Fame Park is a small way to pay tribute to these musical trailblazers.
The staff of the Nashville Convention and Visitor Corporation manage and produce the Walk of Fame project.
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