Country Music Stars Ante Up for the New Hall of Fame

Contributors to Be Recognized on Wall of Honor

Approximately 50 prominent country music artists have made financial commitments to help the nonprofit Country Music Hall of Fame raise funds for its new $37 million museum. Campaign organizers are now asking the rest of country music’s artist community to chip in.

Every single participating artist will be recognized at the Wall of Honor, a permanent exhibit at the new Hall of Fame in downtown Nashville.

“For generations to come,” Hall of Fame Director Kyle Young said, “the artists represented on the Wall of Honor will provide a unified statement of dedication and belief in the importance of the Hall of Fame’s role as the protector of country music’s legacy.”

The capital campaign’s artist division is co-chaired by Sun Trust Bank Senior Vice President Brian Williams and CBS Cable Vice President of Music Industry Relations Paul Corbin. Country music star Marty Stuart is serving as honorary chairman of the division.

“It is great to know that the lives and careers of country music’s artists are being documented through the Hall of Fame’s expert archival and curatorial resources,” Stuart said. “The stories in our music form a special viewpoint on the story of America in the 20th Century. It is very important that we all participate in preserving this story. We owe it to ourselves, to all who have come before us, and to all who will come after us.”

Donations are being accepted in any amount, but a suggested level of giving has been established in response to requests from several artists. “When we’re asked for what might be a ‘fair share’ gift,” Williams said, “we suggest that artists consider donating the value of the gross revenue from one standard concert date. This is a United Way-style approach with options for payment including annual installments or revenues from a specific concert.”

“The number of very thoughtful gifts we have already received demonstrates a real spirit of unity in our artist community,” Corbin said. “It is our goal that not a single name be missing.”

The Hall of Fame has raised the $12 million it needed to trigger construction on a downtown facility. A star-studded, ceremonial groundbreaking is scheduled for June 17, the week of this year’s International Country Music Fan Fair. The new Hall of Fame is tentatively scheduled to be open in May 2001.

“I support the Hall of Fame financially because it’s the right thing to do as a citizen of Nashville, as an artist,” country star Trisha Yearwood said. (Hear Trisha in this audioclip.) “We’re asked so often as artists to support a lot of different things. You have to pick and choose what you want to put your money into, and what you feel it’s gonna be best used for. I feel great about being a part of the new museum because it’s quality, it’s class and it’s for future generations.”

Contributions have also been received from Rhett Akins, Eddy Arnold, Clint Black, BR5-49, Brooks & Dunn, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Deana Carter, Terri Clark, Billy Ray Cyrus, Diamond Rio, Little Jimmy Dickens, Dixie Chicks, Vince Gill, Nanci Griffith, Emmylou Harris, Wade Hayes, Faith Hill, George Jones, Wynonna Judd, Sammy Kershaw, Hal Ketchum, Pee Wee King, Patty Loveless, Loretta Lynn, Kathy Mattea, Mindy McCready, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, John Michael Montgomery, Montgomery Gentry, Lorrie Morgan, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Lee Roy Parnell, Johnny Paycheck, family of Eddie Rabbitt, Kenny Rogers, Dave Rowland, Randy Scruggs, Jason Sellers, Marty Stuart, Hank Thompson, Pam Tillis, Rick Trevino, Travis Tritt, Clay Walker, estate of Keith Whitley, The Wilkinsons and Lee Ann Womack.