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Ronnie Milsap, Mac Wiseman, Hank Cochran gain Country Music Hall of Fame status

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Representatives for the Country Music Association announced during a Tuesday, April 22, press conference from the rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville who this year's Country Music Hall of Fame members will be.

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During the event, it was revealed that the late Hank Cochran (who died in 2010), Ronnie Milsap and Mac Wiseman will be the newest inductees into the revered hall of fame. Specifically, Cochran will be inducted in the rotating "Songwriter" category, while Milsap will join in the "Modern Era Artist" category and Wiseman will join in the "Veterans Era Artist" category.

“All these distinguished Southerners overcame serious hardship before finding the opportunity to hone their talents to professional levels and make the inspired country music that has led to this moment,” said Kyle Young, director and CEO of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, in an April 22 media release. “Their indelible mark has earned them country music’s highest honor, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

The inductees were officially introduced by individuals who counted themselves as fans, colleagues, students, friends and admirers of the three. Country Music Hall of Fame member Bobby Bare introduced Cochran's widow, Suzi Cochran, who spoke on his behalf. Country Music Hall of Fame member and former CMA Executive Director Jo Walker-Meador introduced Wiseman, while CMA Award winner Hunter Hayes was on hand to introduce Milsap.

“When you start listening to the radio as a kid, you want to hear your songs on there, because songs are bits of people’s lives, including your own,” Milsap shared via an April 22 correspondence shared with Examiner. “Then you dream that your songs and your music will mean enough to the people that, one day, they’ll put you in the Hall of Fame. Not for you, exactly, but for all the songwriters and musicians and especially the fans who tell you their life is in your songs.

"To me, that’s what the hall of game is all about: how many people’s lives were held in your music," he continued. "So many people I admire and have heard my story in their songs are already in the hall, and I love the idea that maybe my music meant – to others -- what those artists have meant to me.”

In responding to his inclusion in this year's HOF members, Wiseman said, "Being a founding member of CMA, I have always been proud of my role in helping make country music popular. Being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is the icing on the cake and certainly a highlight of my career.”

Following the press conference, Milsap and Wiseman participated in a discussion during the 11th Annual CMA Artist Luncheon attended by CMA artist members and board representation.

CMA Board member Kix Brooks served as host for the event. According to an April 22 media statement, Cochran, Milsap,and Wiseman will be formally inducted into the Hall of Fame during the Medallion Ceremony later this year, but no specific date was shared, as is the custom.

The CMA created the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961 to recognize noteworthy individuals for their outstanding contributions to the format with country music’s highest honor.

For more information, please visit CMAworld.com.

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