Friday, October 17, 2014

NC Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony - 2014

Sue and I had the pleasure of attending the 2014 Induction Award Ceremony for the NC Music Hall of Fame in Kannapolis last night. The pre-ceremony dinner was at the restaurant Forty Six, which is right adjacent to the Gem Theatre where the Induction Ceremony was held.

The Gem; for those not already familiar with the theater; is one of those rare commodities these days; a stand-alone, honest to goodness movie theater, with a marquee and everything.  Not only do they show the most recent films at a reasonable price; they also showcase local community events, and the theater is also available for rent as a place to hold an occasion; from weddings to graduations.

This year’s ceremony, which followed the dinner, featured an award for Clay Aiken. Although he was not in attendance his presence was easily felt. Raleigh is not so far away that we don’t consider him to be a “local”. His mother accepted the award for him and even gave a little plug to his upcoming election bid for Congress. Nobody seemed to mind. 

Fantasia Barrino, top R&B artist and American Idol Winner in 2004 was on hand to accept an award and gave a truly charming acceptance speech. Although she did not perform she did sing a portion of her remarks acapella, much to everyone's delight. Even Ms. Barrino seemed to enjoy herself. In a form fitting white full length gown she was reminiscent of a younger Aretha Franklin.

Jimmy Capps, whose career has had him playing on so many hits that it’s hard to even list them, was also part of the show. He was truly in great form leading the audience through a series of his hits. He has also been a member of the Grand Ole Opry since 1958.

The Embers, known for their beach music sound; made for strolling on the boardwalk, were honored and then later performed. These were the original members and they still had it all together; friends for life. And that friendship translated right through to the audience, many of whom were life long fans.

Little Eva; known mostly for “The Loco-motion” & “The Turkey Trot”, was born in Belhaven, NC, and received a long overdue posthumous induction. She also got a extended ovation. The Chairmen of the Board; long known for their beach music and cross over hits such as "Give Me Just a Little More Time" also performed and brought the house down. Everybody loves these guys and they have played at several Hall of Fame events; being early Inductees themselves.  

Lulu Belle & Scotty, two artists from the 1940’s, known as the Sweethearts of Country Music were singled out for their contributions at a time when Charlotte almost replaced Nashville as the center of country music. Not only was Charlotte on the "circuit", it also boasted the most powerful transmitter in the South at the time, bringing acts such as theirs here to the Queen City for radio exposure. One of my favorite recordings of theirs was the 1974 hit "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" That song was highlighted in the tribute film to them, which made me very happy.
Talmadge “Tab” Smith, who played with Jimmy Witherspoon and Johnny Otis was also honored, as was Link Wray, renowned guitarist known for the” power chord”. As an added bonus, Link Wray's grandson's group Band of Tribes shook the theater with a power performance, which although it may have seemed a bit out of place for the program, reflected the myriad sounds which originated here in North Carolina. Their vocalist was also a powerhouse of her own.

All in all it was a fantastic show which lasted over 2 hours before everybody headed over to the museums new headquarters at Curb Motorsports down the road in Concord. The move will afford the museum about twice the space they currently have in the original location at the old Kannapolis Jail. Mike Curb is an old friend of Eddie Ray, who is the Vice-Director of Operations at the museum. You might even say that he is its heart and soul.

The evening really highlighted not only the musical roots of North Carolina, but also what fun local cultural events can be when presented by such local organizations as The NC Music Hall of Fame.
For more about them and what they do, go to their website at;

Also, for more about the remarkable Eddie Ray visit his Wikipedia page at;

And to purchase a copy of his autobiography, “Against All Odds”, go to;

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