Gene Williams, Loretta Lynn, Dot Rhodes and Mike Snider will be inducted into the George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame, named for the man who created the Grand Ole Opry. Williams said, “I am honored to be included in the 2009 induction group along with country icon Loretta Lynn, Dot Rhodes, entertainer and wife of Hall of Fame member Dusty Rhodes, and Mike Snider, an extraordinarily talented musician in country music.”
The George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame and Foundation, located in Mammoth Spring, Ark., honors the memory of George D. Hay, who credited a hoe down in the town as the inspiration for his creation of the Grand Ole Opry. Both the hall of fame and foundation have the support and encouragement of Hay’s daughter, Margaret Hay-Van Damm.
“The (George D. Hay Music) Hall of Fame induction, by foundation selection, is a means of recognizing rare individuals who have played an outstanding and enduring role in the world of country music. Your musical history and career set you apart as one such individual,” said Bob Ross, president and 2009 awards chair of the hall and the foundation. The induction will be conducted during the 13th Annual George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame and Hoe Down Awards Show on Sept. 20 at the George D. Hay Music Hall of Fame Theater in Mammoth Spring, Ark.
In Williams’ nomination biography, Ross wrote, “Gene is a man who strives to keep alive the spirit of country music for all music fans.” Williams’ fans recently presented him with a Gold Record for the #1 classic country music show in America. Williams has been honored by his hometown with a road named after him following a 2007 key to the city presentation and a historical marker recognizing his support to help preserve the town’s history. A historical building in Dyess will be a museum recognizing former residents, Johnny Cash, Tommy Cash and Williams. He was grand marshal in the first Dyess Christmas Parade in 2008.
The Gene Williams Country Music TV Show was featured in the June 2009 issue of Better Homes and Gardens as a nostalgia experience in a live television show. For the past eight years the show has been taped in Branson live before a studio audience. Guests have included Mickey Gilley, who is his current announcer, the Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Clark, Johnny Lee, Barbara Fairchild, Sons of the Pioneers, Johnny Cash’s band The Tennessee Three, the Blackwood Brothers, Helen Cornelius, Leona Williams, Charlie Louvin, Mary Lou Turner, Cal Smith, Stonewall Jackson, Norma Jean, Porter Wagoner, Jim Owen, Buck Trent, Wanda Jackson and many more.
Over the past five decades, his TV shows have won numerous awards and become the largest syndicated country music TV show not affiliated with Nashville. The show was rated as the most popular TV show in national ratings by WNGF Buffalo Broadcasting of New York and as a favorite TV show in a national magazine. Williams even helped Dr. Phil make a dream come true for one of his guests by making him a feature country singer on Williams’ show.
Williams’ television career led to his making two movies, Country Music Jamboree and Sound of Country Music that starred more than 39 Grand Ole Opry stars. He has worked with such greats as Johnny Cash, the Carter Family, the Statler Brothers, Carl Perkins, Charlie Walker, Charlie Louvin, Del Reeves, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, Minnie Pearl and Jack Greene.
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