May 8, 2007 On Sunday the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum honored the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame: legendary guitarist Harold Bradley, enduring country-pop hitmaker Sonny James and Texas music icon George Strait.
The event included more than a dozen veteran Hall of Fame members who gathered to welcome the 2006 inductees in an emotional ceremony filled with music, memories and warm embraces, as well as plenty of tears and laughter.
The medallions were presented to the new inductees by longtime friends who preceded them into the Hall of Fame. Brenda Lee, who was 10 years old when she first worked with Harold Bradley, had to get on her tiptoes to place the honor around the guitarist's neck; Porter Wagoner recalled touring with "the great Southern Gentleman" Sonny James and the many good times they'd shared; and George Jones spoke of George Strait's dedication to traditional country music and to his wife, Norma, and son, Bubba.
Those performing songs toasting the careers of the honorees included Trace Adkins, Jimmy Capps, Charlie Daniels, Dean Dillon, Vince Gill, Dan Huff, Alan Jackson, George "Goober" Lindsey, Brent Mason, Reba McEntire, Randy Owen, Connie Smith, Ray Stevens, Lee Ann Womack and the Southern Gentleman vocal group (Lin Bown, Jack Galloway, Glenn Huggins and Garry Robble). The event was taped for future broadcast on GAC.
Harold, in accepting his medallion, said, "Surely God has had his hand on my shoulders all my life," while sharing his honor with his family. Sonny, in an emotional speech, acknowledged his family, the band who traveled with him and the Southern Gentleman singers. Growing emotional, George choked up between sentences, saying, "From the day I started singing country music, I dreamed of getting into the Country Music Hall of Fame. It's the ultimate achievement you can have in this business, so that's what I wanted. I'm truly honored and blessed today to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame."
The evening ended with the honorees, performers and Hall of Fame members standing on stage performing "Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" Attendees embraced one another, speaking of family, both biological and musical, before promising to meet again at next year's ceremony.