Country music singer Cal Smith said he was humbled by his induction into the country music category of the 11th annual Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Concert.
“This thing that happened tonight is unbelievable — thank God I’m from Oklahoma, and thank God for letting me be born in Gans,” Smith said.
Smith was one of three inductees who performed Thursday night.
Smith kicked off the concert with an Earnest Tubb hit, “Walking the Floor Over You.”
Tulsa guitarist Tommy Crook, “a guitarist’s guitar player,” dazzled the crowd with his hot licks. And Oklahoma City-based Hinder, inducted in the Rising Star category, played a set of three songs, closing with “Lips of an Angel,” a hit single off the band’s debut album with Universal Records, “Extreme Behavior.”
Oklahoma music fans, past inductees and their family members packed the Muskogee Civic Center ballrooms during the induction ceremony before the concert.
Peggy Rains, a friend of the late Sammi Smith, who along with Cal Smith was inducted into the country music category, accepted the honor for Sammi.
“Everybody told me to stay away from Sammi Smith songs because the fans would always compare me to her,” said Rains, who sang Smith’s signature hit and Kris Kristofferson song, “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” during the induction concert. “I stayed away from her songs until she wasn’t there to do them anymore.”
Hoyt Axton and his mother, Mae Boren Axton, also were honored posthumously. Hoyt’s son, Matthew Axton, and his nephew, Shaun Axton, accepted the awards for the family.
“Dad was always proud to be from Oklahoma,” Matthew Axton said while accepting the award for his father. “He always said Oklahoma was the cultural center of the universe.”
Hugh Foley, a Rogers State University music professor and a founding member of the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, said Oklahoma’s rich music tradition runs deep and dates back before statehood.
The organization’s president, Dan Newell, concurred.
“If it weren’t for Oklahoma, there would be significantly less music in the world to enjoy,” Newell said.
The Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame was created in 1995 after its founders recognized the need to educate the public about the influence Oklahomans have had on the music industry. The Oklahoma Legislature passed a resolution the following year, designating Muskogee as its home.
Music Hall of Fame inducts musicians for the 11th time
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