The announcement of the 2017 inductees to the Country Music Hall of Fame will occur on April 5th, Saving Country Music has confirmed with the Country Music Association. The event will be held at the Hall of Fame rotunda in Nashville at 10:00 a.m. Central in front of a select group of dignitaries and press, and Vice Gill will be the event’s host this year.
Three new inductees will be likely named in three distinct categories: Modern Era, Veteran’s Era, and “Non-Performer, Songwriter, and Recording and/or Touring Musician active prior to 1980,” which rotates every 3 years. With a Non-Performer, Fred Foster, selected in 2016, and a musician, Grady Martin, selected in 2015, it would be a songwriter’s turn up to bat in 2017. Songwriters can also be performers, but the spirit of the rule is to induct a songwriter who would otherwise not be considered for the Hall of Fame.
Modern Era candidates are eligible for Hall of Fame induction 20 years after they first achieve “national prominence.” Veterans Era candidates are eligible for induction 45 years after they first achieve “national prominence.” Another rule worth mentioning, especially after all of the high-profile deaths in country music in 2016, is that no candidate is eligible for the Hall of Fame a year after they pass away. This is to avoid sympathy votes in the aftermath of an artist passing away, though in recent years this has also accelerated artists being inducted before they die to avoid the one year penalty.
Unlike other Halls of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame tries to keep the institution distinguished by letting only a few select names in each year. This has stirred some controversy over the last few years as a glut of names worthy of induction continues to build. Fans of many artists have set up online petitions to lobby the Country Music Association in attempt to get their candidate in. The Hall of Fame inductees are selected through a committee process appointed by the CMA, which has kept the same three-category rules in place since 2010.