Miranda Lambert, Johnny Cash Earn Music City Walk of Fame Stars
The four honorees -- the latest inductees into the Walk of Fame -- were honored in a special ceremony held on Tuesday (Oct. 6).
"Our story includes all of the creative individuals who work harmoniously to make music come to life here," Nashville Mayor Megan Barry said of the inductees during the event. "Since we started this Walk of Fame, Music City has celebrated artists from Reba [McEntire] to Little Richard to the Fisk Jubilee Singers to the Kings of Leon. And each of these talented individuals has one thing in common: They all have had a creative impact on Nashville and our musical heritage.
"Since becoming Nashville's first female mayor, I've heard the word 'trailblazer' a lot, but when I think of women who are out there using their time and talents to help other women, Miranda tops the list," Barry added. "She generously uses her stage to help other artists, she empowers their careers, and she recently created a new scholarship program for women at Belmont University ... These efforts are just some of the reasons why the Nashville Symphony rightly awarded her the Harmony Award this year."
Lambert was inducted by her good friend and two-time touring partner, Dierks Bentley.
"We definitely share a lot of common interests, Miranda and I," Bentley said of his fellow country singer. "Certainly, the road, touring, is probably our strongest connection ... Everything that goes with it, we both love. I could certainly tell some stories about being on the road with Miranda that may or may not be appropriate for this audience.
"There's more to her than just being an artist," Bentley continued. "There's another word that's missing, and that's 'authentic'. She's the real deal. She's someone that's unwilling to bend, but she's willing to fight to change the system. She's someone whose character is unchanging, but she ultimately changes the game just by being who she is."
Lambert took the stage to a thunderous standing ovation, before expressing her gratitude for the honor.
"Being part of this day, and hearing what all of these amazing people have done, I feel like a bigger part of Nashville than I ever have," Lambert said from stage. "I lived here 10 years ago, and I was just getting off of Nashville Star. Nashville Star was kind of like my college. I had never really left Texas that much until the TV show, so that was my first time to leave home, and then I moved back home right after the show. I lived in Nashville just long enough to make a record, and then I got scared and ran back to Mom.
"I've been spending a lot of time here the last three or four months," she revealed. "I've moved back here. I've never felt more at home; I've never felt more inspired. I've listened to live music or written music every single day since I've been here, for the whole summer, basically. It was my first summer off the road, and I've never felt more ready to make music and learn from music and learn from musicians and songwriters.
"Every single person I run into, I feel like I've built relationships over the last 10 years of my career. I feel like I have so much family here, and friendships, and so I could not be more thrilled to have my name on the sidewalk down here, because it means the world," Lambert continued. "Also, I feel like I'm just getting started.
"Thank you so much for allowing me to live this amazing life," Lambert concluded. "I love it so much, and I love the people that I get to do it with."
WSM 650AM radio host Bill Cody served as the ceremony's emcee, and he also had the privilege of presenting Cash's star to the country legend's younger brother, Tommy Cash.
"As a young preacher's boy in rural Kentucky, at the age of eight or nine, my parents had a copy of Johnny Cash Sings the Ballads of the True West," Cody recalled. "It was a double album. It was a concept album. Nobody had done anything like that before in country music. He had that cowboy gun-slinger picture on the cover ... It instilled in me from that day to this a wanderlust."
Tommy Cash, who was the youngest of seven children and five years younger than the Man in Black, sang the praises of his big brother in a touching tribute.
"If he were here today, he'd probably say, 'Well, I got another plaque,'" Tommy Cash quipped. "But he deserved it. He also deserved the Johnny Cash Museum, because he put a lot of work into everything he did. He changed our lives when I was 15 years old: His first record came out.
"I miss him very much," Cash added. "He's been gone 12 years, and June Carter Cash has been gone, but their spirits and their genuineness is here in this plaque today. If they were here today, and he is in spirit, he would probably say, 'Let's go home and eat some beans and taters.'"
Cropper was recognized for his songwriting, guitar and production skills. As a writer, he's penned hits like “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” with Otis Redding, “In the Midnight Hour” by Wilson Pickett and “All 4 Love” by Color Me Badd. He is an original member of the Blues Brothers Band and has toured with Neil Young and Jimmy Buffett as a guitar player. He is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Wendell has contributed greatly to the entertainment aspects of Nashville. In his lengthy career, he has served as the vice president of radio station WSM and general manager of the Grand Ole Opry and former Opryland theme park. He also served as president and CEO of Gaylord Entertainment, overseeing the launch of the Nashville Network, acquisition of Country Music Television, expansion of the Opryland Hotel, renovation of the Ryman Auditorium and opening of the Wildhorse Saloon.
Then and Now: See How Miranda Lambert and Other Country Stars Have Changed
You Think You Know Miranda Lambert?