Steve Wariner Recalls Fond Memories of Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Jim Ed Brown, the Oak Ridge Boys
Steve Wariner has plenty of respect for the artists who came before him -- and has enjoyed getting to know some of them. The singer was on hand at the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame inductions to help honor to the 2015 class of inductees -- Grady Martin, Jim Ed Brown and the Browns and the Oak Ridge Boys -- and recalled some fond memories involving the country music legends.
"My dad was huge into the history of country music and where we all come from," Wariner told The Boot and other reporters on the red carpet prior to the ceremony. "I think my dad gets to live it kind of through me now. He’s 88 now, so he’s always kind of gotten to live his dream through me, and I love that. I just love the history.
"When I was a kid, I was fascinated with the '50s. As I got older, then it was the '60s," Wariner continues. "I just love the history of where we come from and how we did it back then, how they made records and how the technology has changed. Now, it’s so different [from] how I made records in the '80s. It just evolves, and I love it."
The 60-year-old told the assembled media about a special conversation that he had with Jim Ed Brown shortly before Brown passed away in June.
"Jim Ed left me a cool message, about two weeks before he passed, and I still have it," Wariner explained. "He said, ‘Hey, Stevie boy, I’ve got a cool idea for a song, you might want to write this. Or, you might not want to write this, but I think it’s cool. I don’t know what you’ll think.’ He laid out this whole idea.
"I called him back, but he was already starting to be pretty ill," Wariner adds. "He was gone in two weeks after that."
The Indiana native says that he learned plenty by watching Brown perform as well.
"I toured Europe once with Jim Ed," he notes. "It was wonderful to play those iconic Brown songs with him and watch how he handled those audiences all over Europe. He was a consummate pro, and I really respected and admired him."
Wariner also has a special connection with the Oak Ridge Boys, who invited him to open for them early in his career.
"We’d play ball in the middle of the night, back when we all could run full court," he recalls with a laugh. "They were great; they were always wonderful to me. They always would tell me, 'Don’t go over your 20 minutes.' Duane [Allen] would say, ‘Do not go over one second.’
"... I was just a kid. But they were always so nice to me. I’d ride on their buses half the time with them," Wariner continues. "Good times for a young artist starting out. They were very kind."
See Photos From the 2015 Country Music Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony