Class of 2016 Enters the Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame
The Colorado Country Music Hall of Fame honored eight performers into the Hall on Sunday at the American Legion Hall located at Colfax and Simms.
Hall President Bob Briggs entertained with his band and former KYGO jock Jennifer Page handled the induction honors. The senior statesman for this year’s class was guitarist Gene Harrell. Harrell’s career began in Texas where he was born, and where he backed former country music legend Jim Reeves in a small honky tonk just prior to Reeves departing for Nashville and onto a long run on the country and pop charts. Harrell was invited to accompany Reeves but declined, moving on to a gig with the Kirby Sisters of Texarkana, backing them in a local nightclub and journeying with them to the famous Sun recording stories where he backed them on four tracks at the invitation of label owner Sam Phillips.
In Colorado, Gene recorded on CLW records and was a member of the Blackie Minor Band. He also performed with Gatemouth Brown, Jimmy Dallas, Randy King, Lee Sims, Dewey Knight and others. He also backed the Sons of the Pioneers when they came to Colorado.
This year’s inductees along with Gene Harrell included Rick Thornberry, John Talbot, Ricky Martin, Jerry Frase, Tony Ortega, Les Cook and John Gilley (yes, relative of that Gilley).