CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – You will hear lots of great music during the 2020 West Virginia Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
While normally a live event, COVID-19 brought some of the best to the West Virginia Culture Center Theater in September.
There are five Hall of Fame inductees this year like West Virginia’s “First Lady of Gospel Music” – Ethel Caffie-Austin.
“Just watching you it looked like you were having so much fun up there, being able to perform again,” said 13 News Anchor Rob Macko.
“Yes, yes it’s been a while since I’ve been able to perform so it was a blessing,” Caffie-Austin said.
“Mountain Stage” host and co-founder Larry Groce is also being inducted this year.
“The fact that you’re voted in by your peers and the people who are already in this Hall of Fame, I mean I don’t deserve to be in there with them but I’m certainly happy to be mentioned in the same breath with them,” Groce said.
The Hall of Fame ceremony was recorded in segments over the course two days in late September. Normally, the seats in the audience would be full but because of the pandemic they couldn’t do that this year.
Producers had to get creative in how the show would be presented.
“This was a very different animal because we filmed things in segments but it also, it certainly takes the pressure off,” said Michael Lipton, the founder and director of the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame.
Lipton said they considered pushing the ceremony back until 2021, or doing it live this month, but feared a last-minute cancellation due to the pandemic.
“Kind of out of consideration of the inductees we wanted to do it this year in some fashion,” Lipton said.
The house band is led by Charlie McCoy who’s originally from Fayette County.
He’s played harmonica for George Jones, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Elvis.
McCoy was inducted into the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame in 2008. He’s been at every ceremony since.
“I believe in what they’re doing. I’m glad they got this started and to recognize great talent from our state and any time I’m free I’m going to try to come back and help,” McCoy explained.
This year’s other inductees also include: The Davis Twins, a brother-sister country act popular in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Honey died in 2019, but Sonny was on hand to accept the honor.
The Hammons Family, known for their traditional Appalachian music from the early to mid-1900s through the present. Trevor Hammons accepted the award.
And Pat Boone presented the award to Mayf Nutter in a segment recorded in California. Nutter, who was born in Clarksburg, is a singer, songwriter, and actor.
In a year that’s been very hard on musicians, forging ahead to honor these musicians meant a lot to them.
“I wanted to be able to do something and I’m so grateful that God allowed me to do so,” said Caffie-Austin.
“It’s just great to have them on these performances and it’s so wonderful that Ethel performed so yes, I think this was the right decision,” Lipton said.
The ceremony will air this Saturday on West Virginia Public Broadcasting from 7-9 pm.