Statlers Receive James D. Vaughn Impact Award

Written by Don Reid on November 26th, 2011 Posted in General

The Statler Brothers have been retired for nine (9) years.  Seems like only yesterday since our final concert, but it’s closer to a decade.  Since closing down shop and giving our voices a rest (Jimmy is still performing) except in the pews on Sunday mornings, we (Harold, Phil and I) have stayed out of the spotlight and nearer the hearths of home.  But good things have continued to happen for us from all avenues of the industry.

Even in retirement, the Gospel Music Association decided to induct us into their Hall of Fame in 2007.  The Country Music Hall of Fame followed suit in 2008 and we were overcome with the emotion of both events.  To say we are honored is a shortcoming and a failure of words.  We display these medallions with pride and feel our collective career has found a place in the sacred annals of history.  And just a short time ago we discovered it wasn’t over.  The awards just keep coming.

The Southern Gospel Music Association holds their Singing News Awards show each fall at Dollywood.  This is where the best of the best get their individual recognitions for categories such as Best Group, Best Lead Singer, Best Female Vocalist and etc.  This year we got an invitation to attend as they wanted to honor our contribution to Southern Gospel Music (we always included a gospel song on each album, did at least two or three in each concert, and closed all our TV shows with a hymn) with the presentation of the James D. Vaughn Award.  Mr. Vaughn, for those who are unfamiliar with the name, invented, created, began, founded what is known today as Southern Gospel.  He’s the granddaddy of this branch of music much as Bill Monroe is to Bluegrass and Jimmy Rodgers and The Carter Family are to Country.  We gladly and proudly went down to Pigeon Forge with our wives and accepted the award and thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Just before we left for the trip, we heard from Dolly Parton.  She congratulated us (she received the same award last year) and invited us to use her personal dressing room while we were at Dollywood for the afternoon show.  We took her up on her invitation and were glad to have a place to get out of the crowd for a couple of hours and have lunch.  So the eight of us, relaxed and in her spacious, three-room dressing suite beneath the Celebrity Theater until showtime.

It was a busy day that consisted of interviews for radio, TV and print; a red carpet parade through the park with thousands of fans to meet and greet; and a reception and picture op with the press and other artists.  The highlight of the day for the four Statlers was not only the JDV Award but also the chance to again see some old friends and make some new ones in a field of music that continually produces the best singers and musicians on the scene today.

I think the highlight for the wives (Debbie, Brenda, Wilma, and Nina) was Dolly’s sweet pink chaise lounge.

–DSR     Saturday November 26, 2011     6:10 pm


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