For thirty-eight years, the National Traditional Country Music Association has been honoring and inducting deserving country music artists into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. Formed in 1976 as a means to salvage and save some of America’s very unique and truly American musical art forms, the president, Bob Everhart, set about honoring those that have made significant contributions to the musical genre. According to Everhart, “We knew back in 1976 that the inevitable changes that were taking place in America’s very own musical art form called country, would drastically change in the near future. Today music called ‘country’ is hardly recognizable as that same genre of music. We hold a Pioneer Ag Expo in Iowa, and have been since 1976. That is the venue we use to induct deserving individuals into the Hall of Fame. We represent ‘rural’ America, the farmers and small town folks that still care about America’s rural music, and country music on a whole. We have a large membership in our organization that still desire and listen to the music they still call country. We like to refer to it as ‘rural country’ so as not to have it confused with today’s so-called country music. In just the past few years we have inducted Jim Ed Brown, Lynn Anderson, Charley McCoy, Michael Martin Murphey, Bill Anderson, even the legendary Patti Page who had a deep and abiding love for ‘real’ country music. It is with a great deal of respect and honor that we announce our first inductee into the Hall of Fame for this year, none other than the cowboy that mama let grow up, the one and only Ed Bruce.”
The induction takes place in LeMars, Iowa, where the NTCMA holds their annual Expo, festival, and old-time country music event. According to Everhart, “We have so many performers and supporters for America’s ‘real’ country music, the event is now seven days long. It goes from 9am to midnight every day on no less than ten stages. What that means is, for an entire week, well over 650 musicians and performers congregate at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa, for the festivities. It’s a very ‘acoustic’ music event, we do not need nor do we want, loud electrified noise. We’re more interested in the ‘truth’ of country music, the bottom line, the ‘gift’ if you will. Can you imagine Bill Anderson, all by himself on a stool with just an acoustic guitar, entertaining 2,500 folks, so quiet you could hear a pin drop. And not one show but two, simply because there were so many that wanted to see him inducted into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame. We expect the same thing to happen to Mr. Bruce, who will be with us on August 31st. The festival runs from Aug. 26-Sept. 1, and is now in it’s 38th year.”
Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings recorded “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys” in 1978, only two years after Everhart created the National Traditional Country Music Association. The song, written by Ed Bruce, became a major hit, and put Mr. Bruce on the upward spiral. In 1979, Tanya Tucker recorded Bruce’s “Texas When I Die.” By 1980, Ed Bruce was a songwriter and recording artist of incredible merit. He signed with MCA Records, recording such self-penned hits as “When You Fall In Love,” and “Love’s Found You and Me.” His biggest hit “You’re The Best Break This Old Heart Ever Had,” was in 1982. As an actor he also scored big time working with James Garner, as a surly town lawman in Maverick.
According to Everhart, “Ed Bruce is a very likable, successful, and deserving man for this ‘rural’ Hall of Fame honor. The Hall of Fame is located in the Pioneer Music Museum in Anita, Iowa, and contains some incredible memories of what real country music was all about, and memorabilia of many stars and superstars. Ed Bruce is a welcome addition to this honor. Anyone interested in our work can find us at www.ntcma.net. There’s great RV camping facilities at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds where we have the inductions, along with terrific rural food and a number of other attractions, including a rendezvous tipi village in a ghost town, workshops, jams, contests, themed shows, old-time dances, old-time rural critters and animals, and a tremendous interaction of musicians and guests. We’ll also have other celebrities with us to be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he said.