Exclusive: Garth Brooks Reflects on Importance of Announcing Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees

Garth Brooks and his wife, Trisha Yearwood, announced the three upcoming Country Music Hall of Fame inductees – Ricky Skaggs, Dottie West and musician Johnny Gimble – on Tuesday, March 27, sharing tidbits about each inductee's life and career. As each name was announced, Brooks became emotional, unashamedly wiping away tears as he stood behind the podium.

For Brooks, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, being given the opportunity to share in the event is one he will never forget.

"It's their day. It's not mine, " Brooks tells PopCulture.com. "But I thought the greatest moment in an artist's career could be when you get inducted. When I stood here six years ago, that paled in comparison to get to stand up to announce these guys. Especially guys like Skaggs, that you grew up on. You're the reason why you play music, the reason why I'm on his walls, Ricky Skaggs. That was big for me."

Brooks had the chance to know West, before she passed away from complications from a car accident in 1991, only a few days before Brooks released his third studio album, Ropin' the Wind.

"Dottie West was sunshine," explains Brooks. "That's all she was. When she was coming down the hall, she just glowed. What she did was, she made that jump in you. You're getting ready to go out onstage, to perform for people, who want to forget the next two hours. She understood that, lived it and because of that, she passed it on to everybody that met her. Steve Wariner speaks so highly of her. Steve Waroner's probably the nicest guy in this business, so when guys like that love somebody, they have to be somebody very special."

While the Oklahoma native is thrilled for all three inductees, there are also several other candidates who he thinks should also be considered.

"[Keith] Whitley," Brooks says. "It's got to be Whitley, but I don't think the Judds are in here yet. How can we do that? I think – not biased or anything, the greatest female vocalist this town has seen is Trisha Yearwood. Love to see her name in here. I told her, 'You'll be in here one day.' She goes, 'I just hope, if it happens, that we're alive.' I said, 'I hope you are. It'll be the greatest day of your career, when they get to call your name.'"

"Again, I think everybody in here is long overdue, with the exception of one person in here," he continues. "It's good to see these names going up and we need to continue this tradition. Speed it up, somehow."

As for Brooks' own induction, the singer, who was inducted by George Strait, remembers very little of one of the most important nights of his life.

"It's kind of numb," admits Brooks. "I remember thanking [manager]Bob Doyle. I remember seeing his face. I remember getting the call from Bob ... It's pretty cool to see your plaque over here and five feet from you is Reba [McEntire] and George, which in Oklahoma, those are your two superheroes growing up. So, pretty cool."


Skaggs, West and Gimble will be inducted in a special invitation-only ceremony held later this year.

Photo Credit: Instagram/GarthBrooks