The Country Music Hall of Fame welcomed three new inductees today, including an artist who some saw as being long overlooked.
Bluegrass mandolin player Ricky Skaggs and fiddler Johnny Gimble were inducted along with Dottie West — widely considered a country music pioneer. West's fans have clamored for her inclusion in the Hall of Fame for years.
West was the first female country artist to ever win a Grammy for her performance on a song she co-wrote, called "Here Comes My Baby."
West went on to a decades-long career that included a string of chart-topping duets with Kenny Rogers. She died in 1991 at the age of 58, after a car accident on her way to perform on the Grand Ole Opry.
The Country Music Association, whose members vote on Hall of Fame inductees, chose West to represent the "Veterans Era Artist" category this year.
For the "Modern Era Artist," members chose Ricky Skaggs, who began his career as a whiz-kid mandolin player on the bluegrass circuit. He went on to back up greats from Ralph Stanley to Emmylou Harris, before mounting a successful solo career.
In the '90s, Skaggs made a promise to bluegrass pioneer Bill Monroe — as Monroe was on his deathbed — that he would help keep the spirit of the genre alive. Since then, Skaggs has focused almost exclusively on bluegrass, with occasional country and gospel releases.
Fiddle player Johnny Gimble was inducted in the category for recording and touring musicians. Gimble is already in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Western Swing icon Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. Gimble also recorded and toured extensively with numerous country greats including George Strait and Willie Nelson.