Arts News: Kansas Music Hall of Fame Honors 2019 Inductees

Kansas City blues artist Samantha Fish is one of this year’s 11 inductees into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame. (Brian Rozman Photography)

Is induction into the Kansas Music Hall of Fame similar to being named to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame? Or is the honor — which recognizes the contributions of musicians and other individuals to the Kansas and metropolitan Kansas City music scenes — more closely comparable to the Kennedy Center Honors?

“If you want to make those comparisons, I won’t argue with you,” said Allen Blasco, president of the KMHF, which was established in 2004.

“We have two basic categories of induction — performers and nonperformers,” Blasco said.

Among inductees this year of particular interest to Kansas City music fans are Ida McBeth, Samantha Fish, Bureman & O’Rourke and the band Nation.

Throughout the years, the inductees have been musically eclectic: “We induct all kinds of jazz, all kinds of rock, and all kinds of country,” Blasco said.

Past recipients of the honor have included jazz bandleader Count Basie, the BonTon Soul Accordion Band, jazz saxophonists Charlie Parker and Bobby Watson, the Rainmakers and Split Lip Rayfield.

Not yet accorded the honor, but on the Hall of Fame’s radar, are nationally known jazz singers Kevin Mahogany (who died in 2017 at age 59) and Karrin Allyson.

“Actually, Kevin Mahogany has been on the ballot for some time,” Blasco said. “I really feel bad, because we pride ourselves on trying to induct people while they’re still alive. But sadly, we missed on Kevin.”

The 2019 inductees:

Warren Bernhardt (Holton). Recipient of the latest Bob Hapgood Award, Bernhardt owned the Jolly Troll nightspot in northeast Kansas.

Bureman & O’Rourke (KC). Bruce Bureman and Tim O’Rourke are recognized for their “special vocal blend and musical stylings.”

Jim Dale (Burlington). Dale had a regional hit with “VW” and his songs were recorded by performers including Gladys Knight and Etta James.

Samantha Fish (KC). Recipient of this year’s Bill Lee Award, blues singer-guitarist Fish has earned local and national praise for her artistry.

Fyre (Emporia). A promising band that never quite hit it big, Fyre is nonetheless remembered as a bright star on the 1970s music scene.

Bill Glenn (Wichita). A versatile drummer, Glenn has shared stages with acts from the Wichita Jazz Orchestra to The Lettermen.

“Home on the Range.” The state song of Kansas is unquestionably one of the most folksy and memorable homages to the American West.

Ida McBeth (KC). Decades of performing have revealed singer McBeth to be among Kansas City’s most essential and indispensable musical artists.

Nation (KC). Five musicians from two different bands got together to form this group, which had its latest reunion in 2011.

Scatband (Topeka). With its eclectic style, the band enjoyed popularity during the rise of MTV in the 1980s.

The Secrets (Lawrence). The band is perhaps best remembered for the 1979 single “It’s Your Heart Tonight”/“Get Your Radio.”

The Kansas Music Hall of Fame 2019 Induction Ceremony and Concert will be held at 7 p.m. April 13 at Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts Street in Lawrence. Tickets are $35 and are on sale through Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster.com and the Liberty Hall box office. On the evening of April 12, the free annual UnPlugged show will be presented in the Boulevard Bar and Grill at the DoubleTree Hotel, 200 McDonald Drive in Lawrence. For more information: ksmusichalloffame.org.

Calvin Wilson

Calvin Wilson is an arts writer at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. He is also host and creator of the jazz program, “Somethin’ Else,” on 107.3 FM and 96.3 HD2 in St. Louis.

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