Hall Hosts Cindy Walker Donation Ceremony, Reveals Project

 Vince Gill, Fred Foster, Kyle Young and David Conrad - photo by Donn Jones.

(L-R) Vince Gill, Fred Foster, Kyle Young and David Conrad. photo: Donn Jones

When songwriter Cindy Walker died in March 2006, she left the writer’s share of her cherished catalog of songs to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Befittingly, the organization celebrated her life and work with a donation ceremony yesterday (8/12) and also revealed plans for a new Walker project.

The 1997 Country Music Hall of Fame inductee’s bequest included files and notebooks related to the songs, sheet music, photographs and business documents. Museum Director Kyle Young explained that Walker, who was once married briefly and had no children, thought of her songs as her “babies.” In one of her files, curators found Walker’s farewell note to her songs. “Goodbye my darling,” she wrote. “You have been so good to me. You have made me rich and famous. I love you, you are the reason I am, and you are in the Hall of Fame. I will miss you. Goodbye, your girl, Cindy Walker.”

“Few things have served as a more emotional reminder of our responsibilities here than Cindy Walker’s note to her ‘babies,’” said Young.

Museum trustee David Conrad described the Museum’s plans for the Walker songs. Crediting the idea to Sony/ATV Music Publishing President-CEO Troy Tomlinson, also a Board member, Conrad announced plans for a 12-song Walker demo to be shopped to film and television music supervisors. Conrad will executive produce, while Tony Brown, Fred Foster and Vince Gill have each volunteered to produce four songs for the project. Artists from different genres will create new arrangements of Walker’s songs which will then be pitched to Sony/ATV’s list of 450 film and television supervisors via MySpace. The publishers will contribute to the recording budget.

The celebration concluded with a musical salute to Walker presented by Nashville’s premier western swing unit, the Time Jumpers, who have kept a 10-year Monday night residency at the Station Inn that has fans lined up around the block before show time each week. Crowded close together in an intimate bluegrass style, the big swing band presented four songs from their standard repertoire including “Sugar Moon” with Kenny Sears on vocals, “You Don’t Know Me” with vocals by Carolyn Martin, “Miss Molly” with vocals by Ranger Doug, and “I Don’t Care” featuring the voice of Dawn Sears. Museum President Vince Gill joined the Time Jumpers to sing “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream).”

The celebration concluded with a musical salute to Walker presented by Nashville’s premier western swing unit, the Time Jumpers. The band presented four songs from their standard repertoire including “Sugar Moon” with Kenny Sears on vocals, “You Don’t Know Me” with vocals by Carolyn Martin, “Miss Molly” with vocals by Ranger Doug, and “I Don’t Care” featuring the voice of Dawn Sears. Museum President Vince Gill joined the Time Jumpers to sing “Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream).”

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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