News Column

Andy Griffith selected for Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame

June 1, 2013


June 01--Andy Griffith is most well-known for his role in "The Andy Griffith Show," but he was also a musician and he is being recognized for that aspect of his career with an induction into The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, in the category of Nationally Known Artist.

With more than 20 albums that range from gospel to country, multiple acting roles that also involved his musical talents, and a platinum album released in 1996 that also won a Grammy, Griffith's recognition should come as no surprise.

Griffith's musical legacy is considered by The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame as worth recognizing for bringing "attention to the people, heritage, culture, and music of western North Carolina through his television, Broadway, and big-screen roles."

Andy Griffith showcased his musical talents during several episodes of "The Andy Griffith Show" and even "Matlock." He also sung in movies such as "A Face in the Crowd."

The albums Griffith made have enjoyed popularity throughout the years, and many are sold at local stores and at The Andy Griffith Museum. In an informal survey conducted with 45 local tourists who visited the downtown area yesterday, 40 out of the 45 people indicated they only knew about Andy's music through his performances on "The Andy Griffith Show."

Of the five individuals who reported they were familiar with Griffith's music, one said he listened to some of his grandparent's albums and the other four said they owned his CDs, mostly his 1996 album "I Love to Tell the Story" or a Christmas album made by Griffith in 2003, "Christmas Guest."

Tanya Jones, executive director of The Surry Arts Council, said The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame has "honored several local folks during the past few years and The Surry Arts Council certainly appreciates recognition of Mount Airy and Surry County icons."

The Andy Griffith Museum, located at the Surry Arts Council, features exhibits highlighting Griffith's career, including a collection of his albums and related musical memorabilia collected by Emmett Forrest, Griffith's longtime friend.

Highlights from their musically-related Griffith collection included his first recording made in 1953, an award for platinum album sales for his 1996 album "I Love to Tell the Story," a display case full of various recordings, and a letter from his wife Cindi Griffith praising his album "Christmas Guest."

"I believe it's Andy's most personal and beautiful recording," she said.

Griffith developed his musical interests early in his life in Mount Airy. He listened to music growing up and also played trombone in the Grace Moravian Church band. He participated in the Mount Airy High School drama club. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a bachelor of music degree in 1949 and participated in multiple school productions.

Other local and locally-related Blue Ridge Hall of Fame members inducted in previous years include Ralph and Carter Stanley as Nationally Known Artists in 2009, Mike Seeger in 2009 for the recording industry, Tommy Jarrell in 2008 for Master Musician and Tradition Bearer, Ralph Epperson in 2008 for Media and Scholars and Wayne Henderson in 2008 for Recordings and Luthiers.

The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame is located in Wilkesboro, as part of the Wilkes Heritage Museum. According to the group's website, the organization exists to "showcase and preserve the rich musical heritage of the greater Blue Ridge Mountains area from northern Georgia to northern Virginia" and it helps to educate, interpret, and define the "history of music in the Blue Ridge area and musicians in all genres from the region."

According to the website, the Hall of Fame committee consists of a 15-member nomination committee made up of scholars from universities, the Library of Congress, and the Smithsonian Institution.

Additional 2013 inductees include Pete Kuykendall of Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine, Luthier Kyle Creed, songwriter and musician Lester Flatt, Regional Musician Norman Blake, Pioneer Artists The Stoneman Family, and Regional Musicians Jimmy Church and the Gems.

The Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame Dinner and Induction Ceremony is scheduled for June 8 at the Stone Center for Performing Arts in Wilkesboro.

For more information about the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame museum and/or ceremony, call 336-667-3171.

Reach Jessica Johnson at or 719-1933.


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