Sept. 23--SENECA, Mo. -- At times, it was difficult for music producer Doc McCready to put into words exactly how he felt about an extraordinary event that took place on an August evening in downtown St. Joseph.
That evening, Doc and his son, famed singer/songwriter Rich McCready, were inducted into the Missouri Music Hall of Fame. It was the first time, in any state, that a father and son duo were immortalized at the same time in the same year.
"It still hasn't quite sunk in," Doc said, at times his voice cracking from emotion. "It's probably the single greatest honor of my life n the pinnacle of my career, with the exception of my marriage and the birth of my son."
Doc and Rich joined three other Missouri music legends, including rock pioneer Chuck Berry, as inductees for 2013. Past inductees include Scott Joplin, Charlie Parker, Bill Foster and Bugsy Maugh.
"I've won a lot of awards over the years, but I would say this one falls into the top three," Rich said. "And having Dad right there beside me is just the icing on the cake."
Rich, who had been nominated the year before, enters the hall as a songwriter; his father as a music producer.
"It's just incredible," Rich said. "I think we're both still in shock."
History of playing
That special night on Aug. 31 wasn't the first time these two Seneca residents were on a stage together with guitars in hand. Their first live performance together was in 1991 when Rich was a junior at Southwest Baptist University and was discovering a hidden but deep love for writing and performing country music.
He was playing guitar for Doc's band, Lost Creek, during a live gig in front of a local fox-hunting group based in Tiff City.
"We were up on this music trailer. We were behind this country store, Bradshaws, that had these lights and outhouses," Rich said. "There were like 120 trees, and tied to each tree were at least three coon hounds. It was literally 200 dogs. And we must have been hitting the perfect note because we kept hearing this awful sound. I thought it was feedback."
The father and son still cackle about that first concert and the sound of the dogs braying to the heavens.
"When I got off the stage, I told one of them, 'There's a black and tan (coon) out there that I'd like to hire for a back-up singer,'" Doc said with a deep laugh. "But they loved us. We played for (that group) for years."
While music had just been a hobby for Rich until his junior year in college, he had been playing guitar since age of 8. Playing music together as father and son became a nightly ritual.
"Dad's passion for music was extreme," Rich said. "When he came home from work, and when I came home from football practice, playing music was just as normal as sitting down for dinner. Dad would go to work (Doc was an established periodontal surgeon). I would go to school (Rich was a 1988 graduate from Seneca High School). He came home. I came home. We'd eat dinner. We'd then do our chores on the farm. And then we'd pick until 2 in the morning. That was just a part of life."
Doc would go on to teach his son everything he knew about the music business, but there was only so much he could pass on. To learn all the tricks of the trade, Rich would have to do something Doc had always wanted to do but never could n go to Nashville.
"I had visions of going to Nashville," Doc said. "But I went into (medicine) instead. So Rich has sort of fulfilled my dreams by going to Nashville and doing the business. Now, he's showing me the business."
After graduating from Southwest Baptist, Rich strapped on the guitar and headed east to Nashville. He couldn't have entered the country music business at a better time.
In the 1990s, country music became a worldwide phenomenon, thanks to singer-songwriters such as Clint Black, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks. The latter enjoyed one of the most successful careers in music history, breaking records for both sales and concert attendance throughout the decade.
It was a great time to be in the industry, Rich said.
"The business was at its peak. (The) Internet hadn't really hit yet, and the music was just really, really happening," Rich said. "Everybody had deals. If you had a cowboy hat and could play three chords, you would find some kind of (record) deal. It was a great time."
His debut, self-titled album, released in 1995, would spawn three No. 1 hit singles: "Hangin' On," "Thinkin' Strait" and "When Hell Freezes Over."
A decade later, Doc helped produce his son's fourth album, titled "2005."
"This is what I tell every artist, male or female: 'You have to have some type of raw want, raw desire, raw talent,'" Rich said. "But if you're not willing to put 90 percent hard work behind that 10 percent raw talent, you might as well find something else to do.
"My dad's perseverance and passion for music, and his loyalty to music is probably 25 times greater than mine."
"You're gonna have me in tears," Doc said, smiling.
"It's true," Rich said. After a short pause, he smiled. "If we weren't in music, we would be robbing banks together."
Today, the two co-own the McCready Recording Studio, located roughly five miles south of Seneca. The studio was established in 2004.
"Rich and I wanted a little place where we could record, so we went to Nashville, visited five or six recording studios there, took the best from each of them and incorporated it all into our studio here," Doc said. "We've got bands from all over n Nashville, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma n coming here. We're now getting really well known for our studio."
"As far as contacts and knowledge of how the really hardcore music scene works, there's nothing like it anywhere around here in the Joplin area," Rich said. "We can really help people here."
But for the moment, this hardworking father and son duo are still basking in the glory of their hall of fame induction.
"The great thing is that future generations of our family can say, 'Our grandfather and our great-grandfather were in the class of 2013 of the Missouri Music Hall of Fame,' and they can go see it, and it's permanent," Doc said.
"It's up there in stone, forever."
Ready to record?
The McCready Recording Studio is located at 21859 Crow Road in Seneca. Details: 417-775-2969 or www.mccreadyrecordingstudio.com.
Masterful Missouri music
The Missouri Music Hall of Fame, based in St. Joseph, is a relatively new organization. Created in 2009, its first inductees were recognized in 2010. It is managed by a nonprofit foundation.
(c)2013 The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.)
Visit The Joplin Globe (Joplin, Mo.) at www.joplinglobe.com
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