MUSKOGEE, Okla. (AP) -- Byron Berline helped Vince Gill get a
start in music some 22 years ago. Their musical paths took them to
the same stage again as they were both inducted into the Oklahoma
Music Hall of Fame.
The Grammy-award winning Gill and Berline were inducted into the
hall Thursday night along with jazz guitarist Barney Kessell and
Tulsa radio station KVOO, where Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys
once called home.
Berline and Gill have been friends for 22 years, when Berline
hired a 19-year-old Gill to play for him from 1977 to 1980. Berline
is an award-winning musician and fiddler.
Thursday night, Gill presented Berline with an award and Berline
did the same for Gill.
Members of both men's families were on hand for the ceremony,
which also honored Kessell and KVOO.
Kessel had a stroke in 1992 and is unable to play his guitar. So
Bennie Garcia Sr. stood in for him to play highlights from Kessel's
Kessel introduced the concept of a guitar in a jazz trio, wrote
and directed music for movies and backed performers from the Beach
Boys to Fred Astaire.
He also served as a Music Ambassador during the Carter
administration, becoming only the third person to be named to that
office, along with Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.
Berline grew up on a farm that spanned the Oklahoma-Kansas
border. He has played with Bill Monroe, The Rolling Stones, The
Eagles, Elton John and Willie Nelson. Berline is releasing a
bluegrass album and is working on a tribute album honoring Gram
Parsons and Gene Clark. Gill sings Parsons' "Sin City" on the
Gill, a graduate of Northwest Classen High School in Oklahoma
City, is an award-winning musician himself, grabbing numerous
country music awards. He is preparing to go back into the studio to
record a new album in November.
KVOO Radio in its heyday was known as the "Voice of Oklahoma,"
serving as home to Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and Johnny Lee