Trisha, Travis, Clint, Conlee, & Diffie: Michael Ray’s ready with his Hall of Fame picks

Sean Hagwell

This morning, Reba McEntire kicks off the week by revealing the 2021 inductees into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Having grown up singing classic country songs in his family’s band, who better to predict who may be going in than die-hard fan Michael Ray? Though only three additions will be revealed — and only two of those will be artists — the “Whiskey and Rain” hitmaker sees quite a few deserving people.

“If we look back, that class of ’89 changed everything as far as going into the nineties,” Michael reflects. “You had Clint Black, I think he’s missing. I think Travis Tritt‘s missing. I think you go back to John Conlee.”

“I also think there’s a lot of females like Patty Loveless,” Michael continues. “I don’t think Trisha Yearwood‘s in yet. You hear those songs… ‘She’s in Love with the Boy’… Come on, man. That’s the pinnacle of nineties female country songs.”

For Michael, there’s one possibility that’s even more personal.

“One I would love to see, because I think he’s been overlooked a lot in his career — and he was a big friend to me and a mentor to me and we lost him last year — and that’s Joe Diffie,” he says. “I think the nineties wouldn’t be the nineties without Joe.”

“I think he had a string of hits and one of the best voices that we had in this genre, and I would love to see him in there someday,” Michael adds.

You can tune in to watch at 11 a.m. ET via the CMA YouTube Channel.

Typically, inductees officially join the Hall during an October Medallion Ceremony, though the 2020 honorees — Hank Williams Jr.Marty Stuart, and Dean Dillon — haven’t yet had their big night because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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