Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Image Credit: Rick Diamond/Getty ImagesReba McEntire, Jean Shepard, and Bobby Braddock will become the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Country Music Association announced today. McEntire (who’s pictured at right) will be inducted in the “Modern Era Artist” category; Shepard will join the “Veterans Era Artist” category; and Braddock will become the first inductee in the “Songwriter” category, which is awarded every third year in rotation with the “Recording and/or Touring Musician” and “Non-Performer” categories. With these additions, membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame, which began in 1961, rises to a total of 115 inductees.

The Country Music Association lauds McEntire as “the most successful female country performer of her generation,” citing her 50-plus Top Ten singles, 24 of which went to No. 1. Shepard is recognized as one of the few women who “managed to break through industry barriers to enjoy full-blown country careers” in the 1950s and set the stage for later artists like Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette. Braddock is named as one of “Nashville’s most admired songwriters”; he landed his first cut in 1964 when Marty Robbins recorded “While You’re Dancing.”

Induction ceremonies for the three artists will happen at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn., later this year.

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