Updated: March 1, 2011 -- 1 p.m. ET
McEntire, elected in the modern era artist category, was unable to attend the press conference. She was in Tulsa, Okla., where her father is hospitalized.
McEntire, has sold more than 55 million albums worldwide, is the recipient of six CMA awards, 15 American Music awards, two Grammys and nine People's Choice awards. In addition to her country music career, she has appeared in numerous films, including Tremors, North and One Night at McCool's, and enjoyed a successful run on Broadway in 2001 in the starring role of Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun. She later starred in Reba, a TV sitcom that had a six-season run and remains popular in syndication.
In her absence, Brooks read a message from McEntire.
"I'm so appreciative of being selected as one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame. ... It's a wonderful honor during a very emotional time of my life. I'm so sorry I couldn't be with all of you this morning to get to visit and reminisce about all the fun times we've had being a part of the country music business. My daddy has had a stroke, is in a comatose state in ICU in Tulsa. I really need to be with my mama and daddy right now. I know it's where I should be. ... By the way, I told Daddy about being inducted two days before he went into the coma. It's a huge blessing knowing how important it was to him."
Shepard, a key player in developing the role of females in the country music industry, will be inducted in the veterans era artist category. An Oklahoma native, she scored her first No. 1 single in 1953 with "A Dear John Letter," a duet with future Country Music Hall of Fame member
"Back years ago, there wasn't many awards handed out to country music entertainers," Shepard said during the press conference. "There was no $100,000, $200,000, $500,000 buses to ride in. There was no interstates. We traveled in a station wagon pulling a trailer. ... Our reward was when we got to the date and got paid. Boy, that was a chore -- getting your money. But we did it for the love of the music. And there are so many of them who deserve a lot more than I do -- wonderful people like the
Braddock, a native of Florida, is the first inductee named in the newly-created songwriters category. The previous songwriter inductees --
"Are you sure?" Braddock said of his selection to the Hall of Fame. "Is this for certain? ... I'm still just wondering if someone's made a mistake. We songwriters are used to being low profile and traveling underneath the radar and not used to all this excitement."
When one of his mentors, the late Harlan Howard, told him he was going to start campaigning to have him inducted into the Hall of Fame, Braddock recalled telling him, "Harlan, they're not going to put me in the Hall of Fame. ... My songs are quirky, off the wall.'"
Howard died a few weeks following the conversation.
"After I got through grieving over Harlan, I thought, 'You know, I'll never get in the Hall of Fame,'" Braddock said. "But Harlan was out there beating the drums for me, so I'm kind of hoping that Harlan is somehow out there drinking all this in now. Or out there drinking."
Braddock gave credit to other songwriters for his induction.
"About half the songs I've written, the hits, were by myself, and about another half were with co-writers," he said. "As I go into the Hall of Fame, I will be -- in my mind -- those folks will be in there with me because, without them, my career would not have been nearly as big."