Kentucky, as everyone knows, is a mecca when it comes to producing country music superstars. Kentucky is a national treasure when it comes to country music. Watching the recent Ken Burns documentary on PBS about country music only reaffirms this. Episode after episode an artist from Kentucky — and Eastern Kentucky — is recognized.

Patty Loveless. The Judds. Montgomery Gentry. Dwight Yoakam. Keith Whitley. Billy Ray Cyrus. The list goes on and on and on.

Of course Carter County has its own amazing history and is a bluegrass epicenter.

This past week, local legend Tom T. Hall made a wonderful donation to the Olive Hill Welcome Center.

Reporter Jeremy Wells reported last week that the welcome center received several items from Hall via his office manager and personal assistant, Melissa Lawrence Buck. They include a Country Music Association (CMA) award recognizing the songwriter for his 1996 number one hit “Little Bitty,” recorded by performer Alan Jackson, as well as a certificate of achievement from Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) for his song “Harper Valley PTA” attaining over one million plays on broadcast radio.

The author and songwriter also donated copies of several of his books, including nonfiction works on the craft of songwriting, fiction novels, and books of poetry.

The most eye-catching donation, however, may be a guitar signed by the songwriter specifically for the Welcome Center. “Thanks for all the good memories and a great home town, Olive Hill,” says the personalized message on the guitar, over Hall's signature and the phrase, “Love you all!” How cool is that?

What an amazing gesture of kindness.

Mr. Hall has our admiration for his music skills and he also has our admiration for his generosity. We and the community are forever thankful for his contributions to the great genre of country.

We are also thankful for his continued commitment to the place where he comes from. This is a great attribute for the welcome center and will help promote the amazing history of country music contributions from Eastern Kentucky.

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