NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WBKO) -- One of tonight's 2014 Musicians Hall of Fame Inductees, Velma Williams Smith, was born and raised at Epley Station in Logan County. She will be honored tonight at the Musician's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at Nashville's Municipal Auditorium.
Velma and sister Mildred were discovered by Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe in 1941 after appearing on Hopkinsville radio station WHOP. They were invited to perform on the Grand Ole Opry, which launched a career for Velma as a member of Roy Acuff's Smokey Mountain Boys and Girls, and also in the bands of Ernest Tubb, and Carl Smith. Velma was the first female to perform a solo on the NBC Sponsored portion of the Grand Ole Opry.
During the 1950's, 60's and 70's Velma was the only female member of RCA Studio B's "A-Team" of studio musicians playing rhythm guitar on dozens of albums for popular artists such as Jim Reeves, Skeeter Davis, Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Don Gibson, Bobby Bare, Dottie West. Her long list of contemporaries and fellow studio musicians included Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph, Hank Garland, Floyd Cramer, The Jordanaires and the Anita Kerr Singers.
Velma is the daughter of the late Clyde Williams and Era Crawford Williams of Epley Station community. In 1948 she married Hal Smith, who also performed in country music and later became a record producer and co-owner of Pamper Music with parter Ray Price.