Today (March 6), the Country Music Association announced that Garth Brooks will become one of the newest members of the Country Music Hall of Fame, along with keyboardist Hargus “Pigg” Robbins and singer Connie Smith. It comes as no surprise, of course, that this once-in-a-lifetime honor is being bestowed upon the record-setting, hit-spreading country king.

Brooks will be  inducted into the Modern Era Artist category, which an artist becomes eligible for 20 years after he or she first achieves national prominence. This category used to be called Career Achieved National Prominence Between 1975 and the Present, but the CMA updated the title in 2009. With these three inductions, the number of Country Music Hall of Famers will jump from 115 to 118.

“I am astounded and honored to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame,” Brooks said in a press release. “At the same time, I can’t help but feel guilty going in when there are so many deserving artists that came before me who are yet to be inducted.” CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore urged in the same release just how incredible these three artists are and how valuable they have been to the genre as a whole.

“There are great artists and talents, and then there are Connie, ‘Pig,’ and Garth,” he said. “Connie has been one of the most celebrated female voices in music for more than 45 years … ‘Pig’ overcame adversity to become one of the most sought-after session musicians in the industry … And, Garth led modern Country Music to unbelievable heights of commercial success and pop culture relevance after bursting onto the scene as part of the now-legendary ‘Class of 1989.’ These three artists are more than just performers … they are forces of nature who are deservedly entering the Country Music Hall of Fame.”

The induction ceremony for the three new inductees will take place later in 2012 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville during the Museum’s Medallion Ceremony.

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