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Keyboardist John Hobbs to Be Honored as Newest Nashville Cat

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Country Music Hall of Fame and MuseumNashville, TN -- Acclaimed keyboardist John Hobbs will take a seat on Saturday, March 10, as part of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum's popular series Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Musicians. The program, which will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the Museum's Ford Theater, is included with museum admission and is free to museum members. The program will also be streamed live at www.countrymusichalloffame.org

Hosted by Bill Lloyd, the tribute to Hobbs will include a brief performance and an in-depth, one-on-one interview illustrated with vintage recordings, photos and film clips from the museum's Frist Library and Archive. Immediately following the program, Hobbs will sign autographs in the Museum Store.

A first-call session keyboardist for over three decades, John Hobbs has contributed to modern country classics such as Reba McEntire's "Whoever's in New England," George Strait's "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" and Shania Twain's "You're Still the One." His credits also include work with pop stars Michael Bolton, Toni Braxton, David Cassidy and Olivia Newton-John. One of the most respected keyboard players in country music, Hobbs remains one of Nashville's elite session musicians, contributing to contemporary recordings by Brooks & Dunn, Deana Carter, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Kenny Rogers and many others.

John Hobbs was born in Long Beach, California, in 1950. He started playing the trombone when he was eight and learned other brass and woodwind instruments before transitioning to the piano when he was 15. During his college days at California State University in Long Beach, Hobbs met Larry Carlton. Carlton introduced him to Kenny Rogers; and in 1969, Hobbs quit college and joined Rogers' band, the First Edition.

In the 1970s, Hobbs began making a name for himself in the L.A. music scene. He scored TV shows and films and played on records for George Jones, Tom Jones, Barry Manilow, Olivia Newton- John, Charlie Rich, Lionel Richie and many other pop and country artists.

Hobbs began commuting to Nashville in 1984 and made the permanent move a decade later. His 1980s and '90s Nashville credits include Deana Carter's "Strawberry Wine," Patty Loveless' "I Try to Think About Elvis," Reba McEntire's "Whoever's in New England," George Strait's "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" and recordings for Kenny Chesney, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, Clay Walker, Trisha Yearwood and more. Hobbs also served as musical director for the Academy of Country Music Awards from 1984 to 1995.

In 2000, Hobbs began his ongoing tenure as Vince Gill's bandleader and continued to be a first-call keyboardist for Nashville recording sessions in the new millennium. He has recorded with Trace Adkins, Brooks & Dunn, Keb' Mo', Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Chris Young and numerous other artists.

In addition to playing keyboards for Nashville's biggest stars, Hobbs is also a talented songwriter and producer. He has written songs recorded by Ray Charles, Diamond Rio, Gill, Collin Raye, McEntire and Pam Tillis. His production credits include seven records for Raye; Gill's These Days, for which Hobbs won a 2007 Grammy; and LeAnn Rimes' critically acclaimed album Lady & Gentlemen.

In 2002, Hobbs joined fellow A-list musicians Eddie Bayers, Brent Mason, Paul Franklin and Michael Rhodes to form the Players. The group released a live DVD and toured Japan. Hobbs also joined the Notorious Cherry Bombs for the band's reunion appearances and subsequent album. Along with Hobbs, the band included Bayers, Richard Bennett, Tony Brown, Rodney Crowell, Hank DeVito, Gill and Rhodes.

Hobbs has earned the Academy of Country Music's Keyboard Player of the Year Award 10 times. He is the leader of the Medallion All-Star band, the band that provides accompaniment for the induction ceremony of new members to the Country Music Hall of Fame, and is a member of the backing band for Keith Urban's We're All for the Hall fundraising concerts.

Hobbs continues to book session work and performs regularly with the Players.

The Nashville Cats series is made possible, in part, by grants from the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission and by an agreement between the Tennessee Arts Commission and National Endowment for the Arts.

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