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And fans are still breathless in his company. Hundreds lined up outside the hall of fame in anticipation of the 50-year-old singer’s arrival with wife Trisha Yearwood, holding signs and cheering. The shouts were just as loud during the ceremony.

Brooks gave a speech that included thanks to friends, family and industry professionals who helped him along the way. And he told the story of how Taylor, Seeger and Strait affected him at the points they entered his life. He remembered hearing Strait for the first time while visiting home after his freshman year in college.

“Unwound” came on the radio and it changed everything.

“From that point forward I knew what I wanted to do with the rest of my life,” Brooks said. “I wanted to be George Strait so bad, man. And I have to say now, 20 years in the business under my own name, thank you very much, I still want to be George Strait so damn bad.”

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Online:

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