Actor/Artist Randall Franks was inducted recently into America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Fame in November 2019 alongside Jimmy Bowen, Gail Davies, Jeannie C. Riley, and Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely. Franks is best known for his role as “Officer Randy Goode” in the award-winning series “In the Heat of the Night.” Franks will join the ensemble cast of “A Cricket’s Dance” adding his talents to the upcoming 2020 feature film.
“I am deeply honored to be included in such company,” Franks said. “I never imagined as a Georgia boy who just loved to play my fiddle and sing, that one day my efforts might be heralded alongside those of so many of my musical heroes.”
Ceremonies were held at the 44th Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in Fremont, Nebraska where the native of Georgia also entertained the audience supported by the Kenastons – Vanessa, Sharon and Roger, who often appear on RFD-TV.
Franks joins honorees who have received the distinction since 1977 from the National Traditional Country Music Association including legendary acts such as Loretta Lynn, the Carter Family, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Grandpa and Ramona Jones, the Morris Brothers, Fiddlin’ John Carson and others. Many of the former honorees are included among those Franks highlighted in his “Encouragers” book series as those who helped him along his way.
“What a pleasure it was to induct a man who has so much at stake in ‘real’ rural music, and who does so much to keep America’s very own ‘rural music’ intact,” said Bob Everhart, President, National Traditional Country Music Association & Smithsonian Institution Recording Artist. “Randall not only plays a magnificent traditional country fiddle, his standing ovation proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt, he’s also one of the most keen and strongest musical voices for traditional country music I’ve personally ever heard in today’s music world, and in 44 years of doing a traditional country music festival, I just might have a ‘sense’ of what that is. Our ‘rural-country’ audience was profoundly impressed with Randall Franks, so was I.”
He began his rise in Nashville’s country music scene as a youth when Rock, Country, Bluegrass and Songwriter halls of fame member Bill Monroe recognized his talents and arranged the first of many repeat guest star appearances for the Grand Ole Opry 35 years ago. The Music City News was one of country’s first publications to acknowledge his talents alongside fellow 1980s country stars such as Reba McEntire, Alabama, and Lee Greenwood.
Franks soon expanded to musical appearances in movies and then landed a five-year role as “Officer Randy Goode” in the TV drama “In the Heat of the Night” as one of the police officers supporting the legendary Emmy winning actor Carroll O’Connor, Academy Award nominee Howard Rollins and Alan Autry. After leaving the show in 1993, while starring in movies, he returned to Nashville hosting concerts including at the Ryman, appeared for the Grand Ole Opry, and toured among the 1990s era country music stars.
While acting broadened his worldwide audience, music remained his passion yielding him appearances across the U.S. and Canada at fairs, festivals, concerts, and churches crossing genres from country, bluegrass, folk, Christian and most recently Americana. He shared his Hollywood Hillbilly Jamboree at fairs and concerts around the U.S. and also made special appearances with his mentors Grand Ole Opry stars Jim and Jesse McReynolds.
His musical creativity produced chart topping sellers such as the 1990 “Handshakes and Smiles” and the 1991 “Christmas Time’s A Comin’, ” 1992 “Sacred Sounds of Appalachia,” and critically acclaimed releases such as 1989 “Golden River Fiddlin’” and the 1995 “Tunes and Tales from Tunnel Hill,” and 2000 “God’s Children” with David Davis. With popular recordings within in numerous genres, his music was released by record labels including MGM/UA, Atteiram, Benson/Riversong, Sonlite, Zion, Lamp, Share America and Crimson.
Franks scored a number 1 Americana CD in June 2019 with “Americana Youth of Southern Appalachia” and currently holds the #3 spot on the Top 50 APD Americana / Grassicana Albums for October 2019.
His numerous awards and recognitions span from Male Vocalist of the Year to Songwriter of the Year and in 2011 he was honored by the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum as a Legend.
Franks is a mainstay as a celebrity host and entertainer at the Grand Master Fiddler Championship held at Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum each Labor Day weekend. He also presents the Randall Franks Fiddle Trophy at the 1890s Days Jamboree Fiddle Contest on Memorial Day Saturday in his hometown of Ringgold, Ga.
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