RENFRO VALLEY, Ky. (FOX 56) — It’s more than just music for Billy Moore.
Moore has spent the last 50 years of his life on the road with some of country music’s most memorable acts as their sound engineer.
“Let me think,” Moore said. “I was with Exile for 13 years. Then I got married to my bride; I worked with Trace Adkins for five years; Montgomery Gentry; and most recently, Eric Church for the past 10 years.”
Music has taken him to every state in the nation and “across the pond a few times.” But Moore said there’s no place like Kentucky; “there’s no place like home.”
For the past 20 years, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame has recognized the faces behind the sound of Kentucky’s rolling hills. Until now, all of them would consider themselves musicians—that is, until there was Billy Moore.
Moore was recognized as the first Hall of Fame nominee of the 2024 class, but one that doesn’t consider themselves a musician at all. Jessica Blankenship, Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, called him the one who “makes the machine go.”
“Kentucky has always been known for country and bluegrass, and it was always about the performer, sometimes maybe a songwriter. I wanted to challenge the board to go beyond that,” Blankenship said.
Blankenship went out of her way to ensure this was a special moment for everyone involved. She told FOX 56 that she knew she wanted Trace Adkins to be the one to announce Moore’s nomination during his performance in Renfro Valley.
“He came out on stage, and he made it a bigger and better event than I could ever imagine,” Blankenship said. “Billy is in tears. This photo, I get teary-eyed because it makes me feel like our board and I have done the right job.
“I’m not ashamed to say I cried,” Moore said. “It meant the world to me.”
“I’ve never done this for the credit,” Moore told FOX 56. “I don’t want no fame and glory. Everything I do is for the musicians.”
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Although this wouldn’t be Moore’s first award, in 2017 he brought home a CMA for front-of-house audio engineer of the year.
Moore reflected on his half-century in the music industry: “Music has been my life. It’s truly a dream come true. Especially to be recognized in the place I call home.”
He was “blown away” by the response he was met with that night and to this day. Moore said it’s still sinking in. The cherry on top was that he got to share this special moment with his friends and family.
“After Trace announced the nomination, they pointed me to this monitor, and it was Eric Church telling me thank you and congratulations,” Moore said. “He signed off with sound check is tomorrow don’t be late.”
Moore had just recently retired from being on the road as Church’s front-of-house and audio engineer, and when asked why, his answer was simple.
“I’m a family man,” Moore said. “I missed a lot of home. I need to go be a husband, a father, and a papaw. That’s all that matters to me.”
Although he’s not giving up on music just yet, Moore works part-time at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington for “an honest day of work for an honest day’s pay.”
Moore, along with the yet-to-be-announced complete class of 2024 Hall of Fame inductees, will be formally inducted next fall. Blankenship said Moore was their first surprise announcement, and there’s more to come in the coming months.