Country music fans waking up to Wednesday's (Aug. 12) announcement of the Country Music Hall of Fame's Class of 2020 were likely surprised to see Hank Williams, Jr.'s name finally on the list of inductees — but they may also have been shocked that another of this year's new members, Marty Stuart, wasn't already in the Hall of Fame.

The singer-songwriter is only 61 years old, but he began playing professionally, with bluegrass great Lester Flatt, as a teenager; Stuart also played with Johnny Cash, among others, before beginning a solo career in earnest. One of the prominent figures in Ken Burns' Country Music docu-series, Stuart is a Grand Ole Opry member, part of the Country Music Foundation and working to build the Congress of Country Music in Mississippi.

In short, with his induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Stuart is among family.

"I've always considered the Country Music Hall of Fame ... it is our ultimate treasure chest; it is the greatest living room that the family of country music has," Stuart reflected after learning of his induction. "I've always felt like I was a part of it, but to be officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame is beyond words."

Stuart learned of his Country Music Hall of Fame induction when Country Music Association CEO Sarah Trahern surprised him in person with the news. Fittingly, he was holding country music forefather Jimmie Rodgers' guitar at the time.

"I didn't know what to say," Stuart admits of the moment.

"We're not supposed to touch and hug," he adds, due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but he snuck in a hug with Trahern.

The official induction date for Stuart, Williams Jr. and their final 2020 classmate, songwriter Dean Dillon, has yet to be determined. However, Stuart already knows that his wife, fellow country artist Connie Smith, will do the honors for him.

"She was standing next to the granite countertop [when I told her the news] ... and she threw her hand up and almost broke her finger," Stuart shares of his wife's reaction to his induction. Having her be the one to officially welcome him to the Hall of Fame, he says, "makes it even a grander honor."

Here's All 142 Country Music Hall of Fame Members: 

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