Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels, Randy Owen Honored In Nashville
Three Country Icons Receive Awards From Leadership Music
Wednesday night at Nashville’s beautiful War Memorial Auditorium, three country icons were honored for their exemplary leadership and humanitarian efforts by the industry organization Leadership Music. The Dale Franklin Award—named for Leadership Music’s first executive director—was presented to Randy Owen, Vince Gill and Charlie Daniels (pictured above from left to right).
Numerous stars were on hand to pay tribute to the three honorees, including Little Big Town, Ronnie Dunn and Rodney Crowell.
Performing in tribute to Gill were his current band, The Time Jumpers, plus Big Al Anderson and Crowell. The Time Jumpers performed a song (“Faint Of Heart”) Gill wrote for the band’s current album, and bandleader Kenny Sears spoke about how Gill insists on having just a one eleventh say in decisions involving the 11-piece band, even though his star power would seem to entitle him to a larger voice.
Anderson said of Gill “I came here to ruin one of his songs,” before performing “One More Last Chance.” Crowell told Gill, “With your presence and your humanity and your big heart, you made us all better people.” He then performed a humorous song he wrote with Gill, “It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long,” a single for their band, the Notorious Cherry Bombs, in 2004.
Gill’s wife, Amy Grant, told her husband “You are freakishly gifted in the creativity department.” Daughter Jenny Gill told him, “Your kindness is contagious.”
Accepting the large glass vase trophy, Gill immediately lightened the mood by joking “Do you know how many peanut M&Ms I could get in here?” He then turned the spotlight on his fellow honorees, saying of Daniels, “There’s not a better patriot, not a better American than Charlie Daniels.”
Gill also said he lives by advice given to him early in his career: “Never be the best musician in the band. You will never learn anything.”
The tribute to Daniels began with bluegrass group the Grascals performing “The Devil Went Down To Georgia,” followed by Dunn singing the Charlie Daniels band single that followed that No. 1 hit, 1979’s “Mississippi.” Finally, a group of military service men and women sang a powerful rendition of “How Great Thou Art.”
Owen, who has been instrumental in helping raise $400 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, was feted by David Nail (“Feels So Right”) and Little Big Town (“My Home’s In Alabama”). Little Big Town’s Kimberly Schlapman said, “Randy Owen, you have no idea what an influence you’ve been on the four of us. Fourteen years ago we formed a band, and it was your music we looked to for inspiration.”
Rick Shadyac, CEO of St. Jude’s fundraising arm, ALSAC, quoted the lyrics from Alabama’s “Angels Among Us,” and said, “Randy, that song is about you. You are the angel among us.”
The night closed with a performance of that song led by country singer and cancer survivor Wade Hayes, who was joined by some of the evening’s previous performers, including Little Big Town, as well as several St. Jude patients and their parents.
Previous Dale Franklin Award honorees include Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks, Kris Kristofferson, and Willie Nelson.
i admit i favor the really older tunes, ie; faron young, etc. willie nelson & others. however, the rolling stones & that type of music has never appealed to me. i happen to love the rhytm & blues that some (ray charles, bb king among others) of the elders. they were music though. the 20's-30's were not my music either until today & i find myself enjoying much of that music including beethoven, bach etc.. in short i love most all music, love to dance when i can & grew up n nashville, so it has a permanent place in my heart along with Dolly Parton & others. enjoy what you like, it likely will not have the lasting power of the older ones have enjoyed
about the blogger
Veteran entertainment journalist Phyllis Stark has been reporting extensively on the music industry for two decades. As a freelance writer, her work appears regularly in numerous publications and sites. She previously was Nashville Bureau Chief at Billboard magazine.