Harry Connick Jr., Kris Kristofferson, Alan Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill & More Celebrate George Jones 50 Years Of Hits Sun, Jun 9 On AXS TV



‘George Jones: The Grand Tour Celebrating His Ultimate No Show’ Coming Soon!

George Jones, the definitive country singer of the last half-century, was a member of The Country Music Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry, received the coveted Kennedy Center Honor and was the recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award. Now on Sunday, June 9, Trace Adkins, Kenny Chesney, Harry Connick, Jr., Joe Diffie, Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Emmylou Harris, Alan Jackson, Sammy Kershaw, Uncle Kracker, Kris Kristofferson, Shelby Lynne, Martina McBride, Lorrie Morgan, Aaron Neville, Connie Smith, Trick Pony, Randy Travis, Tanya Tucker and Wynonna will celebrate George’s 50 Years Of Hits in an all-star celebration airing on AXS TV at 9pm ET and 12am ET.

Jones’ career never left the top of the country charts having recorded more than 100 albums during his career and more than 150 of those songs were hits, including 60 Top 10 singles. His songs including “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” “Tennessee Whiskey,” Still Doin’ Time,” “A Good Year For The Roses,” “She Thinks I Still Care,” and so many others are covers every bar band performs on a nightly basis.

Jones was often referred to as The Possum, for his facial features and the shape of his nose, or No Show Jones, for his sudden disappearing act before a show. However, when Jones finally did take the stage he was a hardcore honky tonker that sang songs about heartbreak and hard drinking times that echoed his own turbulent life. By most accounts, George Jones was the finest vocalist in the recorded history of country music.





Tickets now on sale for acclaimed shows spanning music, dance, theater and more


The Smith Center for the Performing Arts announced today that over 40 spring shows are now on sale, spanning Broadway hits, world-famous artists, international performers, family shows and more. These include: Stage-and-screen star Bernadette Peters, renowned vocalist Sarah Brightman, country superstar Kris Kristofferson, Broadway musical “Come From Away,” music legend The Beach Boys, acclaimed taiko drumming group Kodo, comedy show “Whose Live Anyway?” and family productions “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” “Wild Kratts LIVE 2.0,” “Me… Jane” and Disney’s DCappella.


Tickets for all of these shows are now on sale at TheSmithCenter.com.

Bernadette Peters

March 15, 2019

Three-time Tony Award winner Bernadette Peters has dazzled audiences and critics alike with her stunning performances spanning stage, film, television and music recordings. Now Las Vegas audiences have the rare opportunity to experience this entertainment icon live, as she performs show-stopping renditions of famous tunes from across her Broadway career – all backed by a 10-piece orchestra.

“HYMN” – Sarah Brightman in Concert

March 3, 2019

The world’s best-selling soprano vocalist, Sarah Brightman is hailed internationally as a musical icon whose career includes originating the starring role of Christine Daaé in Broadway classic “The Phantom of the Opera,” topping Billboard dance and classical music charts, and receiving over 180 Gold and Platinum awards in more than 40 countries. Following the November 2018 release of her newest album “Hymn,” Brightman makes her debut at The Smith Center to perform the most popular melodies of her career, alongside her newest uplifting songs spanning a variety of musical styles.


Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers

Jan. 26, 2019

Three-time Grammy winner Kris Kristofferson is renowned worldwide both as a country music icon and a film star. An inductee of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the acclaimed singer/songwriter redefined country songwriting with his chart-topping hits like “Me and Bobby McGee” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night.” Kristofferson will perform alongside acclaimed country band The Strangers, famous for performing and recording for many years with country star Merle Haggard.


“Come From Away”

Feb. 19 to 24, 2019

The true story of the small town that welcomed the world, Broadway’s “Come From Away” has won Best Musical all across North America. The New York Times Critics’ Pick takes you into the heart of the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them. Cultures clashed and nerves ran high, but uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night, and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.

The Beach Boys

Feb. 2, 2019

After selling out past performances at The Smith Center, The Beach Boys returns by overwhelming demand to perform the group’s torrent of hits that have forever changed the world’s musical landscape. Still creating and recording today, The Beach Boys is led by Mike Love and Grammy-winning songwriter Bruce Johnston, who, along with Jeffrey Foskett, Christian Love, Tim Bonhomme, John Cowsill, Keith Hubacher, Christian Love and Scott Totten, continue the legacy of the world-renowned band.


Kodo One Earth Tour 2019: Evolution

Jan. 31, 2019

One of the best-known taiko drum ensembles in the world, Kodo returns to The Smith Center as audiences have never seen it before. Showcasing Japan’s leading male and female musicians performing traditional drums weighing up to 600 pounds, this athletic ensemble marks its 35th anniversary with brand-new production “Evolution,” a culmination of the group’s ever-evolving artistic voyage. This production boldly displays Kodo’s best-known work alongside completely new repertoire, including intricate pieces featuring taiko drums, dance and vocal performances.

Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember

March 5, 2019

Due to fan demand, TV’s biggest dance show extends this winter’s tour of “Dancing with the Stars: Live! – A Night to Remember” with an additional 16 shows across the country. The show will feature fan favorite professional and troupe dancers in a brand-new production showcasing every type of dance style as seen on ABC’s hit show Dancing with the Stars, ranging from ballroom and jazz to modern and hip-hop. Choreographed and creative directed by Emmy© Award-winning choreographer Mandy Moore and Dancing with the Stars Executive Producer Ashley Edens-Shaffer, audiences will have the opportunity to experience the excitement, glamour and glitz they see in the ballroom every Monday night live at The Smith Center in Las Vegas


Disney’s DCappella

March 16, 2019

DCappella, Disney Music Group’s new a cappella group featuring seven world-class vocalists, will embark on its first North American tour in January 2019. Created by Disney and contemporary a cappella legend Deke Sharon (“Pitch Perfect,” “The Sing Off” and much more), the tour will appeal to fans of both Disney and a cappella with their modern a cappella versions of Disney hits.


“Whose Live Anyway?”

March 30, 2019

The current cast members of Emmy-nominated TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” present their new improv tour, featuring 90 minutes of hilarious, improvised comedy and song, all based on audience suggestions. Cast members Ryan Stiles, Greg Proops, Jeff B. Davis and Joel Murray will leave audiences gasping with the witty scenes they invent on the spot. As audience participation is key, audience members can bring suggestions and might be asked to join the cast on stage.


“The Very Hungry Caterpillar”

Jan. 9, 2019

Featuring 75 brightly-colored, handcrafted puppets, this delightful family show brings to life four of Eric Carle’s most iconic children’s books: “Brown Bear, Brown Bear,” “10 Little Rubber Ducks,” “The Very Lonely Firefly” and “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Presented by acclaimed Rockefeller Productions, which tours its family shows worldwide, the show’s creators worked directly with Carle on crafting the production’s props and storyline, targeted to entertain children and adults alike. Best for kids 3 to 10.


“Wild Kratts® LIVE 2.0 – Activate Creature Power®!”

1 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2019

4:30 p.m. on Jan. 27, 2019

Kids worldwide have become enamored with the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS series “Wild Kratts,” following the Kratt brothers on hilarious expeditions with wild animals from around the world. Now the show’s real-life stars, brothers and science experts Chris and Martin Kratt, return to The Smith Center with an all-new stage adventure. Best for children 5 to 12.


“Me… Jane”

April 3, 2019

Based on the popular children’s book by New York Times bestselling novelist Patrick McDonnell, “Me… Jane” presents lively animal puppets and original music to portray the whimsical childhood experiences that would lead Jane Goodall to one day achieve groundbreaking work with studying chimpanzees. Specially commissioned by The Kennedy Center, this uplifting show encourages all kids to follow their dreams. Best for ages 6 and over.


An additional 40 shows are also on sale at The Smith Center, with more information available at www.TheSmithCenter.com.



The hallmark of downtown Las Vegas’ 61-acre urban development known as Symphony Park, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a public-private partnership that opened in March 2012. Heralded as the city’s Heart of the Arts®, The Smith Center is an architectural triumph and long-awaited cultural achievement that educates and entertains the citizens of Southern Nevada. The $470 million world-class performing arts center offers a blend of performances by resident companies, first-run touring attractions, lectures and internationally-acclaimed performers in music, theater and dance. The five-acre campus features four performance spaces including the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall, the 240-seat Myron’s Cabaret Jazz club, the 250-seat Troesh Studio Theater and the 1.7-acre Donald W. Reynolds Symphony Park for outdoor concerts. Additionally, the campus is home to the Discovery Children’s Museum that opened in March 2013. For more information about The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, please visit www.TheSmithCenter.com. Keep up with news and events on Facebook and follow The Smith Center on Twitter and Instagram at @SmithCenterLV.

Charlie Daniels, Fred Foster and Randy Travis Inducted Into Country Music Hall of Fame



charile-daniels randy-travis 2

Three visionary iconoclasts, whose creative skills altered the direction of commercial country music, were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame during a star-studded, profoundly emotional Medallion Ceremony on October 16, 2016.

Hosted by Country Music Hall of and Museum CEO Kyle Young and held in the museum’s CMA Theater, the annual ceremony paid tribute to country rock pioneer Charlie Daniels; music producer, publisher and Monument Records founder Fred Foster; and neo-traditional singer Randy Travis with speeches, live musical tributes and original video biographies. The artists paying tribute crossed generations and styles, underscoring the eclectic nature and groundbreaking stature of the three men being inducted.

“These three Tar Heels came to Tennessee and created music that enriched our lives and enhanced our culture,” said Young. “We are better for their presence and for their talents, and we are proud to hang their plaques in the Hall of Fame Rotunda.”

Musical tributes, with surprise guests, are a highlight of the Medallion Ceremony. Foster’s celebration began with Dolly Parton performing her first hit, “Dumb Blonde,” produced by Foster and released on Monument Records.

“If anybody deserves one of these medallions, you do.” Parton said to Foster. “You gave me a shot, and you were a gentleman when Porter Wagoner stole me away. You saw things in me that nobody else did. I hope that I made you proud.”

Whenever she reflects on the blessings bestowed upon her, Parton said, “I thank God. I thank the fans. And I thank you.”
Grammy-winning songwriter Brandy Clark performed “Blue Bayou,” which Foster originally produced with Orbison. Linda Ronstadt later transformed the song into a pop classic.

Kris Kristofferson, the last of Foster’s tribute performers, walked out with harmonica specialist and fellow Country Music Hall of Fame member Charlie McCoy to perform a touching version of his famous song, “Me and Bobby McGee.” The song’s inspiration, former Music Row office worker Barbara McKee (now Barbara McKee Eden by marriage), was in the audience.

A Hall of Fame member always inducts the newcomers, as a way of welcoming them to the elite group. Foster requested that Hall of Fame member Vince Gill make his induction official.

To begin the musical tribute to Daniels, Young spoke of the important role producer and record executive Bob Johnston, who died in 2015, played in the new inductee’s career. Johnston and Daniels co-wrote “It Hurts Me,” and Daniels moved to Nashville in 1967 at Johnston’s invitation.

Trisha Yearwood began the musical tribute to Daniels with a soulful version of “It Hurts Me,” recorded by Elvis Presley in 1964. Getting a cut by Presley was the first major breakthrough in Daniels’s career.

Jamey Johnson performed Daniels’ 1980 hit “Long Haired Country Boy.” With his hair several inches beyond his shoulders and a beard that reached his chest, Johnson said, “I started singing this song when I was in the marines. I didn’t have long hair then.”

For the last of the musical tributes to Daniels, Grand Ole Opry star Trace Adkins and fiddler Andrea Zonn took the stage to perform “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” “I got the hardest song to do,” Adkins said with a wry smile, before nailing the vocals. Zonn played the difficult fiddle parts with stunning virtuosity, drawing an ovation from Daniels who pointed at her as she bowed toward him.

Hall of Fame member Brenda Lee inducted Daniels.

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Alan Jackson began the musical tributes to Randy Travis by explaining that he moved to Nashville in 1985 with the goal of bringing real country music back to the airwaves. “Nobody was carrying it on,” he said, but shortly after he got to town, Jackson heard Travis on the radio. “You opened the doors for a lot of guys and girls who wanted to record real country music,” Jackson said. “You made it easier for us.” Jackson went on to perform “On the Other Hand.”

Brad Paisley followed Jackson with a performance of “Forever and Ever, Amen.” Paisley noted that, in previous generations, there were country artists who emulated Roy Acuff, Lefty Frizzell, George Jones, Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. “And there’s Randy, for my generation.” Addressing Travis directly, he continued: “To this day, you are still one of the greatest singers we’ve ever had. I am honored to do this for you today, pal.”

For the final musical tribute of the evening, Garth Brooks performed Travis’ hit “Three Wooden Crosses.” Following his performance Brooks welcomed Travis into the Hall of Fame. Tribute performers don’t usually do the induction as well but the Hall of Fame honored Travis’s request that Brooks take that role.

To accept his induction, Travis took small steps up the four stairs, fighting the effects of his stroke with help from his wife Mary and from Paisley, who came out from backstage to assist him. At the podium, he stood next to his wife as she read what he wanted to say.

She recounted the tragic circumstances of Travis’s stroke, which nearly took his life in 2013. “The doctors suggested we pull the life support,” said Mary. “I went to his bedside and asked if he wanted to fight some more. I knew he did. He squeezed my hand, and a little tear fell down his cheek. He and God had other plans.”

Doctors told the couple that Travis would never walk again and would be bed-ridden. Standing onstage he accentuated how he beat the odds.

Despite Travis’s ongoing struggle to speak, Mary and her husband sing every day. “Sometimes we sing the greatest redemption song of all time, and it fills us with God’s grace,” she said. That song is ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Mary Travis said that, for the first time since his stroke, she wanted to share her husband’s voice with those gathered to celebrate this special occasion. Her voice breaking with emotion, she said, “Please join us in singing ‘Amazing Grace.’”

Travis leaned into the microphone, his baritone voice strained but instantly recognizable. As he sang the first verse to a stunned crowd, many were too overcome with emotion to sing along. Taking more effort to speak than to sing, “Thank you,” Travis said, and after pausing for a breath, “for everything you’ve done.”

A thunderous standing ovation lasted for minutes, longer than any of the numerous ovations of the night.

The audience at the private celebration was packed with Hall of Fame members, who welcomed the new inductees to their exclusive club. Hall of Famers in attendance were Alabama members Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry and Randy Owen, Bobby Bare, Harold Bradley, Garth Brooks, Roy Clark, Ralph Emery, Vince Gill, Kris Kristofferson, Brenda Lee, Charlie McCoy, Oak Ridge Boys members Duane Allen, Joe Bonsall, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride and E. W. “Bud” Wendell.

The evening ended, as always, with a performance of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Museum employee, ace guitarist Ben Hall, and harmonica maestro Charlie McCoy started the song, performing a verse and chorus while Hall of Fame members gathered at the front of the stage. The Oak Ridge Boys and Charlie Daniels took turns singing the verses, with the audience, the night’s guest performers, and the Hall of Famers joining in on the choruses.

For a complete wrap-up of last night’s show click here. Follow @countrymusichof on Twitter and join the conversation using


acm honors


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Today the Academy of Country Music is announcing that country music star Jake Owen will host the 8th Annual ACM HONORS, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 49th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards.  The event will take place on Tuesday, September 9, 2014 at 7:00pm at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.  Tickets priced at $40.00 will go on sale to the general public at Ticketmaster.com and the Ryman box office at 10:00 AM CST on Friday, August 1, 2014.

This is Owen’s first time hosting the event and the fifth time the ceremony will be held at the Ryman Auditorium.

Honorees include Special Awards recipients Bob Beckham (posthumously), Steve Buchanan, Jack Clement (posthumously), Dean Dillon, Toby Keith, Kris Kristofferson, Ronnie Milsap, Paul Moore, Buck Owens (posthumously), Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.  Studio Recording Awards (formerly MBI Awards) recipients include Shannon Forrest, Paul Franklin, Dann Huff, Charlie Judge, Rob McNelley, Justin Niebank, Michael Rhodes and Bryan Sutton.  Industry Award winners include Brian O’Connell of Live Nation, Nicole More of Neste Event Marketing, Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, TX, Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth, TX, Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN, Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville, TN, Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT and Mohegan Sun Wolf Den in Uncasville, CT.  Shane McAnally will be honored as Songwriter of the Year.  For more information on specific awards, please visit www.acmcountry.com.

Special Awards recipient Merle Haggard was previously presented with the ACM Crystal Milestone Award for his 50 years in country music on the 49th ACM Awards in April. 

ACM Award winner Jake Owen is continuing to make waves with the PLATINUM-certified, chart-topper “Beachin’,” marking his fifth #1 single and fastest selling track to date. The infectious party anthem is featured on his latest album DAYS OF GOLD along with the hit title track and brand new single “What We Ain’t Got” hitting Country radio August 11th. Produced by Joey Moi, the RCA Nashville project is the follow up to the GOLD-certified BAREFOOT BLUE JEAN NIGHT album, which has sold wellover 5 million tracks to date. Owen has ascended to one of Country music’s leading male vocalists with four consecutive #1 smashes – GOLD-certified hits “The One That Got Away,” “Anywhere with You,” PLATINUM-certified “Alone with You” and 2X PLATINUM “Barefoot Blue Jean Night.” The Vero Beach, Fla., native is currently on the road with his major nationwide headlining run—JAKE OWEN’S DAYS OF GOLD TOUR 2014. Presented by Discover Boating, the sizzling tour covers 75-plus cities.

“I couldn’t be more proud to host the ACM Honors,” shares Owen. “I’m blessed to be a part of country music and to join in recognizing these incredible artists, musicians and industry executives is a true honor.”

“We think Jake’s talent as a songwriter and performer – alongside his respect for country music – makes him the perfect choice to host ACM Honors for the first time this year,” said Bob Romeo, CEO of the Academy of Country Music. “His energy and inventive spirit will be fun to watch attending fans respond to, and we’re honored to have him take this key role in the most important event the Academy hosts in Nashville, annually.”

Tickets will go on-sale to the general public at 10 AM (CT) Friday, August 1, 2014 at www.ticketmaster.com.   For event updates, please visit www.acmcountry.com or follow us on Twitter at @ACMAwards.

For more information on the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC and the ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, please visit www.acmcountry.com. For information on ACM LIFTING LIVES, please visit www.acmliftinglives.org.


jake owen


acm honors


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Special Award Recipients, Studio Recording Awards, Industry Awards and
Songwriter of the Year Award Winners Announced

Today, the Academy of Country Music announced the winners of awards that will not be televised during the 49th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS, due to time constraints. The ceremony will be telecast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Special Awards, Industry Awards, Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year honorees will be feted at the 8th Annual ACM Honors event on September 9, 2014 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors and specific categories are awarded during years where the Board of Directors feels there are clear and deserving candidates. Industry Awards are voted on by all professional members of the Academy. The Studio Recording Awards (formerly known as the Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist (MBI) Awards) ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy classified in the Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist category, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category). The Songwriter of the Year ballot is voted on by professional members of the Academy in the following categories: Artist-Entertainer/Musician-Bandleader-Instrumentalist, Composer, Music Publisher/PRO, Record Company, and the Producer-Engineer-Studio Manager sub-category (contained within the Affiliated category).


Career Achievement Award – Toby Keith and Ronnie Milsap have been chosen to receive the Career Achievement Award, honoring an individual artist, duo, group or multiple artist collaboration that have advanced the popularity and acceptance of country music through their endeavors in the entertainment industry in multiple areas during the preceding calendar year.

Toby Keith has been riding high ever since his 1993 debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy.” The Oklahoma native took the reins in 1999 by switching record labels and releasing the bold album, How Do You Like Me Now? Since that time, he’s won ACM Awards for Entertainer of the Year (2002, 2003), Male Vocalist of the Year (2000, 2003), Album of the Year (2000, 2003) and Video of the Year (2003, 2011). In addition to his 20 No. 1 country singles, he’s enhanced his unmistakable brand through movie roles (Beer For My Horses) and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants. Since 2002, Keith has performed on 11 USO tours in 21 countries, including Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Ronnie Milsap brought a pop and R&B sensibility to country music in the 1970s and 1980s, even as his rich, clear voice rang true as country. Forty years ago, the North Carolina native marched to No. 1 with “Pure Love,” paving the way for a total of 49 Top 10 hits on Billboard’s country chart. He won his first ACM Award as the 1982 Male Vocalist of the Year. Three years later, “Lost in the Fifties (In the Still of the Night)” claimed Song of the Year. Milsap received the 2001 Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and will release a new album in March.

Past recipients of the Career Achievement Award include John Anderson, Vince Gill, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Johnny Paycheck, Carl Perkins, Reba and Kenny Rogers.

Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award – Bob Beckham has been chosen to receive the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award, honoring individuals who are pioneers in the country music genre.

Bob Beckham is remembered as a true music fan who took chances on unknown songwriters. Beckham was hired by Fred Foster at Combine Music in 1964. In time, its catalog grew to include Kris Kristofferson’s “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” as well as Chris Gantry’s “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” and Dennis Linde’s “Burning Love.” Beckham also nurtured the talent of Larry Gatlin, Jerry Reed, Ray Stevens and many more. The Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame recognized him with the inaugural Mentor Award in 2008. Beckham died in 2013.

Past recipients of the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award include Alabama, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Charlie Daniels, Larry Gatlin & The Gatlin Brothers, Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, The Judds,  Brenda Lee, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, The Oak Ridge Boys, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Jerry Reed, Tex Ritter, Marty Robbins, Kenny Rogers, Billy Sherrill, Ricky Skaggs, Mel Tillis, Randy Travis, Conway Twitty, Porter Wagoner, Keith Whitley, Hank Williams, Hank Williams Jr., Bob Wills and Dwight Yoakam, among others.

Crystal Milestone AwardAs previously announced, Merle Haggard has been chosen to receive the Crystal Milestone Award, which is given to an artist or industry leader to commemorate a specific, remarkable achievement.

Merle Haggard became the ACM’s first Entertainer of the Year when the award was presented for 1970. That win marked the Academy’s first Triple Crown achievement, as Haggard had already accepted the Most Promising Male Vocalist of the Year award for 1965 and the first of six Male Vocalist of the Year awards the following year. Two of his most celebrated songs have also collected Single Record and Song of the Year awards from the ACM: “Okie From Muskogee” (1969) and “Are the Good Times Really Over” (1982). A winner of the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award and Poet’s Award, Haggard joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994. In 2014, he will celebrate the milestone of 50years in country music.

Past recipients of the Crystal Milestone Awardinclude Jason Aldean, Garth Brooks, Kenny Chesney, Gayle Holcomb, Jennifer Nettles and Taylor Swift.

Gene Weed Special Achievement Award – Carrie Underwood has been chosen to receive the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, which acknowledges unprecedented, unique and outstanding individual achievement in country music.

Carrie Underwood represents country music with class, whether she’s dazzling viewers of NFL Sunday Night Football or starring in a live broadcast of The Sound of Music. Her Blown Away Tour traveled to London’s Royal Albert Hall, followed by extensive dates across the U.S. and Canada. Upon completing the tour, she donated $1 million to the American Red Cross for disaster relief. She continues to support her hometown of Checotah, Okla., through her C.A.T.S. Foundation. Underwood is a rare ACM Triple Crown recipient, following wins as New Female Vocalist of the Year (2005), Female Vocalist of the Year (2006, 2007, 2008) and Entertainer of the Year (2008, 2009).

Past recipients of the Gene Weed Special Achievement Awardinclude Garth Brooks, George Burns, Jeff Foxworthy, Willie Nelson, Blake Shelton and George Strait.

Jim Reeves International Award – Steve Buchanan and Rascal Flatts have been chosen to receive the Jim Reeves International Award, which is presented to an artist for outstanding contributions to the acceptance of country music throughout the world.

Steve Buchanan strives to provide a gateway for fans around the globe to discover country music. A Tennessee native, Buchanan is the president of the Opry Entertainment Group. In that role, he has positioned the Grand Ole Opry to be viewed as a vital, world-class tourist destination that embraces contemporary and classic artists. After the Nashville flood of 2010, he led efforts to modernize the venue during its renovation. In addition, his executive producer role for ABC’s Nashville gives insight to the inner workings of Music Row. He is currently working on mounting a Broadway show based on the long-running TV show Hee Haw.

Rascal Flatts carried their high-energy Live & Loud Tour to Europe in July 2013, enjoying sold-out crowds, widespread television exposure and significant digital sales. The group performed a total of seven shows across Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Along with packed houses, the trio appeared on BBC’s Breakfast TV and grabbed the No. 1 spot on the UK iTunes country chart. They will return in March to Dublin and London as part of the all-star Country to Country 2014 event. Rascal Flatts will launch their Rewind Tour this spring, with dates scheduled throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Past recipients of the Jim Reeves International Award include Garth Brooks, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Merv Griffin, Alan Jackson, Charlie Nagatani, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, and Lady Antebellum, among others.

Mae Boren Axton Award – Paul Moore has been chosen as the recipient of the Mae Boren Axton Award, which is given in recognition of years of dedication and service by an outstanding individual to the Academy of Country Music.

Paul Moore has been an integral part of the William Morris team in Nashville for more than 35 years. He began his career there in 1978 as a secretary to the head of the office. In time, he became part of the management team for William Morris and later William Morris Endeavor. For 23 years, he was co-head of the agency’s Nashville office. He remains involved in booking concert dates for WME clients at major fairs, rodeos, outdoor events and festivals, and oversees tour commitments for numerous country legends. Moore is a longtime board member for the Academy of Country Music and currently serves as Parliamentarian.

Past recipients of the Mae Boren Axton Award include John Dorris, Rod Essig, Gayle Holcomb, Jack Lameier, Marge Meoli, Ray Pilzak, Gaynelle Pitts, Gene Weed, Tommy Wiggins and David Young.

Poet’s Award – Jack Clement (awarded posthumously), Dean Dillon, Kris Kristofferson, and Buck Owens (awarded posthumously),have been selected to receive the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

“Cowboy” Jack Clement’scareer stretched back to Sun Records, where the Memphis native mixed 1950s recording sessions by Johnny Cash. Two of Cash’s early hits were written by Clement: “Ballad of a Teenage Queen” and “Guess Things Happen That Way.” A few years later in Texas, George Jones cut Clement’s “A Girl I Used to Know.” In Nashville, Clement opened a publishing company and signed Bob McDill, Allen Reynolds and Don Williams. Clement joined the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973. He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in April 2013, four months before his death.

Tennessee native Dean Dillon hitchhiked to Nashville to pursue a music career as a recording artist, but he found his biggest successes as a prolific songwriter. He penned hits for George Jones (“Tennessee Whiskey”), Keith Whitley (“Miami My Amy”), Toby Keith (“A Little Too Late”) and Kenny Chesney (“A Lot of Things Different”). Dillon truly found his muse in George Strait, who built his legendary career on Dillon’s unique songs, including his debut single “Unwound” followed by “The Chair,” “Nobody in His Right Mind Would’ve Left Her,” “It Ain’t Cool to Be Crazy About You,” “Ocean Front Property,” “Marina Del Rey” and “If I Know Me” to name a few. He was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Kris Kristofferson emerged as a songwriting force in the 1970s. He used his widely varied experiences—from Rhodes Scholar to Army helicopter pilot to janitor at Nashville’s Columbia Studios—to craft some of the most emotionally compelling story songs ever written. His composition “For the Good Times,” recorded by Ray Price, received 1970 ACM Awards for Single Record and Song of the Year. In addition to solo success with “Why Me,” Kristofferson’s songs have been immortalized by Johnny Cash (“Sunday Morning Coming Down”), Janis Joplin (“Me and Bobbie McGee”), Ronnie Milsap (“Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends”) and Sammi Smith (“Help Me Make It Through the Night”). Born in Texas, Kristofferson joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award in 2005.

Buck Owens’ boisterous single “Love’s Gonna Live Here” spent an astonishing 16 weeks atop the country airplay chart in 1963. He followed that composition with more original material like “My Heart Skips a Beat,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail,” writing the latter with Harlan Howard. An icon in the Bakersfield, Calif., country scene, Owens received the 1965 ACM Award for Male Vocalist of the Year and his band The Buckaroos won three consecutive ACM trophies. He joined the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1996 and accepted the ACM Pioneer Award in 1988. Owens died in 2006.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Guy Clark, Hank Cochran, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Roger Miller, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams.


  • CASINO OF THE YEAR:                   Small Capacity – Mohegan Sun Wolf Den – Uncasville, CT

Medium Capacity – Mohegan Sun Arena – Uncasville, CT

  • NIGHTCLUB OF THE YEAR:              Billy Bob’s Texas – Fort Worth, TX
  • VENUE OF THE YEAR :                     Small Capacity – Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater – Austin, TX

Medium Capacity – Grand Ole Opry House – Nashville, TN

Large Capacity – Bridgestone Arena – Nashville, TN

  • DON ROMEO TALENT BUYER OF THE YEAR: Nicole More – Neste Event Marketing
  • PROMOTER OF THE YEAR:            Brian O’Connell – Live Nation


  • BASS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:         Michael Rhodes
  • DRUMMER OF THE YEAR:             Shannon Forrest
  • PRODUCER OF THE YEAR:             Dann Huff



About the Academy of Country Music Awards
The 49th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.  The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will be broadcast LIVE from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas Sunday, April 6, 2014 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark and Barry Adelman are executive producers.  Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic — Concerts, Food Trucks and Honoring Fallen Heroes

wille nelson


Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic — Concerts, Food Trucks and Honoring Fallen Heroes

On Independence Day, Ron White – America’s Memory Expert tackles Operation Enduring Memory and a Food Truck Court will satisfy a variety of tastes and a full day of concerts

Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic always provides good times and great entertainment. This year’s 40th anniversary event will have a strong patriotic tribute on Independence Day. Ron White is without question the nation’s #1 Memory Expert. He is a veteran of the War in Afghanistan and 2 Time USA Memory Champion. White has memorized all 2,200 fallen heroes from Afghanistan, their rank, 1st name and last (7,000 words) in order of their death. He’s traveling the USA writing the names out strictly from memory with no notes… his way of saying ‘You are not forgotten.’ It’s a powerful tribute that is getting national media coverage. It will take 10 hours for White to complete the task on a 50-foot wall at Willie’s Picnic.

Willie Nelson celebrated his 80th birthday at the end of April and celebrates the 40th annual Fourth of July Picnic. The Fort Worth Stockyards “North Forty” field will again be the site of the highly anticipated annual all-day outdoor concert with tons of star-power. Music for all ages includes Gary Allan, The Randy Rogers Band, Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Bingham, Jamey Johnson, and Justin Moore. Picnic staples Ray Wylie Hubbard, Johnny Bush, and Ray Price will return. In addition, his family – son Lukas and daughters Paula Nelson and Amy Nelson will join Willie.

“We are thrilled to play a small part in the 40-year history of the picnic and do it in the Fort Worth Stockyards. Our mission this year was to design a monumental event worthy of a 40-year anniversary and Willie’s 80th birthday. When you see it you will agree.” Said Concho Minick.

Two outdoor stages will provide non-stop entertainment from noon until night. Special areas including the Metro PCS Cool Zone and Svedka/Rex Goliath Sky Box will add to the concert-going experience and provide guests with a place to stay cool.

In addition to Billy Bob’s Bar-B-Que on site at Willie’s Picnic, Fort Worth Food Trucks will provide a variety of delicious fare through the day and evening to satisfy any taste. Pompeii – Explosive Italian Cuisine; Oink n’ Moo Bar B Q; Gepetto’s Pizza; Hummingbird Sweet Shoppe; and Enticed Gourmet Snow Cones have already secured their spaces.

Tickets to Willie’s Picnic include all-day free admission to the world’s largest honky tonk and cool zone, Billy Bob’s Texas, where music kicks off at 2:15 with The Quebe Sisters Band, followed by Amber Digby, Jody Nix, David Allan Coe, and Dale Watson.

Tickets are $35 in advance $55 at the gate – on sale at www.williespicnic.com  or by calling 817-624-7117. A limited number of VIP and Sky Box tickets are still available.

About Willie Nelson’s 4th of July Picnic
Long before Lollapalooza and Coachella Music Festival, there was Willie’s Picnic — an outdoor music festival that began in a small Texas town that would continue for decades.

The event has changed much in its nearly four decades, culminating into this year’s event, the 40th annual– an all-day concert outside of Billy Bob’s Texas with a fan base spanning several generations.

At its start in 1973, the hippie movement was well under way when a 40-year-old Willie Nelson decided to hold a music festival in a field in Dripping Springs. Kris Kristofferson, Waylon Jennings and Tom T. Hall headlined the festival that brought over 40,000 people to the inaugural run of what would become a Texas tradition.

Over the next 3 decades the picnic continued to hold steady in fans and entertainers, moving around various cities in Texas, from Austin to Luckenbach.

It was a big deal in 2004 when Nelson announced at a press conference in the Fort Worth Stockyards that he was bringing his picnic to one of his boyhood homes – Fort Worth. The announcement made the front page of the Dallas Morning News and the mayor of Fort Worth gave Nelson a key to the city.

In 2011 and 2012, a scaled down version of Willie’s 4th of July Picnic was held inside and outside Billy Bob’s Texas.

About Billy Bob’s Texas
Billy Bob’s Texas is the “World’s Largest Honky Tonk” that can accommodate more than 6,000 guests in its 127,000 square-foot venue featuring more than 30 bar stations. It opened in 1981, and quickly vaulted to national prominence with two dance floors, musical stages, arcade games, and billiards tables, Billy Bob’s sports an indoor rodeo arena that features weekend bull riding events.

Billy Bob’s Texas has won the Country Music “Club of the Year” award 12 times.

For more information please visit www.billybobstexas.com.

Stars Celebrate Muhammad Ali’s 70th Birthday in Las Vegas at Keep Memory Alive’s Annual “Power of Love Gala” Fundraiser


Event Honored “The Greatest of All Time” at Fundraiser for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center

“Ali 70th From Las Vegas” Airs on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10 p.m.

Presented by Bill Edwards Presents


Keep Memory Alive’s 16th annual Power of Love Gala on Saturday, Feb. 18, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas brought out some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment to celebrate Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday and raise funds for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Muhammad Ali Center.


Highlights of the evening included a heartfelt “Happy Birthday” serenade by Stevie Wonder, Snoop Dogg leading the crowd in chanting “Ali” during his performance of “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” and famed boxers Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns joining LL Cool J on stage for “Mama Said Knock You Out.” Stars like Sean Combs, Samuel L. Jackson, Terrence Howard and David Beckham gave personal remarks and remembrances about “The Greatest” while Lenny Kravitz, Cee Lo Green and Kelly Rowland performed for Ali and the sold-out crowd of about 2,000.

The once-in-a-lifetime birthday celebration, “Ali 70th From Las Vegas,” will air nationally on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 10 p.m. local time in all markets. ABC will air the celebration in Las Vegas at 4 p.m. PT that day as well. For possible ABC broadcast in all other markets, viewers should check their local listings.

Performers and celebrity supporters who appeared at the event included Cindy Crawford, Randy Gerber, Samuel L. Jackson, David Beckham, Larry King, Quincy Jones, Ken Jeong, Buzz Aldrin, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, Common, Lenny Kravitz, Sean Combs, Anthony Hopkins, John Legend, Chris Cornell, Cee Lo Green, Joe Perry, Slash, Terrence Howard, Kris Kristofferson, David Copperfield, Siegfried & Roy, Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Jim Brown, Randy Couture, Brad Garrett, Kelly Rowland, Dave Koz, Robin Leach, James Gandolfini, Steve Schirripa, John Paul DeJoria, Tony Danza, Raphael Saadiq, Haley Reinhart, and Sammy Hagar.  Boxing icons who attended include Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Evander Holyfield, Ken Norton, Earnie Shavers, Leon Spinks, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Tommy “Hitman” Hearns.

In keeping with its 16-year history, the Power of Love Gala showcased a celebrity-chef-packed dinner featuring creations by Tom Colicchio, Scott Conant, Michael Mina and Wolfgang Puck. Guests were treated to a Dom Perignon reception and were able to bid on one-of-a-kind live and silent auction items, including Muhammad Ali’s boxing gloves he wore to defeat Floyd Patterson in Las Vegas in 1965 and an extravagant vacation of a lifetime for two couples on David Copperfield’s private island in the Bahamas.

The gala’s celebration for Ali aligns with the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health’s recent launch of a landmark study examining the long-term brain health of professional fighters. Aiming to improve the safety and health of fighters, the study will help determine whether magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain, along with other tests, can detect subtle changes in brain health that correlate with impaired thinking and functioning.  Researchers hope the information uncovered by this research will eventually result in better ways to prevent permanent brain injury in not only fighters, but also in others who may suffer from brain trauma.

The Power of Love Gala was produced by Bill Edwards Presents Inc. and supported by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), Muhammad Ali Enterprises and Keep Memory Alive, the fundraising arm of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. The star-studded celebration for Ali honored the boxing legend’s contribution to the world and raised awareness for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, ALS, Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

About Cleveland Clinic:

Cleveland Clinic is a nonprofit multispecialty academic medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it was founded in 1921 by four renowned physicians with a vision of providing outstanding patient care based upon the principles of cooperation, compassion and innovation. Cleveland Clinic has pioneered many medical breakthroughs, including coronary artery bypass surgery and the first face transplant in the United States. U.S.News & World Report consistently names Cleveland Clinic as one of the nation’s best hospitals in its annual “America’s Best Hospitals” survey. About 2,800 full-time salaried physicians and researchers and 11,000 nurses represent 120 medical specialties and subspecialties. Cleveland Clinic Health System includes a main campus near downtown Cleveland, eight community hospitals and 18 Family Health Centers in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Clinic Florida, the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas, Cleveland Clinic Canada, and opening in 2013, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. In 2010, there were 4 million visits throughout the Cleveland Clinic health system and 167,000 hospital admissions. Patients came for treatment from every state and from more than 100 countries. Visit us at http://www.clevelandclinic.org/.  Follow us at www.twitter.com/ClevelandClinic.


About Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health:

Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health provides state-of-the-art care for cognitive disorders and for the family members of those who suffer from them. The physicians and staff at the Center for Brain Health continuously work towards the development of early diagnosis and the advancement of knowledge concerning mild cognitive disorders, which could one day delay or prevent their onset.  Patients receive expert diagnosis and treatment at the Center for Brain Health, which offers a multidisciplinary patient-focused approach to diagnosis and treatment, promoting collaboration across all care providers, offering patients a complete continuum of care and infusing education and research into all that it does. The facility, designed by Frank Gehry, houses clinical space, a diagnostic center, neuroimaging rooms, physician offices, laboratories devoted to clinical research and the Keep Memory Alive Event Center.  For more information, visit www.clevelandclinic.org/brainhealth.


About Keep Memory Alive:

Keep Memory Alive, whose mission is to provide enhanced treatment and ultimately cures for patients and their families suffering from neurocognitive disorders, raises awareness and funds in support of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. By supporting Keep Memory Alive and its fight against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, ALS and memory disorders of all kinds, we can ensure progress towards better treatments and ultimately cures will occur in Las Vegas.  For additional information call (702) 263-9797 or visit www.keepmemoryalive.org.


About The Muhammad Ali Center:

The Muhammad Ali Center is a cultural attraction and international education center that is inspired by the ideals of Muhammad Ali. The Center serves as the global hub for championing the social significance of Muhammad Ali; its experience incorporates as organizing elements, six prevailing core values of Ali’s life: respect, confidence, conviction, dedication, giving, and spirituality. Much more than a place to tell the story of one man’s incredible 70-year journey, the Muhammad Ali Center reaches beyond its physical walls to fulfill its mission. In 2012, the Center’s activities will ensure that the rising generation understands and actively adopts Ali’s core values to create a powerful new movement: Generation Ali. For more information, please call (502) 584-9254 or visit www.alicenter.org.


About Bill Edwards Presents Inc.:

A premier live entertainment company, Bill Edwards Presents Inc. has been producing world-class attractions for more than a decade.  The company has established itself through producing shows and events in a variety of venues – including festivals, theaters, casinos-resorts, performing arts centers and arenas.  Known for its reputation of aligning with award winning talent, Bill Edwards Presents is based in St. Petersburg, Florida. www.billedwardspresents.com


About The LVCVA:

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) is charged with marketing Southern Nevada as a tourism and convention destination worldwide, and also with operating the Las Vegas Convention Center and Cashman Center. With approximately 150,000 hotel rooms in Las Vegas alone and more than 10.6 million square feet of meeting and exhibit space citywide, the LVCVA’s mission centers on attracting ever-increasing numbers of leisure and business visitors to the area. For more information, go to www.lvcva.com or www.VisitLasVegas.com.

Actress Rasheda Ali, daughter of boxing legend Muhammad Ali
Actor Samuel L. Jackson and wife LaTanya Richardson
Recording artist Chris Isaak and his dog Rodney
Brad Garrett and IsaBeall Quella
Recording artist/actor Kris Kristofferson


Recording artist and actor Common
Actor Anthony Hopkins
Singer Haley Reinhart
Actor Tony Danza, television personality Larry King and sportscaster Charley Steine


Former astronaut Buzz Aldrin (L) and Michelle Sucillon
Recording artist John Legend
Recording artist Lenny Kravitz
Recording artist Ne-Yo
Chef Emeril Lagasse, Keep Memory Alive Founder Larry Ruvo, recording artist Sammy Hagar and illusionist David Copperfield
Photo Credit – Getty Images for Keep Memory Alive