“It just gets better every year,” said Georgia Music Foundation chair Dallas Davidson about the third annual “Jameson Irish Whiskey Presents Georgia On My Mind” concert which raised over $100,000 to benefit the Georgia Music Foundation. Held on May 10, 2016 and hosted by the Peach Pickers—the songwriting collective of Georgia natives featuring Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip—the evening featured performances by a star-studded group of country and hip hop hitmakers and a tribute to an international soul music legend at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.
Artists taking the stage included Luke Bryan, Big Boi of Outkast, Lee Brice, Craig Campbell, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr, Mannie Fresh, Randy Houser, Maggie Rose and rising singer/songwriters Travis Denning, Trae Landon, Jon Langston, Jordan Rager and Cole Taylor.
The evening also featured a salute to Otis Redding, the American music icon who would have been 75 years old this year. His sons Dexter Redding and Otis Redding III performed scorching versions of their father’s hits, “Hard to Handle” and “Try A Little Tenderness” and were joined by Dallas Davidson for “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay.” Randy Houser, who said that Redding’s music had inspired him his entire life, delivered a heartfelt acoustic version of “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long” while Lee Brice got the audience singing along to “Stand By Me,” one of the many songs that Redding covered in his all too brief career.
Dexter and Otis Redding III, along with their sister, Karla Redding-Andrews, who serves as vice-chair of the Georgia Music Foundation, were surprised during the show when Davidson presented them with the Foundation’s annual Flamekeeper Award, noting that in the almost 50 years since their father’s passing, they and their mother Zelma have truly “kept the fires burning” by protecting and preserving their father’s musical legacy. Foundation board member Dinah Gretch then joined the group on stage to present an unexpected $10,000 check from her Mrs. G’s Music Foundation to the Otis Redding Foundation to support the organization’s ongoing music education programs. In her emotional acceptance remarks, Redding-Andrews said, “My father wanted to make sure that kids knew the importance of an education. He was so committed to that. Please know that everything we do—my brothers, my mom and I—we do in his honor.”
The proceeds will help fund the Foundation’s Georgia Music Preservation, Education and Outreach Grant program. Established last year in recognition of the Foundation’s 20th anniversary, the program awarded 12 music-based non-profits and school band programs with grants of $5,000 each. The 2016 grant applications will be available online July 1, 2016 at georgiamusicfoundation.org.
The Board of Directors for the Georgia Music Foundation thanks all of the sponsors who so generously supported the third annual “Jameson Irish Whiskey Presents Georgia On My Mind” benefit concert.