BY MELISSA RUGGIERI
Kevn Kinney admits that when he learned that his band, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, would be inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, he was a bit taken aback.
“It’s way, way beyond,” the singer-guitarist said, reflecting on what this weekend’s induction ceremony will mean. “The important part for me is that Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ is an underdog out there. We’re not going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We’re not that popular. But we’re an ATLANTA band. When people call us a Southern rock band, I say, ‘We’re an ATLANTA rock band.’ We’ve played 54 cities in Georgia, from LaGrange to Thunderbolt to places you haven’t heard of, so this is also validation for our fans, for the people who have been rooting for us.”
This Saturday, the Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards at the Georgia World Congress Center — which will air live on Georgia Public Broadcasting — will also inaugurate Gregg Allman (as a solo songwriter), Sam Moore, John and Jane Barbe, John Huie and Monica Pearson, as well as honor Philip Walden Jr., Tim Wilson and Sonny Limbaugh with posthumous Georgy Awards.
Allman, Moore and Drivin’ N’ Cryin’ will perform during the 37th annual ceremony, as well as guests Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Ed Roland of Collective Soul, the newly minted Miss America, Georgia’s Betty Cantrell, and 2015 scholarship recipient Amy Smithwick.
HLN “Morning Express” star Robin Meade and “The Bert Show” staple Jeff Dauler are set to co-emcee.
The 37th annual awards will also present an opportunity to honor Bobbie Bailey, the Atlanta philanthropist, businesswoman and executive producer of the awards ceremony. Bailey died in July at the age of 87.
Michele Caplinger, senior executive director of the Recording Academy’s Atlanta Chapter who also serves on the board of the Friends of Georgia Music, which produces the awards show, said that the absence of Bailey prompted “a call to action to deliver a magnificent tribute show.”
Roland, a Stockbridge native who was given the Songwriter Award last year, will perform in Bailey’s honor.
“Our pride for Georgia music makers will live on, as will Dr. Bailey’s giving spirit,” Caplinger said. “I’m certain her spirit will be with us to celebrate this wonderful occasion Saturday night.”
The Georgy Awards telecast will begin at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Here is a look at this year’s inductees.
Gregg Allman, Songwriter Award (presenter Peter Conlon): The flaxen-haired focal point of the Allman Brothers Band is a longtime Georgia resident, as well as a cherished solo performer. His 2011 album, “Low Country Blues,” was nominated for a Grammy Award, and he released his first-ever solo DVD, “Gregg Allman Live: Back to Macon,” last month.
John and Jane Barbe, Pioneer Award (presenter David Barbe): Jane, who died in 2003, was a voice known to millions on telephone-company recordings and voice mail systems across America, as well as a voice talent. Her composer husband, John, is renowned for his career as a musician and jingle producer, as well as writing arrangements for bands and orchestras.
Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, Group Award (presenter R.E.M.’s Peter Buck): It’s the 30th anniversary for the Atlanta hard rockers, who released their debut, “Scarred But Smarter,” on the local-rooted 688 Records and were fixtures at the defunct alt-punk 688 Club on Spring Street. Their most recent release, “Songs for the Turntable,” arrived in January 2014.
John Huie, Non-Performer Award (presenter Alex Hodges): A native of Macon, Huie is a Grammy Award-winning producer, as well as a celebrated talent booking agent with Creative Artists Agency.
Sam Moore, Performer Award (presenter Charlie Brusco): The heralded “Soul Man” is renowned for his tenure as the lead vocalist in the award-winning ’60s duo Sam & Dave. Moore, who was born in Macon County, Ga., will celebrate his 80th birthday Oct. 12.
Monica Pearson, Chairman’s Award (presenter Sen. Jeff Mullis): Instantly recognizable by her big smile and bigger heart, Pearson retired in 2012 after a much-lauded 37-year career on WSB-TV. She’s also a gifted gospel singer.
Philip Walden Jr., Posthumous Award: The attorney son of the late Capricorn Records co-founder Phil Walden died in a tragic accident in 2011 but had played an integral part in reviving Capricorn Records in Nashville. Tenn. The athletic Walden Jr. also served on the legal team at Turner Broadcasting’s Music Group.
Tim Wilson, Posthumous Award: Upon his death in 2014, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution called Wilson one of the “smartest, funniest stand-up comics” ever seen and “a wicked songwriter and singer.” The stand-up/country musician is a native of Columbus, Ga., and was a regular at the Punchline comedy club.
Sonny Limbaugh, Posthumous Award: Limbaugh’s most recognizable work is likely as co-writer and co-producer of Bertie Higgins’ lite-rock staple from 1981, “Key Largo.” But the Atlantan’s career touched all genres, including his production of Cissy Houston’s version of “Midnight Train to Georgia.”
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