The Ryman got a little sweeter Tuesday night during the third annual Georgia On My Mind benefit concert hosted by The Peach Pickers, the country songwriting trio made up of Rhett Atkins, Dallas Davidson and Ben Hayslip.
The benefit, which raised money for the Georgia Music Foundation and was sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, saw a number of famous Georgia-born friends of the trio take the stage including Craig Campbell, Lee Brice, Billy Currington and Luke Bryan.
Tyler Farr, who Dallas Davidson called an honorary Georgian, also performed his hit “A Guy Walks into a Bar.”
The Peach Pickers delivered hits including “All About Tonight,” “That’s My Kind of Night” and “Mind Reader,” which was cut by Dustin Lynch and currently sits at number four on Billboard’s country charts. Collectively, the trio has written 60 number one songs since 2010.
The musical guests took time to honor another fellow Georgian, Otis Redding, during the evening. The music legend would have been 75 this year.
“[His music] was so honest, and so genuine. It was soul music. It was his soul,” said Davidson. “His songs will always live on, and it makes me very proud to be from Georgia.”
Redding’s sons, Dexter and Otis III, were on hand to celebrate their father and sing a few of his hits. After the performance, Davidson and the Georgia Music Foundation surprised the Redding family with the Flamekeeper Award, which honors artists or families that help keep Georgia music alive and well.
“Nobody will ever sound like the man, nobody will ever sing like him,“ said hip-hop producer Mannie Fresh. “He had his own style, his own way of doing music. And that, to me, was the biggest contribution.”
Fresh took the stage, along with singer/songwriter Maggie Rose, Outkast rapper Big Boi and Davidson, for a special performance of “Laid Back,” the first cut from Davidson’s upcoming album tentatively named “Country Boy Swagger.”
Other highlights of the evening included Luke Bryan’s performance with the Peach Pickers of their hit song “Huntin’, Fishin’ And Lovin’ Every Day”, and Billy Currington’s performance of the Ray Charles classic “Georgia on My Mind.”
At the annual “Jameson® Irish Whiskey Presents Georgia On My Mind” concert on May 10, 2016 at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., the Peach Pickers—Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins and Ben Hayslip, hosted an electric event featuring performances by Lee Brice, Luke Bryan, Craig Campbell, Billy Currington, Tyler Farr, Randy Houser, Maggie Rose and rising singer/songwriters Travis Denning, Trea Landon, Jon Langston, Jordan Rager and Cole Taylor. More than $100,000 was raised with proceeds benefitting the Georgia Music Foundation, a non-profit organization chaired by Davidson that supports programs of music preservation, education and outreach.
“It just gets better every year,” says Davidson. “The Peach Pickers and I are humbled by the support of our fellow artists, the sponsors and especially the fans coming out and showing so much enthusiasm. We not only get to have this incredible music experience but we are able to give back and fund the Georgia Music Preservation, Education and Outreach Grant program. Hopefully we’ll continue to outdo ourselves each year.”
Davidson, who just released his new song, “Laid Back,” through his own Play It Again Records, enlisted the help his co-collaborators to debut the song live at the Mother Church. Joined on stage by vocalist Maggie Rose, hip-hop track master Mannie Fresh and Outkast’s Big Boi, Davidson captivated the audience with his feel-good tune that spans the genres.
In a special tribute to Otis Redding, his sons Dexter Redding and Otis Redding III performed scorching renditions of two of their father’s hits, “Hard to Handle” and “Try A Little Tenderness,” before Davidson joined them onstage with their sister, Karla Redding-Andrews, vice-chair of the Georgia Music Foundation. Taking the siblings totally by surprise, 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. GMF board member Dinah Gretch presented the Redding family with a $10,000 check to the Otis Redding Foundation from her Mrs. G’s Music Foundation. In her emotional acceptance remarks, Redding-Andrews said that education meant everything to her father and that she and her family honor his legacy by working to provide music education opportunities for children.
Towards the end of the evening, Bryan took the stage with the Peach Pickers to perform “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Everyday,” which he wrote with the Akins, Davidson and Hayslip. To close out the show, Currington performed fan favorite “Georgia On My Mind” and Davidson thanked everyone for being there and for supporting Georgia Music.
About The Georgia Music Foundation:
Established in 1994, The Georgia Music Foundation fosters an appreciation for Georgia’s rich music heritage by supporting programs of music preservation, education and outreach. A list of recipients of the 2015 Georgia Music Preservation, Education and Outreach Grant program is available at georgiamusicfoundation.org. Applications for the 2016 Music Preservation, Education and Outreach Grant program will be available online July 1, 2016.
About the Peach Pickers:
In a nod to their home state, Akins, Hayslip and Davidson write together as the Peach Pickers. Collectively, the trio has accumulated 60 No. 1 songs since 2010 and been recognized with numerous awards and accolades. Their respective catalogs include hit songs “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” “All About Tonight,” “Gimmie That Girl,” “Just A Kiss,” “When She Says Baby,” “Boys Round Here,” “It Goes Like This,” “We Owned The Night,” “I Don’t Dance,” “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” “Point At You,” “That’s My Kind Of Night,” “Rain Is A Good Thing,” “Small Town Throwdown” and their latest single for Luke Bryan, “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.”
About Jameson® Irish Whiskey:
Jameson Irish Whiskey is a smooth and perfectly balanced triple distilled Irish Whiskey rooted in Irish heritage dating back to 1780 when legendary John Jameson released his first cask. The brand’s success comes down to the skilled distillers that ensure Jameson’s unique taste and the communities who have supported its handcrafted quality for hundreds of years. Reliably timeless and simple, Jameson is best enjoyed during great times with great friends. It has all the quality credentials to allow it be consumed straight, but is versatile and is equally great when mixed. Follow Jameson Irish Whiskey @JamesonWhiskey on Facebook and @Jameson_US on Instagram and Twitter.