If the lights were out in Georgia, it’s because everyone was in Tennessee for the “Fourth Annual Jameson Irish Whiskey Presents Georgia On My Mind” benefit concert hosted by the Peach Pickers – Rhett Akins, Dallas Davidson, and Ben Hayslip – Tuesday at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
The popular Peach Carpet kicked off the evening, which featured a who’s who of Georgia-born singer/songwriters – and a couple who wish they called the Peach State home – including multiple award winner Thomas Rhett; chart-toppers Lauren Alaina, Billy Currington, Chris Janson, Kip Moore, Jon Pardi, and Michael Ray; Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter T. Graham Brown and Grammy winner Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls; Georgia Music Hall of Famers Drivin’ N Cryin’ and Jimmy Hall of Wet Willie; back by popular demand this year, Dexter Redding and Otis Redding III, sons of the legendary soul icon Otis Redding; and a performance by Georgia-bred singer/songwriters Trea Landon, Jon Langston, and Cole Taylor. Making a special appearance were students from the Georgia Pick and Bow Traditional Music School in Dahlonega, who received a grant from the Georgia Music Foundation in 2016 from concert proceeds.
A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Flamekeeper Keeper Award to the honorable Governor of Georgia Nathan Deal. The Award is presented to a Georgian who tirelessly preserves and promotes Georgia’s musical roots and traditions. Jameson Irish Whiskey, the title sponsor, presented a check for $50,000 to the Georgia Music Foundation, to advance grants to cultural and music education programs in the state. The Foundation, which was established in 1994, has distributed more than $150,000 in funding to deserving music education, preservation, and outreach programs in the past three years from “Georgia On My Mind” proceeds.