“You’re not going to go to heaven if you’re not an Alabama fan,” said David Nail before the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Awards.
“I think now, having lived here for 13 years and realizing how hard it is to get one No. 1 hit, when you start thinking about 40-plus, guys like George Strait and Alabama, you realize no one will ever do that again.”
Randy Owen, Alabama’s lead singer, along with Vince Gill and Charlie Daniels were the recipients of the 2012 Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award during a ceremony at War Memorial Auditorium on Wednesday night. The award was created in 2004 to recognize music industry leaders who embody the highest quality of leadership and leading by example.
Nail performed Alabama’s song “Feels So Right” in honor of Owen, an ardent supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, during the ceremony.
“This is very humbling for me,” Owen said before the program. “I’ve taken what God has blessed me with, which is success in music, and tried to make things better. I hope I can use this as a small stepping stone to help more people.”
Daniels said, “It’s hard to even articulate what this award means.”
He added, “I wanted to be part of the music business in Nashville ever since I learned a couple of chords on the guitar, and I’ve been here for 45 years. There’s not a day of my life that goes by that I’ve not been thankful to live my dreams out in this town. This is a pat on the back for me.”
Gill explained that he’s honored to be recognized in the same arena as greats such as Daniels and Owen. He said he also was excited to sit in the audience and hold wife Amy Grant’s hand.
“These are some great old friends,” Gill said. “Charlie Daniels … he’s just good people, and Randy, the same thing. It’s a great way to spend the night, and my wife looks like a million bucks.”
In addition to the singers, Mayor Karl Dean received the Brian Williams Ambassador Award. The award is given to a person who strengthens ties between the Nashville music and business communities.
During the ceremony, artists including Nail, Little Big Town, Rodney Crowell, The Time Jumpers and The Grascals performed songs by the award winners as they watched from the audience.
“I don’t ever get to hear people play my songs very often,” Gill said. “That’s a great thing. It’s the best feeling you could ever hope to get, for people to want to play something that you created.”