Vince Gill

Country Music Stars Attend George Jones’ Funeral

Singers Charlie Daniels, Vince Gill, Brad Paisley and Kid Rock honored the memory of country legend George Jones on Thursday by gathering to perform at the late star’s funeral in Nashville, Tennessee.

The doors of The Grand Ole Opry House were thrown open for family, friends and fans to mourn the loss of the icon together during an emotional three-hour service at the country music mecca, and the auditorium was filled with the sound of music.

Jones’ widow Nancy sat with former U.S. First Lady Laura Bush and singing couple Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood as pals stepped up to the podium, with Tanya Tucker and the Imperials kicking off the performances with a cover of gospel classic, The Old Rugged Cross.

Randy Travis paid tribute to his old collaborator with a rendition of Amazing Grace, accompanied by just an acoustic guitar. Explaining his choice of track, he said, “When I heard him do this song, it literally gave me chills.”

Paisley revealed he had bonded with Jones after the veteran allowed him to keep his first horse on his family’s farm, while Daniels delivered a moving speech about his longtime pal’s ability to make music for all kinds of audiences: “He sang for us all, the non-stop partiers, the guys who are alone and the girl done wrong, the puppy lovers, the extrovert, the introvert and the guy at the end of the bar who never seems to go home… George had a song for everybody.”

Gill shared his memories of Jones, the man who gave him the nickname Sweet Pea, and confessed that he wasn’t initially a fan of the moniker – although he has since learned to love it. He said, “The great thing is, every time someone calls me Sweet Pea, I’ll get to think about him.”

Kid Rock injected a little humour into the memorial as he took the microphone to belt out the original tune Best of Me, asking Nancy to imagine that her late husband was actually the one singing, before quipping, “I know that’s a huge (leap of) imagination. Unshaven, long-haired confused country hip-hop rock ‘n’ roller trying to sing George Jones.”

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee also spoke at the funeral, as did Wynonna Judd, Laura Bush, and Alan Jackson – who postponed two concerts to attend the memorial. He closed the service with Jones’ most famous song, He Stopped Loving Her Today.

Jones, 81, passed away on April 26.

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Country Stars Honored For Charity Work

Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels and Randy Owen were recognized for their humanitarian work at an awards show in Nashville this past week.

The three singers were guests of honor at the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Awards and they were applauded for their charitable efforts.

Musicians including Rodney Crowell and Al Anderson took to the stage to play for the award winners at the event, held at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium, while Gill’s wife Amy Grant and his daughter Jenny, from his first marriage, also paid tribute to the country star.

Gill’s family presented him with a glass bowl engraved with the name of the award, and Gill joked, “I can put a lot of peanut M&M’s in here.”

Speaking before the ceremony, Gill played down his charitable work, telling reporters, “All you can do is lead by example and that’s all I’ve ever tried to do – help out.”

Daniels added, “I am just so honored to be thought of in the same sentence with these other two guys. I don’t do charitable things to be recognized but it’s still nice when that happens.”

Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, and Keith Urban Pay Tribute to Glen Campbell on "The 45th Annual CMA Awards"

Reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year Brad Paisley and former CMA Entertainers of the Year Vince Gill and Keith Urban will pay tribute to Country Music Hall of Fame member and former CMA Entertainer of the Year Glen Campbell during “The 45th Annual CMA Awards.” The three guitar virtuosos’ performance saluting the legendary singer/musician will be a highlight of “Country Music’s Biggest Night™.”  
“The 45th Annual CMA Awards,” hosted by Paisley and Carrie Underwood, airs live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville,Wednesday, Nov. 9 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. Previously announced performers include Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke BryanEric ChurchSara EvansFaith Hill, Lady Antebellum, Miranda LambertMartina McBride,Scotty McCreery, Sugarland, Taylor Swift, Thompson Square, Keith UrbanChris Youngand Zac Brown Bandplus Kenny Chesney and Grace Potter singing their hit collaboration “You and Tequila;” Rascal Flatts and Natasha Bedingfield singing their current hit duet “Easy;” Lionel Richie performing a medley of hits with Little Big Town, Rascal Flatts, and Darius Rucker; and co-hosts Paisley and Underwood in their first live televised-performance of their No. 1 song “Remind Me.”
Campbell was named both CMA Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year in 1968, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005. The legendary performer has sold more than 45 million albums and recorded such classic hits as “Wichita Lineman,” “Gentle On My Mind,” “Galveston,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Southern Nights,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy.” As a musician, Campbell was part of the much-heralded Wrecking Crew that performed on a variety of artists’ albums. His guitar prowess is featured on the Beach Boys’ seminal album Pet Sounds and on Frank Sinatra‘s megahit “Strangers in the Night,” among others. He acted alongside John Wayne in the movie “True Grit,” and hosted “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” on television from 1968-1972. Earlier this year, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He is in the midst of his successful Goodbye Tour after releasing his final album, the critically-acclaimed Ghost on the Canvas.  
Gill is No. 3 on the list for the most career wins in CMA Award history, having won 18 CMA Awards thus far, including two Entertainer Awards (1993, 1994), five consecutive Male Vocalist Awards (1991-1995, tying him with George Strait for the most wins in that category), two Album Awards (1993 for I Still Believe in You and 1994 for Common Thread: The Songs of the Eagles), and a record-holding four Song of the Year Awards (1991 for “When I Call Your Name,” 1992 for “Look at Us,” 1993 for “I Still Believe In You,” and 1996 for “Go Rest High On That Mountain”). Gill served as host of the CMA Awards for 12 consecutive years (1992-2003), a record for hosts of any nationally televised Awards show. He released his new album, Guitar Slinger, last week.
The reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, Paisley received five nominations in 2011 for Entertainer; Male Vocalist; Album for This is Country Music; and Musical Event and Music Video of the Year for “Old Alabama,” featuring Alabama. Paisley has won 14 CMA Awards to date, including three consecutive Male Vocalist Awards (2007-2009) and Album of the Year (in 2006 for Time Well Wasted). This is his fourth consecutive year to co-host the CMA Awards with Underwood.  
Urban received two nominations this year: Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year. He has won four CMA Awards to date: Entertainer in 2005 and three consecutive Male Vocalist of the Year Awards (2004-2006). Urban’s current album is Get Closer.