It was really touching to see such a class act as Georgia native Luke Bryan winning the Academy of Country Music’s top Entertainer of the Year award Sunday night.
He wasn’t ashamed to cry, and he wasn’t afraid to hug and kiss his good friend and ACM awards show co-host Blake Shelton on Shelton’s cheek.
“Thank you for making my life what it is,” he said in his acceptance remarks. “What I always just wanted to be was a country singer that got to ride on a tour bus, show up at a new stage and play music every night.”
He later added, “I tell you what – I swear to God – every time I step on stage it is a blessing to me to play for fans.”
Bryan, who grew up in Leesburg, Ga., near Albany and graduated from Georgia Southern University, told this columnist something similar in February 2007, just two weeks after Capitol Records released his first single, All My Friends Say.
He already had co-written Billy Currington’s hit single Good Directions.
“Anything that happens from today on in my life is what I consider bonus stuff for me,” he said. “I’m just happy at the place I’m in. We’re all not promised another day. We have to make the most of each day, and that’s how I’m trying to do it.”
Bryan, since bursting onto the country music scene, has long been a favorite entertainer with Augusta-area fans who have seen him at WKXC-FM’s Guitar Pull, A Day in the Country festival and the Country Club Dance Hall and Saloon.
In that early 2007 interview, Bryan said his high school drama coach, Robbie Davis, told him to follow his music dreams.
And he credited his late brother, Chris, with instilling in him a love for country music. Chris was killed in a car accident when Luke was 19.
“My brother didn’t play any instruments, and, Lord knows, he couldn’t sing a lick,” Bryan told me, “but he was a consummate country music fan and loved everything about it. He was a big reason why I was listening to country because you kind of do what your older siblings do.”
ACM WINNERS HEADED THIS WAY: The duo Florida Georgia Line (Brian Kelley from Ormond Beach, Fla., and Tyler Hubbard from Monroe, Ga.), which won the ACM award for Best New Artist, will headline the A Day in the Country Festival at Augusta Riverfront Marina on Sunday, May 5.
• Little Big Town, which won the ACM awards for Vocal Group of the Year and Video of the Year (Tornado), will perform at Bell Auditorium on Wednesday, May 8. David Nail will open for the group.
JUST FOR THE RECORD: The ACM folks like to boast that their awards are voted on by the fans, but that is only partly true.
If you go to the academy’s Web site, acmcountry.com, and click on “voting criteria” at the bottom of the home page, you will see that it is a combination of votes of fans and the ACM professional membership that determines the winners of the Entertainer, New Artist, New Male Artist, New Female Artist and New Vocal Duo or Group awards.
The Male Artist, Female Artist, Album, Single, Video and Vocal Event awards are determined only by the AMC professional membership and not by fan voting.
JOE & MARILYN ADCOCK: One of Augusta’s music legends is singer and pianist Marilyn Adcock, whom I ran into last Saturday afternoon at Eryn Eubanks’ weekly acoustic jam sessions (4-6 p.m. most Saturdays) at the Bible Deliverance fellowship hall on Eve Street.
Marilyn was with her saxophone player husband, Joe, who has toured with the Bill Black Combo and Jerry Lee Lewis.
She can be heard from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 10, and Thursday, April 11, at Malibu Jack’s, 231 Furys Ferry Road, and from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, at the Augusta Elks Club, 205 Elkdom Court, near Malibu Jack’s.
ALSO MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR:
• Chatham County Line: 8 p.m. Thursday, April 11, Belle Meade Country Club, 2660 Twin Pine Road, Thomson, Ga., and Friday, May 24, at Papa Joe’s Banjo-B-Que, Evans Towne Center Park.
• Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 13, Newberry (S.C.) Opera House.
• Mitchell Springfest: Friday-Sunday, April 19-21, with an expected 15 food vendors and 50 other arts and crafts vendors. This great festival with lots of good music has taken place for 17 years.
• Kicks 99 Hooked On Country Show: 7 p.m. Friday, April 26, Bell Auditorium with Justin Moore, Parmalee and Charlie Worsham.
• Rhonda Vincent: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, April 27, USC Aiken Convocation Center, and Friday, May 3, at The Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival, Elijah Clark State Park, Lincolnton, Ga.
• Janis Ian: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, Jabez S. Hardin Performing Arts Center, Evans, Ga.
• The Little Roy & Lizzy Music Festival: Wednesday-Saturday, May 1-4, Elijah Clark State Park, Lincolnton, Ga., with Jimmy C. Newman, Rhonda Vincent, Marty Rabon, The Lewis Tradition, Jeff & Sheri Easter and many more.
• A Day In The Country Festival: Sunday, May 5, with Florida Georgia Line, Casey James, Chris Janson, The Lacs, Carey Murdock and Jaycie Ward.
• Mangelly Big Kids Accordion Band: 2 p.m. Sunday, May 5, Augusta-Richmond County Library, 823 Telfair St., celebrating World Accordion Day.
• Jeff & Sheri Easter Annual Homecoming Gospel Festival: Thursday-Saturday, May 9-11, Lewis Family Home Place, 1935 Lewis Family Road, Lincolnton, Ga., with Karen Peck & New River, The Hopper, Jason Crabb, Lynda Randle and more.