Georgia On My Mind Goes Virtual on May 26, 2020!
Though Gretsch is a globally-recognized musical instruments brand, the name is also synonymous with numerous scholarships, programs, and events, thanks to the family’s longstanding commitment to enriching lives through participation in music. Though COVID-19 has put a stop to most live music right now, the Gretsch family has enabled the annual “Georgia On My Mind” concert benefiting the Georgia Music Foundation to be reimagined as an online event taking place on May 26, 2020.
Executive Vice President/CFO Dinah Gretsch, who is also a member of the Board of Directors for the Georgia Music Foundation explains, “This is the third year that we’ve sponsored ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ which is traditionally held at the Ryman in Nashville. The proceeds fund the Foundation’s annual grants for music programs at schools and non-profit organizations all over the state. Fred and I believe that the music industry and non-profit organizations like this one will need our support now more than ever, and we’re proud to make it possible to take this concert online and share it with even more people.”
“Gretsch Presents Georgia On My Mind,” hosted by Amy Ray of the Indigo Girls and singer/songwriter Brent Cobb will be streamed on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 at 8 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. CT on facebook.com/georgiamusic and at georgiamusic.org. Directed by photographer and filmmaker Curtis Wayne Millard, the event will feature two hours of at-home performances by a diverse group of mostly homegrown Georgia artists including tree farmer and Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell, six-time Grammy winner Amy Grant, Atlanta’s latest export, Katie Pruitt, whom Rolling Stone calls “a soaring vocalist and agile guitarist,” and songwriter Tony Arata, whose catalog includes the Garth Brooks’ megahit, “The Dance.”
In addition, Kristian Bush of Sugarland shows off his new band, Dark Water, country music artist John Berry marks his third “Georgia On My Mind” performance, husband and wife duo The War & Treaty pay tribute to a Georgia legend, Indigo Girls share a cut off their brand new release, Look Long, and 23-year-old singer and guitarist Jontavious Willis demonstrates why he picked up his first Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album earlier this year.
Other guests include veteran Georgia singer and guitarist Caroline Aiken, Athens-based synth-pop duo Kalen & Aslyn, John Driskell Hopkins, the multi-instrumentalist from the Zac Brown Band, Northwest Georgia songwriter Channing Wilson, who has penned tunes for Luke Combs, Tyler Farr and more, Adam Wright, the producer, singer and songwriter behind Grammy-nominated cuts for Alan Jackson and Lee Ann Womack and civil rights pioneer, singer and song leader Rutha Harris. And recently added: Brandi Carlile, Butch Walker, Caylee Hammack, Kevn Kinney, Michelle Malone, and Adam Hood!
Dinah Gretsch is particularly proud of two musicians who will perform during the streamed concert. “Kim Michael Polote is not only a beloved singer in Savannah, but together, she and Ryan Beke, who will accompany her on guitar, lead the full-time music program that my own Mrs. G’s Music Foundation sponsors annually at Thomas Heyward Academy in Ridgeland, South Carolina, just over the Georgia border,” Gretsch says. “As educators and teaching artists, they bring joy to students’ lives every day through music, and that’s the goal at the heart of the programs that we support.”
Seven years ago, the very first “Georgia On My Mind” was initiated and hosted by Dallas Davidson, Rhett Akins, and Ben Hayslip, who write hit songs together as the Peach Pickers, to benefit the Georgia Music Foundation, which Davidson chairs. “We never dreamed it would keep going nor that it would eventually send more than $500,000 back home to support music education,” he said. “We’ve had a great run, but Ben, Rhett, and I decided it was the right time to let other Georgia musicians host to keep things fresh and we couldn’t be happier that our friends Brent and Amy graciously agreed to step up to the plate.”
About this year’s hosts:
Amy Ray teamed up with friend Emily Saliers back in high school in Atlanta to form a duo that would become the Indigo Girls. Rooted in shared passions for harmony and justice, the pair has forged a career spanning 20 albums and combining artistry and activism to push against every boundary and box anyone tries to put them in. On May 22, the Indigo Girls will release Look Long, their first studio album in five years. On her own, Ray has released six solo studio albums and three live ones, from the political punk of 2001’s Stag, to the feminist Americana of 2018’s Holler. Each effort seems to lean into her influences in different ways, whether it’s the Allman Brothers or the Carter Family. Ray continues to run Daemon Records, the non-for-profit label she formed in 1990 to support grassroots artists including Kristen Hall, the Rock-A-Teens and more. With Daemon, as with everything she does, Ray aims to give something back to the community from which she has gotten so much.
The Georgia Music Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 1994 in Macon, supports programs of music education, preservation and outreach. Information about the Georgia Music Foundation and its Georgia Music Grant Program that provides funding to music programs at schools, after-schools, summer camps and non-profit organizations, is available at georgiamusicfoundation.org.
Makers of world-class drums and guitars since 1883, Gretsch has been committed to producing quality instruments for the past 137 years and has pioneered many industry-first designs and manufacturing techniques. Gretsch is endorsed by some of the music industry’s most respected artists. Led by fourth generation Fred and Dinah Gretsch, the family supports many programs and initiatives to help achieve their goal of enriching lives through participation in music.