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Brooks & Dunn were among the honorees last night (March 22) during the T.J. Martell Honors Gala, held at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville. The superstar duo was awarded the Tony Martell Lifetime Entertainment Achievement Award for their 20 years of hit songs, 30 million albums sold, and over 80 industry awards.
"I don’t look at this as a music award, especially the lifetime achievement. I like to think my career’s not over. I've still got some to go," Kix Brooks remarked to Country Weekly. "It's very humbling to get a pat on the back from some people that I really admire a whole lot. Both of my parents died to cancer—my mom when she was 31 years old from breast cancer. Now, most times that is easily healed. I hope with this research, that someday cancer will be like polio and small pox—that we will see and end to it."
Pop singer/songwriter Michael Bolton was also honored with the Frances Williams Preston Lifetime Music Industry Award, for his 53 millions albums sold and years of musical collaboration with artists like Ray Charles, Luciano Pavarotti, and B.B. King. The award also recognizes Michael's work with the Michael Bolton Foundation (now Michael Bolton Charities, Inc.)
"I’m not sure if I’m worthy of [this award]," Michael told Country Weekly. "My dear friend Frances (former President and CEO of Broadcast Music, Inc.) is a perfect role model for me. She has such respect in the music industry, and then to be able to turn around and give back to the community wherever she goes. It gives me more of a sense of responsibility with this honor."
Among those performing at the event were legend Anita Baker (best known for "Giving You The Best That I Got," and "Just Because"), American Idol finalist and country newcomer Danny Gokey ("My Best Days Are Ahead Of Me"), rock band Traffic's Dave Mason, and The Fisk University Jubilee Singers.
Tim McGraw and Big Kenny (Big & Rich) were on hand as presenters during the event. Big Kenny was among those honoring William H. Frist, M.D. with the Lifetime Medical Achievement Award, while Tim McGraw introduced Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, who received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Tim told Country Weekly, "T.J. Martell has done some incredible things throughout my career. They are a big part of country music. To be here to honor the Governor is so special for me. He’s a great man, and he’s done great things for Tennessee. I’m just proud to be here."
Other attendees during the evening included Kid Rock and songwriter Craig Wiseman ("Live Like You Were Dying").