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Three country legends, Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels and Alabama's Randy Owen, were honored in Nashville Wednesday night (Oct. 17) with the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Award, recognizing their humanitarian efforts and leadership by example. The evening featured superb performances from various artists selected to pay tribute to each honoree. Little Big Town and David Nail honored Randy with "My Home's in Alabama" and "Feels So Right," respectively. Swing band The Time Jumpers, which features Vince as a member, played "Faint of Heart," while Rodney Crowell also performed in Vince's honor. The award-winning bluegrass band The Grascals paid tribute to Charlie with their rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
Before the event, the honorees spoke with reporters on the celebratory red carpet. Vince remarked that he had been a friend of Charlie's for more than 30 years. "I opened shows for him when I was in Pure Prairie League and we have a lot of history together," Vince said. "I admire the kind of American he is." Vince also spoke of Randy's ongoing efforts to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. "He has always been very giving to St. Jude," Vince noted. "He's got the right spirit." Of his own charitable works, which includes his fundraising shows for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Vince said, 'All you can do is lead by example and that's all I've ever tried to do—help out."
Charlie remarked, "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." Charlie has spearheaded a number of programs and events to help the U.S. military, among other works. Randy noted that his honor was "very humbling" and added that he hoped to use the award as a stepping stone to help more people.
David Nail told the media members that he has admired Alabama since childhood. "You're not going to go to heaven if you're not an Alabama fan," he said with a laugh. "It''s kind of hard not to be an Alabama fan.” When asked why Randy chose him to perform during the ceremony, David laughed and answered, "I'm gonna ask Randy that myself." He quickly added that he got to know Randy after performing at the Bama Rising fundraising event last year for tornado victims in Alabama. Randy remarked that he loved David's hit "Let It Rain."
David admitted that performing the iconic "Feels So Right" came with a bit of pressure. "I'll be a little nervous," he said. "The first challenge is remembering the words. Obviously, you don't want Randy to get in his car after it's over and go, 'Good God, that was a bad idea.'"