Georgia Music to Be Celebrated With Star-Studded Lineup at the Ryman
Dallas Davidson says he can tell when a song he's listening to has been written by, or is being performed by a Georgian. “I can tell by the way they talk, the wording and the phrasing," he says. Of course, these days Georgia is a pretty fair guess — the Peach State has become the new Texas in country music — but he promises he's not bluffing.
“There’s some little thing in it that makes me go, ‘That’s one of us,'" Davidson tells Taste of Country. Next Tuesday, as many Georgia guys and girls as you can find will squeeze into the Ryman Auditorium to celebrate the state's culture and music for a good cause. The second-annual Georgia on My Mind Concert takes place on May 12 in Nashville, with proceeds benefitting the Georgia Music Foundation. Non-Georgians are welcome, too, of course.
Davidson is the chair of the foundation. “I think Georgia has been so successful because of the way we talk and the way we word things,” he says, referring to modern country artists like Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean and Zac Brown Band, but also heritage acts like James Brown and Otis Redding.
“I don’t know how many Alan Jackson records I bought growing up,” he adds. “Otis Redding is still my favorite singer ever!”
The songwriter didn't grow up in band or choir. In fact, he didn't pick up a guitar until age 24, one year before moving to Music City. The importance of Georgia's rich musical history is what drives him, although he plenty understands the importance of music education. Proceeds from the show will go to both.
“I feel like Georgia music has influenced me so much in my writing," Davidson says. "It only makes sense to give back to other kids and give them the opportunity that I had."
That means Jackson and Redding, but also Widespread Panic. Young Dallas was into the jam band scene during his formative years. Conversely, he's aware of Whispering Bill Anderson's influence.
“I think kids need to know … that it’s possible to be a James Brown. That it’s possible to be a Otis Redding. That it’s possible to be a Luke Bryan," he insists.
Confirmed acts for the 2015 event include Davidson and his Peach Picker partners (Ben Hayslip and Rhett Akins), Lee Brice, Craig Campbell, Tyler Farr (an adopted Georgian, Davidson says), Cole Swindell and Lauren Alaina. There will be more. Bigger stars are waiting in the wings. Basically, the "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" writer is a pretty lousy secret keeper.
“They’re big performers. Two in particular. Let’s just say they’ve got some Entertainer of the Year (wins) under their belt," Davidson reveals. "I’m not going to announce them probably. It will be a big surprise.”
It's worth noting that Aldean and Bryan turned up last year, when the event was held at 3rd and Lindsley. Tickets for this year's show are available through Ticketmaster for $39.50 and $49.50. The show starts at 7:30PM.