National Music Council Presents 2016 American Eagle Awards to Emmylou Harris, Vince Gill and Grand Ole Opry At Summer NAMM

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The National Music Council’s annual American Eagle Awards were presented at Summer NAMM in Nashville, TN for a second year in a row on Saturday, June 25. The highly prestigious Eagle Awards are presented each year in national celebration of an individual’s or an organization’s long term contribution to America’s musical culture and heritage. This year, music legends Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill were honored, along with the iconic Grand Ole Opry.

The awards featured performances by Emmylou Harris and Vince Gill, as well as special tributes to the honorees by Roy Clark, John Conlee, and Bill Cody. Proceeds from the event support the Council’s music education advocacy efforts. Click here for the photo high-lights of the event.


Emmylou Harris Accepts her 2016 American Eagle Award

Emmylou Harris is one of the most admired and respected female vocalists in music history. With 13 Grammy Awards and a trio of CMA trophies, her work has garnered admiration and praise from her peers. Beginning with her 1975 masterpiece Pieces Of The Sky, Harris began to carve out a reputation as one of the genre’s most progressive talents – though one with a clear reverence toward the history of the Country format. She made songs by The Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens, and Hank Snow hits again. She also teamed up with Dolly Parton and Linda Ronstadt for the iconic Trio album in 1987. Harris was inducted as a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992, and into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008.

Whether it be Country, Rock, Bluegrass, or Gospel, there is no genre of music that Vince Gill hasn’t excelled in during his much-heralded career. Starting out playing in a Bluegrass band called Mountain Smoke when he was a teenager, he later joined Boone Creek – a band fronted by future Country star Ricky Skaggs. He spent three years as lead singer of the Pop / Rock group Pure Prairie League before moving to Nashville in the early 1980s. It took him a few years to find his artistic path, but he hit big in 1990 with “When I Call Your Name.” Future hits included “Liza Jane” and “Go Rest High On That Mountain.” Twenty Grammy Awards later, Gill stands as one of the most revered male artists of all time. He was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 1991, and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2007.


Vince Gill Performs at the 2016 American Eagle Awards

Musical artists have come from all over the world for a chance to perform on the stage that is the Grand Ole Opry. Starting as the WSM Barn Dance in the fall of 1925, the show has enchanted artists and fans alike ever since. Legends such as Hank Williams and Patsy Cline have dazzled with their talents there, as have modern-day hit-makers like Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. It’s been called the “home of American music” and “country’s most famous stage.” Every year, hundreds of thousands of people make pilgrimages across town or around the world to the Grand Ole Opry to see the show live. Millions more tune in to Opry broadcasts via a mobile app, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Nashville’s 650 AM WSM, and on opry.com and wsmonline.com.


WSM’s Bill Cody Presents the Award to Opry GM Pete Fisher

The Council also presented its annual Leadership in Music symposium prior to the awards.  The event included a conversation with the honorees hosted by NMC board member Charlie Sanders who was joined by SGA President Rick Carnes.  Also featured at the symposium was the Emmy Award winning animation created by the NMC and MPA as part of a primary school lesson plan that encourages kids to think about the ramifications of taking other people’s creative works without permission. NMC Director David Sanders frames the animated piece as “part of a world-wide effort by creators to change the narrative in terms of fostering an understanding that the online protection of creative works enhances freedom of speech and the marketplace of ideas, rather than encroaching on them.”

The National Music Council continues to serve as a forum for the free discussion of this country’s national music affairs and challenges. Founded in 1940 to act as a clearinghouse for the joint opinion and decision of its members and to work to strengthen the importance of music in our life and culture, the Council’s initial membership of 13 has grown to almost 50 national music organizations, encompassing every important form of professional and commercial musical activity.

Through the cooperative work of its member organizations, the National Music Council promotes and supports music and music education as an integral part of the curricula in the schools of our nation, and in the lives of its citizens. The Council provides for the exchange of information and coordination of efforts among its member organizations and speaks with one voice for the music community whenever an authoritative expression of opinion is desirable.

Past American Eagle Award recipients include Kris Kristofferson, Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, Clive Davis, Van Cliburn, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, Morton Gould, Dave Brubeck, Marian Anderson, Lena Horne, Roy Clark, Roberta Peters, Odetta, Sherman Halsey, Stephen Sondheim, Sesame Street, Hard Rock Cafe, Music Makes Us, and VH-1 Save the Music Foundation. This year’s event in Nashville marks the 33rd year of formal presentations of the Awards.