2015 Honorees

Kris Kristofferson

Heralded as an artist’s artist, the three-time GRAMMY winner has recorded 28 albums, including three with pals Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings as part of the Highwaymen. Kristofferson has spent three decades performing concerts all over the world, in most recent years in a solo acoustic setting, which he proudly believes puts the spotlight on the songs.

Kristofferson achieved remarkable success as a country songwriter at the start of the 1970s. His songs “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and “For the Good Times,” all chart-topping hits, helped redefine country songwriting. By 1987, it was estimated that more than 450 artists had recorded Kristofferson’s compositions.

His renown as a songwriter triggered Kristofferson’s successful career as a performer and that, in turn, brought him to the attention of Hollywood, leading to his flourishing career as a film actor. Kristofferson has acted in more than 70 films, most famously winning a Golden Globe in 1977 for Best Actor in “A Star Is Born.”

Jim Lauderdale

Jim Lauderdale is a multiple GRAMMY and Americana Music Association Award-winning musician and one of the most respected artists ever to have worked in the Americana, Bluegrass and Country music genres.

“I’m A Song” is Lauderdale’s latest landmark country endeavor, his 26th album to date, and his very first double album. The project began in 2012, where he recorded nine of the songs with James Burton, Al Perkins, and the rest of his band. He completed the remainder of the tracks last summer, and the results are extraordinary.

Jim Halsey

Jim Halsey’s career spans over 60 active years as artist manager, agent and impresario, discovering and/or guiding the careers of such illustrious personalities as Roy Clark, The Oak Ridge Boys, Waylon Jennings, The Judds, Reba McEntire, Minnie Pearl, Clint Black, Tammy Wynette, Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, The Judds, Lee Greenwood, Hank Thompson and many others. Jim’s eclectic tastes have also enabled him to represent such diverse artists as Woody Herman and his Thundering Herd, James Brown, Roy Orbison, Rick Nelson, The Righteous Brothers, Leon Russell, The Glenn Miller Orchestra and others.

Jim is also an innovator in music and entertainment business education. His classic book, “Starmaker: How To Make It In The Music Business,” served as the impetus to launch Starmaker360, a very popular online music business site focused on helping aspiring artists and others achieve success in the industry.

Sherman Halsey (1957-2013)

Sherman Halsey was a leading producer and director in Country Music. He produced and directed hundreds of television shows and groundbreaking music videos for artists such as Tim McGraw, Brooks and Dunn, Alan Jackson, BB King, Michael Bolton, Taylor Swift, and many more. His final video with Tim McGraw for “One of Those Nights” went #1 on Country Music Television.

Sherman was the recipient of an MTV Award, multiple ACM Awards for best Video, a New York Film and Television Festivals Gold Medal Award, Gold Telly Awards, a CMT Flameworthy Award, and numerous other honors. He was an American icon whose presence is very much missed throughout the music industry.

Music Makes Us

A joint effort of Metro Nashville Public Schools, Mayor Karl Dean and music industry and community leaders, the Music Makes Us initiative is being recognized as a national model for music education. With a focus on music literacy and student participation, and generous funding from the Country Music Association and CMA Foundation, Music Makes Us has strengthened Nashville’s traditional school music programs while adding a contemporary curriculum that embraces new technologies and reflects a diverse musical landscape.

The vision of Music Makes Us is for all Kindergarten through Grade 12 students to have access to high quality traditional and/or contemporary music instruction that is standards-based and sequential, taught by highly qualified music educators and enhanced by a network of music professionals, and music industry and community based organizations from the Nashville community and beyond.