Thursday, February 25, 2016

Randy Travis Surprises Opry Benefit

Industry Veteran Jim Ed Norman Receives
Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award
(L to R) Bob Kingsley; Kenny Rogers; Pete Fisher, VP/GM, Grand Ole Opry;
Jim Ed Norman; Don Henley
Jim Ed Norman, Randy Travis, Kyle Lehning
Don Henley
Lee Brice
Big & Rich
Crystal Gayle
Jeff Hanna
Jim Ed Norman surrounded by his family
Nashville – (February 24, 2016) – Music industry veteran Jim Ed Norman was honored with the Bob Kingsley Living Legend Award for his impact on country music during an event held tonight at the Grand Ole Opry House. The honor was a well-kept surprise for Norman, who was recognized both as the leader of successful record companies and work ‘behind the board’ so to speak, producing some of the most important music of the 20th century. The evening benefitted the Opry Trust Fund, which for 50 years has supported members of the country music community in need.
Among the artists who participated in the evening through performances, appearances and taped messages were Big & Rich, Lee Brice, Crystal Gayle, Mickey Gilley, Jeff Hanna, Don Henley, Gary Morris, Michael Martin Murphy, Pinkard & Bowden, Mo Pitney, Kenny Rogers, TG Sheppard and a special surprise appearance by Randy Travis.

The inaugural celebration honored Bob Kingsley in 2014. Due to the overwhelming response of that evening, the night’s beneficiary opted to make it an annual event wherein one individual would be honored on the stage of the Opry. The award, given to Joe Galante in 2015, recognizes the most deserving individuals across the country music industry, including record labels, radio, and media.
About Jim Ed Norman
From his landmark years in 1970s Southern California arranging works and playing on albums from The Eagles to Linda Ronstadt, to his 1983 move to Nashville to run A&R for Warner Bros. & Reprise Records, Jim Ed’s knack for being in the right place at the right time is well proven. A year later, Jim Ed would quickly become the label group’s president, setting the stage for Warner to be at the top of their game during one of the great eras in Music City’s history. From Randy Travis to Hank Williams Jr. to Dwight Yoakam to Emmylou Harris to Travis Tritt to Faith Hill…the list goes on and on and on. During this period, the musician in him opened the door for Grammy-winning projects like Mark O’Connor & The New Nashville Cats, while the astute producer in him extended the careers of Kenny Rogers, Mickey Gilley, Crystal Gayle, Gary Morris, TG Sheppard & many others. Perhaps most consistent is his work with one of the most distinctive voices in modern music from the 1970s through the 1990s: Anne Murray. Norman produced all the major hits in Murray’s vast catalog. Before and after ending his run after two decades at Warner as one of Nashville’s longest-running presidents, Jim Ed has engaged in music initiatives beyond the boardroom or the studio. He is a founding member of Leadership Music; was President of Nashville’s W.O. Smith School; was instrumental in launching a music business program at the University of Hawaii in conjunction with the Curb School of Music Business at Belmont University; and is a Senior Fellow at The Curb Center at Vanderbilt University, just to name a few. The most exciting thing for us all is that Jim Ed shows no signs of slowing down. He continues to make his mark on Nashville as the CEO of The Curb Group, overseeing the careers of Lee Brice, Wynonna, Natalie Grant & many others.