The 32nd Annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards Show was held on Saturday night, September 11th, at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center.  The Backstage Beat was there to capture all of the excitement of the evening…and what an evening it was!

This year’s inductees include  Multi-GRAMMY® winning R&B Soulstress, India.Arie;  Group- Multi Platinum Rock and Roll Band, The Black Crowes;  Non-Performer- Industry leader in Artist Management, Charlie Brusco;  Classical- outstanding American mezzo-soprano and GRAMMY® winner, Jennifer Larmore;  Pioneer- Virtuoso Classical Pianist, Charles Wadsworth;  Posthumous- Singer/Songwriter, Paul Davis;  Steel Guitarist, Pete Drake;  Blues Musician, Rev. Pearly Brown; and renowned legendary songwriter, John Jarrard.

The night started out for us front and center on the red carpet.  We were well-prepped by Press Liaison, Jamie Annarino,  that most artists would not conduct interviews and would pose for photo opportunities only, which they did beautifully!  Styx arrived en masse and posed with their Manager for over 30 years, Charlie Brusco, who was the evening’s recipient of the Non-Performer- Industry leader in Artist Management inductee for his contributions to band management and promotion.  It was great to see Charlie so happy with his boys all around him.  Chuck Leavell, Bo Bice and Ace Young  jumped in for some fantastic memorable pics.  It’s was a virtual “Who’s Who” in the Atlanta (and beyond) music industry.   The electricity was in the air as everyone anticipated the evening events!

We had an opportunity to get exclusive video interviews with  Chuck Leavell, Bo Bice, Sonia Leigh and the Pelvis Breastlies before the show.  Before we knew it, it was show time!  The pre-show festivities  were kicked off by Bo Bice, Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo singing , followed by none other than Styx belting out “Blue Collar Man” … and this was all pre-show!

Monica Pearson and Mara Davis of WSB-TV2 were the evening’s hostesses’ and did a fantastic job of taking the audience to the live broadcast on PBS promptly at 8:00 p.m..  Styx started off the evening’s events for millions to see with a romping rendition of “Renegade”  which led immediately into Charlie Brusco being  presented his award by Tommy Shaw and James Young.

Next up was 20 time Grammy award nominated, three time Grammy Winner, India Arie.  What an amazing performer!  Such an amazing voice and presence.  You could feel how very proud she was to be on that stage receiving such a prestigious honor in her beloved home state.  India graced the audience with a special treat of sharing her never before heard song, “Acceptance…not Tolerance” before a completely goose-bumped crowd.  She had just written the song one month earlier, and we are predicting…HIT SONG!  You heard it here first people.

What a beautiful assault to the musical senses this night was!  Usually we only get to see a single artist or band perform.  Tonight was markedly different as the gamut of musical genres were highlighted!  Case in point… Mezzo-Soprano Diva Extraordinaire Jennifer Larmore took the stage, followed by 80 year old piano aficionado Charles Wadsworth regaled the crowd with UGA Fluetist, Angela Jones-Reus on two songs.  Following these veterans was Horizon Award Winner, Tyna Q, who is being touted at the age of 17 as the next rising Georgia star!

Everyone held their breath as the Black Crowes gear was being set into place on the stage.  One completely unique observation we had during their appearance on stage, was that Monica and Mara were talking to TV Land so the crowd had to literally bite their tongues as the boys strapped on guitars, hit their marks, etc…  Then it was ON!   Starting their three-song set off with “Remedy, followed by “She Talks to Angels” and ending with a legendary rendition of “Georgia”…the crowd was on their feet and ready to welcome the golden boys of Georgia rock n’ roll into the hall of Fame in classic Atlanta style! Chuck Leavell presented their award. Chuck is a former Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee, former Allman Brothers Band keyboardists and has played  keys for The Rolling Stones for the past 30 years.

As the live broadcast went off-air, the stage began to fill with musicians for the all-star jam, which was comprised of all of the members of Styx, Chuck Leavell, Bo Bice, Ace Young, Jeff Carlisi (38 Special), Monte Yoho and Henry Paul (The Outlaws), and Michael Cartellone (Lynyrd Skynyrd).   The after parties went on until dawn.  Yes, till dawn.  We were invited to all of them, but Ange, Leisa & I chose to be good girls and make it home before we turned back into pumpkins at midnight!   But check out the amazing pictures that Leisa Foretich captured and stay tuned for our video interviews tomorrow!