Mississippi Celebrates Its Grammy® Legacy May 28 With Star-Studded Gala In Tunica Hosted By Governor Barbour

Official Press Release - May 8, 2009

The State of Mississippi's continuing "Birthplace of America's Music" campaign gets a big boost this month with the third annual "Mississippi -- The Birthplace of America's Music -- Celebrates Its Grammy® Legacy" gala. This year the event moves from Jackson, the state capital, to Tunica, situated in the storied Mississippi Delta and just 30 miles south of Memphis. The evening, starring a host of music greats, underscores the fact that Mississippi has been one of the most fertile breeding grounds for music of all kinds with a rich history of producing numerous Grammy winners and nominees. The program will take place on Thursday, May 28th at Bluesville, part of Harrah's Horseshoe Casino and Hotel complex. Proceeds from the evening will benefit the Mississippi Blues Commission's Blues Trail project that places interpretive markers at notable historical sites related to the history and growth of the blues throughout the state.

Hosted by Governor Haley Barbour and First Lady Marsha Barbour and sponsored by Mississippi's own musical innovators Peavey Electronics Corporation, the gala will feature performances by a staggering array of talent reflecting the diversity of the state's unparalleled contribution to numerous genres of music. Headliners include country superstar Marty Stuart, the legendary Charley Pride, R&B icon Dorothy Moore and mythic blues man Pinetop Perkins. Joining them will be soul-gospel greats The Williams Brothers, contemporary blues showman Eddie Cotton, Nanette Workman, one of French Canada's most celebrated vocalists, blues and jazz pianist Eden Brent and Brandon Bennett paying tribute to Tupelo's Elvis Presley. James Burton, the former Elvis Presley sideman who has become a star attraction in his own right will also perform. Sharing emcee duties are noted film actress Joey Lauren Adams and award winning singer/songwriter Paul Overstreet who will also be one of the evening's musical performers.

In announcing the event, Governor Barbour noted, "Our two previous Grammy celebrations were wonderful events that gave us the opportunity to reflect on just how significant the contribution of Mississippi artists has been over the years. We're excited to be moving the festivities up to Tunica with a slate of performers whose talent and career successes prove what we've been saying all along: 'If it's music, it's Mississippi.'"

Jon Hornyak, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy® Memphis Chapter commented, "The Recording Academy is extremely honored and supportive of Mississippi's annual celebration of Grammy winners and nominees. The state has been the source of almost fifty Grammy Award winners and today continues to nurture amazing musical souls. The state's influence is simply undeniable."

Sponsored by Peavey Electronics and the Mississippi Development Authority, the event will be preceded by a reception hosted by the Governor and First Lady where the participating performing artists will receive the Peavey Award. Named for renowned music and audio innovator and Mississippi native Hartley D. Peavey, the Peavey Award honors the state's many Grammy winners and nominees as well as individuals who have played a significant role in developing and furthering Mississippi's musical heritage.

About the performers:
Marty Stuart was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi and started performing bluegrass before his teen years even began, playing with such greats of the genre as Lester Flatt, Vassar Clements and Doc Watson. Johnny Cash became his mentor in 1980 when Stuart joined Cash's backing band. A member of The Grand Ole Opry for two decades, he is a past President of the Country Music Foundation and continues to serve on the organization's board and has authored several scholarly works on country music history and is a multi-Grammy Award winner. Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musician Odyssey, a reflection of the artist's personal experiences with some of the most famous stars of American music, is currently the featured exhibition at the Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles.

About the sponsors:
Event co-sponsor Peavey Electronics was founded in 1965 by Hartley Peavey who, the year prior to the first Grammy Award, built his first amplifier in the basement of his family's home in Meridian, Mississippi. Today, Peavey is still based in Meridian but does business in 136 countries through 33 facilities -- most of which are in Mississippi -- and leads the industry in patents and innovations. Just as Mississippi bluesmen and early rock and rollers inspired Hartley Peavey to pursue his music dreams, so do his musical instruments and sound equipment continue to inspire musicians around the world. It is safe to suggest that virtually every GRAMMY nominee and winner has used Peavey products on stages and in studios over the course of the past 50 years. www.peavey.com

The Mississippi Development Authority is the State of Mississippi's lead economic and community development agency. More than 250 employees are engaged in providing services to businesses, communities and workers in the state. The MDA's Economic Development Group focuses its efforts in traditional business recruitment and retention, community development, tourism development and export development while it's Asset Development Group pursues innovative ways to develop unique Mississippi assets such as cultural heritage, natural resources and small town life styles. www.mississippi.org www.visitmississippi.org

Established in 1957, The Recording Academy is an organization of musicians, producers, engineers and recording professionals that is dedicated to improving the cultural condition and quality of life for music and its makers. Internationally known for the Grammy Awards - the preeminent peer-recognized award for musical excellence and the most credible brand in music - The Recording Academy is responsible for groundbreaking professional development, cultural enrichment, advocacy, education and human services programs. The Academy continues to focus on its mission of recognizing musical excellence, advocating for the well-being of music makers and ensuring music remains an indelible part of our culture. For more information about The Academy, please visit www.grammy.com

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