Sign up for newsletter
 

CMA Touring Awards honors handed out

Tuesday, January 29, 2019 – The Country Music Association presented industry honors at the 2018 CMA Touring Awards last night in Nashville, recognizing Country Music's top touring professionals. Louis Messina, CEO of Messina Touring Group, was honored with the CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award.

Messina received the honor for being an individual who has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of touring.

"This is quite an honor. I've been so blessed throughout my whole career," said Messina. "I'm going to steal an Eric Church line because last year when everything came through, we did over 100 stadium shows. I had a record year. I've been doing this for 46 years, but last year was crazy. I've always been a dreamer. The first time I saw Elvis I knew this was what I wanted to do. I saw him when I was seven years old."

"My big reward is not only seeing my dreams come true, but the artists I work for, seeing their dreams come true. We help create magic night after night. It's all about the artists, but it's all about everybody in this room too because when you put us all together, that's what magic is. When the artist and the audience connect and we're just that part of it, that's magical. I salute everybody in this room for being a part of what you all do. This is a night I'm never going to forget."

Michael Ray made a surprise appearance to congratulate his publicist Ebie McFarland of Essential Broadcast Media with the Publicist of the Year Award. "Ebie, you're a true visionary who's worked with and represented so many great people in this industry and top entertainers," said Ray. "You're respected by your peers and on behalf of all of your clients and everybody at EBM we are all not only better at what we do because we have you in our corner but we're better at who we are. Thank you for all that you do. We love you and congratulations."

Mike Kennedy, drummer for George Strait, posthumously won the Touring Musician of the Year Award. His wife Margaret Kennedy; Terry Hale, bassist for Strait and founding member of Ace in the Hole Band; Mike Anderson and Marty Slayton, also members of Ace in the Hole Band, accepted the Award in his honor.

Hale said, "I had the great privilege and measurable pleasure of standing next to Mike Kennedy every night on stage for 30 years. I'd like the thank his wife for sharing him with us."

"It's not a right, it is indeed a privilege to be able to do this for a living. I think everybody out here knows that, and I thank Mike Kennedy for sharing this with me."

After winning the Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year Award, Brian O'Connell, Live Nation Nashville, gave a speech thanking everyone who accepted him to Nashville when he was starting out, especially the other nominees in this category that all contribute to the success of the touring industry. He concluded by bringing nominees Ali Harnell, AEG Presents, and Patrick McDill, Live Nation Nashville, plus Mike Dugan, Messina Touring Group, and David Kells, Bridgestone Arena, on stage to recognize each one individually for their accomplishments and passion for the industry.

Winners were:

CATEGORY 1 - BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Julie Boos (Flood, Bumstead, McCready & McCarthy, Inc.)

CATEGORY 2 - COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR - John Stalder (Kenny Chesney)

CATEGORY 3 - FRONT OF HOUSE (FOH) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR - Kirk Kelsey (Keith Urban)

CATEGORY 4 - LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR - Philip Ealy (Kenny Chesney)

CATEGORY 5 - MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Kerri Edwards (KP Entertainment)

CATEGORY 6 - TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR - David Farmer (Kenny Chesney)

CATEGORY 7 - MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR - Cam Beachley (Miranda Lambert)

CATEGORY 8 - PRODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR - Randy "Baja" Fletcher (Keith Urban)

CATEGORY 9 - PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR - Ebie McFarland (Essential Broadcast Media)

CATEGORY 10 - TALENT AGENT OF THE YEAR - Becky Gardenhire (WME)

CATEGORY 11 - TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR - Brian O'Connell (Live Nation Nashville)

CATEGORY 12 - TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR - Dega Catering

CATEGORY 13 - TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR - Mike Kennedy (George Strait)

CATEGORY 14 - VENUE OF THE YEAR - Ryman Auditorium (Nashville)

CATEGORY 15 - TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR - Jay Cooper (Kenny Chesney)

The CMA Touring Awards, originally called the SRO Awards, were created by the CMA Board of Directors in 1990 to honor outstanding professional achievement within the touring industry.

More news for Country Music Association

Editorial: Walking the talk – When names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon and the Hag are invoked, you're talking hard core country. These are the touchstones of country , the guys who made country music what it was and still is (or maybe can be). When these folks would sing about being down-and-out and the rough-and-tumble, they knew of what they were singing about. Fast forward a few years to the country singers of today. »»»
Concert Review: Combs, Gill, Harris, Crow comprise one final musical platter – Vince Gill played host to an entertaining guitar pull, a show which also featured his longtime friend, Emmylou Harris, slightly newer friend Sheryl Crow and brand-new friend Luke Combs. Gill joked from the outset that this All for the Hall fundraising show needed Combs to sell tickets, and by the audience's response, it was clear many came only to see Combs.... »»»
Concert Review: Stapleton shows his traditional roots – Chris Stapleton's All-American Road show feels like a singular mission to rid the genre of the bro country scourge that has plagued it for years. He came out with a blazing one-two punch of "Second One To Know" and "Without Your Love" and packed a stadium sized onslaught into a 9,000-seat arena. He never once veered from his... »»»
Follow Country Standard Time  Subscribe to Country News Digest  Follow Country Standard Time on twitter  Visit Country Standard Time on Facebook 

Elsewhere in the news

Currently at the CST blogs

Willis, Robison spin "Beautiful Lie" Eleven years ago, Kelly stepped away from music. She had just finished touring on 2007's exquisite "Translated From Love" and felt the angst of being a travelling musician with family at home. At that point, Willis and her husband, musician/producer Bruce Robison,... »»»
Chip Kinman celebrates brother, career on "Sounds Like Music" For a brief moment last summer, the news of Tony Kinman's death was, if not greatly exaggerated, then at least fortuitously premature. The roots rock icon, known for his work in The Dils, Rank and File, Blackbird and Cowboy Nation with his younger brother Chip, had been diagnosed with cancer in March 2018,... »»»
Shiflett learns "Hard Lessons" Until recently, Chris Shiflett took a somewhat obsessive/compulsive approach to his music career. For the past two decades, Shiflett has been the primary guitar foil for Dave Grohl in Foo Fighters; early in his tenure, Shiflett was so self-deprecatingly... »»»
White embraces "The Hurting Kind" John Paul White, to paraphrase a Steve Earle song, may just be one of the last of the hardcore troubadours. By 'troubadour,' we mean one of those guys that lives to write great songs - more specifically, great country songs - and then get these songs into the ears of folks that... »»»
Bingham gets personal with "American Love Song"...again A lot of the early reviews for "American Love Song," Ryan Bingham's latest set of raucous and reflective Americana brilliance, have characterized it as the singer/ songwriter's most personal album to date.... »»»
Threads CD review - Threads
With "Threads," Sheryl Crow gets the all-star-guest treatment on what she says is her swang song, with each song featuring a favorite fellow artist. She seems a little too young for this kind of tribute. Nevertheless,  »»»
Let it Roll CD review - Let it Roll
Midland is more magicians than musicians. When the trio came out with their omnipresent 2017 single "Drinkin' Problem," they pulled off their first trick: a brand-new band to radio who sounded like old friends. Their sound and their look (matador »»»
While I'm Livin' CD review - While I'm Livin'
It's been 17 years since we've had a new album from Tanya Tucker, so it's a real pleasure to hear her clear throaty vocals deliver these songs with her characteristic raw emotion. Tucker knows how to get into a song and make it her own »»»
Gypsy CD review - Gypsy
Eilen Jewell's "Gypsy" opens with the ominous, mysterious "Beat the Drum," which is a swampy - and yes, gypsy - song of warning about some impending doom or other. It plays out like a softer type of vintage... »»»
Texas CD review - Texas
Rodney Crowell is a rare breed of a country songwriter. Yes, he knows how to write traditional country songs; it's just he's also a deep thinker, which requires extra effort on the part of the listener to appreciate them fully.  »»»
New Moon Over My Shoulder CD review - New Moon Over My Shoulder
Larry Sparks was still a teenager when Ralph Stanley chose him to replace his brother Carter Stanley as guitarist and lead singer in the Clinch Mountain Boys in the wake of Carter's passing in December 1966. »»»