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The Music Scene

Posted: 12:04 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014

Lady Antebellum, Ed Roland, Wet Willie among 2014 Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductees 

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Lady A
Lady Antebellum's Dave Haywood (left) and Charles Kelley hail from Augusta.

By Melissa Ruggieri

A mega-selling country band, a Stockbridge-born rocker and a comedian who found a goldmine with redneck jokes are among those being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.

The 2014 ceremony, slated for Oct. 11 at the Georgia World Congress Center, will honor Lady Antebellum, whose members Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley hail from Augusta; Jeff Foxworthy; Ed Roland of Collective Soul; Francine Reed; Wet Willie; and Danny Beard, founder of Atlanta-based DB Records.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had an honor like this before,” said Lady Antebellum’s Haywood. “I’ve never heard Lady Antebellum and hall of fame in the same sentence. It’s a unique feeling. What an honor.”

The much-lauded country band (seven Grammys, numerous Country Music Association Awards) is based in Nashville, Tenn. But Haywood said he and Kelley, friends since attending middle and high school in Augusta and college at the University of Georgia, feel that “so much of our group and sound has been formed” in Georgia.

The guys, whose families still reside in Augusta, have also christened bandmate Hillary Scott an “honorary Georgian.”

“She’s spent a lot of time there, in Atlanta and Athens. We’ve shown her the Georgia Theatre and Eddie’s Attic,” Haywood said.

Lady Antebellum will likely perform a couple of songs at the 36th annual ceremony.

The inductees are chosen each year by members of the nonprofit Friends of Georgia Music Festival organization, which celebrates individuals who have made a significant contribution to Georgia’s musical traditions.

Here is a look at the honorees:

Danny Beard, Non-Performer Award: Beard is the founder of the Atlanta-based independent record label DB Records. In 1978, he helped out some friends in Athens and recorded their single, “Rock Lobster,” and the B-52s were born. Other groups on his label included the Jody Grind, Fetchin’ Bones and Swimming Pool Q’s. DB Records is headquartered in the Wax ‘n’ Facts record store in Little Five Points.

Jeff Foxworthy, Spoken Word Award: The Atlanta native is the largest-selling comedy recording artist in history and is the best-selling author of more than 26 books. Foxworthy created the successful “Blue Collar Comedy” tour — with its penchant for Southern humor — and hosts “The American Bible Challenge” on the Game Show Network.

Lady Antebellum, Performer Award: Though the band is based in Nashville, members Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley are Augusta born. The Grammy-winning trio also includes Hillary Scott. Lady A has sold more than 11 million albums and will release its latest, “747,” on Sept. 30.

Francine Reed, Pioneer Award: Her stunning blues vocals are a thing of legend in Atlanta, where Reed resides (she frequently performs at Blind Willie’s in the Virginia-Highland neighborhood). She’s best known for her work with Lyle Lovett, but some of Reed’s own work (“I Want You to Love Me,” “Can’t Make it On My Own”) arrived via the Atlanta-based record label Ichiban.

Ed Roland, Songwriter Award: A native of Stockbridge, Roland is renowned for his passionate vocals as the frontman of Collective Soul. The band is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and plans to release its ninth studio album, “See What You Started by Continuing,” in the spring. Though known as the voice behind hits “Shine,” “December” and “The World I Know,” Roland also stays busy with his rootsier side band, Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project.

Wet Willie, Group Award: The band formed in Mobile, Ala., in 1969, but moved to Macon and signed with Capricorn Records in 1970. Their breakthrough came with 1974’s “Keep on Smilin’,” which showcased the R&B vocals of Jimmy Hall. Wet Willie went on hiatus in the ‘80s, but has regrouped and continues to perform regularly.

Posthumous Inductees are Sean Costello, Wally Fowler, Eddie Horst, Bobby Byrd and Frank Fenter.

Melissa Ruggieri

About Melissa Ruggieri

Atlanta Journal-Constitution staff writer Melissa Ruggieri covers music and entertainment news for Atlanta Music Scene blog on ajc.

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