With a six-decade career and 200 plus albums, this iconic Texan is the creative genius behind the historic recordings of Crazy, Red Headed Stranger, and Stardust. Willie Nelson has earned every conceivable award as a musician and amassed reputable credentials as an author, actor, and activist. He continues to thrive as a relevant and progressive musical and cultural force. In the last five years alone he delivered 10 new album releases, released a Top 10 New York Times’ bestsellers book, again headlined Farm Aid, an event he co-founded in 1985, received his 5th degree black belt in Gong Kwon Yu Sul, headlined the last three years of the on-going Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, announced the launch of his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. In 2015, Nelson added two more titles, It’s A Long Story: My Life, the unvarnished and complete story of Willie, hit bookshelves and landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list; and the new studio album with Merle Haggard titled Django And Jimmie, which debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Country album chart and #7 on Billboard‘s Top 200 album chart. In November 2015, the Library of Congress honored him with their Gershwin Prize for Popular Song for his contributions to popular music. He is the first country artist to receive the distinguished award. And this year began with the release of Summertime: Willie Nelson Sings Gershwin, a collection of 11 newly recorded Gershwin classics. The album debuted at #1 on both the Top Current Jazz chart and the Top Traditional Jazz chart.
Dwight Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, and he is a 21-time nominated, multiple GRAMMY Award winner. He has 12 gold albums and 9 platinum or multi-platinum albums, with five of those albums topping Billboard’s Country Albums chart, and another 14 landing in the Top 10. Nearly 40 of Yoakam’s singles have charted, with 14 peaking in the Top 10. He received the Artist of the Year award at the 2013 Americana Music Honors & Awards ceremony, the most prestigious award offered by the organization. In September of 2016, Yoakam released his first ever bluegrass album Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars… on Sugar Hill Records. Featuring a band of bluegrass luminaries, this album boasts a collection of reinterpreted favorites from his catalogue, as well as a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.” Produced by nine-time GRAMMY winner Gary Paczosa (Alison Krauss, Dolly Parton), Jon Randall (songwriter of “Whiskey Lullaby”), and Yoakam himself, and mixed by Chris Lord-Alge, this album reflects the love for bluegrass music that Yoakam developed at an early age in Kentucky, and that has inspired him for many years thereafter. In 2015, Yoakam released his latest album Second Hand Heart on Warner/Reprise records, the follow up to his critically-acclaimed album 3 Pears. In addition to his musical career, Yoakam is a formidable film and television actor, capable of seamlessly melting into his roles, and impressively standing toe-to-toe with some of the world’s top thespians over the course of his storied and successful acting career, including Jodie Foster, Tommy Lee Jones, Jared Leto, Forest Whitaker, and Matthew McConaughey.