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The Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards at 36

From Capricorn Records co-founder Frank Fenter to DB Records' owner Danny Beard, GMHOF 2014 inductees get their day on the red carpet.

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  • Chris McKay Photo Courtesy Getty Images
  • Kate Pierson of the B-52's (from left), Danny Beard, and Vanessa Briscoe Hay of Pylon at the 36th annual Georgia Music Hall of Fame Awards.

The actual Georgia Music Hall of Fame building in Macon shuttered its doors in 2011 but that hasn’t stopped the annual induction of honorees into the Hall’s ranks.

This year is dubbed the 36th annual event, even though the first awards — granted to singers Ray Charles and Lena Horne along with music entrepreneur/producer Bill Lowery — weren’t handed out until 1979, a year after the organization was founded. Then Lt. Governor Zell Miller is largely credited for championing the concept and getting governmental support behind the project.

The only thing missing from these Red Clay Grammies is any suspense over who will be inducted. There’s even a red carpet. In that sense, the GMHOF is more like the Baseball Hall of Fame, with inductees chosen and announced well in advance of the event. That doesn’t make the honor any less special, especially when this year’s crop joins a roster of wildly diverse previously inducted names that include everyone from James Brown and Little Richard to Johnny Mercer, REM, Robert Spano, and the Goodie Mob.

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The October 11 ceremony was held in the Georgia Ballroom at the Georgia World Congress Center, Downtown Atlanta, broadcast live by Georgia Public Broadcasting and hosted by TV personalities Monica Pearson and CNN’s Robin Meade. The honorees this year were a typically eclectic set of Georgians and behind the scenes movers and shakers in the music biz. Here’s the rundown: Danny Beard (Non-Performer Award), founder of his own DB records that released the B-52s’ first single “Rock Lobster” in 1978 and music from the foundation of Athens bands such as Pylon, funnyman Jeff Foxworthy (Spoken Word Award), country hit makers and multiple Grammy winners Lady Antebellum (Performer Award), veteran soul/blues singer Francine Reed (Pioneer Award), Collective Soul founder/frontman Ed Roland (Songwriter Award), and Wet Willie (Group Award) whose lone Capricorn label Top 10 hit “Keep on Smilin’” was just the tip of the iceberg of their rollicking and under appreciated soul/gospel/Southern rock.

Posthumous inductees were blues guitar slinger Sean Costello, gospel singer Wally Fowler, composer and arranger Eddie Horst, James Brown wingman Bobby Byrd and Capricorn Records co-founder Frank Fenter.