Dion Pride & Garth Brooks; Photo Credit: Blue Rose Inc.)

Last night at the National Museum of African American Music, Country music legend and pioneering artist, Charley Pride, was honored with the RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award. Michele Ballantyne (COO of the RIAA) was on-hand to present the honor to Charley’s son, Dion Pride, and also to the National Museum of African American Music for display.

“Charley Pride was an all-time great who opened doors and challenged us all to think harder about what makes country music – and all music – great.  We are so grateful to the National Museum of African American Music and the legendary Garth Brooks for coming together to present Charley’s family with his RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award.  As a Black woman who loves country music, it was a privilege to be part of this incredible moment.” – Michele Ballantyne (COO of the RIAA)

(L-R: Mitch Glazier – CEO & Chairman of RIAA, Michele Ballantyne – COO of RIAA, Tuwisha Rogers-Simpson – Vice President of Brands & Partnerships of National Museum of African American Music, Henry Beecher Hicks III – President & COO of National Museum of African American Music, Dion Pride – son of Charley Pride, Garth Brooks, Alice Randall – moderator for the evening, Jackie Jones – Vice President of Artists & Industry Relations of RIAA, Morna Willens – Chief Policy Officer of RIAA, Tori Weems – Director, Standards & Technology of RIAA; Photo Credit: Diana King)

The evening also included a stirring acoustic performance from Country music icon, Garth Brooks, of the last song Pride recorded – a duet with Brooks, “Where the Cross Don’t Burn,” written by the late Troy Jones and the late Phil Thomas plus Garth interjecting throughout the Q&A with performances of acoustic verses of some of Charley’s biggest hits and Garth’s personal favorites becoming emotional during a few of the songs.

WATCH:     Garth Brooks Performs and Dion Pride Accepts RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award

For “Where the Cross Don’t Burn,” Brooks traveled to Pride’s studio in Dallas to record the duet, which chronicles the friendship between a young White boy and an older Black man during segregation. The ballad sat with Brooks for 10 years waiting for the right time for this collaboration with Pride to materialize and was finally recorded for his latest album, Fun, which was released in September.

“One of the greatest American Icons is Charley Pride, Charley Pride is love.” – Garth Brooks

In addition to his performance, Brooks sat down with songwriter, author and Vanderbilt University faculty member, Alice Randall, for a live Q&A where they discussed Pride’s profound influence on Brooks, the genre of Country music and their time together recording “Where the Cross Don’t Burn.”

About Alice Randall:  Alice Randall is on the Faculty of Vanderbilt University in the Department of African-American and Diaspora Studies. She has published extensively on Black artists working in country and her courses include “The Country Lyric in American Culture” and “Black Country.”  Randall was a consultant on all episodes of Ken Burns documentary Country Music and appears in two. She also appears in the PBS documentary on Charley Pride, I’m Just Me. She has co-written more than twenty recorded songs including “XXX’s and OOO’s” which celebrates “Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline” and was recorded by Trisha Yearwood.

About RIAA:  The RIAA is the trade organization that supports and promotes the creative and commercial vitality of music labels in the United States, the most vibrant recorded music community in the world.  Our membership – which includes several hundred companies, ranging from small-to-medium-sized enterprises to global businesses – creates, manufactures and/or distributes sound recordings.  In support of its mission, the RIAA works to protect the intellectual property and First Amendment rights of artists and music labels; conducts consumer, industry, and technical research; and monitors and reviews state and federal laws, regulations, and policies.

About Garth Brooks:  In May 2021, Garth Brooks received one of the most prestigious honors an artist can receive, The Kennedy Center Honor. He remains the #1-selling solo artist in U.S. history, certified by the RIAA with 157 million album sales. Brooks is the first and only artist in history to receive nine RIAA Diamond Awards for the now nine albums certified at over 10 million. Brooks is the first-ever seven-time recipient of the CMA Entertainer of the Year award. Recently, he was awarded Country Touring Artist of the Decade at the 2021 Pollstar Awards. In March 2020, Brooks received the esteemed Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. He has received nearly every accolade the recording industry can bestow on an artist and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Musicians Hall of Fame, and the Grand Ole Opry.

In November 2020, just after receiving the Billboard Music Icon Award, Brooks released two new albums, his 12th studio album, FUN, and Triple Live Deluxe.

In March 2019 Brooks rolled out The Garth Brooks Stadium Tour, which has set new stadium attendance records at every venue so far. For example, Brooks set a record for ANY entertainment event at The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis and hosted the largest concert crowd in the history of Detroit’s Ford Field. At State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, he set an attendance record not only for the stadium, but the entire state of Arizona, while at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, he set an all-time concert attendance record. Pollstar deemed Brooks’ stadium tour the best-selling country music tour of 2019.

In January 2020, Billboard announced that Garth Brooks was the first artist to make it on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the 80s, 90s, 00s, 10s. With “Dive Bar,” a duet he sang with Blake Shelton, he made his appearance on the list in 2020. The single inspired a DIVE BAR tour to dive bars in country music capitals around the country which will continue its run of stops through 2022.

Garth also has Inside Studio G, a weekly Facebook Live series. It airs every Monday on Garth’s Facebook page at 7:00 p.m. eastern.

You can follow him at:

For more information please visit www.garthbrooks.com

theadminAwardsPhoto ReleasePress ReleaseAlice Randall,Charley Pride,Dion Pride,Garth Brooks,National Museum of African American Music,RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award"Where the Cross Don't Burn"
Last night at the National Museum of African American Music, Country music legend and pioneering artist, Charley Pride, was honored with the RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award. Michele Ballantyne (COO of the RIAA) was on-hand to present the honor to Charley's son, Dion Pride, and also to the National Museum of African American Music...