Alabama, Kings of Leon, and the Grand Ole Opry’s Sally Williams were celebrated Monday night (Feb. 25) at the 11th annual T.J. Martell Foundation Nashville Honors Gala at the Omni Hotel in Nashville.
The 11th Annual T.J. Martell Foundation Nashville Honors Gala featured performances by Amy Grant, Brad Paisley, Home Free, Michael McDonald and Old Crow Medicine Show, as well as tributes by presenters Garth Brooks, Aubrey Harwell, Dr. Steven Webber, Zane Lowe and Charlie Daniels. The evening also honored Dr. Kathryn Edwards and farmers/philanthropists Sylvia and Al Ganier. Actor/singer Charles Esten hosted the event for the seventh time.
Many at the event, including a number of the honorees, felt a personal connection to the cause. Esten’s youngest daughter is a cancer survivor, as is Alabama’s Randy Owen. “Being a cancer survivor, I will never forget when I asked my doctor, ‘Are you sure?’ And he said, ‘I’m absolutely sure,’ Owen says of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. “That was once of the worst statements I’ve ever heard in my life. Luckily, that was nine years ago. So it’s great to be here.”
McDonald, accompanied by his son Dylan, performed the Kings of Leon’s song “Revelry,” before a congratulatory video played featuring Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley, Tennessee Titan Taylor Lewan and One Direction solo star Harry Styles, among others.
“I’ll never forget the best advice I ever got as a new artist,” said Paisley, before launching into some Alabama classics, mixed with his hit “Old Alabama.” “I’d gone to perform at St. Jude [Children’s Hospital] and it was the day I met Randy [Owen]. He came over to me and said, ‘Son you’re having hits, but when you look back the only thing that will matter’---and he pointed to all those kids---‘is the good that you do.’ And I’ve never forgot it.”
The annual gala raised funds for cancer research. For more information go to www.tjmartell.org