Country Music Pioneers

Willie Nelson

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 recent years, he has delivered more than a dozen 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 annual Luck Reunion food and music festival at his ranch in Luck, TX during SXSW, launched his cannabis company Willie’s Reserve, and graced the cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

In 2015, Nelson published “It’s A Long Story: My Life,” the unvarnished and complete story of his life that landed him on the New York Times’ bestsellers list. He also released a 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.

Alison Krauss

Born in Champaign, Illinois, Alison Krauss grew up listening to everything from folk to opera to pop and rock music, but quickly fell in love with bluegrass ­when she began playing fiddle at the age of five. Shortly after, Krauss began entering fiddle contests. At the age of 14, Rounder Records signed her to her first record deal and she went on to release her debut solo album two years later. The accomplished bluegrass musician became a member of the Grand Ole Opry at age 21.

Since 1985, Krauss has released 14 albums including five solo, seven with her longtime band and musical collaborators Union Station, and the Robert Plant collaboration Raising Sand, which was certified platinum and won five Grammys, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year. She’s sold more than 12 million records to date, and her honors include 27 Grammys, nine Country Music Association awards, 14 International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, two Academy of Country Music Awards and two Gospel Music Association awards.