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Alex Kramer

Brian McKenzie

Bryan Goins

Charlie Sizemore

Acclaimed vocalist and guitarist, Charlie Sizemore has been recognized by Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Prestonsburg, Kentucky as a Distinguished Alumni for the year of 2012. Sizemore attended the school (then Prestonsburg Community College) from 1986-88. While there he was instrumental in forming the Alpha Nu Zeta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the honorary society of community and junior colleges and became its first president. He also was named to Who’s Who Among Students in America’s Junior Colleges. Over the past ten years, Sizemore has raised over $70,000.00 to fund scholarships allowing deserving students in Eastern Kentucky to attend his alma mater. Sizemore holds dual careers –running a successful law practice in Kentucky and continuing his music career as one of the most respected vocalist in bluegrass music that began at the age of 16 when he replaced Keith Whitley in Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. After attending Prestonsburg Community College, Sizemore enrolled at the University of Kentucky, graduating with High Distinction in 1990. The same year he moved to Nashville and later enrolled in Nashville School of Law, where he earned his law degree with honors. Sizemore has recorded a series of critically acclaimed albums including “Heartache Looking for a Home” and “Good News” on Rounder Records along with a “The Story Is…The Songs of Tom T. Hall.”

Darren Eedens

Dominic Chow

George Hamilton IV

Proclaimed the International Ambassador of Country Music thanks to his performances around the world during the 1970s, George Hamilton IV began his career in the late '50s not as a country artist but as a teen-oriented pop star. After his first hit, "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," hit number six on the pop charts in 1956, he toured with Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers but cracked the pop Top Ten only one more time. Instead, Hamilton moved to the country charts by 1959, where nine of his hits spent time in the Top Ten, including his only number one, "Abilene." Though he began in pop, Hamilton's primary interest in country music stretched back all the way to his hometown of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Born July 19, 1937, George Hamilton IV was raised on the Westerns of Gene Autry and began playing guitar at the age of 12. He formed a country band in high school and while still a freshman at the University of South Carolina, he met John D. Loudermilk, then a struggling songwriter. With a contract in hand from the Colonial label, Hamilton recorded "A Rose and a Baby Ruth," Loudermilk's attempt at approximating rockabilly music. The single did well regionally during 1956, and was picked up by ABC-Paramount later that year. After it hit number six on the pop charts, ABC signed Hamilton to a regular contract. Somewhat uncomfortable on the pop charts, Hamilton never equalled the success of "A Rose and a Baby Ruth." The 1957 single "Why Don't They Understand" barely made the Top Ten, and his 1958 inspirational record The Teen Commandments -- recorded with Paul Anka and Johnny Nash -- stalled at number 29. After appearing on The Jimmy Dean Show during 1957-1958, Hamilton was given his own show by ABC-TV in 1959; it ended before the year was out. After the failure of his own show, Hamilton joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1959, making his claim to country audiences more sincere by not affecting the Western trappings of most country artists. His first entry on the country charts ("Before This Day Ends") made number four in late 1960. One year later, Hamilton was signed to RCA Victor by Chet Atkins. After Top Ten entries in 1961 ("Three Steps to the Phone [Millions of Miles]") and 1962 ("If You Don't Know I Ain't Gonna Tell You"), Hamilton hit it big in 1963 with "Abilene." The single, his second to be written by John D. Loudermilk, topped the country charts for four weeks in June and crossed over to number 15 on the pop charts. During 1964, Hamilton charted three singles and returned to the Top Ten with "Fort Worth, Dallas or Houston." Increasingly inspired by folk music during 1965, Hamilton began recording the songs of Gordon Lightfoot; both "Steel Rail Blues" and "Early Morning Rain" hit the country Top 15 during 1966, and Hamilton went on to record more Gordon Lightfoot songs than any other artist. "Urge for Going" (written by another folkie, Joni Mitchell) hit number seven in 1967 and "Break My Mind" did the single one better later in the year. He continued to record for RCA until 1974, but chart success largely eluded him -- except for the number-three hit "She's a Little Bit Country" in 1970. Undaunted by his lack of domestic success, Hamilton took country music around the world during the '70s. Besides more than ten tours of Great Britain and several BBC-TV productions, he hosted the Gospel Celebration and the International Country Festival, both of which were held in England. In 1973, he organized the longest international tour ever by a country artist, doing 73 shows over a period of three months. One year later, Hamilton became the first country artist to perform behind the Iron Curtain, where he lectured about country music as well as playing shows (one Czechoslovakian concert even featured a Czech country group backing him). Besides Europe, he toured Africa, the Orient, New Zealand, Australia, and even the Middle East during the late '70s. Signed to ABC-Dot in 1976, Hamilton just barely made the country charts several times during 1977-1978. Since then, he has concentrated on gospel recordings, for both Word and Lion & Lamb. His son, George Hamilton V, toured with his father's backup band and charted a single during 1988.

George Hamilton V

Isaac Moore

James King

James King was born Sept. 9, 1958, in Martinsville, Va., and grew up in Carroll County — one of the most fertile breeding grounds for bluegrass and old-time musicians. James’ father, Jim, and his uncle, Joe Edd, were both musicians of note. As James entered his teens, he began to take the music seriously too, particularly the music of his fellow Virginians, the Stanley Brothers. One of James’ closest mentors was Ted Lundy, whose raw and heartfelt brand of bluegrass exerted a particularly strong influence on his music. Following a stint in the Marine Corps, King relocated to Wilmington, Del., where he started a band with Lundy’s sons, T.J. and Bobby. The Lundys introduced King to legendary bluegrass deejay Ray Davis, who paired King with Ralph Stanley for two mid-’80s releases, Stanley Brothers Classics and Reunion (also with George Shuffler), on his Wango label. In 1988, King released his first record under his own name, James King Sings Cold, Cold World. In the 1990s, Dudley Connell of the Johnson Mountain Boys brought King to the attention of Rounder’s Ken Irwin. Irwin brought together Connell and a band of bluegrass all-stars to back up King on 1994’s These Old Pictures and 1995’s Lonesome and Then Some. King began to tour steadily, gradually assembling the James King Band. The group was named emerging artists of the year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in 1997. 1998’s Bed by the Window was the recording debut of the James King Band, and its gripping, bittersweet title track — about a man in a nursing home with a vivid imagination — was nominated for IBMA’s 1999 song of the year award. King is also a member of the bluegrass supergroup Longview, along with Connell, Don Rigsby, Joe Mullins, Glen Duncan and Marshall Wilborn. Their self-titled 1997 debut was named recorded event of the year by the IBMA. The second Longview album, High Lonesome, arrived in 1999, followed by Lessons in Stone in 2002. King released 30 Years of Farming in 2002. The album featured the James King Band as the supporting instrumentalists, with a potent blend of classic bluegrass, hard core country and contemporary song craft. Including the country classics “Saginaw, Michigan” and “Carroll Country Accident,” King released The Bluegrass Storyteller in 2005. In April 2009, James married Julie Lillard of Cascade, Virginia, and now resides in Danville, Virginia.

Jason Jordan

Jason Jordan is a seasoned and driven musician/guitarist currently based in Nashville, Tennessee (U.S.A.) who denotes his playing style as progressive country, as one might want to hear on his most recent recording, "Genuine Vinyl". photoHis workhorse guitar is a 1988 Tele with 1967 Tele neck and Lace pickups. Jordan has been playing guitar since 1981, and truthfully shares his career objective, "Make a new record and keep touring!" When the attempt was made to uncover his definitive or preferred effect for the guitar, Jordan purposefully responded with, "Compressor," and then volunteered his musicial goals, "Keep striving to play like Danny Gatton." He keeps open the possibility to, at some point, study truck customizing (custom paint), and is at the moment listening to Danny Gatton. His most important gratification? "When working as a side man and your boss ask you to play an instrumental," he muses emphatically. Jordan winds up by detailing long-term and forthcoming endeavors insightfully, by saying, "Currently on tour with country star Michael Peterson. I gig weekly in Nashville at Tootsies and Robert's on Nashville's famous Lower Broadway. I have also completed several album projects that info will be posted on my website about. " Guitar Nine visitors have compared the playing style and/or musical approach of Jason Jordan to guitarists such as Danny Gatton and others.

Jeff Deaton

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