We are so very proud of our home state of Georgia. I cannot express enough what an honor it is for us to be inducted into the GMHoF by someone who is, to us, the living embodiment of courage, fairness, intellect, and inclusion…a fellow son of Georgia and a great patriot, Max Cleland. We salute you!

We are proud to stand on this stage alongside the other inductees: Jermaine, who I met before, Gregg Allman, who I met tonight, Dallas, who we call Dallas “Austin” Powers, and in memory of Felice Bryant. To each of you, Congratulations–we salute you!

As an international act, we have, for years, found ourselves cast as unlikely representatives of the American south, particularly the state of Georgia, and we have worked hard to provide, often against prevailing attitudes or political shifts, a shining example of the greatness that Georgia is capable of. When I say greatness, I think of those people–political, musical, cultural–who have touched, through their hard work, not
only us here at home, but also a vast international audience. I speak of our Georgian heroes from Max, to Martin Luther King, to Jessye Norman, the great humanitarian and great political thinker, Jimmy Carter, and beyond that to those Georgians who we’re just damned proud of: Holly Hunter, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, Otis Redding, Andrew Young, John Lewis, the B52s, Julia Roberts, James Brown–Peter asked me to say Blind Willie McTell–of course to Ludacris, KRS-One, Chuck D, Outkast, all the way to Danger Mouse. To each of you, we salute you!

There are so many people without whom we would not be standing on this stage tonight…(thank you to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame)–many of those people are here with us in this room: from our office, our crew, our legal and financial teams, our touring and booking teams, the great community that is Athens, Georgia…and we are NOT from the ATL. We are from the ATH!…Athens, Georgia–including former Mayor Gwen O’Looney and current Mayor Heidi Davison… are here with us tonight. Have a great race Heidi. We’re behind you…to our families, friends, fellow artists and musicians, and of course to the fans–those who came all the way from Scandinavia to be here and beyond…to all of you we say thank you so very much for all the years of dedication, commitment and service and for believing in us in the first place. We salute you! —–Thank you