Darius Rucker grew up idolizing Charley Pride. So it seems a perfect pairing that Rucker will help honor Pride next week at the Country Music Awards.
Pride will be honored with the “Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award” during the CMA ceremony, which is set for next Tuesday in Nashville. There will be no audience, but the country artists will perform live. Rucker and Reba McEntire will host the show.
Rucker, in an interview with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music’s “Color Me Country” radio show, said being asked to honor Pride is a “surreal moment” in his life.
“When I was a little kid in the early ’70s and Charley’s making these records, I remember having a Charley Pride record in my mom’s collection that I don’t think my mom ever put on,” Rucker said. “But she bought that record because he was a Black man singing country music.
“Here comes this guy that looks like me singing “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” Rucker said. “And now, decades and decades later, to be a part of him getting an award. There’s nobody that deserves it more than Charley. Nobody. And just to be a part of that, I’m so honored and just I’m honored to call him a friend.”
Charley Pride Was Country Music Trailblazer
Pride, 86, has been a trailblazer on the country music scene. There still are few Black artists in country music. He’s the only Black artist ever to be honored as CMA entertainer of the year.
Pride has been shining on stage for decades. Before his singing career, Pride served in the U.S. Army and played baseball in the Negro League.
At the height of his career from 1966-87, 52 of Pride’s songs made the top 10 of the Billboard Hot Country song chart. That included 30 songs that hit No. 1.
Pride is the sixth person to receive the CMA lifetime achievement award. The CMA previously honored Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Take a listen to Rucker and Pride singing the country classic, “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”
And, here’s Rucker’s new video. He posted on his Twitter feed, Thursday.