Kris Kristofferson has been selected as the sixth recipient of CMT’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award which recognizes an artist’s extraordinary musical vision, innovative and groundbreaking music and pioneering initiatives in entertainment.
Singer-songwriter Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash’s daughter, will present the award to Kristofferson at the 2007 CMT Music Awards airing live April 16 from The Curb Event Center at Nashville’s Belmont University.
“I jumped at the chance to present this award to Kris,” she said. “He and my dad were closer than brothers. They loved each other dearly, and it is so fitting that he receive this award named after Dad. It’s my honor to present it to him.”
Chosen for his contributions to country music, his straightforward songwriting and his uncompromising approach to his art and unwillingness to fit a mold, Kristofferson joins an elite circle of gifted performers to have the award. Past recipients include Hank Williams Jr. (2006), Loretta Lynn (2005), Reba McEntire (2004), Johnny Cash (2003) and the Dixie Chicks (2002). The Visionary Award was renamed in honor of Johnny Cash in 2003.
Despite his career as a performer, Kristofferson always identified himself first and foremost as a songwriter. After turning down a teaching position at West Point, the Rhodes Scholar hoped to get his foot in the door of the music business in the mid ’60s by taking a job as a janitor at Columbia Records’ studio in Nashville. He later gained international acclaim for ushering in a new sound to country music by writing such classics as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” “For the Good Times,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Why Me” and many others. Some 500 artists from all musical genres have recorded his songs. A true visionary on all fronts, he was the first country star to make a giant leap into films and also established himself as a pro-peace, pro-civil rights, pro-social activist.
The 2007 CMT Music Awards will be hosted by Jeff Foxworthy and will feature performances by Rascal Flatts, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride, Sugarland and Dierks Bentley.