During a reception at its Board of Directors meeting last week, the Country Music Association presented some industry veterans with awards.
The CMA honored Jim Free with the 2023 J. William Denny Award, which is presented in recognition and appreciation of a lifetime of dedication, distinguished service and meritorious contributions to the CMA Board of Directors.
Free has served the CMA Board of Directors since the late 1980s. Throughout his time on the board, Free has made lasting and impactful contributions to country music, including introducing Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan to the CMA Board, where they laid out their plans for their documentary film series Country Music.
“It is extremely unusual in any of our businesses to find a place where everybody who competes against each other comes together and works for a product,” said Free. “And it’s country music. This place is it. I’ve been honored to be a part of this.”
Also during the reception, former Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville and long-serving CMA Board member Mike Dungan was presented with the CMA Chairman’s Award by CMA Board Chairman and Global Head of Programming at Apple Music, Charlie Morgan.
Dungan’s honor is not an annual award, but is given when the incumbent Chairman feels an individual or individuals, through outstanding service to CMA, merits the recognition.
Additionally, in recognition of their service to the CMA Board of Directors, CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern presented mementos to outgoing CMA Chairman Morgan and current President, incoming 2024 CMA Chairman and Farris, Self & Moore LLC Partner, Kella Farris.