JACKSON, Miss. — The Recording Academy® joined the State of Mississippi and Peavey Electronics in celebrating the musical heritage of the "Birthplace of America's Music" at the inaugural Peavey Awards, held April 26 in Jackson, Miss. Named for Hartley Peavey, founder of Meridian, Miss.-based Peavey Electronics, the Peavey Award honors the state's many GRAMMY winners and nominees, as well as individuals who have played a significant role in developing and furthering Mississippi's musical heritage. Since the inception of The Recording Academy's GRAMMY Award in 1958, a disproportionate number of winners — more than forty — and a vast number of nominees have been Mississippians. Rock & roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, gospel greats The Williams Brothers, country-music icon Marty Stuart, blues-rock sensations The North Mississippi Allstars, guitar legend James Burton and Swedish pop star Carola were the first recipients of the Peavey Award. Following the awards reception, the musicians performed at "Mississippi: Celebrating a 50-Year GRAMMY Legacy," the state's first Recording Academy-sanctioned GRAMMY gala, in Jackson. "This is a powerful and entertaining way to recognize our state's heritage as the 'Birthplace of America's Music,'" noted event host and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, who also received a Peavey Award. "The Peavey Awards and GRAMMY celebration showcase Mississippi artists with phenomenal talents, and launches a new era of recognition for our distinct musical culture." Hartley Peavey's lifelong work innovating the music-and-audio equipment used by artists worldwide inspired the Peavey Award, just as his work continues to inspire musicians on every level, from garage rockers to stadium stars. Peavey says that his support of this GRAMMY legacy celebration is a way for him to honor the musicians who inspired him to pick up his first guitar. "Without the wealth of musical talent that has come from Mississippi, Peavey Electronics simply would not exist," said Peavey, whose musical aspirations were electrified during a 1957 concert by McComb native Bo Diddley. "The best part about this celebration is that all proceeds benefit the Mississippi Blues Foundation, whose Blues Trail project is helping to educate about the history and growth of blues music throughout the state. That means a lot to me as a big fan of blues music." Jon Hornyak, Senior Executive Director of The Recording Academy's Memphis Chapter commented, "The incredible musical influence of Mississippi artists is undeniable, and it is safe to suggest that virtually every GRAMMY nominee and winner has used Peavey products on stages and in studios during their careers." Hartley Peavey built his first amplifier in the basement of his family's home in Meridian in the year prior to the first GRAMMY Award. Today, Peavey is still based in Meridian but does business in 136 countries through 33 facilities — nearly all of which are in Mississippi — and is an industry leader in patents and innovations.