Northside graduate nominated for Academy of Country Music award

awoolen@macon.comFebruary 12, 2014 

Northside High graduate Steve Hinson is nominated in the Steel Guitar Player of the Year category of the Studio Recording Awards by the Academy of Country Music. The awards show is April 6.

WARNER ROBINS -- Steve Hinson didn’t even realize he’d been nominated for an award.

Then the Northside High School graduate received an email from country music singer Randy Travis congratulating him on being nominated in the Steel Guitar Player of the Year category of the Studio Recording Awards, as part of the Academy of Country Music Awards.

“I didn’t take the week off” to celebrate the nomination, Hinson said. In fact, the 57-year-old couldn’t remember which album he played on to garner the attention.

“Maybe it was Luke Bryant,” he said as he tried to look up the liner notes to see which song he had actually played on. He still can’t say for sure.

The nominations came out Jan. 29.

Hinson said most people in the music industry see a name on a popular album and make their nominations from that. He was nominated in 2009 in the same category.

“I’m extremely flattered,” he said from his home in Hendersonville, Tenn.

Coming from a musical family helped Hinson pursue his love of the guitar when he was 14. By the time he was 18, he got a gig from Larry Hudson, who owned Macon’s Nashville South. He played in the house band every night except Sundays for nearly two years.

It wasn’t until he was in high school that he realized he could make a living playing the guitar.

“I had no idea you could do that for a living,” Hinson said. “I thought Conway Twitty had a day job or something.”

He moved to Alabama when he was 20, and from there he set his sights on Nashville, Tenn.

Hinson has toured with some of Nashville’s most notable singers such as Travis, Dolly Parton and George Jones. He also works with John Conlee, who wrote and performed “Rose Colored Glasses.”

As part of Travis’ band, Hinson is “on hiatus” until the singer recovers from a heart condition and stroke.

When Hinson is on the road, it is for 50 to 60 days a year. He has a family, a wife of 32 years and a 22-year-old son he likes to return to, so a grueling road schedule is not something he enjoys. They are all musicians.

“I like to be home,” Hinson said.

The guitarist said he still misses Warner Robins. He credits the diversity at Robins Air Force Base with opening him up to different kinds of music.

But Hinson knows moving to Nashville was the best decision. “This is where it is,” he said.

The 49th Academy of Country Music Awards will be April 6 at 8 p.m. on CBS.

For a full list of nominees, visit www.acmcountry.com.

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