• The Country Dick Montana Lifetime Achievement Award

    A guitar player, writer, producer, and composer, Oceanside native Stevie Salas has recorded on over 70 different albums, with artists as diverse as George Clinton, Justin Timberlake, Buddy Miles, T.I., Mick Jagger, and Rod Stewart. Having sold over two million solo albums around the world, Stevie has been cited as one of the top 50 guitarists of all time.

    Salas music career started in Oceanside, with the local band This Kids. He was then discovered by funk music legend George Clinton, and was the lead guitarist for several of Clinton’s albums. Stevie received his first major label producer credit with “Was (Not Was)” when he co-produced the UK hit “Out Come the Freaks” from the Album “What up Dog?” Rolling Stone Magazine listed “What up Dog?” as one of the top 100 records of that decade.

    In 1988, Stevie was asked to join Rod Stewart as lead guitarist on his world tour. Skipping from city to city in a private jet to sold-out stadiums led to Stevie signing the largest record deal Island Records had ever paid for a new artist. Stevie’s first solo record, “Colorcode,” is still a cult classic in the UK and Europe, and his second solo album, “Back from the Living,” ousted the Rolling Stones and Aerosmith for “Best Album” in Japan.

    An accomplished composer, over 50 of Stevie’s compositions have been released on major labels. Salas also participated in Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure by performing the guitar solo for the character Rufus in the closing scene.

    From 2006 to 2010, Salas served as music director and consultant for American Idol, nurturing Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, and their respective touring bands for subsequent American tours.

     A Native American, Stevie has been involved in prominent projects that support indigenous communities, including serving as the Advisor of Contemporary Music at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian. For his efforts in support of Native American culture, Stevie received the Native American Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.

    And this year, the San Diego Music Awards is proud to present Stevie Salas, the 2024 Country Dick Montana Lifetime Achievement Award.




Past Lifetime Winners

2023 – Mike Kenneally
2022 – Jesse Davis
2021 – Jerry Raney
2020 – Richard Livoni
2019 – Joe Flammini
2018 – The Paladins
2017 – Wayne Riker
2015 – Peter Sprague
2014 – Tomcat Courtney
2013 – Daniel Jackson
2012 – Mike Wofford
2011 – The Penetrators
2010 – Iron Butterfly
2009 – The Zeros
2008 – Mundell Lowe
2007 – Nick Reynolds (of The Kingston Trio)
2006 – Jimmie & Jeannie Cheatham
2005 – Charles McPherson
2004 – Joe Marillo
2003 – Jack Tempchin
2002 – Al Guerra
2001 – Jack Costanzo
2000 – Lou Curtis and Barney Kessel
1999 – Frankie Laine
1998 – Joey Harris and Mike Halloran
1997 – Tim Mays & Harlon Shifmann
1996 – Jim McInnes
1995 – Dave Hodges
1994 – Malcolm Falk

Special Industry Achievement Awards

2021 – Liz Abbott / The Troubadour
2015 – Louie Procaccino
2014 – Candye Kane

2024 SDMA Awards Sponsors

  • Viejas
  • San Diego Reader
  • Ballast Point
  • Cutwater Spirits
  • Fox 5
  • KUSI
  • Taylor Guitars
  • Any Budget Printing & Mailing
  • Imagine Media Group, LLC
  • Studio West
  • Filippi’s PIzza Grotto
  • DoSD.com
  • The Melba Foundation
  • TMC Music