CMA Honors Commonwealth Country

By Jean Metcalfe

Kentuckians (both native and adopted) did quite well at the Country Music Association Awards Ceremony on Monday, October 8, at The Grand Old Opry House in Nashville, Tenn.

The Judds, from Ashland, were named Vocal Duo of the Year for the sixth straight year. The late Keith Whitley, from Sandy Hook and his wife Lorrie Morgan were dubbed Vocal Event of the Year, while Vince Gill, once with Louisville's Bluegrass Alliance, took Best Single honors for "When I Call Your Name."

The late Merle Travis, legendary Muhlenberg County artist and songwriter, was acknowledged by Tennessee Ernie Ford for writing Ford's hit "Sixteen Tons." "Pea Picker" Ford was inducted into the Hall of Fame that evening.

And those great Kentucky HeadHunters, who are based in Bowling Green, won awards for Album of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. Their debut album, Pickin' On Nashville, was nominated for a remarkable four awards, but lost the best video award and the Horizon Award to talented newcomer Garth Brooks. Two out of four ain't bad!

And Brooks is a heckuva entertainer.

Congratulations to all those talented people who have ties to our area.

Well-deserved kudos also go out to Jon Vezner and Don Henry who received the Song of the Year award for their song, "Where've You Been." Vezner and Henry wrote the touching song about Jon's grandparents and Jon's wile, Kathy Mattea, recorded it.

In 1988 Jon joined native Louisvillian Alan Rhody to headline the Louisville Area Songwriters' Cooperative's Songwriter Seminar and performed "Where've You Been" at that time. That was before it was recorded by Ms. Mattea, who, by the way, was named Female Vocalist of the Year.