"A Night Amid the Stars'

The Country Music Stars, That Is

By Paulette Logsdon

As a new member of the Country Music Association, I had the opportunity to attend the 25th CMA Awards at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville. It was my first CMA Awards and it will always be a very special treasured memory.

Security was heightened since President and Mrs. Bush would be in the audience. And as I waited to be scanned and searched, I kept thinking of all the dreams being carried into that auditorium and how many past dreams had become realities.

Shortly after I was seated, a gentleman sat down beside me. We started talking about music and I soon discovered he was Ronald Littlefield, the writer of "Abraham, Martin and John." As he told me of his experiences (being published at the age of 13 and writing "Abraham, Martin and John" at the age of 18), I realized for the first time the talent present in that auditorium.

This was my first experience at a nationally telecast "live" broadcast and it was STARGAZING. The sets were absolutely breathtaking — so professionally planned and smoothly executed. Country music has indeed come a long way.

The most emotional moment for me and for many others in the audience, was when The Judds won the Vocal Duo of the Year Award. Naomi's words of faith, strength and encouragement were touching and her positive attitude was an inspiration to everyone watching.

I hadn't had the chance to hear Trisha Yearwood in concert and was surprised at the strength and beauty of her voice. The liveliest moment of the evening was the performance by Mary Chapin Carpenter of "Down At the Twist and Shout." She was dynamic and was already dancing before she hit the stage.

Long overdue was the award won by Tanya Tucker as Female Vocalist of the Year. Of course, like most South-Central Kentuckians, I was proud to see The Kentucky HeadHunters take the award for Vocal Group.

It was also rewarding to see the talents of Vince Gill, Mark O'Connor, Steve Wariner and newcomer Travis Tritt honored. For all of these winners and all of us, there's a lot to be said for being tme to yourself and following those dreams.

Dolly Parton's performance of "An Eagle When She flies" was dedicated to Barbara Bush and the women of the world. It was also a beautiful tribute to Jo Walker-Meador, who after 25 years is leaving the Country Music Association.

Boudleaux and Felice Bryant were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. This husband-and-wife songwriting team has written over 1500 songs and sold more than 200 million records. Felice accepted the award (Boudleaux died in 1987) and was absolutely speechless.

The artist winning the most awards was Garth Brooks. He took home Awards for Single of the Year, Album of the Year, Video of the Year and Entertainer of the Year.

The Post Awards Party was, in my eyes, the party of a lifetime. Held in the Presidential Ballroom of the Opryland Hotel, it was absolutely beautiful and packed with professionals from the music industry. I had the pleasure of meeting several artists, including Charlie Pride, Fred Young (of the HeadHunters), Mark 0'Connor and Clinton Gregory. I was able to spend more time with Aaron Tippin and found him to be sincere, 'genuine and encouraging to me in songwriting.

For me this will be a night to cherish, to I fuel my ambitions and kindle my dreams. It will inspire and encourage me when I think I can write songs.