2005 CMT Music Awards: Backstage With the Winners

Urban, Chesney, Wilson and Paisley Visit With Reporters

You’ve just won a CMT Music Award for best video! What are you gonna do now?
If you’re Keith Urban, you call your mother.

“She didn’t know what I won. I was in the middle of explaining when I had to get off the phone,” he told reporters in the backstage pressroom Monday night (April 11) in Nashville.

Urban’s “Days Go By” captured the top honor at the 2005 CMT Music Awards with votes cast by fans at CMT.com. While the clip is riddled with special effects, Urban says the most challenging part of the video shoot involved having to learn the song backwards for the segment of the video where everybody on the street appears to be walking backwards, except for him. In fact, it was exactly the opposite.

“I saw this movie years ago called Top Secret,” he said, “and there’s a scene shot in that film that was all backwards. I thought that would look good in a video one day. I kept the idea, and thank God that [director] Wayne Isham is way crazier than me. He was all for it. I thought, ’This will be easy. I’ll just learn it phonetically.’ But it proved extremely difficult, and I wish I hadn’t undertaken that. But seeing it back, it was a lot of fun. Wayne’s great at editing, too, so I’m glad I got to work with him.”

Urban also enthusiastically praised his companion for the evening, Loretta Lynn, who was presented CMT’s Johnny Cash Visionary Award.

“The highlight of the evening for me was being with Loretta,” he said. “We unfortunately missed most of the show because I was picking her brain about everything, about touring. She is full of stories. It’s a surreal thing and quite overwhelming. I’m really, really grateful that she asked me to come with her tonight and that I got a chance to be there with her.”

Kenny Chesney, who won a trophy for best male video for “I Go Back,” told reporters he has invited Urban to play three stadium shows this summer.

“Keith was on the road with us opening up for almost two years,” Chesney said. “It was important for me to have him out there. I feel like he’s part of the family and helped build what’s going on.” Chesney said those shows will also include Gretchen Wilson, Pat Green and Uncle Kracker.

Chesney also says he’s back on his feet, literally, after injuring his ankle while carrying luggage down a set of stairs. The accident prompted him to postpone his tour, which is now back on track.

“The ankle is 100 percent,” he said. “I wanted to be sure the ankle was 100 percent before I went out there and delivered our show to the fans who paid a lot of money to come see us play. I could have gone out there before I was ready, but I’d be doing the fans a disservice. The kind of show I put on is very energetic. When I hear the kick drum, I can’t help but move. So I can’t just stand there. It would have bothered me a whole lot to give less than 100 percent.”

Wilson shrugged off any suggestions that the torch has been passed to her, after winning two awards (breakthrough video and female video) as well as a role in presenting Lynn’s honor. She also said it was “overwhelming” to sing with one of her heroes, Heart’s Ann Wilson, and that she considers it “the biggest compliment” when families come to her shows.

“The greatest feeling I can get is when I look out at the audience and see three generations of women — grandma, mom and a little girl — all at a concert together,” she said. “They bought the tickets, they got a soda and a hot dog and they’re sitting down there, rockin’ out. I try to think back on going to concerts with my mom. We went to one, maybe. But we didn’t really get to hang out like that together. That’s the coolest thing about it for me, to know that they all enjoy their music together and that this a little bit of time they get to spend together.”

When a reporter mentioned that most artists wait their whole life for the first record and then have to make their second record in just a year or so, Wilson acknowledged that a lot of people have told her that.

“To be honest with you, I wrote all those songs on that first record in about three months,” she explained. “I’ve actually had more time this time to write songs for the second record. I feel like I’m ahead of the game. I feel really comfortable about the second record. I think it’s better than the first, and I feel really good about it.”

She also revealed that she’s hoping to get Merle Haggard to sing on a track that was written specifically about him. Other guests on the upcoming album include MuzikMafia friends Jon Nicholson, James Otto and Big & Rich’s John Rich. Wilson’s second album will also include a Billie Holiday remake, recorded around one microphone, as a hidden track.

Brad Paisley was quick to credit actor-director Rick Schroder for the success of the music video “Whiskey Lullaby.” The production won the best collaborative video award for Paisley and duet partner Alison Krauss and a best director award for Schroder.

“I think Rick did the best job he could have possibly done with this song,” Paisley said. “It’s really tough to do a video of a song that’s that good, because you really run the risk of … diminishing the power of the song with a bad video. What he did was nothing short of miraculous, especially with the budget he had. I’m really proud of it. When you look back at a career someday, it will be one of those moments of true art that will stand out.”