Well-wishers packed the lobby of Music Row’s ASCAP building Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 2) to cheer Radney Foster and George Ducas for writing Sara Evans’ latest No. 1, “A Real Fine Place to Start.” The size of the crowd may have had something to do with the fact that Evans was on hand to add her voice to the cheering.
Evans is currently touring with Alan Jackson but will link up with Brad Paisley on his “Time Well Wasted Tour” following the CMA Awards show on Nov. 15 in New York. Nominated for two CMA trophies — female vocalist and vocal event of the year — Evans is expected to perform her new single, “Cheatin’,” on the CBS telecast.
Foster, Ducas and Evans ran a gauntlet of TV crews and radio interviewers before the formal proceedings started. Evans’ version of “A Real Fine Place To Start” (which Foster first recorded on his 2002 album, Another Way to Go) topped both the Billboard and the Radio & Records charts for two weeks.
To add fire to the celebration, ASCAP chief Connie Bradley reminded the crowd that Evans’ new album, Real Fine Place, recently debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart and at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 listing that covers all musical formats.
When Country Music Association executive director Ed Benson stepped up to present Foster and Ducas No. 1 certificates, he first addressed them as “you guys” and then restated it as “youse guys,” suggesting that he’d “gone New York” in the process of overseeing the awards show there.
“I’ll see you in New York in a couple of weeks, and I’ve got my fingers crossed,” Benson said to Evans without specifying whether he was crossing his fingers on Evans’ or the show’s behalf.
“Most of the time I live in a little alternative world,” Foster noted when it came his time to speak. He lavishly praised Evans’ rendition of the song and concluded, “This is a magical moment.”
Ducas began his remarks with an historical note, recalling he first met Evans in an elevator. “She did a fabulous job [with the song],” he continued. “She made it her own.”
“Before I ever moved to Nashville,” Evans said, “I was a huge Radney Foster fan. … [This] is a phenomenal song.” She also complimented Mark Bright, who co-produced the album with her. Said Bright, “For various reasons, I’m more proud of my association with this record than anything I’ve ever done.”