Backstage With Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

Their Videos Win Buckles at Fan-Voted 2008 CMT Music Awards

Fresh off their victories, Rascal Flatts, LeAnn Rimes, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss visited with reporters backstage at the CMT Music Awards on Monday night (April 14), posing for photos and sometimes using very big words.

“The only reason that we’re here tonight is because of the people that are out there in that crowd,” said Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts, who won the group of the year video honor for “Take Me There.” “We’ve had great success just because of them. They buy the records, they buy the tickets to come to the show, and truly, they’re the ones that have made our dreams come true. … I think it’s unfortunate that all award shows aren’t fan-voted, really, because they have such a huge part in all genres of music.”

They also had kind words to say about Taylor Swift, who has been touring as Rascal Flatts’ opening act. She won the night’s biggest award, video of the year, for “Our Song,” and she’s joining the band for their Bob That Head tour, starting in June.

“Taylor’s amazing,” said Joe Don Rooney. “She did an acoustic show in front of our show last year to fill in for Jason Aldean when he was sick, and we noticed that she had this different thing about her. She is young, really, ultimately talented in many ways, but she’s like an old soul. It’s like she’s been doing this for quite a long time already — and she really hasn’t been, which is amazing. So, we knew she had all that potential. … And she’s doing a fantastic job. Her shows went from being a great acoustic show to this great, great energy with the live band. She plays, sings and does her thing really well. She’s got a bright future, no doubt about it.”

Discussing Rascal Flatts’ newest video, “Every Day,” which begins airing Thursday (April 17) on CMT and at, Jay DeMarcus said, “I think for all of us, it means different things. I think that’s what we try to do with our new video. … I think we try to represent the fact that people’s lives are saved by different types of people every day, and you may not even know it sometimes.”

A very surprised LeAnn Rimes won a buckle for collaborative video of the year for her duet with Bon Jovi, “Till We Ain’t Strangers Anymore.”

“I’m really excited that I won,” Rimes confessed to reporters. “I’m totally shocked, because there were so many amazing people in the category and I wish he [Jon Bon Jovi] were here to accept this with me. … We were in front of the Flatiron Building in New York City, filming the video. It was very surreal, but it was really amazing. I love, love, love that video, and obviously a lot of other people did, too.”

Rimes said the CMT Music Awards were an unofficial kickoff to the whole year, including her opening slot for Kenny Chesney’s summer tour.

“I’m ready to get on the road,” she said. “I’ve had a couple of months off, and I’m building a house, so I’m kind of ready for the tour to take away the stress of real life for a second. When we get on the road, you get into this routine and you really take care of yourself and you get to go out and do what you love. So I’m excited to go out and perform, and we’re going to play a lot of new music off the new record and, of course, the hits and a couple of fun covers. Kenny and I just saw each other in the hallway, and we were like, ’What are we going to sing together? We have to sing something together.’ So we’ll figure that out, I guess, the day of the show.”

Although Rimes included dancers on the video and awards show performance of “Nothing Better to Do,” she’s not taking them on the road with her.

“It was kind of a one-off thing, but I would love to do it again. I want to do more of it,” she said. A few years ago on the ACM Awards, Rimes was singing and dancing, too, but she admitted that the earlier performance was live to a prerecorded track.

“Tonight was full-on singing, live dancing, and it’s definitely a challenge, but I love it,” she said. “I had so much fun. Broadway has always been my first love. I’ve loved it ever since I was a little kid. It’s something I want to do, and I think this was my first step into going, ’Oh, I can really do this and I want to do this.’ It was just a blast.”

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss captured a trophy for their lively “Gone, Gone, Gone (Done Moved On)” in the Wide Open Country video of the year category. Asked about their musical versatility, Krauss said, “Well, we’ve got piles of style. We hope that more of it is on the style side than the pile side.”

Referring to his recent experiences of working in Nashville, the Led Zeppelin vocalist added, “I’m being initiated into this world. I mean, I knew about Don Gibson and all the great writers when I was a kid, but I got preoccupied for 30 years.”

The iconic rock star was quick to praise Krauss’ talent, although some reporters scrambled for online dictionaries to understand what he was saying.

“She’s multifarious,” he said. “She has a myriad of different parts to her style. Apart from the beautiful voice, the poignant vocal, she’s one of the most incredible fireworks. It’s like an incendiary of laughter and humor and sensitivity. It’s magnificent. What a find, so late in life.”

Krauss repaid the compliment by saying, “Oh, I think Robert can fit in just about anywhere. He’s comfortable in any situation. I haven’t seen anything that he couldn’t handle. He’s loved Nashville. What a great place to be, and it was a great night.”

See coverage of the 2008 CMT Music Awards.