Trisha Yearwood: “We’re the Old Guard Now”

Shifting From Rookie to Icon

Yes, Garth Brooks is nominated for a CMA award for entertainer of the year. But this year’s show is going to be very, very different from CMA Awards shows in the past for Brooks and his wife Trisha Yearwood.

Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood attend the 53rd annual ASCAP Country Music awards at the Omni Hotel on November 2, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee. John Shearer/WireImage

I had a chance to catch up with Yearwood at a luncheon she hosted at her house on Tuesday (Nov. 3), and we talked about what the big night would be like now, versus the way it was more 20 years ago.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03:  Country Star Trisha Yearwood Partners With JCPenney To Honor Breast Cancer Survivors on November 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for JCPenney) John Shearer/Getty Images for JCPenney

“These shows are really geared towards newer artists,” she told me. “And so for me, as a young artist, going to the show was all about getting to see George Jones, Tammy Wynette, John Anderson, George Strait and Reba McEntire all in the front row. All those icons that you grew up listening to were right there.”

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 03:  Country Star Trisha Yearwood Partners With JCPenney To Honor Breast Cancer Survivors on November 3, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney) Rick Diamond/Getty Images for JCPenney

I would imagine that so many of this year’s CMA Awards nominees will feel the exact same way about seeing Yearwood and Brooks.

“Well, I can’t put myself in those shoes. I don’t feel that way inside,” Yearwood said. “But you do have to transition in your mind to thinking, ‘We’re the old guard now.’ Me and Garth and Tim and Faith, we will be sitting there like, ‘We’re the old guys.’ But it’s cool because it’s more relaxed, and it’s so flattering when people feel that way about you. So it’s definitely a shift. And it’s nice, because I don’t have any anxiety about it.”

The 49th annual CMA Awards air live Wednesday night (Nov. 4) at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.