BACKSTAGE AND UPFRONT: Garth Brooks

"If Keith Urban's Name Is on an Award, It's the One You Want," the new EOTY Says

Just how important is the CMA Award for entertainer of the year anyway? Here’s what it means to Garth Brooks.

“If Keith Urban’s name is on an award, it’s one you want,” Brooks said backstage after he picked up the coveted grand prize on Wednesday night (Nov. 13). “It’s one that’s cool to have.”

He also shared the pact that he and his wife Trisha Yearwood had made earlier that day: no matter what, have fun. Do not let the nerves and the butterflies get to you. Because as he explained, he made it to that arena stage on Wednesday by playing bars when only 12 people were in the crowd.

“When you played these dive bars in ’89, there was twelve people there. And you had one single that you played five times a night, each night, and they made it sound like it was a first time you played it. You know, now you get to go in these little packed dive bars and they know every word to any song you want to play. And it doesn’t have to be yours. We play George Strait, we play Nitty Gritty, you can play anything you want there and they will know it.

“So that love that you get from the stage is irreplaceable. This is a symbol for that. If this ride ever does have to end, this would be a good one to end it on,” he said of his seventh entertainer of the year CMA Award.

But Brooks was quick to concede that there are new country singers who might easily break that record. Kelsea Ballerini is one, and Luke Combs is the other.

“When you watch Luke Combs, he’s a natural. He’s gonna he’s gonna have eight of these,” Brooks said after watching Combs perform.

“So it’s good because country music — the future — is in great hands.”

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