Sony Music commandeered the rotunda of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville on Thursday evening (Aug. 8) to stage an appreciation of Carrie Underwood and to spotlight her forthcoming DVD, The Blown Away Tour: Live. It will be in stores Tuesday (Aug. 13).
Photo Credit: Chris Hollo
The rotunda is the second floor shrine that displays on its walls the bronze plaques of all the Hall of Fame members. Any gathering there is a short course in country music history.
As guests streamed in, they were greeted by uniformed waiters bearing appetizer trays of mini-burgers and crab cakes. More substantial fare awaited inside, as did two amply stocked bars.
The festivities were just getting started when the guest of honor arrived, escorted by Sony Nashville chairman and CEO Gary Overton.
Balancing on stiletto heels and clad in a dark-hued, sleeveless dress with a mid-thigh hemline, Underwood stood smiling and patient as some of the more prominent attendees pushed forward to greet her. Among these were Nashville mayor Karl Dean, Country Radio Broadcasters executive director Bill Mayne and Grand Ole Opry general manager Pete Fisher. Underwood has been an Opry member since 2008.
Songwriters swirled around her, too. Josh Kear, co-writer of her Grammy-winning "Before He Cheats" and "Blown Away," was there. Ashley Gorley, who numbers "All-American Girl" and "Good Girl" among his Underwood cuts, sidled up to the artist and gave her a tentative hug.
After Underwood and Overton worked their way through the crowd, the label executive took the makeshift stage to show snippets from the new DVD, the The Sound of Music remake Underwood is starring in Dec. 5 on NBC and her Sunday Night Football promotion.
Leslie Roberts from BMI, the performance rights organization, presented Underwood with certificates confirming the songs she's written, recorded and released have been played publicly a combined total of 13 million times.
Judee Williams from CAA, Underwood's booking agency, lauded her for having donated $1 million from her Blown Away tour to the American Red Cross.
Returning to the stage, Overton played a video highlighting Underwood's successes during her eight years with the label. Conceding he was reluctant to use the "blown away" cliché to describe how pleased the label was with Underwood's achievements, he instead proclaimed, "We are carried away [by them]."
Nodding toward the video screen, Underwood said, "I've lived through all that." Then, with her voice breaking, she added, "And I really feel cool about it."