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Country stars share memories of the CMA Awards
Country stars including Alan Jackson, Martina McBride share special memories of the CMA Awards
By The Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) ' Martina McBride has five Country Music Association Awards, but nothing beats the first time she picked up a CMA trophy.

"It was 1999, and it was just like the whole night I felt like I was walking on air. It was just magic," said McBride of winning female vocalist of the year. "We had been nominated several times before, so to finally hear your name called, it was like the whole world went into slow motion."

The CMA Awards will air live on ABC from Nashville on Wednesday (8 p.m. EST), hosted by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood.

McBride is nominated once again for female vocalist.

Winning a CMA award also holds special memories for Joe Nichols. He won the new artist of the year category in 2003, when it was called the Horizon Award.

"I got to perform that night in front of George Strait, Hank (Williams) Jr. and all my heroes. I was scared to death ... but it was a fun night," he said, "and I got to take home an award that I never thought I'd win."

Alan Jackson is the second most-nominated artist in CMA history. His run began in 1990, and this year's nod for musical event of the year with the Zac Brown Band gives him a total of 80 nominations. It puts him behind George Strait with 81.

Jackson has won a total of 16 CMA Awards.

"It ain't like the first one, but it still, it's just overwhelming to me anyway to even think about that many," said Jackson. "They're scattered all over our house. I walk around still, I mean, everything in my career is still hard for me to believe."

For The Oak Ridge Boys, perhaps best known for their 1981 megahit "Elvira," the excitement wasn't just about winning a CMA, but celebrating the victory with a very special supporter.

"Back in the middle '70s when we were really struggling, we toured with Johnny Cash, and Johnny Cash took us out there and paid us more money than we were worth, just to keep our heads above water," said singer Joe Bonsall. "He would meet with us and tell us to not lose hope, to have faith in each other, to have faith in what we're doing. To quote Johnny Cash, 'There's magic here. Everybody out there don't know it yet, but I know it.'"

In 1978, they were up for vocal group of the year and Cash was hosting the show.

"When they told us that we had won the CMA vocal group of the year award, instead of us running up to get our award, we all ran up and hugged Johnny Cash," said Bonsall. "And he said, 'I told ya.'"





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