BACKSTAGE AT THE CMAs

Kenny Chesney, Carrie Underwood and Brooks & Dunn were big winners at the CMA Awards, Monday night, Nov. 6—and they shared their victories with the media backstage at Nashville’s Gaylord Entertainment Center.

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Kenny, who took home the top prize of Entertainer of the Year, remarked that the award is “a cumulative thing.” Kenny said, “It’s about albums, ticket sales, No. 1 records, all of those. It’s more than having great songs—you have to be well-rounded.” He added, “You can’t teach someone how to connect with people through a song. And when I look into the fans’ eyes [at our shows], I can see that they believe what we’re saying.”

An excited Carrie Underwood told reporters that she did not expect to win Female Vocalist of the Year. “Just to be among the women nominated is incredible,” she said. Carrie added that she’s looking forward to making a new album in 2007.

Kix Brooks of Brooks & Dunn noted that wins are still appreciated, even after their 14th Vocal Duo of the Year award. “We still lose our minds when we win something,” said Kix. “We are prepared every year to clap for someone else. We are surprised that the voters aren’t tired of seeing us win every year.”

Presenter LeAnn Rimes revealed that her upcoming new CD will be titled Family. “I’ve written almost every song,” said LeAnn. “It’s the most exciting time I can ever imagine.” LeAnn also expressed her best wishes to her friend Keith Urban, who is undergoing treatment for alcohol problems in Nashville. “He’s my neighbor—I adore him,” she said. “I’m so happy that he’s taking care of himself.”

Country Weekly’s exclusive CMA coverage, including red carpet and afterparty photos

[Kenny Chesney and Carrie Underwood photos by George Shephard/AdMedia ]

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