For years, the Country Music Television Awards have been hosted in Nashville, Tenn. But after moving the award show to the spring, the “live music capital of the world” stepped up to host the event. What ensued was one boisterous and iconic night of country music in Austin.
Tejano musician and music archivist Veronique Medrano covered the awards show as a correspondent for Wide Open Country, and she joined the Standard with some highlights. Listen to the story above or read the transcript below.
This transcript has been edited lightly for clarity:
Texas Standard: So what were you doing there? Can you just tell folks what your job was?
Veronique Medrano: So I am a Tejano country artist and so I was there before Wide Open Country. I was a red carpet correspondent for them. So we were chit-chatting with the country stars, new upcoming the folks that are, you know, the most popular as well as some entertainment stars – because there were a lot of entertainment stars – that were coming through for the show. And so I was just kind of chit-chatting with them, artist to artist, just trying to talk about where they’re at, because a lot of them, you know, are getting ready for new records – have new projects coming out. And so getting to catch up with everybody in my backyard is kind of nice.
So what did you want to find out from these people when you were talking to them?
Really, what I wanted to do was to give a different perspective of the artistry that these people put out there. A lot of the time, of course, we’re all excited to be at the show. All of our heads are on a swivel because it is a hundred miles an hour when you’re on a red carpet. Because you’re going from carpet to walking. And mind you, the walking for that carpet was almost a football field-like length from start to finish. And then once you finish, you’re getting into the show. And so a lot of these people were performing that night. So it’s really just kind of getting, from artist to artist, a perspective of these people, their artistry and also just overall how they’re making what they’re making in a market that is just becoming more and more diverse. Having those really honest and beautiful conversations with these artists was so easy to do because, like, it was this environment that didn’t feel so stuffy. It was really more, you know, like meeting with your friends.
That’s a lot of country music anyway, you know. I mean, that’s sort of the vibe that’s trying to be cultivated in a lot of the art form.
The vibe was there.
Well, tell me more about the vibe. What did it feel like to be there?
It was wonderful. When I say “it was wonderful,” I really, truly mean it. I was just astounded by the fact that just so many of these people were just ready to party. They were in the Austin mood. They were in the Austin spirit to really get down. And, you know, one of the most interesting parts that you’ll see on the coverage from a lot of people, if you look at any of the coverage from that night, is that we had just like people talking with artists. And then you had artists talking with other artists behind the people talking with artists. And they’re you know, they’re chit-chatting, they’re catching up. It was like a little country mixer at the CMT. That’s what it felt like. It felt more like a really down-to-earth mixer with everybody than “oh my God, this is an award show. Who are you wearing? What are you doing?” Like that it was not that at all, and I really enjoyed that.