Vince Gill (1992–2003)
Over a 12-year run as host, Gill says, “All I wanted was for people who tuned in to see how great country music was.” Perfect example: The multi-award winner’s 1998 performance of “My Kind of Woman, My Kind of Man” with Parton. “She is about the greatest treasure we’ve ever had,” he raves of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
Gill clams to have "seen almost all" of the shows. "When I was a kid, I was such a huge fan. I remember watching them every year to see live what I loved so much. Then in the early 80s when I moved to Nashville, I started going to them. I attended for seven years before they figured out I was a wiseguy enough to host!"
Credit Where Credit is Due
"The guy who was a big part of this all was Irving Waugh," Gill offers of the late broadcaster. "He is responsible for getting the CMAs on TV, and he trusted me...I am so grateful for that. Truthfully, most people who watch the show don’t have a clue who Irving was. He was a behind-the-scenes guy but was a huge part of the popularity and expansion of the show. He deserves an awful lot of credit."
Of this year's Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Gill raves that Dolly Parton "is about the greatest treasure we have ever had. Not only is she a world-class singer, but her legacy of songwriting is on par with Hank Williams, Merle Haggard and LorettaLynn. It doesn’t get any better than her."