Dreams of Reba and Swimming with the Sharks
By Priyanka Aribindi
The 90’s Heritage Panel at the CMA Close Up Stage Friday afternoon drew fans of all ages, including a few who weren’t even around for the ‘90s. Hosted by Kevin Richards of WGNA-FM Albany, N.Y., the panel featured Country stars Tim Rushlow of Little Texas, John Berry, Bryan White and Ty Herndon answering questions and obliging the crowd with a few bars of their greatest ‘90s hits.
Richards started the afternoon by asking the guests what their current projects include, and fans were happy to hear that each artist has a new album in the works. The panel continued with each guest singing lines from their favorite Country songs and biggest hits, and sharing the stories behind their starts in Country Music and their first No. 1 singles.
After the initial clamor for photos, the panel kept the audience entertained with stories of their favorite moments on the road and what’s coming next for them. “We’re all doing a record together,” Herndon joked with the audience. “We just decided backstage.”
The audience particularly enjoyed Herndon’s story of finding out about his first No. 1 single. “I was in my truck driving down Music Row when I heard it come on the countdown on the radio,” he said. “I pulled my truck over, cranked up the radio as loud I could and danced on the hood.”
Berry’s story of finding out after surgery also amused the crowd. “I don’t recommend getting brain surgery the day your single goes No. 1 unless you absolutely need it,” he said with a grin.
The answers the stars gave when asked what else they hope to do got similar reactions from the audience, with fans especially enjoying White’s hope to be in a shark cage one day. “I wanna pet a Great White before I croak,” he told the laughing crowd. “I’m serious!”
Even more surprising was Herndon’s desire to star in a film with Reba McEntire. “I really like those cheesy Hallmark movies,” he said. “I really want to be in one with Reba.”
When Richards turned to the floor to begin a Q&A session, a fan came forward to tell Herndon that she and her husband had the lyrics to his hit “Living in a Moment” engraved in her wedding band. Though the panel had been lighthearted and fun, the impact the performers and their music have had on the lives of their fans was clear in that moment and in the thunderous applause they received afterwards.