Backbeat: Warner Music Nashville Team Celebrates CMA Wins With Faith Hill, John Esposito, More
Backbeat: Warner Music Nashville Team Celebrates CMA Wins With Faith Hill, John Esposito, More

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The mood was definitely celebratory at Warner Music Nashville's post- CMA Awards bash held at the company's headquarters on Music Row. The evening's big winner was Blake Shelton, who took home trophies for entertainer and male vocalist and shared song of the year honors for "Over You," which he co-wrote with wife, Miranda Lambert. New Artist winner Hunter Hayes celebrated his first CMA honor with Warner Music Nashville president/CEO John Esposito, senior VP of A&R Scott Hendricks, senior VP of promotion Chris Stacey and WMN labelmates Faith Hill, The Farm, John Oates, Brett Eldredge and Jana Kramer.

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Among the other revelers hanging out at the late night bash were Grand Ole Opry star Bill Anderson, country newcomer Sarah Darling and singer/songwriter Dave Barnes, who penned Shelton's hit "God Gave Me You."

The WMN bash was one of the last events in what has been a marathon week of parties, press conferences and awards shows (all three PROs, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC also threw galas earlier in the week). "What I like about CMA [week] is the free food," legendary songwriter Bob DiPiero told Billboard after welcoming Anderson to the party with a bear hug. "There's free food everywhere. Everywhere you go, there's different kinds of free food. The only problem with the free food is it's little free food so you have to eat a lot of these little free foods in order for it to be a regular food, so that's what I don't like about the CMAs. It's a love/hate thing with the food."

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On a more serious note, DiPiero said he was both pleased and a bit surprised by Shelton's win in the entertainer category. "I was surprised about Blake winning entertainer of the year, not because he's not talented or deserving, but we have Taylor Swift who is like a juggernaut right now, eating up the charts and sucking all the air out of radio because she's Taylor Swift. But tonight it was TV trumps touring and radio," DiPiero said of Shelton's turn on NBC's The Voice. "Like Blake said he hasn't been touring, but he's working his you-know-what off. He's just in the face of the public and that's good for country music."

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