Keith Urban Honors Tommy Emmanuel at CMA Global Artist Party During Billboard Summit
Keith Urban Honors Tommy Emmanuel at CMA Global Artist Party During Billboard Summit

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The performers at the Chevrolet presents CMA Global Artist Party on Monday, June 6 at The Stage on Broadway in Nashville during the 2011 Billboard Country Music Summit. (Photo: Karen Hicks/CMA)

After a long, productive day at the Billboard Country Music Summit, attendees unwound Monday night at the CMA Global Artist Party. Country entertainers from around the world performed at The Stage, a popular Nashville club.

The event was hosted by husband/wife duo O'Shea. The native Australians, who are expecting their first child, now make their home in Nashville and became familiar to country fans in the U.S. appearing on the second season of the CMT singing competition "Can You Duet?"

The event kicked off with a rousing performance by guitar ace Tommy Emmanuel, who completed his set with a taste of the Australian classic "Waltzing Matilda."

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Tommy Emmanuel, the recipient of the 2011 CMA Global Country Artist of the Year. (Photo: Karen Hicks/CMA)

Following Emmanuel's performance, CMA Board Chairman Steve Moore surprised the crowd by bringing Keith Urban to the stage. "I'm here tonight because this gentleman is receiving the very prestigious CMA Global Country Artist of the Year Award," Urban told the crowd.

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Keith Urban (left) surprised the crowd presenting Tommy Emmanuel with this year's CMA Global Country Artist of the Year honor. (Photo: Karen Hicks/CMA)

"This award recognizes outstanding achievement by an artist originally signed outside the United States and has helped to further popularize country music around the world and bring attention to our format globally, which you have definitely done, Tommy," Urban said, smiling at Emmanuel.

Urban, whose latest single, "Without You," tops Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart this week, recalled first meeting Emmanuel as a teenager. "I saw him at a pub on West End when I was 15-years-old in Australia. It was absolutely mind-blowing and I've been a fan of his ever since," said Urban, who won the CMA's International Artist of the Year Award in 2005. "The great thing about Tommy is he's not just a great guitar player, he's a phenomenal entertainer and that's what sets him apart."

As Emmanuel accepted the award from Urban, he flashed back to a similar circumstance. "The last time we were doing this kind of thing, you were giving me an ARIA Award back in 1991," Emmanuel said of the honors bestowed by the Australian Record Industry Assn. "It was for the adult contemporary album of the year. We've both come full circle."

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The Scotish duo Raintown is Paul Bain (left) and Claire McArthur (right). (Photo: Karen Hicks/CMA)

They were followed by country rocker Luke Dickens, who was celebrating his birthday. "He has a list of accomplishments a mile wide. I can't read them all," said Mark O'Shea in his introduction. "The Australian Prime Minister is a big fan. He was a runner up on Australian Idol, but most important he's an expert sheep shearer."

The evening also included performances from Kaylee Bell (New Zealand), Dean Brody (Canada), Chad Brownlee (Canada), Diana Corcoran (Australia), McAlister Kemp (Australia) and Marlee Scott (Canada). The event was sponsored by Chevrolet, CMA, The Stage on Broadway, Billboard, AristoWorks, and Four Seasons Coach Leasing.

This was the fifth year for the Global Events showcases, organized by AristoMedia president and CMA Board member Jeff Walker. Matt Watkins is handled event logistics and Nashville-based record producer Mark Moffatt is music coordinator.

The second international event, the AristoMedia Global Show will be held today at noon at The Second Fiddle. Australia's sister trio the McClymonts will serve as hosts. Artists slated to perform are High Valley (Canada), Brett Kissel (Canada), Ryan Laird (Canada), Mike & Ashley (New Zealand), Craig Morrison (Australia), Six West (Canada), Springfield (Australia), and Steve & Heather (France). Sponsors include AristoMedia, CMA, The Second Fiddle, Billboard and Four Seasons Coach Leasing.

Check out all of our coverage from the 2011 Billboard Country Music Summit right here!

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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