Country Radio Seminar's 'Lunch With Legends' Brings Programmers & Stars Together: 'So Much Talent, So Many Hits, So Much History'
But it wasn’t just today's superstars who made appearances at the event: Helping kick off the week of events in Nashville was Lunch With the Legends, an event hosted by Music City power publicist Kirt Webster and sponsored by the Country Music Association, Springer Mountain Farms, DUKE-FM and the Country Music Cruise. The event, now in its third year, united radio programmers with many of the iconic performers who have helped make the country format what it is today.
Five members of the Country Music Hall of Fame -- Bill Anderson, Brenda Lee, The Oak Ridge Boys, Roy Clark and Bobby Bare -- took part in the luncheon, which was moved to the Nashville Hilton after two years at the Palm due to overcrowding. In addition to the aforementioned artists, acts such as Wanda Jackson, Sylvia, Lorrie Morgan, Gene Watson and Crystal Gayle all took part. It was a day full of memories, as one or two artists would be sitting side by side with many of the programmers that have played their records over the years.
Ed Carter of WKSR in Pulaski, Tennessee, says the day is one he always looks forward to. “Lunch with the Legends for me is the highlight of CRS. ... So much talent, so many hits, so much history. ... I had the pleasure of having lunch with 'Whisperin' Bill' Anderson ... a great singer, songwriter and person. ... It was a true honor. Two weeks later in the mail I received a 'thank you' letter from Bill for sharing our time, lunch and conversation. A true class act -- so talented, and yet so humble. Truly, a priceless moment.”
It’s not just Carter who looks forward to the day, either. Duane Allen, lead singer of the Oak Ridge Boys, echoes those thoughts, saying, “To be included in a group such as The Kentucky Headhunters, Wanda Jackson or Lee Greenwood means a lot. The Forester Sisters drove all the way up from Lookout Mountain just to be a part of this. We worked all over the United States with the Forester Sisters supporting us. We headlined or co-headlined with just about everyone in that room. They all have been a part of that career, and to be honored with them is chilling to me. It’s history. That group of people will never be together again.”
Allen was also mindful of those who kept the Oaks on the airwaves over the years, as well. “The radio programmers have always been so kind to play our music and have been so for decades. It was great to be able to see all of those who have been for us over the years. They are a part of the Oak Ridge Boys story, and we wouldn’t be here without them.”
The numbers represented by the artists in attendance at the Hilton are outstanding, to say the least; 1,313 charted singles, 1,033 top 40 appearances and 559 top 10 hits. It was a day that artists nor radio personalities will soon forget. Webster himself just counts himself humble and blessed to be able to bring the programmers and the artists together, saying, “When you look around this room and you see the history of the artists represented -- and those that have played them -- it can make you rather emotional. I know it does me. These artists were the ones that made me want to be in this business, and making them feel special about their place in the history of the country format is something we all take pride in.”