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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - APRIL 07: Entertainer of the Year award winner Keith Urban poses in the press room during the 54th Academy Of Country Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on April 07, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada; NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 11: Entertainer Barbara Mandrel attends the 43rd Annual CMA Awards at the Sommet Center on November 11, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Keith Urban is the current Entertainer of the Year for both the CMAs and the ACMs, but he’s quick to cite other great country music entertainers who came before him.

While discussing his new song “We Were,” Keith referenced one of his favorite entertainers.

“Barbara Mandrell would be the first one I would think of as far as just an all-around performer. You know, playing a hundred instruments and much like Dolly Parton is gifted in so many ways to be a performer. She’s charismatic and funny and insightful, a great singer and engaging and personable. All the things you’d want in an Entertainer. Somebody who really cares about the audience. So she’d probably be the first one I would think of.”

Barbara Mandrell had a variety show on NBC in the early 1980’s, and was a constant presence on the country music charts.  She was made a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2009. She’s also in the Musicans Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Barbara in 2016 on winning “Entertainer of the Year” twice in a row:


Uploaded by The Nashville Soundbite on 2016-11-16.

She’s has been “very retired” in the last twenty years. However, after a family member told her of Urban’s adoration of her, she responded that her “heart was full.”

-Nancy Brooks