Monday, August 29, 2011
– Kenny Chesney and CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore presented the inaugural CMA Touring Musician Award to Chesney keyboard player Wyatt Beard Saturday during the Foxboro Stadium concert date in Boston.
"This is a once in a lifetime ride that I will never even comprehend for another 20 years or so," said Beard of playing with Chesney's band. "I try to enjoy the moment."
"CMA exists to honor excellence throughout the industry," Moore said. "I've witnessed firsthand the contributions and sacrifices touring musicians and vocalists make on the road. They play a significant role in the quality and popularity of our touring artists and are a segment of our industry very deserving of recognition."
The Touring Musician Award was established by the CMA Board of Directors earlier this year. The award is presented to a touring musician who is known primarily as an instrumentalist or background vocalist in a non-headlining capacity. In order to qualify, a musician must have toured with an artist in the country music industry.
CMA members in the Affiliated, Artist, Musician, Personal Manager, Talent Agent/Promoter, and Talent Buyer categories were eligible to nominate and vote for the award recipient.
Beard, who lives near Nashville with his wife, Karyn, and two children, started playing piano before he was four. Never formally trained. At five, he was playing for the public, and by nine, he had his own band. At 15, Beard started a show in Branson, Mo. where he played each summer through high school. After graduation, he moved to Branson where he played fulltime for 7 years before being hired to play with Kenny Chesney's band - a gig he has had for the past 14 years.