Locals to take the reins at Country Music Awards

News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMBB) — Viewers of Wednesday night’s CMA Awards may see some familiar faces behind some of the biggest names in country music.

Danny (left), his dad, Dennis “Moonshine” Rader, and Brent Rader (Dennis Rader/Photo Courtesy)

Danny and Brent Rader are the grandkids of Wayne Rader, who started The Ocean Opry in Panama City Beach. They cut their teeth performing as children in the show.

Now, the two will share the stage for the opening performance of the awards ceremony. Danny Rader will be the bandleader for the house band and asked his brother, Brent, to join him.

“He called me a few weeks ago and said hey, what are you doing this week? Do you want to come play in the CMA band with me?” Brent Rader said. “I guess it’s good to know brothers in high places.”

“This [performance] is going to be really, really special,” Danny said. “We were laughing about it the other day because as many things as we’ve done together … this is the first time we’ve even shared a stage together in probably at least over a decade.”

Danny Rader and Keith Urban on stage in 2019 (Dennis Rader/Photo Courtesy)

Danny tours with Keith Urban as his lead guitar player, and Brent is a producer with a recording studio in Nashville.

Danny says the old school country artists, such as Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton and Crystal Gayle, were an integral part of what they were raised on as kids.

The brothers will share the stage with Gayle, who they booked on The Ocean Opry Stage. Gretchen Wilson is also part of the opening performance. Danny has worked with her on the road.

“It’s just a really cool full-circle moment, cause this is what we grew up doing,” Brent said.

Little Big Town also performed at The Ocean Opry at the beginning of their career and will perform on the CMA stage.

“Nobody knew who they were yet. We didn’t know who they were yet, but they were so talented and sweet as they could be,” Brent said. “I’m really happy to see how they’ve succeeded over the years.”

In addition to performing, Danny is looking forward to reuniting with other musicians and artists.

“Throughout the year, we’re all going in so many different directions and everybody’s touring and in and out of town, and we hardly ever see each other except for 3 or 4 times a year when we’re all corralled into the same green room and the same space, sharing the same stage, and it’s such a fun time to have 3 or 4 hours where we can all just hang and mingle and catch up and just celebrate country music,” Danny said.

The Bay County natives may be part of the big time in Nashville but they still miss some of the comforts of home. Brent says it was hard to leave Panama City Beach and tries to come back as often as he can, and Danny misses the beach and seafood.

The CMA Awards will air at 7 p.m. Central on News 13.

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