Country Music Association Awards show remembers tragedies

(CNN)Country music’s biggest night kicked off Wednesday with a remembrance of what has been a year of tragedy.

The 51st annual Country Music Association Awards in Nashville began with an all-star choir including Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and Lady Antebellum singing the Hootie & the Blowfish hit “Hold My Hand.”
Hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley then paid tribute to the victims of mass shootings, including last month’s massacre at the Route 91 Harvest music festival in Las Vegas, and those affected by recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
    “This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives including so many in our country music family,” Underwood said. “So tonight we’re gonna do what families do: Come together, pray together and cry together, too.”
    Paisley added, “Look, the way we see it, the best way to honor our fans is to play our music, loud and proud.
    “Our music lifts people up, and that’s what we’re here to do tonight,” he said. “So this year’s show’s dedicated to all those we lost and to all those who are still healing. We love you and we will never forget you.”
    The country music community was shaken when a gunman opened fire October 1 during the music festival in Las Vegas, leaving 58 people dead and hundreds injured.
    Underwood performed a rendition of “Softly and Tenderly” in remembrance of industry leaders lost this past year and to honor the victims of the Las Vegas tragedy.
    The mass shooting had been one of the subjects the CMA had initially banned journalists from discussing on the red carpet, a decision it reversed after much criticism, including from Paisley.
    On Wednesday, Underwood and Paisley joked about the CMA’s prohibition on political topics.
    The pair sang a little ditty to the tune of Underwood’s hit “Before He Cheats,” changing it to include the lyrics, “And it’s fun to watch it that’s for sure/’Til little rocket man starts a nuclear war/ Maybe next time he’ll think before he tweets,” as they poked fun at President Donald Trump.
    The show was all about the performances, which included pop star Pink singing her single “Barbies” and Urban debuting the song “Female,” a response to the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment and assault scandal.
    It also was a big night for Garth Brooks, who was named entertainer of the year for a record sixth time. Taylor Swift took song of the year for writing “Better Man,” which Little Big Town recorded.
    The following is the list of winners:


    Garth Brooks — WINNER
    Luke Bryan
    Eric Church
    Chris Stapleton
    Keith Urban


    “Better Man” — Little Big Town
    “Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban — WINNER

    “Body Like a Back Road” — Sam Hunt
    “Dirt on My Boots” — Jon Pardi
    “Tin Man” — Miranda Lambert


    (Award goes to artist and producers)
    “The Breaker” — Little Big Town
    “From A Room: Volume 1” — Chris Stapleton — WINNER

    Producers: Dave Cobb, Chris Stapleton
    “Heart Break” — Lady Antebellum
    “The Nashville Sound” — Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
    “The Weight of These Wings” — Miranda Lambert


    (Award goes to songwriter)
    “Better Man” — WINNER
    Songwriter: Taylor Swift
    “Blue Ain’t Your Color”
    Songwriters: Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen
    “Body Like a Back Road”
    Songwriters: Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
    “Dirt on My Boots”
    Songwriters: Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
    “Tin Man”
    Songwriters: Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall


    Kelsea Ballerini
    Miranda Lambert — WINNER

    Reba McEntire
    Maren Morris
    Carrie Underwood


    Dierks Bentley
    Eric Church
    Thomas Rhett
    Chris Stapleton — WINNER

    Keith Urban


    Lady Antebellum
    Little Big Town — WINNER

    Old Dominion
    Rascal Flatts
    Zac Brown Band


    Brothers Osborne — WINNER
    Dan + Shay
    Florida Georgia Line
    Maddie & Tae


    (Award goes to each artist)
    “Craving You” — Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris
    Funny How Time Slips Away” — Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson — WINNER
    “Kill a Word” — Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens
    “Setting the World on Fire” — Kenny Chesney with Pink
    “Speak to a Girl” — Tim McGraw and Faith Hill


    Jerry Douglas (Dobro)
    Paul Franklin (Steel guitar)
    Dann Huff (Guitar)
    Mac McAnally (Guitar) — WINNER

    Derek Wells (Guitar)


    (Award goes to artist and directors)
    “Better Man” — Little Big Town
    “Blue Ain’t Your Color” — Keith Urban
    “Craving You” — Thomas Rhett featuring Maren Morris
    “It Ain’t My Fault” — Brothers Osborne — WINNER
    Directors: Wes Edwards and Ryan Silver
    “Vice” — Miranda Lambert


    Lauren Alaina
    Luke Combs
    Old Dominion
    Jon Pardi — WINNER

    Brett Young

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