The night to celebrate all the artistry of country music is the 2017 Country Music Association Awards. And this year, it was more than that. Highlights of the Nashville night also included stellar performances, a bit of comedy, and some very somber moments.
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood (photo from Billboard.com)
A look back at tragedy
There was no way that the Awards could avoid mentioning the horrific Las Vegas shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. In fact, the night began with Eric Church singing “Amazing Grace.”
Hootie and the Blowfish followed, joined by Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, and several other country stars. Together, they sang the band’s hit song, “Hold My Hand.”
“Las Vegas, Charlottesville, New York, Sutherland Springs, historic storms in Texas, Puerto Rico and Florida — the list goes on and on,” said Underwood. “This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family, so we’re going to do with families do: cry together and sing together.”
Paisley added, “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. This year’s show is dedicated all those we’ve lost and all those still healing. We love you, and we will never forget you.”
Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood (photo from Taste of Country)
A bit of roasting
The CMA had initially put forth guidelines that censored journalists asking questions about any of the recent shootings. However, they quickly rescinded those due to a severe backlash. This didn’t stop Underwood and Paisley from taking them to task–or poking fun at the current President.
Underwood started the bit. “CMA has given us some guidelines with specific topics to avoid, so we can’t be doing any silly little songs because this year’s show is a politics-free zone.”
Paisley responded by asking if they could sing songs like “Way Down Yonder on the Scaramucci” and “Stand by Your Manafort.” “Definitely not,” Underwood replied.
But soon they began a funny version of her hit song, “Before He Cheats.” This version roasted President Trump’s penchant for tweeting. “Until Rocket Man starts a nuclear war and maybe next time, he’ll think before he tweets,” they sang.
In addition to the comedy, the night was full of star-studded performances. Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Garth Brooks performed. Reba McEntire took the stage with Kelsea Ballerini.
It’s another CMA night in the books and a memorable one at that.