Monday, 16 July 2018 12:46 GMT

CMA Awards highlighted by political, emotional moments - Brooks wins top award

(MENAFN - Arab Times) The 2017 Country Music Association Awards marked one of its most political and emotional shows in years, as the night offered powerful moments focused on unifying as a country during a year dominated by gun violence, divisive politics and natural disasters.

Carrie Underwood broke down while singing during Wednesday night's 'In Memoriam' after photos of the 58 people who died at a country music festival last month in Las Vegas were shown. Little Big Town's Kimberly Schlapman quoted Maya Angelou when the foursome won Vocal Group of the Year at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee, while bandmate Karen Fairchild told the audience, 'Kindness is an attractive quality.'

'Tonight should be about harmony, about what we can do together to change things,' Fairchild said.

That sentiment was present throughout the three-hour show, which aired on ABC.

While paying tribute to Charley Pride, filmmaker Tyler Perry said now is the time we have to all 'find some common ground.' And the show opened with a performance by Keith Urban, Eric Church, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum honoring the victims of the recent mass shootings, as well as the tens of thousands of people affected by hurricanes in recent months.

Urban took things a step further when he debuted a song called 'Female,' which he said was inspired by the dozens of allegations of sexual assault and harassment against Harvey Weinstein. He earned a rousing applause after the performance.

The CMA Awards also paid tribute to some of the genre's brightest stars who have passed away. Glen Campbell, who died in August, was honored during a touching performance of 'Wichita Lineman' by Little Big Town and Jimmy Webb, who wrote the song.

Rascal Flatts and Dierks Bentley also paid homage to Troy Gentry, one-half of the popular country duo Montgomery Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash in September. Eddie Montgomery later joined in for the performance of 'My Town,' as some audience members sang along with tears in their eyes.

'This has been a year marked my tragedy … Tonight we're going to do what families do, come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too,' said Underwood, who co-hosted the show.

'This show is dedicated to all those we lost,' fellow host Brad Paisley said.

Paisley and Underwood celebrated their 10-year anniversary — as hosts of the CMAs. They joked at the top of the show about CMA sending restrictions to press, barring them from asking singers on the red carpet about politics or guns. The restriction was rescinded following backlash. They also riffed on politics, taking shots at both President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

'Maybe next time he'll think before he tweets,' they sang to the beat of Underwood's massive hit, 'Before He Cheats.'


One person they didn't joke about was Taylor Swift. And though Swift is releasing her second pop album this week, she's still being awarded for her contributions to country music.

Swift won Song of the Year — awarded to songwriters — for penning Little Big Town's No. 1 hit, 'Better Man.' Swift will release her sixth album, 'reputation,' on Friday.

'She couldn't be here tonight but Taylor, wherever you are, thank you for this beautiful song,' Fairchild said onstage.

Swift wasn't the only pop star who had a presence at the CMAs. Pink sang her slow tune 'Barbie,' backed by several musicians and singers, while One Direction's Niall Horan performed a duet with Grammy-winning singer Maren Morris, fitting right in with the country crowd and showcasing his singer-songwriter side.

Garth Brooks, who lip synced during his performance because he said he didn't want to lose his voice, won Entertainer of the Year for a sixth time, beating out Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Church and Urban.

Other winners at the show included Miranda Lambert (Female Vocalist of the Year), Brothers Osborne (Vocal Duo of the Year) and Jon Pardi (new Artist of the Year). Campbell and Willie Nelson won Musical Event of the Year for 'Funny How Time Slips Away.'

Stapleton won male Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for his sophomore effort, 'From a Room: Volume 1.'

'I'm always humbled by getting these things,' said Stapleton, who thanked his wife Morgane, who is pregnant with twins and was in the audience.

'I want to thank my kids and my kids that are on the way,' he added.

The Country Music Association's (CMA) annual awards on Wednesday blended somber reflections on recent tragic events including the Las Vegas mass shooting, with show-stopping performances by top music stars and even a dose of political humor.

Eric Church opened the live three-hour broadcast from Nashville, which aired on ABC, with an a cappella rendition of the hymn 'Amazing Grace.'

Church was joined by Keith Urban and Darius Rucker, who led a roster of A-list country music stars including Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Reba McEntire and Luke Bryan in a stirring group performance of 'Hold My Hand.'

He sang about Trump tweeting 'from a gold-plated White House toilet seat.'

'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,' which drew cheers and applause, but fans' reaction on social media was divided.

Country music legend Garth Brooks was among the big winners, taking home the top award of Entertainer of the Year for a second straight year.

'We're a family,' Brooks said, echoing a sentiment repeated often throughout the ceremony.

Female Vocalist of the Year went to Miranda Lambert while Chris Stapleton was again named Male Vocalist of the Year.

Other honorees included Single of the Year, won by Urban for 'Blue Ain't Your Color,' and Taylor Swift's 'Better Man,' which won Song of the Year.

Jon Pardi won for New Artist, while Stapleton won Album of the Year for 'From a Room: Volume 1.'

Little Big Town took Vocal Group of the Year and Brothers Osborne were named Vocal Duo of the Year, both for a second consecutive year.

Country traditionally has been the favorite music of conservative white Americans and the Country Music Association had especially urged journalists not to ask about gun control in the wake of the latest mass shootings.

Underwood, surrounded by candles and her eyes moistening, sang the American gospel hymn 'Softly and Tenderly' as a screen flashed portraits of victims of the massacre, as well as country music stars who died in the past year. (Agencies)

List of winners at the CMAs

COMPLETE list of winners of Wednesday's Country Music Association Awards, held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee:

* Entertainer of the Year — Garth Brooks.

* Female Vocalist of the Year — Miranda Lambert.

* Male Vocalist of the Vocalist — Chris Stapleton.

* Album of the Year — 'From A Room: Volume 1,' Chris Stapleton.

* Song of the Year— 'Better Man,' Taylor Swift.

* Single of the Year — 'Blue Ain't Your Color,' Keith Urban

* Vocal Group of the Year — Little Big Town.

* Vocal Duo of the Year — Brothers Osborne.

* New Artist of the Year — Jon Pardi.

* Musical Event of the Year — 'Funny How Time Slips Away,' Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson

* Music Video of the Year — 'It Ain't My Fault,' Brothers Osborne.

* Musician of the Year — Mac McAnally (guitar).

By Mesfin Fekadu


CMA Awards highlighted by political, emotional moments - Brooks wins top award

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