The past few months have been heartbreakingly difficult for a plethora of reasons– senseless violence, natural disasters, the passing of legends. Country music stars and fans have felt the weight of these things immensely. That’s why CMT turned their Artists of the Year celebration into a night of hope and healing for country music and its fans. Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban and Chris Stapleton were all honored for their incredible accomplishments this year, but they also took several moments to address the tragic situations that seem to just keep happening.
The honorees opened up the show by each delivering a message to the fans.
Bryan: “Music can be so powerful and we’ve never needed it more than we do right now.”
Stapleton: “From Las Vegas to Puerto Rico, from Florida and Texas to Charlottesville and California, the entire nation is trying to process these devastating events. But on this night, one that we usually celebrate a year of music, we also want to celebrate a year of incredible human spirit. A spirit that we see in our fans every night.”
Brian Kelley: “The character of country music fans is obvious to us all. We see it all the time. When the natural disasters strike, you step up to lend a helping hand and open your hearts and wallets for those in need.”
Tyler Hubbard: “During tragedies like Las Vegas, so many people — from concertgoers to first responders who risked their own lives for total strangers — it’s in those moments, those acts of courage and heroism, that bring light to even the darkest times.”Also, Urban, 49, reminded the audience and viewers the true purpose of the night.
Urban: “In some small way tonight, we want to thank you for your resolve and perhaps lift your spirits just for a moment. We hope to remind you that everything we go through, we can get through when we stick together.”
Aldean: “We’ve been tested beyond our worst nightmares the past few months. Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to explain how some of us feel. But we have proven time and again in this country that we have the power to overcome anything that threatens our way of life or our freedom. We dedicate this night to you and to everyone who’s experienced loss or tragedy in the past few months. Like Keith said, we will get through this together.”