Beyond the Basics at American Country Countdown Awards

Seven Highlights From the Acceptance Speeches

It took me a while to figure out what was happening Monday night (Dec. 15) on the American Country Countdown Awards.

Every time someone won, they were already onstage. What a cool coincidence, right?

But what that meant was that no one was apparently caught off guard in one of those I-really-didn’t-think-I’d-win moments. The winners seemed to have a chance to prepare a speech, so everyone had a really great one.

These were seven of the highlights:

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Kenny Chesney: “God gave me an incredible gift, and that gift was, He put a song in my heart, you know, and that song has taken me to places that I never dreamed it would.”

Reba McEntire: “Standing here tonight in Nashville, I think back to what it was like to be one of the new kids in town trying to make my name in country music. So as I look around this room at all of the talented young men and women doing such great work in country music today, I pray you have the chance to live a whole beautiful life making music for the people who give us the greatest job in the world — our fans.”

(Bonus Reba highlight: Watching Carrie Underwood and Caroline Bryan sing along with every word of her performance of “Fancy” with Miranda Lambert and Kelly Clarkson.)

Florida Georgia Line’s Brian Kelley: “I swear to God, Tyler and I started this thing in my Chevy Tahoe with a dream and a prayer of playing country music.”

Brett Eldredge: “First and foremost, thank you to the songwriters — the people that come here and work hard every day down on Music Row and write their lives away with a dream in their heart.”

Kip Moore: “This has been such a long hard grind for me. I wish I could etch so many names on this thing. It may be my name, but so many deserve this.”

Eric Church: “There’s a lot of people that think albums are a thing of the past in the world of the 99-cent sound bite. I will say albums matter more now than ever.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.