One voice and one guitar — that’s all Chris Stapleton needed to bring down the house during the 2016 CMT Artists of the Year special. He performed “Whiskey and You,” which has also been recorded by Tim McGraw, Aaron Lewis, Julie Roberts and Jason Eady.
Fellow 2016 honoree Luke Bryan presented Stapleton his award, calling him “a throwback who fits into any era but who is helping define this one right here.”
When Stapleton accepted his trophy, he recalled the 2014 CMT Artists of the Year event where he filled in for Bryan at the last minute following the unexpected passing of Bryan’s brother-in-law, Ben Lee Cheshire. That night, Stapleton sang “Drink a Beer” with Lady Antebellum, and it was one of Stapleton’s first major appearances on national television.
“To be up here holding this it doesn’t feel like a real thing to be any kind of artist of the year,” he said during the CMT special that premiered Thursday (Oct. 20). “It really is a treat and a pleasure. Thank you very much.”
Before leaving the stage, Stapleton thanked his wife Morgane, his record label, management and his entire band and crew for their unwavering support and dedication to his career.
The 2016 CMT Artists of the Year special re-airs Friday (9:30 a.m. ET/PT), Saturday (6 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. ET/PT) and Sunday (12 p.m. ET/PT).