Award shows are usually full of envelopes tearing, followed by trophy presentations and emotional acceptance speeches.
But the only moment the 2017 CMT Artists of the Year honorees spoke as a group live onstage at Wednesday’s (Oct. 18) show was during the opening monologue.
One by one, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Keith Urban each paid homage to country music fans’ unwavering dedication to the genre and spoke about the healing power of music following the deadly hurricanes, natural disasters and the violence at the Route 91 Harvest music festival, which have all rocked the nation this fall.
That night, the audience in the house at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center wanted to applause after every line the artist read from the teleprompter. The final person to speak was Aldean, the artist who was onstage at Route 91 in Las Vegas when the gunfire erupted, killing 58 fans and injuring 489 others.
“We’ve been tested beyond our worst nightmares the past few months,” he said. “Heartbroken doesn’t even begin to explain how some of us feel. But we have 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 has experienced loss or tragedy in the past few months … We will get through this together.”