Last Wednesday night (Oct. 16), CMT honored country music icon Reba McEntire with the Artist of a Lifetime award presented by Ram Trucks. Another country music treasure — Vince Gill — was there to hand the award to McEntire for her vast accomplishments in country music throughout the last four decades. She accepted the award during the Artists of the Year show that aired live from Nashville.
And paying tribute to her music during the ceremony were country trio Lady Antebellum doing “Is There Life Out There,” and Sam Hunt covering “Fancy.”
Country newcomer Tenille Townes was there at the event, as well, and in her video for CMT’s Night Out Nashville digital series, she shared how she remembers getting her first guitar when she was only 14, and how music then became an outlet for her. So on that night — to be at the show and meeting McEntire — Townes said it felt almost surreal. “It’s really something special to look at the people who’ve done the thing,” she said of the roomful of country stars, “and done it so well. And paved this path and this legacy of country music. And that’s what you set your eyes and your heart on, for sure.”
Townes also recalled being so inspired by the hard work of artists like McEntire who’d bring their shows through her small town in Alberta, Canada.
“This is me freaking out meeting Reba for the first time last night!!! What a legend,” Townes wrote in an Instagram post after the show. “She’s just as kind and radiant in person as imagined and pictures like this are sure something special to me. Hearing her speak and receive the Artist of a Lifetime Award last night was amazing…. to build a legacy in country music like she has and to have reached people in her way is something to dream towards.”
You can relive McEntire’s thoroughly genuine acceptance speech here:
Ram Trucks has been a sponsor of CMT’s Artists of the Year event since the first show in 2010, and has been the driving force behind the Artist of a Lifetime award for Merle Haggard (2014), Kenny Rogers (2015), Shania Twain (2016), Loretta Lynn (2018), and now McEntire.