Chris Stapleton performs “Broken Halos” at “The 51st Annual CMA Awards,” live Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville and broadcast on the ABC Television Network. Photo Credit: John Russell/CMA
Chris Stapleton performs “Broken Halos” at “The 51st Annual CMA Awards. Photo By: John Russell/CMA

Last night, the stars of Kentucky were shining bright on stage during the 51st annual Country Music Association CMA Awards. Chris Stapleton showcased his vocal and instrumental talents, alongside his wife, Morgane, while singing “Broken Halos.” He would also gain two new trophies for his shelf. He won Best Male Vocalist for the third time. Stapleton won his second Album of the Year Award for “From A Room: Volume 1,” an album captured by producer Dave Cobb at historic RCA Studio A on Music Row, the place where so many classic Nashville records were cut. Stapleton won his first Album of the Year Award for his debut “Traveller” in 2015.

When he received the award for Album of the Year, Chris Stapleton spoke humbly. “Those were so many good records that just got mentioned. I’m always humbled by getting these things. I want to thank my wife so much, I want to thank my kids, and my kids that are on the way.”

Then when he took the award for Male Vocalist of the Year, Stapleton would go on to praise his fellow nominees. “Luke [Bryan] took me out when nobody had ever even heard of me, Eric [Church] took me out when nobody had ever even heard of me, Thomas [Rhett] wrote songs with me, Dierks [Bentley] wrote songs with me, and every one of those guys deserve this thing. I want to thank my wife. I couldn’t do anything I ever do without her,” Stapleton said.

Early in the show, Dierks Bentley and Rascal Flatts sang Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” in memory of Troy Gentry. Everyone cheered when Eddie Montgomery surprised everyone to sing the final verse and chorus, noting “Me and ole T-roy would love to show you around our town!” Tears were flowing for many in the crowd, including Troy Gentry’s wife, Angela, and daughter who were on hand for the night.

Dierks Bentley, Eddie Montgomery, and Rascal Flatts perform “My Town" in honor of Troy Gentry at “The 51st Annual CMA Awards." Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images
Dierks Bentley, Eddie Montgomery, and Rascal Flatts perform “My Town” in honor of Troy Gentry at “The 51st Annual CMA Awards.” Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images

Just outside Bridgestone Arena, Sturgill Simpson garnered a small gathering during a Facebook Live performance.  Click here to view. He joked about being a “struggling” country musician and he would take questions, but not song requests. He revealed that he would be doing 5 albums total, but later revealed that he would love to do an album of old bluegrass songs with fellow Kentuckians J.D. Crowe and Ricky Skaggs.  Nearby was his Grammy Award trophy inside his guitar case as he performed a few songs and answered questions from fans.

Needless to say, overall Kentucky music was shining bright over the flashy lights and rhinestones on display inside and outside of the CMA Music Awards in Nashville.

Jessica Bray has been a music journalist and historian for over 15 years. She enjoys providing concert photography, reviews, red carpet event coverage, and exclusive interviews of your favorite country music singers. She is a Kentucky Colonel, as well as a collector of Volkswagen and Gnome items.

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