The 2016 50th Annual CMA Awards Show was an unforgettable night in history marking 5 decades of incredible Country Music in the making with the song, FOREVER COUNTRY, which debuted at #1 on the charts worldwide, and with over 40 million views online to mark the historic event. 30 Country Music artists collaborated on the epic song and "time capsule", FOREVER COUNTRY, to commemorate country music at it's best! The 3 song arrangement includes three classic country music hits: John Denver's "TAKE ME HOME', Willie Nelson's "ON THE ROAD AGAIN", and Dolly Parton's "I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU".
With the return of Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood hosting the event, the #CMAawards50 promised a night of entertainment with a few surprises along the way! The show opened the first 10 minutes with a collaboration of legendary songs with performers in attendance such as: Roy Clark, Charlie Pride, Charlie Daniels, Tanya Tucker, Olivia Newton-John, Dwight Yoakam, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Reba, Alan Jackson, Alabama, The Oakridge Boys, Randy Travis, Clint Black, Garth Brooks, Ben Haggard.. Merle's son, Kenny Chesney, Brooks and Dunn, Tricia Yearwood, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw.
The Country Music Hall of Fame recognizes country music artists for their outstanding contributions to country music with it's highest honor. The 2016 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees this year were: Mr. Charlie Daniels inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as "Veterans Era Artist", Mr. Randy Travis inducted as "Modern Era Artist", and Mr. Fred Foster was inducted into the "Non-Performer" category making a lifetime total of 130 inductee members. Congratulations to each of you; you are truly an inspiration to us all! An onstage tribute to Merle Haggard was presented by his son, Ben Haggard. and a tribute to Randy Travis was done in honor of his lifetime achievement of musical success.
Dolly Parton was honored with the prestigious WILLIE NELSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMNET AWARD on this special night of the #CMAawards50. This award is bestowed upon "an iconic artist who has attained the highest degree of recognition in Country Music....an artist who has achieved both national and international prominence and stature through concert performances, humanitarian efforts, philanthropy, record sales, and public representation at the highest level'. . Reba, Jennifer Nettles of Dolly's movie, "COAT OF MANY COLORS", along with Pentatonix, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride performed a montage of songs opening with Dolly's hit song," JOLENE"," 9 TO 5", and "I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU" I had to jump over to Dolly's Facebook page and found this tidbit of info about Dolly... "At tomorrow's #CMAawards50 I will accept the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. Looking back, my career really started when I was thirteen and had recorded my very first song. In many ways "PUPPY LOVE" was the start of this whole journey"-Dolly. On stage Dolly accepted her award from long-time friend and co-star from the movie "9 to 5", Ms. Lilly Tomlin calling Dolly "one of the greatest artists in the history of Country Music". Dolly is quoted as saying during her acceptance speech, "To be receiving the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, well, this is an absolute HIGH for me!".
Congratulations Dolly, you're my hero!!
Also receiving an award on November 2nd at the CMA's was Kenny Chesney who was honored with the prestigious Pinnacle Award recognizing his lifetime achievement of Country Music and songwriting, and his impact on Country Music traditions through the years. Peyton Manning, pro-football player and long time friend of Chesney's, presented the award to Chesney which "recognizes an artist who has achieved global prominence and record sales at levels unique in Country Music" and has reached the "pinnacle of success" in his musical endeavors. Mr. Chesney is the 3rd only recipient of this award and joins ranks with Garth Brooks and Taylor Swift, number 1 and 2 recipients, respectfully. With 17 albums, 29 No.1 songs, Chesney has played to 135 sold out stadiums, and has become the ONLY Country Music artist on Billboard's Top 10 Touring Acts of the last 25 years! Mr. Chesney accepted the well deserved Pinnacle Award with a standing ovation from the CMA crowd and was moved to tears as he humbly stated in his acceptance speech, "Standing up here in this spot tonight, looking out at a lot of my friends and heroes that have touched my life in so many ways. Your music and your songs showed me it was possible... I want to thank the CMA for such an unbelievable honor. When I think about what this means to me, it means connection with a lot of people that have invested a lot of their life in my music and what we do. To those fans out there, who we call NO SHOES NATION, I want to thank you for allowing me and my band, and my road family, to hold your lives in the palm of our hand for a little while. Thanks for giving me an amazing life."- Kenny Chesney.
Bringing the house down with such song performances as: Brooks and Dunn with Jason Aldean singing, "BRAND NEW MAN", Alan Jackson and George Strait, "REMEMBER WHEN", Tim McGraw, "HUMBLE AND KIND", Chris Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam performing "SEVEN SPANISH ANGELS", Miranda's "VICE", Garth and Trisha collaborating on some of the greatest songs in Country Music history starting with Johnny Cash & June Carter's "JACKSON", Kelsea Ballerini's AWESOME performance of "PETER PAN", Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley and Elle King, Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Georgia-Florida Line, and the Dixie Chicks featuring Beyonce' were just a few of the nights performances and highlights. It was a night to remember and one that will go down in the history books marking 50 years of Country Music achievements and legendary music!
A special thanks to The Country Music Association, it's ABC affiliates, and to Country Music News International for letting me be a part of this momentous night!
Cc: pdh/Country Music News International Nov. 8, 2016