Garth Brooks named Dolly Parton the Goat of Country Music, Chris Stapleton won his first-ever Entertainer of the Year award and Lainey Wilson continued his rise to stardom at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Parton closed Thursday’s two-hour awards show with a rendition of his rock anthem “World on Fire,” from his upcoming rock debut. rock star. The song features lyrics such as “Don’t get me into politics / Now how are we gonna live in a world like this?”
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Fire erupted from the stage during the show, which featured a full band and 10 dancers.
“Country music’s rock star,” co-host Brooks said as he introduced the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and his fellow host.
Early in the night, Brooks cited names like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Charley Pride, George Strait, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis as he tried to pick the greatest of them all. time in the country. music.
“What makes up the GOAT? Picking, vocals, musicianship, awards…then you add the last category: career time/length. People, I’m not so sure the last one doesn’t make king of country music a woman,” he said. “That’s right, and that woman is in the house tonight, Texas. Give it up for the GOAT, Dolly Parton.
The icon strutted on stage at “9 to 5” with a goat. “Did I hear you say you were looking for a goat? Well, I’ve got your goat here, Garth,” she said with a laugh.
Parton also joked about the meaning of GOAT. “I saw you telling all these nice people online that I am your pass. Yeah. That is what he said. And that I’m also Trish’s pass. Hey, I just had a thought. I know why you’re doing that GOAT thing: I think it means “Garth arranged a threesome.”
The couple hosted the commercial-free show (without Amazon Prime Video programming commercials) from the Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.
Stapleton, who has won eight Grammy Awards, 15 ACM and 20 Country Music Association Awards, won the top prize for the first time. Stapleton has never won CMA Entertainer of the Year despite multiple nominations.
“Well, I’m shocked, really. By every measure imaginable, I don’t deserve this, but thank you,” he said. “I get up and play music. That’s what I try to do every night. I write songs and make records… I never thought of myself as someone who would win this award.
Stapleton then thanked his children and his wife, singer Morgane Stapleton, who was shocked when her husband’s name was called.
“My kids sitting at home, they’re giving a lot of my time, a lot of my wife’s time so we can do this,” he said. “It’s for them.”
Stapleton beat major artists to win the award, including last year’s winner Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen, who was named Male Vocalist of the Year but was had to withdraw from the awards ceremony. because of his vocal cord injury.
“We all know what it takes to win this award, to put in all that hard work. Winning it is one thing, being here not to get it has to kill it, so let’s all celebrate,” Brooks said in honor of Wallen.
Hardy and Wilson were the big winners of the night, taking home four prizes each. Together, they chose Music Event of the Year and Visual Media of the Year for the killer ballad “Wait in the truck,” which tells a story of revenge after domestic violence on a girl.
“Thank you all for resonating with this song, especially with this topic,” said Hardy, who was also named Songwriter of the Year.
“I didn’t want people to identify with this song, but it’s true, a lot of people do, so this one’s for all of you,” Wilson added.
The singer also won Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year for bell bottom country.
“For the little girls watching this – here it’s hard work. If you wanna be a dreamer, you better be a doer,” she said.
The night was filled with more passionate moments on stage. Old Dominion’s Matthew Ramsey delivered an emotional speech to audiences and viewers as his band won band of the year.
“I also know that there are people who are obviously hurting in the world right now, trying to figure out how to make sense of the division and the shootings and things like that. And there are people who are really hurting right now, and we’re always proud to be in a room full of country music fans and making music for those people, but most of all we’re proud to be able to make music for people who are hurting right now,” said Ramsey, who used a cane after fracturing his pelvis in three places in a mountain biking accident in March.
“So thank you for including us in this party and allowing us to make music for those in need. We will keep trying to do that, and thank you to my friends here for supporting me when I needed it,” he continued.
Cole Swindell had tears in his eyes when he won Song of the Year for “She Had Me at Heads Carolina,” which he co-wrote with Thomas Rhett and samples Jo Dee Messina’s 1996 hit “Heads Carolina, Tails California”. The song – which Swindell performed alongside Messina – also won single of the year.
“There’s a kid watching this tonight who’s going to be inspired by someone’s song and he’s going to follow it and chase the dream like we all did,” he said.
Genre artist Jelly Roll also let tears flow after giving a touching and heartfelt rendition of his song “Save Me,” which he performed with Wilson.
“I love you mate,” she said after the performance.
The War and Treaty, which made history as the first black duo nominated for Duo of the Year, also had a breakthrough performance and earned themselves a standing ovation. The married couple performed ‘Blank Page’ sitting face-to-face holding hands and delivering a soulful vocal – while staring in awe at the audience, including Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban.
“That’s what you want to do in music there,” Brooks exclaimed after the performance.
“It’s fantastic,” added Parton.
Ed Sheeran teamed up with Luke Combs to perform “Life Goes On”, a song about the death of his best friend Jamal Edwards, which helped the English singer launch his career. Rising singer Bailey Zimmerman wowed with a performance of his Top 10 pop hit “Rock and a Hard Place”; Hardy swayed so hard his hair stood up straight with static electricity to match his performance of “Truck Bed”; and Cody Johnson paid tribute to Willie Nelson, who turned 90 last month, with a performance of “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” which the icon and Waylon Jennings released in 1978. It topped the country charts and won the duo a Grammy.
Parton even burst into song, singing the traditional gospel anthem “Precious Memories” while remembering late country superstars Loretta Lynn and Naomi Judd, who passed away last year.
She also greeted Nelson, who appeared onscreen via video call. He thanked Parton for sending him flowers and asked Brooks if his gift was still on the way.
Nelson said: “Dolly got it right. I love all kinds of flowers, and plants too.
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