Garth Brooks named Dolly Parton the GOAT of country music, Chris Stapleton won his first entertainer of the year and Lanny Wilson continued his rise to stardom at the 2023 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Parton closed the two-hour award show on Thursday with a performance of her rock anthem “World on Fire,” which was taken from her upcoming rock debut Rock Star, The song's lyrics read, “Don't get me started on politics/How can we live in a world like this now?”
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The stage caught fire during the performance, which featured a full band and 10 dancers.
“The rock star of country music,” said co-host Brooks as he introduced the rock and roll hall of famer and fellow host.
At the beginning of the night, Brooks tried to select the greatest of all time in country, listing names such as Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Buck Owens, Charley Pride, George Strait, Keith Whitley and Randy Travis. Did. music.
“What makes a goat? Selections, singing, music, awards… Then you add the last category: career time/length. People, I'm not sure that last one doesn't make the king of country music a woman,” He said. “That's right, and that lady is in the house tonight, Texas. Leave it to the goat, Dolly Parton.
Icon strutted on stage with a goatee to “9 to 5”. “Did I hear you say you were looking for a goat? Well, I've got your goat right here, Garth,” she said laughing.
Parton also joked about the meaning of GOAT. “You saw all those nice people online saying I'm your hall pass. Yeah. That's what he said. And I'm Trish's hall pass, too. Hey, I just had an idea. I know you're a goat.” Why it's working: I think it stands for ‘Garth Organized a Threesome'.”
The pair hosted a commercial-free show (amazon Prime video programming without 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 award for the first time. Stapleton has never won Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs, despite multiple nominations.
“Well, I'm shocked, really. I don't deserve it by any conceivable metric, but thanks,” he said. “I stand up and I play music. That's what I try to do every night. I write songs and I make records… I never thought of myself as someone who would win this award. Will win.
Stapleton thanked his children and wife, fellow singer Morgan Stapleton, who was shocked to hear her husband's name being called.
“My kids are sitting at home, they're taking up 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 out major acts to take home the award, including last year's winner Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Kane Brown and Morgan Wallen, who was nominated as Male Vocalist of the Year, but did not appear at the awards show. Had to get out. due to his vocal cord injury.
“We all know what it takes to win this award, to work for it all. It's one thing to win it, to be here not to achieve it would certainly be killing it, so let's all Celebrate,” said Brooks in honor of Wallen.
Hardy and Wilson were the big winners of the night, each winning four awards. Together, they picked up Music Event of the Year and Visual Media of the Year for the murder ballad “Wet in the Truck”, which tells the story of a girl seeking revenge after domestic violence.
“Thank you everyone for resonating with this song, especially for something of this subject,” said Hardy, who was also named artist-songwriter of the year.
“I didn't want people to relate to this song, but it's true, a lot of people do, so this one's for all of you,” Wilson said.
The songstress also won Female Vocalist of the Year and Album of the Year bell bottom country,
“For little girls watching this – it symbolizes hard work right here. If you are a dreamer you better be a doer,” she said.
The night was filled with more emotional moments on stage. Old Dominion's Matthew Ramsey gave an emotional speech to the audience and spectators when his band won Group of the Year.
“I also know that there are obviously hurt people in the world right now who are trying to figure out how to explain the divisiveness, and the shootings, and things like that. And there are people who are just are really hurting, and we're still proud to be in a room full of country music fans and making music for those people, but we're most proud to be making music for the people who are hurting right now, said Ramsay, who has been using a cane after fracturing his pelvis in three places in a March ATV accident.
“So thank you for including us at this party, and thank you for allowing us to make music for people who need it. We will continue to try and keep doing this and I'm here to support you when you need it.” Let's thank friends.
Cole Swindell was in tears for “She Had Me at Head's Carolina”, which he co-wrote with Thomas Rhett and samples Joe Di Messina's 1996 hit “Head's Carolina, Tell's California”. The song – which Swindell performed with Messina – also won Single of the Year.
“A kid watching this tonight is going to be inspired by someone's song and they're going to follow it and chase dreams like we all have,” he said.
Genre-bending artist Jelly Roll also gave a heartwarming performance of her song “Save Me,” which she sang with Wilson.
“I love you buddy,” she said after the performance.
The War and Treaty, who made history as the first black duo to be nominated for Duo of the Year, also performed brilliantly and earned a standing ovation. The married couple performed “Blank Page” while sitting down, facing each other, holding hands and providing soulful vocals – while onlookers including Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban looked on in awe.
Brooks said after the performance, “That's what you want to do in music right there.”
“It's fantastic,” Parton said.
Ed Sheeran joins forces with Luke Combs to perform “Life Goes On,” a song about the death of his best friend Jamal Edwards, who helped launch his career. Rising singer Bailey Zimmerman impressed with a performance of her Top 10 pop hit “Rock and a Hard Place”; Hardy rocked out so hard that his hair stood straight with static electricity to match his performance of “Truck Bed”; And Cody Johnson honored Willie Nelson, who turned 90 last month, with a performance of “Mommas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys,” which was released by Icon and Waylon Jennings in 1978. It topped the country charts and won the duo a Grammy.
Parton also broke into song, singing the traditional gospel hymn “Precious Memories”, remembering the country's departed superstars. Loretta Lynn And Naomi JuddWho died last year.
He also did a shout-out to Nelson, who appeared on-screen via video call. He thanked Parton for sending him flowers and asked Brooks if her gift was still on the way.
Nelson said, “Dolly did fine. I love all kinds of flowers and plants.”
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