Wednesday, November 4, 2015
– Luke Bryan won the biggest award of the evening - Entertainer of the Year - at the Country Music Association awards, but the night belonged to Chris Stapleton, who had a huge night, winning three awards.
"Thank you Lord. Thank you Jesus. Thank you everyone in heaven looking out for me," Bryan said.
"What an amazing night of music,' Bryan said. "Watching Chris Stapleton having this (kind of) night of music is so uplifting to me."
Bryan then thanked fans, country radio, his drivers, management and others. "This is the best business in the world," he said. "I love you country music. I love you fans. I love you baby."
Stapleton, who released his debut solo disc in May, was the big surprise winner of the night. "Whew," Stapleton said after taking the Male Vocalist of the Year award. "I've having a big party tonight."
"About two years ago, I lost my dad, and I made this record thinking a lot about the music he would liked. He would have liked to seen this," he said looking at the glass award he was holding in his left hand.
"This is an unbelievable thing to me, and I'm not going to take it lightly," he said.
He thanked his wife, "She always pushes me to be the best that I can be," he said,while thanking other family members. "I got to think six people watching me in a bar somewhere...Maybe we'll play some big ones...thank you very much. I don't know what to say."
In a big surprise, Stapleton won Album of the Year for his debut, "Traveller." ""This is unbelievable, I don't know what to think," said Stapleton, who was going up against Kacey Musgraves, Jason Aldean's "Old Boots, New Dirt," Little Big Town's "Pain Killer" and Kenny Chesney's "The Big Revival" also were nominated.
Stapleton also won the New Artist honor over Thomas Rhett, Sam Hunt and Maddie & Tae.
Little Big Town won the Duo of the Year award, while Mac McAnally, a guitarist, took the Musician of the Year.
""I'm a lucky man to be in Music City to get to strum up and down with the guys I'm nominated with," McAnally said. " So many great players in town, it's the best pool of musicians in the world and I'm a tadpole that's happy to be here. Thank y'all very much, thanks CMA for recognizing the musicians behind the corners sometimes. God Bless."
"Eight years in a row I've been honored by my fellow pickers and by the CMA. Unbelievable especially if you know my work. Truly humbling. Thanks all!"
"Girl Crush,' the hit single by Little Big Town won Single of the Year and Song of the Year for its writers Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey and Lori McKenna.