Moving Tributes Highlight 2016 ACM Honors
Seven impressive tributes to artists and songwriters made Tuesday night's (Aug. 30) 2016 ACM Honors a memorable one. Dierks Bentley, Kelsea Ballerini, Maren Morris and Cam with Alicia Keys were just a few of the night's standouts.
The creme de la creme of country music stepped out to celebrate the honorees and off-camera winners from the ACM Awards, held in April of this year. Stars like Luke Bryan, Dan and Shay, the Statler Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Tanya Tucker and Thomas Rhett walked the green carpet prior to the event, held inside Nashville's Mother Church, the Ryman.
Maren Morris gave the first tribute to Tucker, who was receiving the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. Morris sang "Delta Dawn" before Tucker accepted, joking, "I never thought of myself as a pioneer, so I left my covered wagon at home."
The Statler Brothers and Crystal Gayle were other recipients of that award. Chris Young joined Dan + Shay for "Flowers of the Wall" to honor the Statler Brothers, while Ballerini sang a flawless cover of "Don't That Make My Brown Eyes Blue" for Gayle, who was so impressed, she said, "I don't think I'm going to sing that song anymore. Kelsea, that was beautiful."
Bentley honored Ross Copperman, who was named Songwriter of the Year. The star sang "Freedom" and surprised the Ryman audience with four ACM Lifting Lives campers.
But Cam's performance with pop powerhouse Keys may have been the tribute of the night. With the blonde country singer on guitar and Keys on piano, they performed Little Big Town's "Girl Crush," which earned a standing ovation. Then, they presented LBT with the Crystal Milestone Award, and the band was in awe.
"I don't think I wanna sing that song again," Jimi Westbrook said before his wife admitted she wanted to jump up and join them.
Another highlight was Emmylou Harris presenting a choked up Miranda Lambert with the first-ever Merle Haggard Spirit Award. Lambert accepted graciously, remarking, "He's the reason I write songs."
The show concluded with a tribute to Glen Campbell.
"We all admire Glen for the courageous battle he's waging with Alzheimer's," Blake Shelton told the crowd. Shelton, Bentley, Keith Urban and Toby Keith each performed a song for a Campbell medley before coming together for "Rhinestone Cowboy." The legend's children, Ashley and Shannon, also played in the band to honor their father.
The 10th annual ACM Honors will air at 8PM on Sept. 9 on CBS, hosted by Lady Antebellum.