Our Favorite Moments of 2021 CMA Awards

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photo from CMA Awards/John Russell

Country music’s biggest night – the CMA Awards – took place at Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday night. The show was hosted by Luke Bryan, who was joined by his fellow American Idol judges Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.

Biggest Winner of the Night – Chris Stapleton

The Leipers Fork resident took home six awards, the biggest winner of the night. Male Vocalist of the YearAlbum of the Year (Starting Over, as artist and producer), Song of the Year (“Starting Over”), and Single of the Year (“Starting Over,” as artist and producer).

It was a night reminiscent of 2015 when Stapleton won four awards just after he released his debut album Traveller. At that award show, Stapleton and Justin Timberlake performed “Tennessee Whiskey” and Stapleton also appeared at Pilgrimage Festival in Franklin that year.

Stapleton is bringing his “All American Road Show” to Bridgestone Arena on December 10th, 2021 joined by his wife, Morgane.

Best Performance of the Night – Chris Stapleton and Jennifer Hudson

R-E-S-P-E-C-T goes to Jennifer Hudson. This was Jennifer Hudson’s first time at the CMA Awards where she performed a special collaboration with Chris Stapleton in celebration of Aretha Franklin’s life and career. The two performed “Night Life” and “You Are My Sunshine.” Willie Nelson wrote the song “Night Life” that Aretha covered in her 1967 album, Nelson shared in his autobiography that he sold the song for $150.

Best Acceptance Speech – Jimmie Allen

Jimmie Allen won “New Artist of the Year” but this was his second time to be nominated in this category. His first nomination came in 2020, at that time, he was the first Black artist in that category since Darius Rucker 11 years ago.

In his emotional acceptance speech, he thanked his family and his manager Ash Brown saying, “Ash found me playing at a writer’s round at Puckett’s grocery store in Franklin and signed me after 10 years of being here, living in my car, living in a trailer, working every job, this is amazing.”

Allen took to the stage where he performed “Freedom was a Highway” a song he recorded with Brad Paisley.

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