Hit songwriter turned star performer Chris Stapleton was the sensation of last night’s 49th annual Country Music Association (CMA) Awards, winning in all three of his nominated categories, including Male Artist of the Year. Miranda Lambert won Female Artist for the sixth year in a row and Luke Bryan took the event’s highest honour, Entertainer of the Year, for the second straight year.
A glittering night at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville played host to some powerful performances and unique duets, including the combination of Eric Church and Hank Williams Jr on ‘Are You Ready For The Country’ and John Mellencamp‘s version of his ‘Pink Houses’ hit with Keith Urban.
Stapleton was previously best known as the writer of countless country hits for the likes of Bryan, Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and George Strait; his song ‘If It Hadn’t Been Love,’ from his time as a member of the Steeldrivers, was covered by Adele on the deluxe edition of her 21 album.
His debut solo album Traveller was released by Mercury Nashville in May, when it entered the country chart at No. 2, and No. 14 pop. At the age of 37, the singer-songwriter from Lexington, Kentucky continued his remarkable year by winning Album of the Year and both Artist and New Artist titles.
One of the most memorable country hits of 2015, Little Big Town’s ‘Girl Crush,’ won Single of the Year, and the four-piece group were also named Vocal Group of the Year. Maddie & Tae, also nominated for Best New Artist, won in the video category for ‘Girl In A Country Song,’ and country-pop duo Florida Georgia Line were Vocal Duo of the Year. Urban’s ‘Raise ‘Em Up,’ featuring Church, was Music Event of the Year.
Multi-instrumentalist, writer and producer Mac McAnally continued his great CMA track record by winning Musician of the Year for the sixth time in a row and the eighth time in ten years.