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Country Music Association Awards Honor Las Vegas Shooting Victims

Host Carrie Underwood, who panned the CMA's decision to avoid any mention of guns during Wednesday's award show, performed a hymn as the photos of all 58 victims from Las Vegas flashed on the screen.
Rick Diamond
Getty Images
Host Carrie Underwood, who panned the CMA's decision to avoid any mention of guns during Wednesday's award show, performed a hymn as the photos of all 58 victims from Las Vegas flashed on the screen.

This year's Country Music Association Awards were meant to provide healing for an industry shaken by the mass shooting at a country festival in Las Vegas last month. Last night's show (Nov. 8) paid tribute to the fans who became victims, but it also reinforced how few artists want to talk about the gun debate reignited by the tragedy.

The effort to avoid controversy was so great, the show even announced rules last week barring journalists from asking about guns or Las Vegas. After an outcry, it was quickly reversed and, last night, it was panned by host Carrie Underwood.

"I don't know if you've heard about this," Underwood said onstage, "but the CMAs has given us some 'guidelines'."

Still, the show bypassed any mention of guns. But Underwood did perform the Christian hymn "Softly and Tenderly" surrounded by an audience holding candles. Her singing turned to a whisper as the photos of all 58 victims from Las Vegas flashed on the screen. The song was followed by a moment of silence.

Yesterday, Ketch Secor, the lead singer of Old Crow Medicine Show and a former CMA nominee, called on his more mainstream brothers and sisters to speak up.

"You have to be made of iron to not look at Las Vegas and think something has got to change," Secor said. "These artists that are selling out arenas... many of whom are the very folks who have been so reluctant to talk about gun control. They can be the voice of reason that can help facilitate the conversation."

But it's a conversation almost no country musician wants to have.

Aaron Watson was one of the few artists on the CMA red carpet willing to speak his mind. He's on the roster of artists promoted by the National Rifle Association. Watson says bad people are going to find ways to do bad things, so he won't be campaigning for stricter gun laws.

"We live in a world today where if you say something, someone will hang you out to dry," Watson said on the carpet. "If I'm going to start doing some preaching and do some picketing, it'll be for our veterans, for our soldiers, for our school teachers and for babies. I mean, those are things that are dear to my heart."

As for the awards show, Miranda Lambert — who won female vocalist of the year for the seventh time — said it feels like artists are bound together like never before.

The full list of winners from the 2017 Country Music Association Awards:

Entertainer Of The Year:

WINNER: Garth Brooks
Luke Bryan
Eric Church
Chris Stapleton
Keith Urban

Single Of The Year:

WINNER: "Blue Ain't Your Color" — Keith Urban
"Better Man" — Little Big Town
"Body Like A Back Road" — Sam Hunt
"Dirt On My Boots" — Jon Pardi
"Tin Man" — Miranda Lambert

Album Of The Year:

WINNER: From A Room: Volume 1 -- Chris Stapleton
The Breaker — Little Big Town
Heart Break — Lady Antebellum
The Nashville Sound -- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
The Weight Of These Wings — Miranda Lambert

Song Of The Year:

WINNER: "Better Man" — Taylor Swift
"Tin Man" — Jack Ingram, Miranda Lambert, Jon Randall
"Dirt On My Boots" — Rhett Akins, Jesse Frasure, Ashley Gorley
"Body Like A Back Road" — Zach Crowell, Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally, Josh Osborne
"Blue Ain't Your Color" — Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey, Steven Lee Olsen

Female Vocalist Of The Year:

WINNER: Miranda Lambert
Kelsea Ballerini
Reba McEntire
Maren Morris
Carrie Underwood

Male Vocalist Of The Year:

WINNER: Chris Stapleton
Dierks Bentley
Eric Church
Thomas Rhett
Keith Urban

Vocal Group Of The Year:

WINNER: Little Big Town
Lady Antebellum
Old Dominion
Rascal Flatts
Zac Brown Band

Vocal Duo Of The Year:

WINNER: Brothers Osborne
Maddie & Tae
Florida Georgia Line
Dan + Shay

Musical Event Of The Year:

WINNER: "Funny How Time Slips Away" — Glen Campbell with Willie Nelson
"Speak to a Girl" — Tim McGraw, Faith Hill
"Setting the World on Fire" — Kenny Chesney (with P!nk)
"Kill A Word" — Eric Church featuring Rhiannon Giddens
"Craving You" — Thomas Rhett (feat. Maren Morris)

Musician Of The Year:

WINNER: Mac McAnally, Guitar
Jerry Douglas, Dobro
Paul Franklin, Steel Guitar
Dann Huff, Guitar
Derek Wells, Guitar

Music Video Of The Year:

WINNER: "It Ain't My Fault" — Brothers Osborne
"Vice" — Miranda Lambert
"Craving You" — Thomas Rhett (feat. Maren Morris)
"Blue Ain't Your Color" — Keith Urban
"Better Man" — Little Big Town

New Artist Of The Year:

WINNER: Jon Pardi
Brett Young
Old Dominion
Lauren Alaina
Luke Combs

Copyright 2017 WPLN News

Blake Farmer
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