The Country Music Association Awards honored the victims of recent tragedies, including the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas, on Wednesday night.
The show started off with Eric Church singing “Amazing Grace” before giving way to a rendition of Hootie & the Blowfish’s uplifting “Hold My Hand” performed by several artists including Keith Urban, Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum, among many other country music stars.
Afterwards, host Carrie Underwood opened the show by saying, “Tonight we’re gonna do what families do, come together, pray together, cry together and sing together too.” Her co-host Brad Paisley said he felt the best way to honor the fans affected by the recent tragedies — including the terror attackin New York, the Vegas mass shooting, the shooting at a Texas church on Sunday and the recent hurricanes — was “with our music, loud and proud.”
“This year’s show is dedicated to those we’ve lost and those that are healing. We love you,” Paisley said.
Fellow country star Jason Aldean was performing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 when a gunman fired on the crowd from a hotel room at nearby Mandalay Bay. Fifty-eight people were killed and more than 500 were injured.
Later in the show, Underwood performed the church hymn “Softly and Tenderly” during the in memoriam segment, which paid tribute to country musicians who died this year, including Glen Campbell, Don Williams and Troy Gentry, as well as the victims of the Las Vegas shooting.
(Excerpt) Read More in: The Hollywood Reporter