It was a big night for Miranda Lambert at the 48th annual Country Music Association Awards, presented Wednesday night in Nashville, Tennessee.
Lambert went into this year’s Country Music Association Awards race with nine nominations, more than any other contender. The 30-year-old superstar took home the night’s first trophy, Single of the Year for the song “Automatic.” She also beat out Luke Bryan, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church and Keith Urban in the Album of the Year category for “Platinum.” Lambert collected her fifth consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year trophy, passing Reba McEntire and Martina McBride for most wins in that category. While accepting the award, she spoke about being a role model for other female singers and songwriters in Country music.
“I don’t even know what to say. I just can’t believe that I’m standing here," she said. "I can’t believe this is my life, this is what I get to do for a living, this is my job. Thank you fans for that. I just appreciate what God allowed me to do in my life. Thank you so much for letting me live my dream and for believing in my art. It means the world to me. To all the other amazing female artists out there, female vocalists, female songwriters, [I’m] trying to represent for you girls. Thank you so much. I love you.”
Lambert shared her fourth CMA Award with Urban. Their duet “We Were Us” won for Musical Event of the Year.
The Song of the Year statue went to Kacey Musgraves for her Top 10 Country hit “Follow Your Arrow.” Kacey explained to the audience what makes a Country song relevant to listeners.
“Oh my goodness. Do you guys realize what this means to Country music? I’m so honored, and by the way, I wrote this song with Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally," she said. "Thank you guys for writing with me. I think I can speak for all of us when I say this award means so much because our genre was built on simple, good songs about real life and that’s what this was. It’s because of the fans and the people that connected with it that spread it and took it farther than I ever thought it could be. So, thank you so much.”
The Male Vocalist of the Year award went to Blake Shelton for the fifth year in a row. Shelton gave special thanks to an artist who has never won a CMA award that he credits as one of his biggest musical inspirations.
“I could not be more proud to win this award tonight. This means so much to me," he said. "This is a big night for my family, so this is amazing to be a part of this. I want to say thank you to Warner Brothers Records, Starstruck Management, my wife Miranda Lambert, Country radio and Country fans. They put a book under our seats before this show and it tells who all the past winners of CMA’s are. I saw tonight that my all-time hero has never won one of these so I want to dedicate this award tonight to my hero Earl Thomas Conley. This one right here is for you brother. Thank you all so much. I love you all. Thank you.”
Other winners included Brett Eldredge, named New Artist of the Year; Little Big Town, Vocal Group of the Year for the third consecutive year; Florida Georgia Line, Vocal Duo of the Year for the second straight year; Dierks Bentley, Music Video of the Year for “Drunk On A Plane;” and guitarist Mac McAnally, who took home his sixth consecutive CMA Award for Musician of the Year.
Also during the live telecast, legendary singer-songwriter Vince Gill was presented with the Irving Waugh Award in recognition of his “historic impact on Country music.” The award has only been given out once before, to the late Johnny Cash.
“I look around this room [and] I see a lot of young people," he said. "A lot of you might not know who Irving Waugh was. He was a great man who lived until he was 94 years old. He’s the reason the CMA’s ever wound up on television. When I first heard of the opportunity to host these awards all these years ago, I heard what Irving said about me. He simply said, ‘Vince Gill is a fine specimen of a man.’ He was a gentleman’s gentleman. And, something a young gentleman can do is learn from an old gentleman how to be a better gentleman. Irving Waugh epitomized that so beautifully.”
Luke Bryan won his very first CMA Award, the night’s top honor, Entertainer of the Year. In an emotional speech, Bryan thanked his late brother and sister and the many fans who support him.
“I have some angels in heaven. My brother and sister are up there making this night possible for me," he said. "To everybody in my world that’s put this moment in my life together. These fans, these Country music fans, thank you so much. We’re going to have a good time tonight. Thank you.”