Brooks big win­ner at the CMA

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Mes­fin Fekadu As­so­ci­ated Press Mu­sic Writer

Garth Brooks con­tin­ued his win­ning streak as en­ter­tainer of the year at the 2017 Coun­try Mu­sic As­so­ci­a­tion Awards, beat­ing out Luke Bryan and Keith Ur­ban.

Brooks, who has won the top prize six times, also beat Chris Sta­ple­ton and Eric Church at the Bridge­stone Arena in Nashville, Ten­nessee.

“We’re a fam­ily,” he said about the coun­try mu­sic com­mu­nity when ac­cept­ing the honor.

Car­rie Un­der­wood broke down while singing dur­ing the “In Memo­riam” sec­tion af­ter pho­tos of the 58 peo­ple who died at a coun­try mu­sic fes­ti­val in Las Ve­gas were shown. Lit­tle Big Town’s Kim­berly Sch­lap­man quoted Maya An­gelou when the four­some won vo­cal group of the year, while band­mate Karen Fairchild told the au­di­ence, “Kind­ness is an at­trac­tive qual­ity.”

While pay­ing trib­ute to Charley Pride, film­maker Tyler Perry said now is the time we have to all “find some com­mon ground.” And the show opened with a per­for­mance by Church, Ur­ban, Dar­ius Rucker and Lady An­te­bel­lum hon­or­ing the vic­tims of the re­cent mass shoot­ings, as well as the tens of thou­sands of peo­ple af­fected by hur­ri­canes in re­cent months.

Keith Ur­ban earned a rous­ing ap­plause when he de­buted a song called “Fe­male,” which he said was in­spired by the dozens of al­le­ga­tions of sex­ual as­sault and ha­rass­ment against Har­vey We­in­stein.

The CMA Awards also paid trib­ute to some of the genre’s bright­est stars who have passed away. Glen Camp­bell, who died in Au­gust, was hon­ored dur­ing a touch­ing per­for­mance of “Wi­chita Line­man” by Lit­tle Big Town and Jimmy Webb, who wrote the song.

Ras­cal Flatts and Dierks Bent­ley also paid homage to Troy Gen­try, one-half of the pop­u­lar coun­try duo Mont­gomery Gen­try, who died in a he­li­copter crash in Septem­ber. Eddie Mont­gomery later joined in for the per­for­mance of “My Town,” as some au­di­ence mem­bers sang along with tears in their eyes.

Tay­lor Swift won song of the year — awarded to song­writ­ers — for pen­ning Lit­tle Big Town’s No. 1 hit, “Bet­ter Man.” Swift re­leased her sixth al­bum, “rep­u­ta­tion,” re­cently.

Win­ners at the show in­cluded Mi­randa Lam­bert (fe­male vo­cal­ist of the year), Broth­ers Os­borne (vo­cal duo of the year) and Jon Pardi (new artist of the year). Camp­bell and Wil­lie Nel­son won mu­si­cal event of the year for “Funny How Time Slips Away.”

Chris Pizzello / AP

Garth Brooks ac­cepts the award for en­ter­tainer of the year at the 51st an­nual CMA Awards.

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