CMT’s Artists of the Year special honored relative upstarts like Cody Johnson, Carly Pearce, and Lainey Wilson earlier this week in Nashville, but it was Alan Jackson, the show’s Artist of a Lifetime recipient, who showed them all how it was done.
Jackson, a Country Music Hall of Fame member, closed out the evening with a spirited performance of his Southern party anthem “Chattahoochee.” Introduced by Chris Stapleton and punctuated by Jackson’s signature vocal tics and sprightly fiddle, the rendition had his fellow honorees on their feet. Kane Brown seemed to be particularly digging it, with the ”Grand” singer mouthing all the words.
The other CMT Artists of the Year mostly performed their own songs: Brown sang “Like I Love Country Music,” Pearce turned in “29,” Johnson offered “Human,” and Walker Hayes was joined by Ciara for “Y’all Life.” Luke Combs was honored by Riley Green with a rendition of “The Kind of Love We Make.” Breakout Artist of the Year recipient Lainey Wilson offered “Heart Like a Truck.”
Taping a week after the loss of Loretta Lynn, Artists of the Year enlisted Tanya Tucker, Martina McBride, and Lynn’s sisters Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue Wright to pay tribute to the legend, who died Oct. 4 at 90.
CMT Artists of the Year premieres Friday, Oct. 14, at 9 p.m./ET on CMT.