The CMT Artists of the Year special is supposed to be all about honoring the year’s biggest stars, but Carrie Underwood chose to use her time to salute the songwriters behind her hits instead.
Taking the stage at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, Underwood looked stunning in a gold-leaf cocktail dress and matching jewels, but at least some of the attention had to go to the three backup signers behind her. Those ladies were the Grammy-winning hit makers known as the Love Junkies – Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose – co-writers of several Number One songs and also Underwood’s “Like I’ll Never Love You Again,” a delicate and moving deep cut off her 2015 Storyteller album. With a mandolin providing a fluttering heartbeat, the song came across like a snapshot of romantic perfection – a night that lasts so long two lovers run out of smokes and wine, but still have no intention of tearing themselves apart.
Underwood was one of five CMT-deemed “Artists of the Year,” alongside Florida Georgia Line, Thomas Rhett, Luke Bryan and Chris Stapleton.