It was a night of celebration at the CMT Artists of the Year awards as artists from the country music community were honored for their remarkable success in the past year. It was also a night of introspection that Thomas Rhett recognized with grace and prayer.
Among the recipients of an “Artist of the Year” trophy was Kane Brown. Still mourning the passing of his longtime friend and drummer, Kenny Dixon, who had passed away in a recent car accident, Kane stepped on stage embracing Chris Young who presented his award. Obviously emotional, he tearfully remembered his friend. “I want to dedicate this to my drummer, Kenny,” he said. “He started with me coming out of Chattanooga off Facebook. People didn’t think we would make it. He was with me the whole time.”
Later in the show, Thomas Rhett stepped up to the microphone to accept his own Artist of the Year trophy, and after thanking CMT, he quickly directed everyone’s thoughts back to Kane.
Looking at the audience at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony Center, he asked, “I don’t know if this is very conventional, but can I just pray, really fast? Is that okay with everybody?” Thomas then began, “Father God, we love you so much. Loss is something that we can’t comprehend, and so right now I pray that you would be with Kane and his family and his drummer Kenny and his family, and bring them peace that only you know how to bring somebody. Thank you for this night. God bless country music. We love you, Jesus. And in your name we pray. Amen.”
At the end of the evening, Reba McEntire took the stage to accept the Artist of a Lifetime award from Vince Gill and she addressed Thomas Rhett’s incredible gesture.
“Thomas Rhett, God bless you for praying in front,” she said. “You’re special, you’re special. That took guts, but as you said, you said, ‘That might not be aired on this,’ but He knows it better be aired. It better make the cut because that’s what we need in our life, a little more God. We’ve got to give this world back to God.”
That’s country music — taking us to church.