CMT Crowns New Artists Of The Year At Exclusive Bash

Pictured (L-R, Seated): Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line), Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line), Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan; (Front): Ron White

Pictured (L-R, Seated): Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw, Brian Kelley (Florida Georgia Line), Tyler Hubbard (Florida Georgia Line), Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan; (Front): Ron White

CMT paid tribute to some of the biggest acts of 2013 Tuesday night (Dec. 3) during its star-studded CMT Artists of the Year special. Each of the honorees was touted by industry members and peers through speeches and performances, and the wattage was high in the celeb-heavy Music City Center room for the 90-minute program.

First honoree Tim McGraw received his award from Dwight Yoakam. McGraw thanked wife Faith Hill and their three daughters, who were on hand for the special evening. He also acknowledged the younger generation of artists who he said inspire him in his own career. Lady Antebellum then took the stage to perform McGraw’s hit “Highway Don’t Care,” with surprise guest Peter Frampton joining on guitar.

Honoree Florida Georgia Line hit the stage with their performance of “Stay,” and then were presented their award by one of their idols, Alabama. The duo thanked radio, their peers for accepting them in Country music, and their fans for their loyalty and support.

Four-time CMT Artist Of The Year recipient Jason Aldean was saluted by Cassadee Pope and Travis Tritt, who came together to sing Aldean’s hit “Night Train.” Aldean received his award from Nashville star Hayden Panettiere and talked of the respect he holds for his fellow honorees and musicians in the room.

The youngest honoree of the evening, Hunter Hayes, took the stage next alongside special guest Pat Monahan from Train. The two performed a mashup of Hayes’ “I Want Crazy” and Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister.” Hayes was given his award by Frampton, telling the crowd how happy it makes him to be able to share his successes with those around him.

Two-time honoree Luke Bryan was the evening’s final recipient, receiving his award from close buddy Dierks Bentley. Bryan expressed gratitude to everyone who has helped him along the way, and swore he never intended to get so much attention for his rump-shaking. Bryan joined Lionel Richie to close out the evening on Richie’s hit songs “Oh No” and the crowd-favorite “All Night Long.”


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Category: Artist, Awards, Featured

About the Author

Hollabaugh, a staff writer at MusicRow magazine, has over 20 years of music business experience and has written for publications including American Profile, CMA Close Up, Nashville Arts And Entertainment, The Boot and Country Weekly. She has a Broadcast Journalism and Speech Communication degree from Texas Christian University, (go Horned Frogs), and welcomes your feedback or story ideas at

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