The biggest country music stars should have been on the carpet at the Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday in Las Vegas, but like most of the United States, they were confined to their homes because of the coronavirus. Yet the musicians were playing, surrounded by spouses, children and – in one case – a horse.
“ACM Presents: Our Country”, a television program broadcast on CBS instead of the delayed award program, presented acoustic performances, special duets, clips from previous ACM Awards television programs and a tribute to the late country icon Kenny Rogers. Country artists from coast to coast shared the details of their lives at home, their hopes for the future and their best wishes for front-line emergency medical workers.
Keith Urban, host of the award show which will now air in September, started the special with an acoustic version of “Wasted Time” from his home studio, which he joked about feeling like his living room. The only thing missing was his wife and actress Nicole Kidman, who has been seen dancing in some Urban social media videos in recent times.
“Me, Nic, our daughters, we all say thank you to all the first responders out there, everyone in the health care field everywhere. Thank you very much, ”said Urban. “There are an insurmountable number of people who are on the front line and who risk so much for so many people.”
The three-part country band Lady Antebellum showed the new reality for many parents working at home when they were joined by their children in their performance of “What I’m Leaving For”.
Carrie Underwood, holding a glass of red wine sitting on a sofa, sang a aptly named song called “Drinking Alone”, ending with a “Cheers!” And a sip.
Canadian superstar Shania Twain had a small audience for her performance of “Honey, I’m Home” and “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”, which included a sleeping dog and a curious horse, which sometimes blocked the face of Camera twain.
The occasional performances were filled with impromptu little moments. Brad Paisley’s wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, acted as cameraman while Paisley and Darius Rucker played together by videoconference. Dierks Bentley’s footsteps on his porch in Colorado shook the camera and an off-camera crow yelled at him. Thomas Rhett’s home security alarm sounded in his video.
In the midst of the pandemic, the country music community was hit hard by the death of Rogers, who played “The Gambler,” as well as the deaths of Grand Ole Opry stars, Jan Howard, 91, and Joe Diffie. , who died at the age of 61 after contracting the virus. Folk country composer John Prine was hospitalized for symptoms of coronavirus.
Paisley and Rucker started the tribute to Rogers with a performance of “Lucille” and “The Gambler”, followed by Luke Bryan who sang “Coward of the County”. Lionel Richie, who wrote one of Rogers’ greatest hits, “Lady,” delivered the final memory of Rogers Night.
“Not only have we had a record of success, but I have found one of the best friends I have ever had in my life,” said Richie.
The artists also started new songs, including Eric Church, who played “Never Break Heart”, and Kane Brown and John Legend, who sang together via video call on their new duo, “Last Time I Say Sorry”.
“The important thing to remember is not to be afraid, to be brave and to endure,” said Church.
Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani planned to play their duo “Nobody But You” at the ACM Awards, but instead performed the song in front of a bonfire at their home in Oklahoma, wrapped in checkered and camouflage clothing.
Miranda Lambert was accompanied by a bubbling stream on her Tennessee farm in her performance of “Bluebird”.
“I want to remind everyone to take a look at your music,” said Lambert. “Lean on your guitars and pianos and your voices and let it heal you.” “