Luke Combs and Chris Stapleton Give Heartfelt Speeches on ‘CMT Artists of the Year’ {WATCH}

Chris Stapleton, Gabby Barrett, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini and Luke Combs were honored Wednesday night at the CMT Artists of the Year celebration. 

Mickey Guyton was recognized as the Breakout Artist of the Year and Randy Travis was named Artist of a Lifetime.

Luke got the ball rolling with his performance of his number-one hit, “Forever After All.”

Luke gave a heartfelt speech addressing his fellow honorees telling Chris Stapleton “everyone wants to be you, you’re so awesome man” and Randy Travis “to have a small fraction of the impact you’ve had on country music is incredible. 

Gabby sang her chart-topper “The Good Ones” accompanied by students from Nashville colleges.

Gabby said she didn’t feel like she deserved to be the room but we disagree!


Kane Brown used his moment in the spotlight to pay tribute to Artist of a Lifetime honoree Randy Travis with a version of Randy’s “Three Wooden Crosses.” 

and paid tribute to his late drummer in his acceptance speech.


Mickey Guyton was joined onstage by Yola to sing the title cut to Mickey’s new album, “Remember Her Name.”

She revealed that three years ago she felt like giving up on her career and her husband’s encouragement changed her life and purpose.


Kelsea Ballerini and the Jonas Brothers, who are on tour together, sang “A Little Help from My Friends” from their show in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Kelsea talked about moving to Nashville at 15 and talked learning to loosen her grip on what she thinks she wants and just enjoy the moment.

Chris Stapleton asked one of his favorite acts, Boyz II Men, to perform in his honor.

“Chris, you’re a real one man, straight up,” Boyz II Men told Stapleton before performing. “What you’ve done for music — not just country music but for music — is, you let us all know that soul, good singing and a heart of gold … is still very much prevalent in 2021.”

Chris then took the stage to tearfully accepted his award and talk about why it meant so much to him to be in the room last night.

Garth Brooks had the honor of presenting the Artist of a Lifetime Award to Randy saying, “If you’re like me, you pray that another Randy Travis shows up every day,”


And finally, Walker Hayes performed the ‘song of the summer’ to close out the show.