The CMT Artists of the Year bash on Tuesday celebrated Nashville’s brightest and biggest stars, but there was one star in particular that was on everybody’s mind – Luke Bryan.
The tragic death of his brother-in-law Ben Lee Cheshire this weekend kept Bryan from attending; he opted instead to stay with his family in Georgia. But his country music family had the CMA Entertainer of the Year in their hearts and prayers.
The most touching moment of the night came courtesy of Lady Antebellum and songwriter Chris Stapleton, who moved members of the audience to tears with their poignant, acoustic performance of Bryan’s song “Drink a Beer,” which honors his late brother and sister.
“Family comes first, and Luke’s family faced a tragic loss this weekend with the death of his brother-in-law Lee. So tonight, we are performing a song that’s very special to Luke, with the writer and one of the best singers in Nashville, Chris Stapleton,” said Lady A’s Charles Kelley. “Luke, we’re thinking of you and love you,” added Hillary Scott.
It was a moment that was not lost on the grieving singer, who Tweeted, “That was amazing. Truly. Thank you Charles, Dave, Hillary and Chris! Beautiful!!! Thank you fans for your love.”
See the emotional performance here: