LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Country Music Association's (CMA) annual awards on Wednesday blended reflections on recent tragic events, including the Las Vegas mass shooting, with performances by top music stars.
Eric Church opened the live three-hour broadcast from Nashville, with an a cappella rendition of the hymn Amazing Grace.
Veteran hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood took the reins, with the latter declaring: "This has been a year marked by tragedy impacting countless lives, including so many in our country music family."
Underwood referenced mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas, fatal car attacks in New York and Virginia, plus deadly storms that hit Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
"Tonight," she proclaimed, "we're going to do what families do, come together, pray together, cry together and sing together, too."
Paisley then dedicated the 51st CMA Awards "to all those we've lost, and to all of those who are still healing. We love you, and we will never forget you".
On musical matters, Garth Brooks won the top award of Entertainer of the Year for a second straight year.
Female Vocalist of the Year went to Miranda Lambert while Chris Stapleton was again named Male Vocalist of the Year.
Other honourees include Single of the Year, won by Keith Urban for Blue Ain't Your Colour, and Taylor Swift's Better Man, which earned Song of the Year.