It was an emotional night as country music came together to celebrate the CMT Artists of the Year Awards. “Extra” Special Correspondent Alecia Davis was with Reba McEntire backstage after she received the Artist of a Lifetime honor.
The event also marked Kane Brown’s first public appearance since his close friend and drummer Kenny Dixon was killed in a car crash on Saturday. Kane dedicated his award to Kenny as he wiped away tears.
Reba said, “It was very special. What he has gone through, I can relate to, definitely.”
McEntire lost seven of her band members and her tour manager in a 1991 plane crash. She told Alecia, “When you go through it, you totally understand and you have more heart to give, so I can’t wait to hug his neck and say, ‘I know what you’re going through.’”
She got through it, she said, thanks to the country community. Remembering a call from Vince Gill, the singer told Alecia, “He said, ‘I’ll be there for you, buddy. I will be on that stage with you.’ Dolly Parton said, ‘You can have my band.’”
“Lots of love from family and friends got me through it," Reba continued, "and all the rest of the band and crew. There was two band members left over and my crew, they were tough. Some are still with me, so we've been down that long road together.”
She called the award show “different than any I have been to before,” explaining, “Number one, because Thomas Rhett said a prayer during the telecast, and I just absolutely thought that was the neatest and coolest thing in the world.”