The 2017 CMT Awards Open With Straightforward, Music-Driven Tribute to the Late Gregg Allman

Wendy Geller
Senior Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

For those Nashville residents who needed a bit of a break from Predators madness this week, the 2017 CMT Awards provided a welcome respite on June 7, bringing Music City’s focus from hockey back to its main industry. The show’s opener was particularly instrumental, wasting no time in honoring one of music’s most recent and painful losses, that of the legendary Gregg Allman, who passed away May 27.

Country power trio Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, and Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley joined forces to to usher in the show without a word of commentary, launching immediately with Allman’s famous composition “Midnight Rider,” which was originally released by the Allman Brothers Band in 1971, and more successfully solo by Almann himself in 1973.

Making the tribute even more meaningful, guitar virtuoso and former Allman Brothers member Derek Trucks – whose uncle was a co-founder of the original band — provided a blazing guitar solo.

Derek Trucks, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, and Darius Rucker perform onstage during the 2017 CMT Music Awards at the Music City Center on June 6, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for CMT)

It’s unusual for music awards shows to start right off the bat with a memorial tribute — and even more so to provide one that allows the music to take the center stage sans any laudatory speeches. The overall effect was solid, striking, and ultimately uniquely respectful.

The 2017 CMT Awards were held live June 7 at Nashville’s Music City Center.