Dale Jr. appeared from his home in North Carolina to present the country superstar with the award.
“It’s great to be a part of the CMT Artists Of The Year show. I wish my buddy Luke Combs and I could be there tonight, but he’s here at my house helping the Dale Jr. Foundation raise money to support children and families in need,” Dale Jr. said via video.
He went on to praise Combs’ success throughout the past year as he listed out his various accomplishments.
“We love Luke and we love his music and boy, what a year he’s had. He landed his record-breaking, 14th consecutive No. 1 and he just finished headlining his first headlining stadium tour, selling out shows all over the country. Now, he’s going to take that live show all over the world, but his biggest success this year wasn’t the No. 1 hits. It was his child. Congratulations on being a new dad, Luke. Please welcome one of the 2022 CMT Artists Of The Year, Luke Combs.”
Combs appeared in the video clip and delivered a short, but sweet, acceptance speech.
“Dang, what’s up guys? Nashville I see you and CMT thank you so much for this. I love you guys,” he shared. “All the country music fans, my wife, my son, all my songwriting buddies, all the people on my team. I love you guys. Thank you so much!”
— CMT (@CMT) October 15, 2022
Following the award presentation, Combs’ future tour mate, Riley Green, performed “The Kind Of Love We Make” in his honor.
With his guitar in hand, Green took to the Schermerhorn Symphony Center stage and belted out the lyrics of the sultry country song.
“Let’s get some candles burnin’/ And some records turnin’/ All the lights down low/ Take it nice and slow/ The way your body’s movin’/ Keep doin’ what you’re doin’/ To me all night long/ Writin’ our love song/ Girl, I want it, gotta have it/ Let the passion take us to a higher place/ Makin’ the kind of love we make,” he sang.
“I get to sing in Luke Combs’ place tonight, so, no big deal,” Green shared ahead of the show. “I don’t have any big shoes to fill tonight. I hope I can do it justice, it’s awesome that he asked me to do it. Obviously, I’m a big fan of Luke. Excited about the opportunity and hope I can do it justice we’ll see.”
Riley Green will soon join Combs on the road for his 2023 World Tour.
The 2022 CMT Artists Of The Year celebrated the success Carly Pearce, Kane Brown, Cody Johnson, Luke Combs and Walker Hayes have seen throughout the past year.
Alan Jackson was honored as the CMT Artist Of A Lifetime. The prestigious honor, presented by Ram Trucks, was previously awarded to Randy Travis (2021), Reba McEntire (2019), Loretta Lynn (2018), Shania Twain (2016), Kenny Rogers (2015) and Merle Haggard (2014).
Lainey Wilson was named the 2022 CMT Breakout Artist Of The Year. Wilson is the fifth recipient of the award, following Mickey Guyton (2021), Ashley McBryde (2019), Kelsea Ballerini (2016), and Chris Stapleton (2015).
The 90-minute concert event featured performances from Jackson, Pearce, Johnson, Brown and Wilson. Hayes joined forces with Ciara for a never-before-seen performance of their “Y’all Life” remix. Riley Green also took the stage to honor Luke Combs.
A heartwarming tribute to the late Loretta Lynn, who passed away earlier this month at the age of 90, also took place during the star-studded event when her sisters, Crystal Gayle and Peggy Sue Wright, performed in her honor.
In addition to a star-studded list of performances, the show also included presenters: Chris Stapleton, Dan + Shay, Dustin Lynch, Rascal Flatts’ frontman Gary LeVox, Kelsea Ballerini, Yellowstone’s Kelsey Asbille, and Shane McAnally.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. appeared remotely from his annual Dale Jr. Foundation charity event in North Carolina to present Combs with his 2022 CMT Artists Of The Year award.
The 2022 CMT Artists Of The Year premiered on Friday, October 14 at 9/8c on CMT.