Lainey Wilson, who was named the 2022 CMT Breakout Artist Of The Year, paid tribute to country music icon Alan Jackson in honor of his CMT Artist Of A Lifetime achievement with a special performance, presented by RAM.
Wilson honored Jackson with a performance of his award-winning hit “Don’t Rock the Jukebox,” a tune co-written by Jackson, Roger Murrah and Keith Stegall. The tune was released in April of 1991 as the lead single of his second studio album of the same name.
Prior to performing the tune, Wilson reflected on how Jackson has influenced her life and career and shared just how important he is to Country music.
“Alan Jackson means so many things to me and to the rest of the world. He is a legend. He is a storyteller. He is true to himself and has stayed true to himself and has paved the way,” Wilson shared. “I am originally from a little town in Northeast Louisiana called Baskin. I come from a family of hardworking folks. So, I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to sing and write country music even at 9-years-old. Knowing that he came from a tiny town like I did, those are the kind of things that gave me the confidence to go chase my dream.”
“There are so many reasons why Alan Jackson should be CMT’s Artist Of a Lifetime,” Wilson added before explaining, “He truly is the Artist Of A Lifetime from the way that he tells a story and the way that he writes a song, the way that he dresses… This is insane, and only Alan Jackson can do it.”
Click HERE to watch Wilson’s full tribute to Jackson.
Wilson also shared how Jackson’s song “Don’t Rock The Jukebox” has influenced her music.
“The entire chord progression of ‘Don’t Rock The Jukebox’ is one of my favorite chord progressions and I actually use it to write a lot of my stuff. Even a song of mine called ‘Workin’ Overtime,’ you know it’s just that boogy,” Wilson continued. “It’s just that boogy that is Country music and when I was writing that song that’s what it reminded me of. So, I can’t help but be influenced by Alan Jackson.”
The Yellowstone Season 5 cast member then became overcome with emotions as she shared, “to even be recognized alongside Alan Jackson is crazy. I’ve done a lot of this for myself and for my own dream, but also for my family, you know. Y’all believed in me and because y’all believed in me, so many other people started to believe in me and I’m getting to be recognized alongside Alan Jackson.”
Wilson also performed “Heart Like A Truck” and was honored at the CMT Artists Of The Year ceremony as the 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).
Introduced by Yellowstone’s Kelsey Asbille, Wilson accepted the prestigious honor while wearing a mustard yellow floral bell-bottoms ensemble and hat.
“Haha! Long way from the camper trailer days. I moved here in a flagstaff 20 foot camper trailer. Was known as the camper trailer girl, but I was fine with it as long as people knew me,” Wilson began. “All I have ever wanted is a chance and I’m looking around the room right now and probably a lot of people watching this too. Whether you let me play your bar. Whether you sat down and wrote a song with me. Whether you took a meeting with me and passed on me. It don’t matter, I still took that as a chance and I saw a better moment.”
She went on to dedicate her award to her family and father, who recently returned home from an extensive hospital stay.
“Country music is truly my life. This one right now is, it goes to my family. My family has been going through a really hard time the last few months, my deddy has been in the hospital,” Wilson continued. ”He actually came home today. So thank y’all so much for real, I feel like every single person in the crowd right now, I’m looking around. It just seems like y’all are my family here in Nashville and this is a dream come true, and we’re just getting started. Let’s go!”
Congratulations, Lainey! 🙌 pic.twitter.com/j9Pfo4k39h
— CMT (@CMT) October 15, 2022
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).
The 90-minute concert event featured performances from Jackson, Pearce, Johnson, and Brown. 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.