Luke Bryan says Chris Janson “crushed” his performance at the 2021 ACM Honors ceremony.
The country superstar and ACM award winner paid tribute to the late Curly Putman with a cover of George Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today” on Wednesday (Aug. 25) during the 2021 ACM Honors award ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee at The Ryman Auditorium. Janson, wearing a black cowboy hat, performed the iconic hit with the house band at the honors ceremony.
Putman was honored alongside Loretta Lynn and Gretchen Peters with the ACM Poet’s Award.
“Oh this is an awesome moment, thank you guys! Our next Poet’s Award honoree is an Alabama native, who was never afraid to get emotional with a song or his lyrics, the late Curly Putman,” Janson told the capacity crowd ahead of his performance. “He penned classic hits in the 1980s, the 1990s and so many artists got their career started with the help of a songwriting wizard.”
Watch Janson’s performance below.
Following a massive standing ovation, Janson praised Putman’s songwriting talents and how honored he was to accept the award on behalf of the late country songwriter.
“Any country music singer for that matter and especially the traditional country music singers here tonight will tell you that is nerve-wracking as hell. I’m so grateful and listen guys… It’s more than an honor to me personally to be making an acception for this award on behalf of the remarkable Curly. But ladies & gentleman I know his son Troy, by the way he’s with us tonight with a round of applause please. We’re both honored, we’re all honored. His contribution to Country music is gonna live on forever, it’s always going to be remember and it plays on through the years.”
Janson then recalled the moment his songwriting career started on Music Row in a co-write with Bobby Braddock and Putman.
“I also want to say when I was 19-years-old, I was fresh out of Tootsies Orchid Lounge and I got my first writing appointment on Nashville’s Music Row and I walked in to a smokey-filled room at the Sony Fire Hall, and there was a bunch of older gentleman sitting there, white Reebox, shirts tucked in, cowboy hats with feathers,” Janson recalled.
Janson continued, “You know who I just described? I described Curly, I described Max Barnes, and I described Jerry Chestnut. And I walked in there and I saw pictures of all the country greats and all the country great heroes and the hero songwriters. At 19-years-old I had no idea what I was walking into except man if this is what the life is like it is cool as hell. These guys are drinking beer at 9 o’clock in the morning, they already went through one pack of Marlboro Reds and they don’t say hi. I walked on through and I said ‘hey guys.’ I walked through to the back to my first co-write on Music Row with the co-writer of that great song Bobby Braddock and that’s where my songwriting career started right then. Thanks for letting me sing together and thank you Curly.”
A day after his epic performance, Janson expressed how grateful he was to get to pay tribute to Putman with his performance on the Jones’ classic.
“So grateful to stand and honor Curly Putman last night and his ACM Poet’s Award at the #ACMHonors for his and Bobby Braddock’s songwriting behind ‘He Stopped Loving Her Today.’ Such a grand night celebrating everyone in the country music world,” Janson shared on Instagram on Thursday (Aug. 26).
Fellow country superstar, Luke Bryan, praised his cover of George Jones’ iconic country hit saying “crushed it.”
Hosted by Carly Pearce, the 2021 ACM Honors also featured performances by Ronnie Dunn, Trace Adkins, Caylee Hammack, Lauren Alaina, HARDY, Devin Dawson, Raelynn, Alan Jackson, Lee Ann Womack, several prolific songwriters and many others.