While most of the world is on pause and our office-based employees are working from home, our brave, first responders are going about business as usual, putting their lives at risk to protect ours. Country Music Television (CMT) and stars in both Nashville and Hollywood came together last night during “CMT Celebrates Our Heroes: An Artists of the Year Special” to show their appreciation for all the essential workers in healthcare, education, infrastructure, the food industry, police force, and more!
Little Big Town kicked off the special with a song off their new record Nightfall, “Bluebird”. The group performed in front of a green screen that made it look they were all together in an open field. After, Blake Shelton made an appearance to give a shout-out to the community of Kodiak, Alaska for giving over 3,400 meals a day to underprivileged children. Luke Combs then performed his new, timely hit “Six Feet Apart.”
A lot of preparation goes into a tour, between promoting, the band practices, creating the setlists, on-screen graphics, theatrics, and more. Imagine the artists just went on stage and winged it? That is exactly what teachers had to do because of the school closures. They had to get creative and quickly come up with lesson plans they could teach their students from home. One teacher that was featured on the special had a student who lacked motivation, so he promised her that he’d make a TikTok with her if she did her all of her homework for one straight week. In honor of our educators, Thomas Rhett performed another timely tune, “Be A Light.”
Maryland governor, Larry Hogan appeared in the special to honor two specific heroes in the community, Karla Thornton, a nurse at Anne Arundel Medical Center, and Lucia Tucker, the founder of Operation Open Tab, a foundation that raises money for local restaurants to help feed the needy. CMT and Ram Trucks donated $25,000 worth of PPE and other supplies to Thornton’s hospital and $25,000 to Tucker’s foundation. Brothers Osborne, from Deale, Maryland themselves, joined the video call, surprising the two with a brand new song called “Make it a Good One.” This is a feel-good track that puts describes all the things you can do to make your one and only life a good one.
Darius Rucker performed a Randy Travis cover, “Forever and Ever, Amen” to honor those in relationships who are quarantining and can’t be together. Behind him flashed pictures of couples holding each other with masks on, symbolizing that they will be together again. Actress, Olivia Munn made an appearance to pay respects to the ingenuity industry for altering their usual business plans to create more essential goods, such as masks, hand sanitizers, and ventilators.
Sam Hunt covered a deep cut from Bruce Springfield, “Jack of All Trades,” to honor the blue and white-collar workers who may have taken pay cuts or lost their jobs completely, but are still managing to keep them and their families afloat in this tough financial time. Kelsea Ballerini covered Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” which paid respect to the children in our communities who are going the extra mile in their communities to give back.
Brandi Carlile sang a tune off her most recent record, “Most of All” with her brothers. This song pays tribute to all the parents who haven’t seen their children due to quarantine. In the song, Carlile discusses how she hasn’t spoken to her parents in a while but still lives by the lessons they taught her when she was young. Tim McGraw also honored his biggest hero, his mother on the special with his new song, “I Called Mama.”
Scarlett Johansson gave a shout-out to the police force and other first responders, including one in particular, a NY-NJ based officer named Rick Vanderclock who lost his grandfather to COVID-19. Miranda Lambert, who married a NYC police officer, then sang “Bluebird” from her ‘Magic Porch’ in Nashville.
Florida Georgia Line performed a song from their 6-Pack EP, “U.S. Stronger” for the US Military. This new song is about coming together as a community to overcome any obstacles we come across. Kane Brown ended the show with an emotional cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
Other artists and celebrities who appeared in the special to show their gratitude included Bobby Bones, Cody Alan, Carrie Underwood, Lee Brice, Lauren Daigle, Jake Owen, Lady Antebellum, Reba McEntire, Sean Penn, Kristen Bell, Gary Sinise, Keith Urban, Jason Aldean, and Zac Brown.
During the broadcast, NYCountry Swag was live-tweeting to our followers. Upon clicking #CMTCelebratesOurHeroes, we saw so many of you sharing your heroes with us and thanking them for their service to our communities. Seeing that warmed our hearts!
The summer tours may all be canceled or postponed, but country music remains very much alive. Artists will use this time off to work on their craft, create new music and, more importantly, give back to the community. We are eager to see what the artists have in store for 2021, as we believe it will be one of the most exciting and uplifting years country music has ever seen!
The Hero Collection by NYCountry Swag is inspired by the men and women of the Fire, Police, and Military Departments across the country. A portion of sales from each purchase is donated to different foundations that support our heroes. We are dedicated to honoring their service and remembering their sacrifice.
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