Maren Morris brought her first album for the Year of the Year to the CMA Awards 2019 on Wednesday, and she couldn’t hold back her tears when she paid tribute to her late friend and producer, Busbee.
The country crooner was conquered from the moment she first entered the stage at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, and she enthusiastically thanked the country music community for the support.
“Thanks to my colleagues in this room, whom I respect so much that I voted for this,” said Morris, before gushing some love for her husband, Ryan Hurd, “thank you for always sitting next to the chair to me.”
Morris began to choke when she honored the memory of the deceased producer, who had worked with Morris on Girl, and shared: “I would really fail if I didn’t mention a huge facet why this album sounds the way, and we miss him so much very. “
The producer and renowned writer – born Michael James Ryan – died on September 29 after a fight with brain cancer. He was 43.
“He texted me the morning we were nominated for Album of the Year this year, and we were so excited,” Morris recalled. “His wife, Jess, is here tonight and she looks so beautiful. Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month. “
“My heart just goes out to you and your beautiful daughters,” she shared tears. “I hope that when they listen to this album – or to all the songs he made, that have made us all better – they know how great their father was.”
Morris was not the only artist who paid tribute to the influential producer during the show. Blake Shelton also took some time at the end of his acceptance speech, after winning the Single of the Year award for his song, “God’s Land.”
“I want to dedicate this to Busbee and [country singer] Count Thomas Conley, who we lost this year,” Shelton said, holding the trophy up. Conley, a legend about country music, died in April at the age of 77.
After news about the death of Busbee in September, Morris went to Instagram to share a genuine message of mourning, along with a snapshot of her and the producer behind the scenes at one of her shows.
“This just doesn’t seem fair. I will always love you and the songs and albums I have been able to make with you, Busbee. Rest well, my dear friend,” she wrote with the photo, along with an emoji with a broken heart.