No sooner had Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland announced that Kentuckian Chris Stapleton won the Academy of Country Music Award for album of the year than host Reba McEntire came out with another announcement.
Stapleton and his wife, Morgane, just welcomed twin boys, Sunday.
The award was the first of two ACMs for Stapleton, who also took home the male vocalist of the year honor at the ceremony in Las Vegas.
Morgane’s baby bump had been featured on several red carpets recently, including the Grammy Awards, where Stapleton won three times. McEntire announced in her opening monologue that the Stapletons would not be at the Las Vegas ceremony due to the impending birth and joked that Stapleton could win entertainer of the year Sunday night, and the expected twins could be the best new duo.
On top of all that, Sunday was Stapleton’s 40th birthday.
The Stapletons are already parents of a boy and a girl, whose names they have not publicly disclosed.
Stapleton, who was raised in Johnson County, came into Sunday night’s ceremony with eight nominations — several twice in the same nomination as artist and producer or songwriter — related to his “From A Room: Volume 1,” the album of the year winner.
One of those was the top prize of entertainer of the year, which went to Jason Aldean for the third consecutive year. Aldean was something of a sentimental favorite for the honor as he was onstage at a Las Vegas festival when a gunman opened fire on the crowd killing 58 and injuring 851 in the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in United States history. The ACMs had made a big deal about country’s return to Vegas with the ceremony, which opened with a solemn spoken-word segment that began with Aldean.
Stapleton also lost song of the year for “Whiskey and You” to Miranda Lambert’s “Tin Man” and single record of the year for “Broken Halos” to Sam Hunt’s “Body Like a Back Road.”
Virgie native Josh Osborne had a strange journey with the Sam Hunt song, which he co-wrote. That made him a nominee for song of the year, where “Body” lost to “Tin Man.” Then. “Body” turned around and won single record, beating Midland’s “Drinkin’ Problem,” for which Osborne was nominated as a co-producer. He was also nominated for songwriter of the year, along with Danville’s Ashley Gorley, but Rhett Akins took that honor at a Friday ceremony. The other Kentuckian in contention, TK McKamy, was up for video of the year for directing Thomas Rhett’s “Marry Me,” but the Brothers Osborne’s “It Ain’t My Fault” won.
Rich Copley, @copiousnotes