Alan Jackson had a “magical night” at the 56th Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday (Nov. 9), where he was presented with the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award and honored with a star-studded tribute performance.
The country music icon took to social media on Thursday (Nov. 10) to share a photo with his family, which included his wife, Denise, and their three daughters, Mattie, Alexandra and Dani, on his tour bus backstage at the coveted awards show.
Jackson’s oldest daughter, Mattie Jackson Selecman, also shared a series of photos to recap the evening on social media alongside a heartfelt congratulatory message to her father.
“I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve watched Dad perform. 32 years of award shows, a couple White House visits, backstages and sound booths, you name it,” Selecman began. ”But these last couple years, I’ve started watching other people – all the fans and, hell, other hugely successful artists – watch him too.”
Mattie went on to explain how much it meant to her to see the way her father’s music and career has impacted others.
”The awe and admiration and pure joy in their eyes as they watch Dad is just the way he always watched George and Hank and Loretta. Whether he’ll admit it or not, the lanky blond cowboy from Georgia is now a legend to all who follow,” Mattie added. ”You made ripped jeans and mustaches cool. You’ve always asked our opinions and included us in your music. You’ve given away what you’ve earned more generously than most people will ever know. You’ve given hope to the world in times of crisis, reminded us what real livin’ and real love is, and given a voice to the little man everywhere. Congratulations on the @cma Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. We love you so much Dado! Much deserved! 🤠🤠🤠”
Jackson follows in the footsteps of artists such as Willie Nelson (2012), Kenny Rogers (2013), Johnny Cash (2015), Dolly Parton (2016), Kris Kristofferson (2019), Charley Pride (2020), and Loretta Lynn (2021) to receive the prestigious honor.
During the show, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, and Lainey Wilson also honored the country music icon with a special tribute performance that included a number of Jackson’s biggest hits.
Underwood delivered a tender rendition of Jackson’s “Remember When,” Bentley then performed the classic ‘90s country hit “Chattahoochee,” before Pardi sang “Drive (For Daddy Gene)” and Wilson closed out the tribute with a rousing version of “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.”
Fans were treated to a performance from the country music icon himself when he surprised viewers with a performance of “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” before accepting the prestigious award.
“Country music’s been real good to me. And I fell in love with it when I was a young man. I really love the instruments, the steel guitars and the fiddles and things like that that gave it such a unique character to me and made it its own. And I love the lyrics and the songs and the artists and the melodies and the harmonies, and it’s just real American music to me,” Jackson shared during his acceptance speech.
He added, “One night watching television and this movie came on about the life of Hank Williams. And it just really inspired me.”
He continued to reflect on his journey as an artist and shared gratitude to those who have supported him along the way, including his wife.
“I can’t thank everybody that’s been in my life all these years, but I do have to say thanks to my wife Denise over there somewhere. And we started out as teenagers and she’s hung in there on the road, this rollercoaster ride with me for 40 something years now. And I’m probably not always the easiest person to love, but she’s hung in there and helped me through hard times and we shared great times. The good and the bad, the happy, the sad. We’ve survived a lot. And I just want to thank her cause she’s held me up all these years and she’s my best friend and she gave me a wonderful family over there.”
He concluded his speech with a nod to his 1990 hit, “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.”
“So thanks again to the CMA and all the wonderful fans I’ve had all over the world. Appreciate y’all. Radio and all the parts of country music that have been so good to me all these years. I’ve definitely lived the American dream.” He paused to ask Underwood for the award, then said, “And I’m still living that honky tonk dream, y’all.”
Alan Jackson recently wrapped his highly anticipated One More For The Road 2022 Tour.