From golfing, fishing and playing shows together, Eric (who Morgan has called “the best fucking country music singer that ever lived”) has become a mentor to Morgan since he’s found himself in all sorts of trouble after his quick rise to country music superstardom.
And last night, Eric was there to present Morgan with the Milestone Award at the ACM Honors. He opened by saying the Academy had asked him to tell a couple stories about Morgan as part of the intro, but he had trouble coming up with one that he could actually talk about in public.
Journalist Alison Bonaguro got some great video of both Morgan and Eric’s speeches at the event, which was really funny and started with some very high praise from the Chief:
“I spent, I spent the last three weeks, and I can’t tell you one story that I can actually tell you. So I’ll tell you this, it has been one of the honors of my career, and my life, to get to know Morgan over the last couple years.
Whether it’s on a golf cart, a fishing boat, or over guitars late at night, I’ve seen him go through some things, I’ve seen him mature as an artist, I’ve seen him mature as a man.
I can tell you this, we’re very lucky to have him in country music.”
Quite a statement from one of the most successful mainstream country artists in the last 15 years…
The ACM Milestone award, according to their website, is:
“Presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group or industry leader for a specific, unprecedented or outstanding achievement in the field of Country Music during the preceding calendar year.”
I’d say Morgan’s record-smashingDangerous: The Double Album more than qualifies. He’s had quite the insane and unprecedented year in his music career, that’s for sure.
Morgan also took the stage himself to thank everyone who has helped him get to this point and encouraged him along the way, of course, starting with saying how amazing it was to have Eric present this award to him:
“I had a whole that I typed out, before I knew any of this was going on. The first concert I ever went to was an Eric Church concert in Thompson-Boling arena in Knoxville. And man I just, I felt… it seemed to me like I could feel what he was feeling when he was signing’…
I mean, it changed my life. So for you to be up here presenting this to me now is more special than I can put into words.”
He also thanked his parents and team for always supporting him no matter what:
“You know, I get to do this in front of my parents who are here tonight. Thank you guys for always supporting me. Man, thank you to everybody that’s on my team, my friends, my songwriting friends, Hardy and Ern, you know… I never really got to hear ’em perform like that, so that was really special for me too.
We’ve known each other a long time now, we’ve written 100 songs together, we’ve done a lot of things together and that was one of my favorite moments of all of the ones we’ve had together.
So thank you guys, thank you Academy of Country Music for putting this together. Thank you for honoring me with this award.”
But my favorite part of his speech came when he went off script, noting that he and God had had some “interesting do-si-do’s” over the last year or two, though he also acknowledged that he has relied on his faith to get him through most of it:
“Thank you to God. Me and God, we’ve had some interesting do-si-dos, I guess you could say. That definitely wasn’t in my speech originally. But I really am grateful for the opportunities.
You know, me and my band, thank you to my band, I think they’re in here somewhere. I really am grateful for the opportunities that have been given to me, and just for everybody who’s made it possible, I thank you guys.
Most of you know who you are. It’s been an incredible year, just to hit on the awards, so it’s been awesome.”
He closed by saying the true measure of success is how his fans feel about him and his music, and thanked everyone again for being there and honoring him with such a special award:
“Awards are awesome, but my true measure of success is my fans, and I get to see every single night out on the road this year and for many years.
So thank you guys for supporting me, man, it means a lot to me. Seriously, thank everybody, I really appreciate it. God bless you, have a great night.”
Miranda Lambert was also an honoree last night, as she accepted a special award for becoming one of just seven artists to receive the ACM Triple crown award, since she now has an ACM Top New Female Vocalist, ACM Female Vocalist of the Year, and ACM Entertainer of the Yearunder her belt as of earlier this year.
The full show, which included other appearances and performances by Carly Pearce, Brooks & Dunn, Shania Twain and more will air on September 13th on FOX.