Decked out in a full tuxedo and delivering his breakthrough hit from 2018 — a Platinum certified Number One about total romantic commitment — Allen both looked and sounded the part of top-shelf country star, and he used his time to thank a man who helped make that possible. Stopping his performance in the middle to shout out Pride, he awarded the Hall of Famer with the 2020 Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award for his trailblazing career as one of the genre’s most celebrated black artists.
Describing Pride as “one of the great men of country music,” Allen listed off some of the icon’s achievements and even noted he co-hosted the CMA Awards in 1975. Then he welcomed Pride to the stage for a heart-filling rendition of “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” which had the star-studded audience smiling from ear to ear and singing along. It found Pride’s voice in fine form and Allen showing his respect, as they harmonized in the lighthearted chorus and clever hook.
“You’ve got to kiss an angel good morning / And let her know you think about her when you’re gone / Kiss an angel good morning / And love her like the devil when you get back home,” goes the classic anthem.
“I’m as nervous as I can be,” Pride admitted, before accepting the award with gracious gratitude.
Jimmie Allen was nominated for Best New Artist coming into the show. Co-hosted by Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire, the 54th Annual CMA Awards aired live on ABC from Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11.