Chris Stapleton made his bones behind the scenes, not behind the microphone. And when country's new king stepped out and started playing all the stars aligned for the man who had honed his talent to a sharp edge that could cut and bleed an audience.
Stapleton -- who wrote six #1 songs for others before breaking his own name far and wide with 2015's Traveller -- can do it all. Watch him (and Dwight Yoakam) rip through Willie Nelson and Ray Charles at the CMAs (below), making people forget Beyonce was in the house. Stapleton took home a double, winning both Male Vocalist of the Year and Best Video.
Here's the list of CMA Award winners:
Entertainer of the Year: Garth Brooks
Male Vocalist of the Year: Chris Stapleton
Musician of the Year: Dann Huff
Female Vocalist of the Year: Carrie Underwood
Pinnacle Award: Kenny Chesney
Vocal Group of the Year: Little Big Town
Vocal Duo of the Year: Brothers Osbourne
Album of the Year: Eric Church -- "Mr. Misunderstood"
New Artist of the Year: Maren Morris
Song of the Year: Lori McKenna -- "Humble and Kind"
Single of the Year: Thomas Rhett -- "Die a Happy Man"
Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award: Dolly Parton
Music Video of the Year: Chris Stapleton and Tim Mattia -- "Fire Away"
Musical Event of the Year: Dierks Bentley and Elle King -- "Different for Girls"