Chris Stapleton was just one of the country superstars that paid tribute to Vince Gill in CMT Giants: Vince Gill, which will air tonight (9/16) on CMT. Chris spoke about him before he covered Gill’s “Whenever You Come Around,” which received a standing ovation.

Stapleton said before his performance, “I don’t usually talk, but they asked me if I wanted to talk and said, ‘Yeah, I wanted to talk for just a minute. We talked earlier on a segment about having courage to start writing songs and the courage to be an artist and all those kinds of things, but I think the greatest impact that you’ve had on me was the obvious things of your music.”

He continued, “I moved here wanting to be you. You had the courage to encourage me, and you always had time to come watch me play or invite me on a songwriter’s round when I had no business being in it, and it really made a difference. It really made a difference for me, and I really, really appreciate that man, and I love you from the bottom of my heart.”

After his performance, Chris tipped his hat to Gill as he offered him a thumbs up and a standing ovation.

Before the show got underway, Stapleton told CMT of the song he chose for the night, “I’ve always loved it, I’ve always loved to sing it. I used to sing it in bars when nobody was listening, and I’ve always loved it. It’s just one of my favorites… just a beautiful, beautiful melody and a beautifully written song and very to the point and makes you feel something, and that’s the mark of a really great song, I think.”

The two-hour event will feature performances by Brad Paisley, Carrie Underwood, Cody Johnson, Luke Combs, Maren Morris, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Sting, Wendy Moten, and Gill himself.

Presenters include Corrina Grant Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jenny Gill, Keith Urban, Keb’ Mo,’ Reba McEntire, Rodney Crowell, and Sheryl Crow.

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