Tim McGraw gave one of the most powerful live performances of the evening at the 2016 ACM Awards, giving the crowd an emotionally impactful performance of his soaring ballad hit, “Humble and Kind.”
The country superstar tends to make a habit of delivering stunning awards show performances, and Sunday night was no exception. Dressed in simple black, he started off seated on a stool, lost in blackness lit only lit by a sea of tiny lights.
He rose to his feet for the second verse, with the live audience joining in for the universal chorus.
As the strings and guitar played the middle section, a legion of people from all walks of life filed into the venue, essentially re-creating the song’s uplifting video live in the moment. The feel-good performance drew a standing ovation.
The song’s power is in its simplicity and the universality of its message. McGraw has been holding into the song since right after Lori McKenna wrote it, and he admits he wasn’t sure quite how to pull it off at first. He was inspired to cut it for his latest album, "Damn Country Music," after taking his daughter off to college, and he tells Taste of Country he was thinking of her when he recorded the lyrics, which McKenna wrote as an admonishment to her own children.
“I cried through every take,” he admits. “I would try to get myself together and I’d get halfway through it and I would just start blubbering every time I tried to sing a line.”
The superstar released an equally powerful video for the song, with some help from none other than Oprah Winfrey. The results are beyond anything McKenna could have ever anticipated when she wrote the song.
“I know as an artist that I don’t have the accessibility to have ever given the song what he has given it,” she says. “To ever really give other people the chance to hear it. For someone to take something that you wrote and just shine it so bright like that, it sort of makes it as much his song, if not more, than me … I feel like it’s been such a gift for him to be able to share it with the people the way he has. I’m just blessed that I’m part of it, to be honest.”