September 30, 2023
Lee Brice Delivers Electrifying Tribute to Kane Brown at 2023 ACM Honors

“We’re about to flip the script a little bit,” Brice told the audience before delivering his rendition of the chart-topping hit.

Lee Brice honored ACM International Award recipient Kane Brown with a special performance of “Like I Love Country Music” during the 2023 ACM Honors.

Brice kicked off his tribute performance by transporting the audience back in time to the era before Kane Brown secured a record deal, during which he used to share cover performances on social media.

Tribute Performance

Lee Brice; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

“We’re about to flip the script a little bit, we’re switching things up a little bit and I [will] be covering one of your songs, but I do remember a time when you covered one or two of mine,” Brice said before showing the audience a throwback clip of Brown performing a cover of “I Don’t Dance,” a video that ultimately launched Brown into stardom.

“Here’s To You, Buddy”

“Here’s to you, buddy,” Brice said as Kane Brown watched from the crowd. He then launched into a cover of Brown’s “Like I Love Country Music.”

Joined by a full band, Lee Brice went on to deliver a rowdy cover of the chart-topping Brown hit.

Lee Brice; Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM
Lee Brice; Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM

Special Presentation

Following Brice’s performance, country music icon Randy Travis and his wife Mary took to the stage to present Brown with the award. The beloved country couple were welcomed to the stage by a standing ovation before Mary insight shared how Randy discovered Brown on social media when he covered “Three Wooden Crosses.” She also detailed how their friendship has grown since they first met in October of 2016.

“Since then we’ve all witnessed Kane as he’s grown into one of the biggest artists worldwide and he’s a phenomenal representative for Country music. Though the spectrum of Country music has changed quite a bit since Randy made his debut in 1986, the heart of it remains the same and Kane is the perfect example of that.”

She went on to say, “There’s no greater example of the power of music than what happened between Kane and Randy,” Mary said. “Kane Brown paved his own path, from rural Georgia to Nashville, Tennessee, and straight into the hearts of everyone worldwide. He did it his way, in eight short, incredible years, and he’s become a point of light for so many people from all walks of life… We wish you all the success of your life. God bless you.”

One Of A Kind Friendship

Randy Travis, Kane Brown; Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM
Randy Travis, Kane Brown; Photo by Jason Davis/Getty Images for ACM

Acceptance Speech

Randy Travis handed Kane Brown his trophy and Brown then accepted the ACM International award.

“This means the world to me as a kid from a small town in Georgia, when the furthest place I’d ever traveled was to Florida. Country music let me into the family and now I get to travel the world and be different, which is what I’ve always wanted to be and what I always have been,” Brown said before graciously thanking his booking agent, Braden, for scheduling shows across the globe as well as his entire team, his loyal fans and wife Katelyn.

He also shared a precious memory he shared with Randy Travis last year when the “Three Wooden Crosses” singer came by his Tennessee home for a visit. 

“About a year ago now, I get a random call [from Randy and his wife Mary] and they come to the house and bring biscuits. We sat on the front porch and ate biscuits and then Randy signed two guitars then brought them for my girls.”

Randy Travis and Kane Brown; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM
Randy Travis and Kane Brown; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM

Prior to the 2023 ACM Honors, Lee Brice provided details about how the idea of him honoring Kane Brown took shape.

“I get to perform a song that Kane Brown sings, and kind of stemmed from the fact that he covered some of my songs when he was coming up, before he had a record deal, so they thought it would be a cool story, and I did too,” Brice explained. ”To be able to come in and kind of return the favor, you know, and [I’m] so excited, it’s gonna be fun.”

Lee Brice, Mary Davis, Randy Travis, Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM
Lee Brice, Mary Davis, Randy Travis, Kane Brown and Katelyn Brown; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for ACM

Kane Brown was selected as the recipient of the ACM International Award due to his remarkable international success, which he achieved through his Drunk or Dreaming Tour, where the country superstar toured Australia, Europe, and the United Kingdom.

The ACM International Award was inspired by Jim Reeves and is “presented to a Country Music artist, duo/group, or industry leader for outstanding contributions to the growth of Country Music throughout the world.” Past recipients of the ACM International Award include Garth Brooks, Eric Church, Dick Clark, Roy Clark, Dan + Shay, Alan Jackson, Lady A, Kacey Musgraves, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Rascal Flatts, Roy Rogers, Taylor Swift, and Keith Urban.

2023 ACM Honors

The 16th Annual ACM Honors was filmed on Wednesday, August 23 at the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dubbed “Country Music industry’s favorite night,” the 2023 ACM Honors recognized several special honorees, including Tim McGraw (ACM Icon Award), Chris Stapleton (ACM Triple Crown Award), Charlie Daniels (ACM Spirit Award), Clint Black (ACM Poet’s Award), Mary Chapin Carpenter (ACM Poet’s Award), BRELAND (ACM Lift Every Voice Award), Kane Brown (ACM International Award), HARDY (ACM Artist/Songwriter Of The Year Award) and more.

The coveted awards show also featured performances from BRELAND, Keith Urban, Lee Brice, Brandy Clark, Priscilla Block, Jordan Davis, Billy Ray Cyrus, FIREROSE, Sara Evans, Chris Janson, Lady A, Nelly, Bailey Zimmerman, Dennis Quaid, The War And Treaty, Trisha Yearwood, Brett Young as well as the show’s host Carly Pearce, among others.

Randy Travis, Big Kenny, Marty Stuart and Storme Warren were also on hand to present.

Hosted By Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM
Carly Pearce; Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for ACM

Carly Pearce returned as the show’s host for the third consecutive year. “The Academy of Country Music has played such a crucial role in the rise of my career in the last several years, giving me opportunities to expand my artistry with hosting,” Pearce previously shared in a statement. “To be able to come back as the host of the ACM Honors for the third year in a row, I feel so grateful and excited for what I know will be such a special night!”

ACM Honors premiered on Monday, September 18 at 8/7c on FOX. The show will also be available to stream on Hulu on Tuesday (Sept. 19).

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