NASHVILLE -- A big win for country music star Luke Combs on the biggest night in Nashville, the CMA Awards. For the second year in a row, Combs took home the top prize and was named Entertainer of the Year.
Combs ended his acceptance speech with a message about the state of the industry, saying, "This is my fifth or sixth year being at this award show and country sounded more country than it has in a long time tonight."
Combs beat out fellow nominees Miranda Lambert, Chris Stapleton, Carrie Underwood and Morgan Wallen. He also took home the award for Album of the Year for "Growing Up."
Lainey Wilson was a CMA double winner this year. She has been a working singer-songwriter for more than a decade, but for the 56th CMA Awards she was also named new artist of the year. Wilson also took home the trophy for female vocalist of the year.
"This is the biggest and best night of my entire life, hands down," said Wilson. "It's all starting to pay off. All the hard work. I wrote my first song at 9 years old. And here we are 20 years later. I don't know if every artist gets to feel this, because I feel like people are rooting me on, and want to see me win. So I don't take that lightly."
Cody Johnson also took home two awards: video of the year and single of the year. Backstage, he said, "This has been 15 years in the making. For those of you guys who don't know my story I know what it's like to go hungry... and still go play shows, and have a wife who has two jobs back home supporting you and uh, not gonna get emotional! I just wanna say thanks."
Male vocalist of the year went to Chris Stapleton. It was the sixth time he has won that award.
Old Dominion continues to dominate the CMA Vocal Group category. They have won it every year since 2018, and their Wednesday night victory marks their fifth consecutive trophy. Brothers Osborne won vocal duo of the year for the fifth time.
Alan Jackson was given the CMA Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award.
"I've definitely lived the American dream," Jackson said while accepting his award. "And I'm still living that honky-tonk dream, y'all."
Fellow country stars Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Jon Pardi and Lainey Wilson performed a tribute performance for the 64-year-old music legend.