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An Emotional Alan Jackson Accepts His CMA Lifetime Achievement Award

Country music icon Alan Jackson truly an icon.

Last night, he became just 8th recipient of the award which was created in 2012 and named after the great Willie Nelson.

Benjamin Askinas/CMA

The ever-gracious Mr. Jackson took the stage to give a very touching speech, thanking everyone who has been a part of his journey all these years for their support in helping him get to where he is (AKA becoming a country icon, but he would never say that).

Our favorite part of his speech came when he talked about first moving to Music City with nothing but “three chords and a prayer,” as opposed to the typical “three chords and the truth” phrase you often hear thrown around in Nashville.

"Country music has been real good to me and I fell in love with it when I was a young man," Jackson said as he accepted the award.

He continued, "I really love the instruments, the steel guitars and the fiddles and things like that that gave it such a unique character to me and made it its own. And I love the lyrics and the songs and the artists and the melodies and the harmonies."

"It's just a real American music to me."

The two-time Grammy Award winner recalled how he became inspired to pursue a career in country music after watching a movie about the life of Hank Williams. Jackson said he came to Nashville "with nothing," adding, "Carrie [Underwood] is talking about three chords and the truth and mine was like three chords and prayer. And God answered that prayer, a little bit."

The "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere" hitmaker went on to thank his wife Denise saying, "We started out as teenagers and she's been on this roller coaster ride with me for 40 something years now."

"I'm probably not always the easiest person to love, but she's hung in there and helped me through hard times and we share great times. The good and the bad, the happy and the sad. We've survived a lot. And I just want to thank her because she's held me up all these years and she's my best friend."

"I've definitely lived the American dream," he said. "And I'm still living that honky tonk dream."

Ahead of the award presentation, Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, and Lainey Wilson paid tribute to Jackson.

Underwood sang a few bars of his song "Remember When" before telling the audience that the first concert she ever attended was one of Jackson's shows. "Seeing him perform helped inspire me to pursue my dreams," she said.

"It's been said that country music is three chords and the truth, and in every one of Alan Jackson's songs, there is truth," Underwood continued. "For his powerful voice speaks to us about hope and heartache, about fun and friendship, about tragedy and triumph, about life and a little about love."

Bentley, Pardi and Wilson performed a medley of Jackson's hit songs including "Chattahoochee", "Drive (For Daddy Gene)" and "Chasin' That Neon Rainbow" before Jackson took the stage to give a rousing performance of "Don't Rock the Jukebox."

Instituted in 2012, the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes artists who have gained the highest degree of recognition in country music and have positively impacted and contributed to the growth of the genre.

Donn Jones/CMA

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