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This year’s Country Music Association Awards were meant to provide healing for an industry shaken by the mass shooting at a country festival in Las Vegas last month. Last night’s show (Nov. 8) paid tribute to the fans who became victims, but it also reinforced how few artists want to talk about the gun debate reignited by the tragedy.
The effort to avoid controversy was so great, the show even announced rules last week barring journalists from asking about guns or Las Vegas. After an outcry, it was quickly reversed and, last night, it was panned by host Carrie Underwood.
“I don’t know if you’ve heard about this,” Underwood said onstage, “but the CMAs has given us some ‘guidelines’.”
Still, the show bypassed any mention of guns. But Underwood did perform the Christian hymn “Softly and Tenderly” surrounded by an audience holding candles. Her singing turned to a whisper as the photos of all 58 victims from Las Vegas flashed on the…