The 51st annual CMA Awards were the most powerful in recent years, with much of the night championing lives lost. One memorable performance paid tribute to the late Troy Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash on Sept. 8 prior to a planned Montgomery Gentry concert in New Jersey.

Gentry's widow, Angie, and 15-year-old daughter, Kaylee were there — cameras showed Angie crying as Dierks BentleyRascal Flatts' Gary LeVox and Eddie Montgomery sang "My Town" as images of the late Gentry appeared behind them.

AOL Entertainment reports that before he died, Gentry promised his daughter that he'd take her to her first awards show this year. While he couldn't make it happen himself, his widow made sure he fulfilled that promise.

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Montgomery's appearance onstage Wednesday night (Nov. 8) was his first public performance since the death of his partner. It was a surprise, if not a poorly-kept secret, when he took the stage to sing the final line of the hit: "And maybe later, me and T-Roy will show you around our town."

The performance received a standing ovation.

Montgomery Gentry will release their final albumHere's to You, in February. The duo had completed new music for their label, Average Joes Entertainment, prior to Gentry's death, and released a new single, "Better Me," shortly after he died unexpectedly.

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