Powerful words flashed across Eric Church’s face as he began his performance at the 2016 CMA Awards of his poignant tune “Kill a Word,” interrupting silence with his declaration against all things dark and hateful.

Church stood, solemn behind his signature aviators for the first verse, as lyrics like “hate,” “regret” and “fear” were projected onto his person. The stage soon lit up, revealing the band and soulful featured vocalist Rhiannon Giddens alongside Church, the backdrop scrolling a host of negative words.

The words shifted to positive as Church launched into the inspirational chorus, alternating with the negative for the duration of the tune. Giddens took her lines in the second verse, stunning audience members with her powerful vocals, particularly with her emotional ad-libs.

The song is just one of several heartfelt tunes from Church’s most recent record Mr. Misunderstood, which took home the award for Album of the Year on Wednesday and features “Record Year,” nominated for Song of the Year, Single of the Year and Video of the Year. Church was also nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year.

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