Luke Bryan kicked off the Grand Ole Opry show not only by raising breast cancer awareness but also walked away at the end of the night with the Album of the Decade award on Tuesday.
During Bryan's performance the iconic barn turned pink for the Opry Goes Pink show in support of breast cancer awareness. Two songs into Bryan's closing set, the Academy of Country Music surprised him with its Album of the Decade award for his 2013 album, "Crash My Party."
Backstage, he told reporters he couldn't wait to be back at country music's most famous venue.
"It's been way too long since I've been on the Opry stage ..." Bryan said. "I'll ask my manager ... 'We did the Opry like nine months ago?' And she's like, 'No, it was like three-and-a-half years ago.' And I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, we've gotta get to the Opry.'"
Bryan turned Tuesday night's Opry Goes Pink show into a throwback to the first time he sat in the audience, back when he still lived in Georgia.
"My first Opry show, Vince Gill stopped by unannounced and he just walked out and brought a guitar," Bryan recalled. "And I've wanted to do that for years. I've just wanted to not have my band, just have [a] guitar or piano."
And that's exactly what Bryan did, performing "Most People Are Good" and "Huntin', Fishin' and Lovin' Everyday" accompanied only by his guitar, before sitting down at the piano for "Do I."
While none of Bryan's close family members have been affected by breast cancer, both awareness and the work of Susan G. Komen are still causes close to his heart.
"The big thing that I always notice is the fans at my concerts that have ... a pink sign," he reflected. "'Last chemo treatment today.' 'Beating cancer.' And that always is something ... I leave the show with."