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Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, and others performed this afternoon (9/10) at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville to pay tribute to 1980’s hitmaker Earl Thomas Conley who died in April after a long illness.

Blake and Luke participated in a press conference before the tribute got underway and Luke discussed why it was important to be there today for Conley.

He said, “Just growing up a kid in South Georgia I remember, you know we get so much of our music from our parents and my dad had a Chevrolet pickup truck with a tape player in it. I would say that for five years Earl Thomas Conley’s tape never left the vehicle. So that’s how I found his music.”

Blake shared, “I almost found Earl to be sometimes awkwardly shy I mean to the point where you’d go, ‘Man [how] does he get on stage and sing ’cause he’s so shy.’ It’s crazy. I think looking back Earl never believed he was as good as he really was. I think he had a hard time especially with someone like me who’s so over the top about him. Every time I was around him he was probably like, ‘Get this guy off me’ you know because I was so excited.”

Shelton added, “I remember the first time I went to his house and we wrote a song and I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was sitting there with my personal hero. My favorite singer of all time in any genre of music and I just couldn’t get over how normal he was.”

Luke sang Thomas’ hit “Once In A Blue Moon,” while Blake sang “What I’d Say.”

Other performers paying tribute included Jason Aldean, Brad Paisley (via video), Vince Gill and fellow 1980’s hitmaker John Anderson.

Love's The Only Voice

Love's The Only Voice, performed by Earl Thomas Conley