The world mourned the death of Charley Pride last December. He was a legendary country singer who broke boundaries and cut one of the most memorable songs in the genre. Last night, at the ACM Honors at the Ryman, Luke Combs and a group of stunningly talented musicians tackled Pride’s signature hit to pay tribute to the fallen legend.
Luke Combs’ voice works well on Charley Pride’s “Kiss an Angel Good Morning.” However, he was far from alone on that stage. The artists backing him up included two incredibly talented Black musicians. Firstly, Robert Randolph of the gospel group Robert Randolph and the family band made the steel guitar weep. Additionally, Reyna Roberts tickled the ivories and lent her voice to the arrangement. Many country fans know Roberts from her 2020 single, “Stomping Grounds.”
Roberts, at only 24 years old, has a passion for the genre’s past. She is dedicated to understanding and acknowledging country music’s history. This includes celebrating Black musicians in the genre. So, she was just about the best pianist to back Luke Combs on this iconic track.
CMT posted a video of the performance on Instagram last night. In the caption they wrote, “‘Kiss An Angel Good Morning,’ was Charley Pride’s biggest hit, so we had to bring in a trio for this one.”
Then, they gave Luke Combs, Reyna Roberts, and Robert Randolph a shout-out, saying, “Y’all did that.”
Luke Combs, Roberts and Randolph Performed One of the Greatest Love Songs
Luke Combs, Reyna Roberts, and Robert Randolph absolutely smashed the song. Their combined talents created a nearly unforgettable listening experience. However, they had some great material to work with.
Charley Pride first recorded the Ben Peters-penned love song on his 1971 album Charley Pride Sings Heart Songs. In the intervening five decades, the song has become Pride’s signature song. However, “Kiss an Angel Good Morning,” isn’t just the calling card of an icon. It’s also one of the best love songs ever written.
It’s not a sappy love letter set to music, but it speaks volumes to the singer’s love. Both verses talk about people who ask how the singer can manage to be so happy all of the time. He answers the question with the chorus.
“You’ve got to kiss an angel good mornin’ / And let her know you think about her when you’re gone. / Kiss an angel good mornin’ / And love her like a devil when you get back home.”
It was heartening to see a current star like Luke Combs pay tribute to a legend like Charley Pride. At the same time, he may have introduced a new generation to both Pride and the secret to happiness.