"It’s been an eye-opening experience for, heck, the world, and music and country music," Bryan said. "It puts a whole new level of perspective on everything going forward."
Bryan, who was also named a CMT Artist of the Year at Wednesday's event, introduced Aldean, who was the night's final honoree. Bryan praised the "Dirt Road Anthem" singer's resilience following the mass shooting.
"It could have been any one of us standing on that stage in Las Vegas two weeks ago," a somber Bryan said during the show. "It's a nightmare that nobody should have had to face. Jason Aldean has responded with dignity, care, respect, and in some ways, defiance. And we are all proud of him, especially me."