It was one of country music’s biggest and most historic nights, when the lights came down inside the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee and stars were everywhere for the 50th Annual Country Music Association Awards.
The show started off with a wonderful look back over the the CMA’s 50 year history, with a tribute to Merle Haggard from Vince Gill & Merle’s son, Ben Haggard. Brad Paisley joined in with Roy Clark to perform Buck Owens’ I’ve Got A Tiger By The Tail!. Carrie Underwood honored the immortal Tammy Wynette with a performance of Stand By Your Man, and Charley Pride sang his classic song, Kiss An Angel Good Morning.
More icons appeared in the opening tribute, including legends like Alabama, Charlie Daniels, Dwight Yoakam, Clint Black, Ricky Skaggs, Alan Jackson, and Reba McEntire. But, the sweetest moment of the opening number, and perhaps the entire show, came at the finale, with Randy Travis appearing at the end of a performance of his hit song, Forever And Ever Amen, to sing the final “Amen”.
Throughout the show, many other giants from CMA’s past made brief appearances before commercial breaks, like Whisperin’ Bill Anderson, The Oak Ridge Boys, and Lee Greenwood. And, of course, there was a ton of performances from the CMA’s current crop of hitmakers, including Little Big Town, Brad Paisley, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, Keith Urban, and Tim McGraw… just to name a few. Gospel choirs, horn sections, elaborate video screens, dance numbers, and other larger-than-life productions accompanied the contemporary performers, as has become customary in modern day awards shows, even in a genre that claims “simplicity” as one of its core values.
Never without some controversy, this year’s most squabble-inducing CMA performance was a collaboration between pop superstar, Beyoncé, and The Dixie Chicks, the latter being well acquainted with controversy in the country music industry, but never ones to back down from it. The performance featured an arrangement of Beyoncé’s Daddy Lessons, with a brief mash-up of Long Time Gone by The Dixie Chicks.
Other collaborations included, Dierks Bentley and Elle King, which won Musical Event of the Year for their recording of Different for Girls, Brooks & Dunn and Jason Aldean, Tim McGraw and Florida Georgia Line, Chris Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam, Alan Jackson and George Strait, and Garth Brooks with his wife, Trisha Yearwood in a medley of country music classics.
And, least we forget, this was actually an AWARD show, and there were plenty of them given out. Many expected winners were announced, but there were a few surprises, as well. To see the full list of ALL the winners, you can go the the CMA website by clicking HERE.
The most memorable moment of the whole show was near the end when Lily Tomlin presented her 9 To 5 co-star, Dolly Parton with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award. A group of amazing country music women, including Jennifer Nettles, Reba McEntire, Kacey Musgraves, Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride, sang in tribute and presented a beautiful, heartfelt memorial to the living legend.
We asked our fans on social media, what their thoughts were about the show. Here are some of them below:
What are your thoughts about the 50th Annual CMA Awards? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop us a line in the comments below or on social media!