Country Music News

Last night’s 56th Annual CMA Awards was low on drama but it was a big night for great performances. The music did the talking and led to a lot of standing ovations.

We look at some amazing and sometimes riveting performances from country music’s elite on country music’s biggest night.

  • Thomas Rhett and Katy Perry - "Where We Started"

    This is such a good song. It’s the very first live performance that Thomas and Katy have done together, and they pulled it off perfectly. Katy was ready for country, sporting a black cowboy hat. You could see how much the two performers clicked together, and at the end, shouting out each other’s name was the icing on the cake.

  • Kelsea Ballerini, Kelly Clarkson, and Carly Pearce - "You're Drunk, Go Home"

    With these three ladies performing together, you knew this would be great even before it started. The performance was sassy, fun, and just a delight to watch as Kelsea, Kelly, and Carly put this guy in his place. This performance makes you wonder why Kelsea wasn’t in the Female Vocalist category this year. That will likely change next year.

  • Carrie, Miranda, Reba - Loretta Lynn Tribute

    What a way to start the CMA Awards with these three queens of country music paying tribute to country music’s first queen, Loretta Lynn. As expected, the three sang their own Loretta songs flawlessly, and Lynn would have been proud. When the camera flashed to the crowd to show Keith Urban singing along, you knew it would be a highlight of the show. They started it off with a video clip of Loretta accepting her Entertainer of the Year honor in 1972, an amazing moment.

  • Brothers Osborne with War and Treaty - "It's Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)"

    This performance was on fire and showed just how good Brothers Osborne is, and the new duo War and Treaty were wonderful with the duo’s Tanya Trotter seemed to channel Tina Turner for the performance. It was so impressive that when War and Treaty came backstage to say hi to the press, they were met with cheers and applause and that rarely happens for any act, let alone a new one.

  • Lainey Wilson and Hardy - "Wait In The Truck"

    This is a haunting and epic song, to begin with, and last night’s (11/9) performance from Hardy and new CMA darling Lainey Wilson was spot-on and gave you the chills. Lainey’s performance was so dramatic; it showed us how good her acting chops are and why she will be great on Paramount’s “Yellowstone” Season Five when it premieres later this month.

  • Chris Satpleton with Patty Loveless - "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive"

    Hearing Patty Loveless’ stirring and emotional performance with Chris Stapleton of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive,” a song she recorded in 2008, reminded me how much I loved Patty’s music and why she was the CMA’s Female Vocalist in 1996. The performance, which also featured Chris’ wife Morgane, gave me goosebumps until the very last note Loveless sang as the country stars in the crowd swayed, sang along, and stood in admiration for another exceptional Stapleton collaborative CMA performance.

  • Alan Jackson Tribute - Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, Lainey Wilson

    The CMA’s Alan Jackson tribute to honor him with the Willie Nelson Lifetime Achievement award from Carrie Underwood, Dierks Bentley, Jon Pardi, and then Alan himself was such a joy for the audience who sang along with every word of Jackson’s”Chattahoochee.” A tearful Underwood introduced the performance by telling the crowd that her very first concert as a kid was an Alan Jackson one.