Last night was Country’s night to rock. Well, that was the slogan of CMA’s Music Festival which aired on ABC. The actual festival took place back in June at the Nissan Stadium in Nashville, TN, but for those of us who couldn’t cash out money for travel and concert tickets, we were able to catch the show in the comfort of our own homes. Singers Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett took the reigns to host this year which gave Little Big Town a break from hosting duties for the night!
As a Country music lover, I’m not sure why I haven’t watched this before. Where was I last year? Nonetheless, the broadcast was just as you expected–musical acts back to back to back! The first to take the stage? None other than Brett Eldredge and Thomas Rhett, right off the bat. Even now, I’m a bit on the fence about that performance. For first-time Country music listeners, I wouldn’t say this would be the best song or act to introduce them with since it delves into the number one reason why so many people pass on listening to country: it sounds like a Top 40 pop song! But, it did get the crowd at the stadium going!
The night went on with huge names taking the stage such as Jason Aldean, Rascal Flatts, and the legendary Chris Stapleton, who made his CMA Music Festival debut. Funny, since he swept this years’ award shows with multiple accolades! If you’re still unfamiliar with Stapleton, remember that day when the internet exploded after Justin Timberlake performed a little known song called “Tennessee Whiskey”? Yeah, it was a duet with Stapleton!
You know there had to be a few curveball mashups and songs thrown in or how else would non-country lovers want to watch this? To my surprise, Steven Tyler also made his CMA debut performing “We’re All Somebody from Somewhere” straight from his country album that is set to be released soon. It’s hard to say whether the song fell more into the country genre, or if it was a bit more indie rock. At this point, the lines blur when it comes to what is considered country. At one moment you have a rap segment and another, the song sounds like it belongs underneath the rock genre, which is exactly what happened when I heard Steven Tyler.
Pharrell sang with Little Big Town and pop singer Elle King shared the stage with Dierks Bentley. These random collaborations always crack me up because you never know if it’ll be a hit or miss. For example, Elle King and Dierks Bentley? Not impressed. As much as I love each artist individually, it just wasn’t cutting it for me. Pharrell and Little Big Town? I expected way more.
The ladies had a big win of the night for me. Kelsea Ballerini, Lady Antebellum with Cam, Cassadee Pope, Carrie Underwood, and Miranda Lambert did no wrong. Even newcomer Maren Morris was impressive when she came out to sing with Rascal Flatts!
With over 20 performances and several minutes of conversations with the host, the CMA Music Festival was an overall entertaining night. Probably more entertaining to those who were actually at the venue to experience it live, which I hope to do someday in the future. Next thing I’m looking forward to is November 2nd, when Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley reunite for the 50th Annual CMA Award Show. That should be good.
What did you think of the CMA Music Festival this year? Let us know in the comments!
Highlights from the CMA Music Festival 2016: Featured image courtesy of CMA Country Music Association