Best Country-Punk Mash-up: Chris Janson
The rubbery-legged performer warned the audience at the SiriusXM Highway Stage that they were about to hear a "Waylon meets the Ramones" version of Rodney Crowell's "Ain't Living Long Like This," and he wasn't lying. Janson turned the song, made famous by proto-outlaw Jennings, into a cow-punk barnburner, egging on his band to play faster and faster. Despite, or perhaps even because of, a malfunctioning electric guitar, Janson threw himself into the performance, ditching the guitar for his harmonica, spinning wildly and aggressively engaging the audience as if he was playing not Nashville in 2014, but on a New York Bowery stage circa the Seventies. Captivating.