CMA Music Festival 2018: 30 Best Things We Saw

From Carrie Underwood and Chris Stapleton's main-stage stunners to breakout sets by Ashley McBryde and Dillon Carmichael

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Best Late Night Jam: Dierks Bentley
Zachary Belcher2/30

Best Late Night Jam: Dierks Bentley

While Jason Aldean was wrapping up the Nissan Stadium lineup across the river Thursday night, Dierks Bentley was just getting warmed up onstage at the Ryman Auditorium, performing his new record The Mountain in its entirety. Backed by his versatile band and mandolin king Sam Bush, Bentley drove home the idea of an album as a complete body of work, committing just as much sweat to re-creating deep tracks like "Goodbye in Telluride" and "Religion" as he did to its current Number One single "Woman, Amen." At midnight ­– the official release of The Mountain – Bentley was hitting his stride, teeing up an encore of early hits ("What Was I Thinkin'" and "Up on the Ridge," among them) that traced the path to where he is today. J.H.

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