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 Own the Room: Lee Ann Womack
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Jordan O'Donnell10/30

Best Own the Room: Lee Ann Womack

Lee Ann Womack getting a performance slot at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest was a pleasant surprise, considering that the "I Hope You Dance" singer has been spending more time with the Americana crowd over the last few years. But her Saturday night-opening set, which she delivered to a half-empty stadium (shame on you guys, seriously) while being dive-bombed by Silence of the Lambs-sized moths, was a nice reminder that she's still the best country singer in the business. She brought her entire arsenal, pouring quavering guilt into the sinner's plea "The Way I'm Livin'" and then zeroing in on the heart of classic country with a sterling rendition of George Jones' "You're Still on My Mind." To wrap up her show, she melded blues, country and psychedelic rock in the haunting "All the Trouble," leaning into the performance with thundering conviction. It served as good lesson that the sometimes contentious worlds of country and Americana aren't as far apart as they seem. J.F.

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