25 Best Things We Saw at CMA Music Fest 2016

From Eric Church's show of artistic rebellion to Maren Morris's bohemian spirit

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Best Entrance: Jake Owen
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Best Entrance: Jake Owen

Jake Owen appears to be back in his sandy sweet spot with the upcoming release of American Love — even arriving by boat for his performance at the Riverfront Stage. But at least one track previewed Thursday morning suggests that Owen is still seeking that new direction he talked about last summer. Owen showed off a couple of sun-kissed new numbers and was looking the part in a pair of American-flag board shorts, but then he threw a curve ball — a pop-flavored R&B pick-up line called "If He Ain’t Gonna Love You," which he said features the volcanic vocals of Chris Stapleton on the new record. Stapleton wasn't around this time, but the sensual strut of Owen's voice paired with a booty-shaking beat and a three-piece horn section made a strong case for Owen's itch to branch out.

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