CMA Musical Festival’s Nissan Stadium shows are always the event’s hottest ticket: packed with the biggest names in country, it’s one-stop, radio-hit shopping. But those passes sell out fast, so for anyone who couldn’t make it to Nashville this past June – or just wants to relive the excitement – CMA Fest: The Music Event of the Summer airs Wednesday, August 16th, at 8:00 p.m./ET on ABC, and highlights live songs by Sam Hunt, Eric Church, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum and more. Here’s the five can’t-miss performances from the three-hour special.
Not long after closing out his record-setting Holdin’ My Own Tour across the river in downtown Nashville, Church kept the sprit of his unmatchable live show alive for a dynamite rendition of Mr. Misunderstood’s Muscle Shoals boogie “Chattanooga Lucy.” Flanked by the gospel pipes of Joanna Cotten and his backup singers, the Chief reminded the audience why he might be headlining stadiums of his own one day.
There’s a lot of somber introspection on Lambert’s most recent LP, The Weight of These Wings, but there are also moments of hit-the-road fun, like on “Highway Vagabond.” Here, Lambert’s relaxed, playful and ready to roll.
After stepping in for an injured Chris Stapleton – a wounded finger forced the monster vocalist to cancel his appearance at the festival – Brothers Osborne proved why they’re equally deserving of the main stage. With TJ Osborne’s booming baritone and brother John’s insane slay on the guitar, they brought Pawn Shop‘s “It Ain’t My Fault” into a full-scale country-rock triumph.
The Grammy-winning Morris can – and did – knock out the stadium audience with her pop-country hit “My Church,” but she really showed how far her talents range on “I Could Use a Love Song,” slowing things down and touching hearts on the lovelorn ballad.
Bringing back a classic, surprise guest Brooks turned this version of “Callin’ Baton Rouge” into a sing-along, fiddle-driven reign of gold for the country king. Ending with a howl, it felt like a touchdown for the home team.