Justin Timberlake said it best: “Lawd, have mercy!” It was perhaps the evening’s most-anticipated performance, and the Memphis-born R&B-vibed pop star and New Artist of the Year winner Chris Stapleton positively slammed their rendition of the George Jones classic “Tennessee Whiskey” and Timberlake’s “Drink You Away,” accompanied by a dynamite brass band and Stapleton’s wife Morgane on vocals.
Timberlake’s falsetto is tailor-made to slay the highest notes of the song that appeared on Stapleton’s Traveller (which also won Album of the Year), and the band grooved the whole thing into a revelatory, take-us-to-church moment that left Florida Georgia Line — and, really, the rest of the evening’s performers — in the unfortunate spot of having to follow that.
“Some people might want to burn me at the stake for it, or burn him at the stake for it,” Stapleton told Rolling Stone Country of teaming up with Timberlake. “Who knows? But we’re going to have a good time.” The only thing burning down was the house.