A number of country music legends came together to open the 50th CMA Awards tonight in Nashville with some of the genre’s best known hits.
The first two songs came straight out of Bakersfield, with Vince Gill delivering a healthy portion of Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” accompanied by Haggard’s son Ben on guitar. Brad Paisley followed, singing Buck Owens’ “Tiger by the Tail” with Owens’ old Hee Haw partner Roy Clark by his side.
Other highlights included Paisley’s CMA co-host Carrie Underwood singing Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Charley Pride crooning “Kiss an Angel Good Morning” and Charlie Daniels fiddling his way through “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” In a nod to her famous CMA wardrobe of 1993, Reba emerged in an updated but no less revealing red dress to croon “Fancy.”
The swelling medley also featured a rare appearance by Randy Travis, who suffered a stroke in 2013. Travis, who sang “Amazing Grace” at his recent Country Music Hall of Fame induction ceremony, didn’t perform this time, but looked on beaming as the cast harmonized on his own “Forever and Ever, Amen,” adding one line to cap the number: “Amen.”