CMA Fest 2023 got here to a detailed Sunday night time (June 11) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, celebrating its milestone fiftieth anniversary with a stacked lineup of a few of nation music’s brightest stars throughout a number of a long time, demonstrating the enduring affect of the style on generations of followers.

The lineup featured one of many best-selling teams in nation music historical past, Alabama; since incomes their first No. 1 with “Tennessee River” in 1980, the group continued lobbing hits at Billboard’s Scorching Nation Songs (then-called Scorching Nation Singles) chart, incomes 17 No. 1s over the following 5 years, and incomes 21 No. 1 hits on the chart by 1987.

After issuing his debut single, “Welcome to the Club” in 1992, McGraw earned almost a dozen No. 1 hits on the chart by 2000, turning into certainly one of nation music’s most constant hitmakers within the ’90s. He’s added to that genre-defining legacy every decade since, incomes 11 CMA Awards wins, together with an entertainer of the yr trophy. In the meantime, Luke Bryan and Dierks Bentley every issued their debut singles within the early- to mid-2000s, with every steadily including to their arsenal of hits. Bryan has two CMA entertainer of the yr wins to his credit score and has served as a bunch on American Idol, whereas Bentley is a 14-time Grammy Awards nominee and a three-time CMA Awards winner.

Bentley additionally co-hosted the upcoming CMA Fest tv particular alongside Lainey Wilson and Elle King; the particular will air July 19 on ABC.

The complete Sunday night time lineup additionally included units from Josh Turner, Ashley McBryde and newcomers Megan Moroney and Nate Smith.

Right here we have a look at a number of the high moments dotting the Sunday night present:

  • Alabama Honored With CMA’s Pinnacle Award

    Following their Nissan Stadium set, nation group Alabama was honored with the Nation Music Affiliation’s Pinnacle Award. The respect acknowledges an artist or group who has “undeniably redefined the pinnacle of success in the genre by achieving prominence through concert performances, consumption numbers, record sales and/or other significant industry achievements at levels unique for Country Music.”

    Solely three different artists have been beforehand awarded the accolade: Garth Brooks (2005), Taylor Swift (2013) and Kenny Chesney (2016). Alabama was inducted into the Nation Music Corridor of Fame in 2005, and is the primary and solely band to win the CMA’s entertainer of the yr honor three consecutive occasions (from 1982-1984).

    As the group roared its approval of their new accolade, Alabama lead singer Randy Owen, standing subsequent to his bandmate Teddy Gentry, thanked the group and paid tribute to a different important a part of Alabama’s story–their late bandmate and cousin Jeff Cook dinner.

    “On behalf of our late cousin, Mr. Jeff Cook, who we recently lost, on behalf of me and Teddy, the whole Alabama gang, thank y’all for letting us play for ya for over 50 years. We love you,” Owen advised the group.

    Alabama’s set included “Tennessee River,” “Mountain Music,” and a snippet of certainly one of nation music’s most revered and enduring anthems, the hymn “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.”

  • Ashley McBryde Proves Her Star Energy

    Earlier this week, Ashley McBryde was honored with the Groundbreaker Award throughout Billboard’s Nation Energy Gamers celebration occasion in Nashville.

    Along with her efficiency on the primary stage at Nissan Stadium on Sunday night time, enjoying to round 60,000 followers, McBryde showcased her standing as not solely certainly one of nation music’s premier songcrafters, however her expertise as a performer spilling with humor and coronary heart, and greater than just a little rock star edge.

    She began her set with the decided “Made For This,” earlier than stalking the stage with a microphone in a single hand and a sizzling pink bra dangling from her different hand. As she launched into the intelligent and irreverent story of “Brenda Put Your Bra On,” featured on her most up-to-date album, the collaborative undertaking Lindeville, McBryde lobbed various saucy seems on the crowd, earlier than flinging the brassiere into the viewers. From there, she provided up not solely the well-constructed “One Night Standards” however a duo of recent songs from her upcoming album, together with “Light On in the Kitchen” and “The Devil I Know.”

  • Tim McGraw Spotlights Younger Musical Expertise

    Throughout his efficiency on Sunday night, Tim McGraw wielded a high-powered string of hits tailor-made to preserving the momentum of the night at a speedy clip, rolling by means of songs together with “Something Like That,” “Southern Girl,” “Real Good Man,” and his newest launch, “Standing Room Only.”

    McGraw additionally famous that he made his CMA Fest debut in 1993 and recalled when the large competition was once held on the Nashville fairgrounds. Standing onstage at Nissan Stadium, he thanked the viewers for his or her longstanding assist of nation music.

    “Country music fans are the best in the world,” McGraw stated.

    McGraw wrapped his set by placing the highlight on a number of the musically gifted college students. The CMA Basis coordinated a scholar efficiency with McGraw, that includes fifth and sixth grade college students from Metro Nashville Public Faculties. McGraw welcomed a youth choir to hitch him on the Lori McKenna-written, CMA and Grammy Award-winning tune “Humble and Kind.”

    “These are our future right here,” he stated because the tune concluded. McGraw accented that assertion by waved to the group and retreating from the stage, leaving the highlight targeted squarely on the youth choir because the final strains of “Humbled and Kind” floated over the viewers.

  • Dierks Bentley’s Set Blends Humor, Hits

    “CMA Fest, this is your captain speaking,” Dierks Bentley advised the Nissan Stadium crowd throughout his set, launching into his signature hit “Drunk on a Plane” and immediately setting the group to cheering, twirling, waving their palms and lifting cups laden with copious quantities of alcohol into the air.

    His feedback have been greater than only a quip, as Bentley spent a very good portion of the previous 4 evenings at Nissan Stadium alongside Lainey Wilson and Elle King, co-hosting the upcoming CMA Fest tv particular. Bentley did double-duty throughout CMA Fest’s closing night time, as each co-host and entertainer.

    Bentley has cast a fame as each an ardent scholar and advocate for nation and bluegrass music (suppose his bluegrass-flavored albums and collaborations with artists starting from the Del McCoury Band to Ashley McBryde). His set at Nissan Stadium integrated parts of each, together with the title observe to his 2010 album Up on the Ridge, which he carried out whereas flanked on both facet by his ace band. He provided up his personal “5150,” “Gold,” “I Hold On” and “Free and Easy (Down the Road I Go),” and threw in a point out of his downtown Nashville bar Whiskey Row — and a few good-natured shade at his buddy Blake Shelton (“I sure as hell ain’t going to Ole Red,” Bentley quipped).

    That is an artist whose efficiency goes past strolling the stage, singing and shaking palms with followers — he performs on the viewers’s vitality, cracks jokes, brings moments of dramatic aptitude to his performances and but, is accessible and laid-back, as evidenced in his a number of playful makes an attempt at leaping into the group, solely to observe by means of with an precise temporary crowdsurf. His participating, freewheeling onstage persona proved why Bentley is certainly one of nation music’s most versatile artists.

  • Luke Bryan Retains CMA Fest Going into the Morning Hours

    “This is my kinda morning!” Bryan stated early in CMA Fest-wrapping set, as he rolled by means of “That’s My Kinda Night,” and he wasn’t unsuitable–Bryan’s set started simply moments after midnight, taking the Sunday night occasion at Nissan Stadium nicely into the early morning hour.

    The 2-time CMA entertainer of the yr’s music is perhaps labeled as nation, however he got here with sufficient tempo-fueled songs, like “Rain Is a Good Thing” and even the extra languid “Drunk on You” surged with vitality, primed to rock the viewers as much as the very best railings. But it surely was his signature “Country Girl (Shake It For Me),” that had bottoms wiggling all throughout the stadium. The set flowed from one hit to a different, soundtracking the ultimate night of Nashville’s greatest, most enduring nation music occasion.