Our Night To Rock

CMA Fest Was A Country Music Binge

If it feels like everything is a little quiet this morning, like things are in a bit of disarray, like the Earth had too much fun and wobbled slightly on its axis, it’s probably because dozens of the biggest country music acts rocked CMA Fest on ABC last night. It was four days of live country music across 11 stages, distilled down to the most boot-kickin, hat wavin three hours imaginable.

It was truly Country’s Night to Rock. No less than 25 of country’s biggest stars performed, including Garth Brooks, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Maren Morris, Miranda Lambert, and Sam Hunt. Thomas Rhett and Kelsea Ballerini hosted a hugely entertaining night. They introduced each other before their sets. It was cute.

Maybe you want to watch again. Or maybe you just plain missed it. Either way, you can do that with DISH as long as you have PrimeTime Anytime enabled. Your Hopper DVR records all primetime television automatically, and you can watch whenever you want for the next week. So catch up with the biggest names in country. Here is what everyone was up to and what you can see.

There were big time acts

Garth Brooks stole the show, playing a handful of classics. Sam Hunt really got the crowd going with “Body Like A Back Road.” Keith Urban was on twice, looking like a mid-90s alt-rocker. Miranda Lambert sang with her usual nearly inhuman poise. How is she so cool all the time? And Darius Rucker did a great rendition of “If I Told You.”

Up-and-coming artists

Then there were the younger kids, the artists looking to create the shape of country to come. Thomas Rhett, pulling double duty as host and performer, did “Craving You” as a duet with the lovely Maren Morris. She did her own “I Could Use A Love Song” later. Kelsea Ballerini did fine with her simple ode “Yeah, Boy.” Newcomers Dan + Shay put on an acoustic set that seemed well received. And Brothers Osborne took the show to a whole new level with “It Ain’t My Fault.”

There was more. When you watch CMA Fest, or watch it again, there are some things you just shouldn’t miss. You know the songs, you love them, but it’s the surprises that made this country’s night.

Most Nashville love

CMA Fest was recorded in Nashville, and one person who would not let anyone forget was Thomas Rhett. Playing “Star of the Show,” he assured all Music City, “Nashville, you know you’re the star of the show tonight, baby.” And then, at the end: “Nashville, you’re my star, baby.” Rhett would not be topped for Nashville love.

Best singalong

Nothing gives a performing artist credibility like a big audience singing the words to their song, because they know it and love it. There were a few singalongs during the CMAs. The crowd dutifully chimed in for Brett Young on “In Case You Didn’t Know.” But they just went nuts for the last verse of “Friends In Low Places.” Garth just held up the mic and basked in the love.

Best sunglasses

Not every performer could wear sunglasses on stage at night and be taken seriously. In fact, almost nobody could. But Eric Church, a.k.a. The Chief, just started belting “Round Here Buzz” in his Ray Bans, and it all made sense. It’s less like he’s leading a band than flying an F-18. The guy is a serious musician and super cool, and he deserves all the success he’s seeing.

Most likely to steal your girlfriend

Brett Young, guys, is a soulful crooner. He had the whole crowd swooning to “In Case You Didn’t Know.” We didn’t. We had no idea.  

Best Wardrobe

It can’t be easy to make fashion decisions when you’re going up to perform in front of tens of thousands of people. Plaid or solid, denim jacket or t-shirt? These are not easy questions. Lady Antebellum would be hard pressed to account for their choices, we think. But Maren Morris displayed the highest fashion wisdom all night. Maren, much respect.

Best Duet

Darius Rucker and Karen Fairchild sang “If I Told You,” and it gave us life. Thanks guys, we needed that.

Best Performance

Performances were great across the board, but this is an easy one. Brothers Osborne blew the crowd away with “It Ain’t My Fault,” and lots of folks watching TV sat up and took notice. T.J. Osborne shredded a five-minute guitar solo so hard our minds felt like a pair of ripped-up blue jeans, dangling threads blowing back in the breeze. It was country, but it wasn’t formulaic or focus-grouped. So it felt powerful.

We hope you check out CMA Fest on Prime Time Anytime. And remember, DISH provides a number of ways to enjoy music too. We’ll set you up with country music playlists and satellite radio stations. Listen to your favorite tunes however you want. Next year in Nashville!