The Country Music Association (CMA) celebrated its 60th anniversary Wednesday evening (Sept. 26) with an invite-only industry party at the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Throughout the night, more than 20 acts performed 60 years of country hits, backed by Joe Denim and an All-Star Band.
After welcoming remarks from CMA Chief Executive Officer Sarah Trahern, Jeannie Seely kicked off the evening with a stunning performance of “Who Needs You.” Michael Ray and Craig Wayne Boyd performed back-to-back Merle Haggard classics, with Ray singing “Okie from Muskogee” and Boyd singing “The Fighting Side of Me.”
Halfway to Hazard performed Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” in a moving tribute to Troy Gentry, while Hilary Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Jr., performed her father’s “Old Habits.” Backstage, Lee Greenwood and Larry, Steve & Rudy, The Gatlin Brothers, sang an impromptu version of Greenwood’s hit “God Bless The U.S.A.,” which the Gatlin Brothers provided background vocals for on the original 1984 recording.
Artists joined Trahern and CMA staff on stage for a birthday toast and sing-a-long rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Lee Brice closed the evening with a performance of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition.”
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