CMA Music Festival 2019 was another one for the books. While the heavy downpour in Nashville on the first two days was a bummer, it didn’t stop artists and fans alike who traveled from all across the country and world from having a good time during country music’s biggest week. We thought we’d compile a list of our Top 8 CMA Fest 2019 moments that really wowed us, warmed our hearts, or both.
While this list is in no particular order, we might have saved the best for last. Hint: it isn’t that extravagant.
Nissan Stadium’s Best Collaborations: Lil Nas X with Billy Ray Cyrus, Joan Jett with Carrie Underwood
We were particularly psyched about these three collaborations. Billy Ray Cyrus ended his initial set with his biggest hit, “Achy Breaky Heart,” without playing “Old Town Road.” This led to crowds chanting the latter song title after he left. True enough, in between acts, Cyrus surprised the crowd with Lil Nas X and Keith Urban on banjo. The historical performance married the traditions of country and trap influences well with two country icons and Lil Nas X on stage. Carrie Underwood was also another highlight. While she never fails to wow crowds just with her solo performances, Joan Jett joining her own stage was almost like a once-in-a-lifetime moment of some sorts. Singing hits like “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” “I Hate Myself For Loving You” and “Bad Reputation,” we saw the crowd once again sing along to every word with excitement lit up on their faces. Equally as excited about this next collaboration was Luke Combs, who got to step onstage with one of country music’s biggest icons – Tim McGraw. After his solo set, Combs joined McGraw on stage for a collaboration on “Real Good Man.” McGraw praised the rising superstar, telling the packed crowd, “damn, that boy can sing.”
Luke Combs Is Everyone’s Jam
Luke Combs playing the Nissan Stadium was certainly a highlight. There wasn’t a single song on the set that no one didn’t know the words to, from the song that started his career rolling (“Hurricane”), to the brand new single “Beer Never Broke My Heart,” which is definitely poised to be his next smash No. 1 hit judging by the stadium singalongs. Combs truly is an artist that we’re tickled to see grow into possibly the format’s biggest superstar in the not-too-distant future. Excuse us while we try to get “longgg neckkk ice cold beer never broke my heart” out of our heads. It’s been stuck for days!
Surprise Pop-Up Shows Galore!
While fans had the official CMA Fest app to navigate around and decide which shows to go to, not everything could be planned. Little Big Town surprised fans with a pop-up show at Sirius XM The Highway’s Music Row Happy Hour at Margaritaville (along with a plethora of acts every day), Trisha Yearwood came up to chat about her new single “Every Girl In This Town,” Lady Antebellum did a pop-up show at the Spotify House at Ole Red and Kid Rock popped up on stage at his “Big Ass Honky Tonk Rock & Roll Steakhouse” on the last night of CMA Fest. When you’re in Nashville, you just never know who you’ll run into or see perform! The week’s festival was evidence of that.
Miranda Lambert Debuting Foot-Stomping New Song
Presumably Lambert’s new single in the near future, the country superstar performed the unapologetic autobiographical tune live for the first time. While it parallels to some of Lambert’s well-known traits, “Locomotive” isn’t as personal as some of her last few singles, which fortifies the bridge of relatability for many. It leans to a country-rock sound that is almost reminiscent of her previous single, “Fastest Girl In Town,” but a more intense, rocking version of it. While it was the first time fans heard it, the crowd’s head-bobbing, jumping and clapping was a clear indicator that they all loved it. We eagerly anticipate hearing it on country radio, hopefully soon!
New Acts Playing For New And Longtime Fans
One thing we love about CMA Fest is that there are multiple acts playing at different daytime stages simultaneously, from the big Chevy Riverfront Stage, to the Chevy Breakout Stage to the Maui Jim Broadway Stage at Bridgestone Arena. These stages have lit up the path for artists for many years, and continue to do so. Whether it’s a brand new act playing a CMA Fest stage for the first time, or one that graduated from the “newcomer stage” to play a bigger one. Dreams come true, one song at a time, and one listener at a time. As Kelleigh Bannen echoed during her Chevy Breakout Stage set; truly, nothing is more fulfilling for an artist to see the crowd know and sing the words to their songs. This really is a CMA Fest highlight; seeing fans from across the country and world come to watch their favorite acts, sing along, and then become fans of more newcomers.
Randy Travis Was Fully Present For The Artists And Fans At CMA Fest
The living legend was present for all four days at CMA Fest this year. From meeting fans at Fan Fair X every day, to promoting his memoir Forever And Ever, Amen at the CMA Close-Up Stage with co-author Ken Abraham and wife Mary Travis, to being present front of stage for every night at the Nissan Stadium. Fans were elated to meet the country legend, while artists were humbled to see him support and watch them perform.
Miranda Lambert’s Muttnation Foundation Adoption
The country singer teamed up with the Nashville Humane Association for a parade and booth in Fan Fair X at the Music City Center during CMA Fest to encourage the adoption of as many dogs as possible; which wasn’t difficult just by how cute they were. A total of 61 dogs were rescued from the drive, and that just warms our heart so much. We even saw footage captured of Randy Travis being loved on by one of the pups!
Artists Personally Meeting Fans
We saved the best for last, y’all. This was easily the biggest yet simplest highlight of CMA Fest. Whether at official meet-and-greets at Fan Fair X, impromptu ones down the stage after a show, or even run-ins along the street, we loved seeing artists embrace their fans in person. From hugs, to selfies, to signing multiple items, this really is what CMA Fest is about; thanking all the supportive fans who have, in some capacity, had their lives changed by songs from this storytelling genre we call “country music.”
For more details on the recent CMA Music Festival, including recaps from all four nights of the Nissan Stadium shows featuring country’s biggest stars, click HERE.