Little Big Town Honor Kenny Rogers With ‘Sweet Music Man’ at CMA Awards

This was a beautiful tribute to 'the gambler.'

Little Big Town Honor Kenny Rogers With ‘Sweet Music Man’ at CMA Awards
NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - NOVEMBER 11: (L-R) Jimi Westbrook, Kimberly Schlapman, Karen Fairchild and Phillip Sweet of musical group Little Big Town perform onstage during the The 54th Annual CMA Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on Wednesday, November 11, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for CMA)

Little Big Town brought their harmonies to the classic Kenny Rogers tune, “Sweet Music Man,” at the 54th Annual CMA Awards on Wednesday, November 11. The performance served as a fitting tribute to the late singer, who passed away in March at the age of 81. The performance began with the camera focused in on band member Karen Fairchild, who sang the first few lines of the song. The rest of the quartet then joined in to add the four-part harmonies that have become synonymous with the group.

The instrumentals of Little Big Town’s rendition followed the original version’s model, with a continuous synth sound in the background mixed with acoustic guitar and hints of twangy slide guitar. The group sang the peaceful tune while blue light enveloped the stage around them. As they finished the song, photos of Rogers appeared on the screen behind them and they were met with a standing ovation from the crowd.

“Sweet Music Man” was written solo by Rogers and first released in 1977, although it was covered a number of times over the years by artists from Waylon Jennings to Reba McEntire. It was not the first time Little Big Town honored the country legend, as the group took part in the All In For The Gambler: Kenny Rogers’ Concert Celebration to sing “Through The Years” in 2017.

In addition to performing, Little Big Town were nominated for Vocal Group of the Year, which was won by Old Dominion. Co-hosted by Darius Rucker and Reba McEntire, the 54th Annual CMA Awards aired live on ABC from Nashville’s Music City Center on November 11.