Rather than singing Musgraves’ Golden Hour hit “Rainbow” — which won the award for Music Video of the Year earlier in the day — the pair of Texan troubadours shared time on Kermit the Frog’s “The Rainbow Connection” instead. A bold-but-brilliant choice, the tender track (written by Paul Williams and Kenneth Ascher) became a heartwarming highlight.
With Nelson’s trusty guitar, Trigger, around his neck and with Musgraves by his side, the pair traded verses with a full string ensemble behind them — plus a cascading rainbow of fabric in the background. Nelson’s gruff-yet-gentle vocal was made extra lovable when contrasted by Musgraves’ bright, pitch-perfect delivery, adding up to a surprise country lullaby.
Just after the performance, Musgraves was named the CMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year for the first time.