With Paisley kicking the mashup off from the tailgate of his truck, the longtime star showed off his pure-country guitar picking on his classic “Mud On the Tires.” Rolling through the acoustic jam with ease, he then pitched things over to Rucker, who jumped into his multi-Platinum smash “Wagon Wheel,” singing from a rocking chair on his South Carolina front porch. Paisley played along while Rucker sang — even taking a rollicking solo in the middle — before both transitioned back into “Mud On the Tires” for a big finish.
“We’re are all in this together,” Paisley said after the song, nodding to he and Rucker’s one-two-punch of a performance.
The unexpected collaboration added a playful element of creativity to the bittersweet show, which replaced the 55th ACM Awards — postponed until September due to the spread of COVID-19. Also wowing fans on the show were stars like Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani, Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood and Tim McGraw, who all performed from home as they practiced social distancing.