Welcome to our live blog for the 48th Annual CMA Awards! This is the night billed as country music’s Oscars. It’s certainly the higher-rated & more respectable of the 2 major country awards shows. But just like the Oscars aren’t immune to questionable nominees/non-nominees, winners/non-winners. So really, this night is about the live performances, the opening monologue from our most excellent co hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood, and whether the show will find a way to showcase more country music and country women than country radio does these days.
Performing tonight are: Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Eric Church, The Doobie Brothers, Florida Georgia Line, Hunter Hayes (with the Doobie Brothers), Little Big Town (with Ariana Grande, and separately with Miranda Lambert), Miranda Lambert (with Meghan Trainor and separately with Little Big Town as already mentioned), Michael McDonald (presumably with The Doobie Brothers?), Tim McGraw, Kacey Musgraves, Jennifer Nettles (with the Doobie Brothers), Thomas Rhett, Blake Shelton (featuring Ashley Monroe), George Strait, Cole Swindell, The Band Perry, Carrie Underwood, and Keith Urban. If you’re interested in performance song spoilers, check out this compilation post.
Here’s another item of interest: CMA Awards Executive Producer Robert Deaton also teases
There’s going to be a surprise guest in one of our performances from one of the biggest legends of country music of all time. I’ll just leave it at that. It’s going to be a great moment when people are going to want to get out their phones.
In a now deleted tweet, Martina McBride spilled that she would be sharing a dressing room with Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, and Loretta Lynn. So perhaps the great Loretta will join Kacey Musgraves or George Strait for a performance?
Presenters include Lilly Aldridge, Connie Britton, Garth Brooks, Lucy Hale, Tim Tebow, Steven Tyler, Darius Rucker, Trisha Yearwood, and CMA Awards nominees Lee Brice, Brandy Clark, Brett Eldredge, Martina McBride, and Kip Moore. Based on this tweet/pic from CMA head writer David Wild, I think odds favor a Steven Tyler guest appearance in Brad & Carrie’s opening monologue, and you know that is going to be something to watch!
As far as the awards themselves, well, look for Miranda Lambert to have a big night – due to being in an active album cycle while none of the other contenders have been, she’s all but guaranteed her record-setting 5th Female Vocalist win, and many predict that despite lacking the numbers and presence of her fellow nominees and some non-nominees, she’ll walk away with CMA Entertainer Of The Year for the 1st time too. Hey, Loretta Lynn presented Miranda with her 1st Female Vocalist win in 2010, so it may be fitting for Loretta to present Miranda with Entertainer, as well. Miranda’s been a CMA/ACM awards darling for years, and she is admittedly overrewarded thanks to the right “relationships,” as she has acknowledged (but husband Blake is way more overrewarded).
But this year, Miranda released an album that really does deserve its critical acclaim in Platinum, and if the industry wants to send a message about women, why not give the sole woman nominated the Entertainer prize? I mean, ideally, the CMAs and ACMs would stop acting like Miranda is the only female doing anything that matters (and yes, Carrie Underwood has been unfairly overlooked for higher levels of success across a broader range of endeavors & critically-acclaimed risk-taking, especially in music). But it is what it is, and Miranda’s most certainly NOT the problem here.
Besides, we can’t rule out the possibility of King George riding his emotional The Cowboy Rides Away tour to a 2nd consecutive Entertainer win, nor can we rule out the CMAs acknowledging that Luke Bryan is bringing in numbers bigger than everybody in the genre and giving him an Entertainer win. If it sounds like I’m writing off Blake and Keith in the category, I am. But maybe I shouldn’t underestimate the hold Blake & his people have on the CMAs, or the fact that Keith came into the night with 4 nominations (1 of which he has already won – Musical Event Of The Year with Miranda Lambert).
To be honest, the only way I’m likely to care about the actual awards is if we see some surprise upsets in favor of acts who haven’t been overrewarded over the years. For possibilities, look no further than Dierks Bentley, the night’s leading male nominee with 5 nominations, and a win under his belt for Video Of The Year for “Drunk On A Plane.” That win broke a 9 year CMA drought for Dierks, who had last won a CMA, the Horizon Award, in 2005. He is nominated for Male Vocalist Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Single Of The Year, and Song Of The Year, but has also made light hearted commentary on “the politics of this town”. Another possibility? Kacey Musgraves’s “Follow Your Arrow,” cowritten by Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Kacey is nominated for Song Of The Year, and went gold despite not going t40 at country radio. For it to win would be a sweet upset indeed. Still another possibility? The aforementioned Brandy Clark is the sole female nominated for New Artist Of The Year, and the sole nominee who hasn’t appeared on the country airplay charts as a performing artist (she did cowrite several big hits, including The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” and Miranda’s “Mama’s Broken Heart”). A lot of bro country fans will have no idea who she is, and she has the perfect item for them.
For a list of nominees and a breakdown of some of the important bloc affiliations (labels, agencies, tour promoters) likely to swing tonight’s results, see HERE. And the live blog starts below!
4 time CMA Entertainer Of The Year Kenny Chesney kicks off the show with his recent #1 smash “American Kids,” complete with the youth hippie parade from his video. It’s a peppy, almost rootsy number about a generation that grew up in their own time. They’re “a little messed up, but we’re all alright.” Must be said, Kenny nailed it with this single as his comeback to radio, and the performance was perfectly fine.
We move right into a performance of “All About That Bass” with Meghan Trainor and Miranda Lambert. Lots of backing track but you can hear Miranda and Meghan trade lines, with Meghan singing high harmonies. Solid performance – you can kind of tell they didn’t have a ton of time to rehearse it and are trying to defer to each other. Kacey Musgraves is singing along, but there doesn’t seem to be a ton of reaction from the crowd.
And now…time for our cohosts, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood! They start off with “Previously…on the CMA Awards…” and reminisce about George Strait’s sad goodbye last year. They grieve via their own version of “The Cowboy Rides Away,” until Carrie notices that King George is actually still there…and nominated for an award (she says 3? Pretty sure it’s 1 – Entertainer). It hilariously takes her a little longer to get Brad on board with this. They ask George if he needs a ride (shoutout to Uber), and point out Luke Bryan would probably be happy to provide a faster car. LOL!
Carrie welcomes everybody to the 48th Annual CMA Awards, and right after she introduces herself, Brad announces that they’re having a baby! Carrie looks quizzically at him…”We?” “I don’t remember you being there, Brad.” Ha! Brad tells Carrie that she cannot keep him out of the child’s life, and Carrie looks appropriately concerned. Brad demands to at least know the gender of the child. Carrie isn’t inclined to share, but when Brad promises they can move on and he won’t tell anybody if she tells him, she whispers the answer into his ear. Brad looks smug, and tells TMZ to “Suck it” because he knows something they won’t know. The crowd loves it.
Carrie talks about what a great show it’s going to be, and gives a shoutout to Miranda/Blake and Faith/Tim in the front row. “Everybody is here tonight!” Carrie crows. Brad demurs, saying they’re glad not everybody’s there. He dedicates their next song to “one feisty nurse in Maine who may be going on a bike ride right now…and they convert Dolly Parton’s classic “Jolene” into “Quarantine.” It’s dopey…and pretty funny.
But now they’re ready to put all kidding aside, because everybody’s worried about some serious stuff going on in the world right now…something on every TV, in every newspaper, why, it appears Nashville has been hit the hardest. By what, you ask? Post Partum Taylor Swift Disorder. Apparently President Obama doesn’t care about this, which is why the Democrats lost the Senate. How does Brad know the President doesn’t care about this? Well, he jumped the fence and ran right into the White House to ask the President himself. Heh. They launch into a Taylor Swift-themed version of “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” (which is genius in its irony), that includes a funny riff on Taylor’s height, and ends by saying, “We’re sad that New York’s gain is Nashville’s loss, but country music’s gonna have to shake it off.” Cute. Brad says Taylor’s welcome to return anytime she wants, they’ll just give her Blake’s seat and kick him out. Ha!
Next up is a corny and not terribly funny riff on Ariana Grande’s name, and then an edgy joke about how they’re not going to make a Renee Zellwegger joke tonight, because she could be there and how would they know. Appropriately, the crowd is not sure about that one.
But Carrie & Brad proceed to talk about how excited they are that Garth Brooks is back! Carrie wants to know if Brad thinks he’ll sign her baby. Then Brad gets a bright idea, “What if we name him Garth?” And just like that, the cat’s out of the bag (Carrie and hubby Mike are indeed having a baby boy)! Haha, Carrie’s going to have to write “All American Boy” now, because she was on the record about hoping for a little girl!
Brad pulls out his phone and shows Carrie his Garth selfie, but then Carrie “accidentally” swipes and sees something she’s definitely not supposed to see. And we’re off to a country male nude selfie-themed version of Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line,” that somehow gets away with the line “somewhere there’s Fifty Shades of Florida Georgia Line.” And with that, it’s time to introduce the night’s 1st presenter, rock legend Steven Tyler, who proclaims his love of country music and has Carrie and Brad join him for a little country-style verse of “Cryin’.”
Then, Steven Tyler continues what will be a busy night for Miranda Lambert by presenting the CMA for Single Of The Year to her for “Automatic.” Miranda thanks her cowriters on the track Nicolle Galyon and Natalie Hemby, and thanks her production team. Producer Frank Liddell thanks his team of engineers. There’s some lack of enthusiasm in Miranda’s voice tbh, but maybe because she knows she has many podium walks to come tonight. Or maybe it’s because she shares my opinion that the song is buggy in premise and weirdly regressive coming from 3 progressive writers.
Kellie Pickler takes us to commercial! Hi Kellie! She’s such a natural at this TV stuff.
After Brad does a sight gag about how Meghan Trainor could just go country if she just wore some cutoff jeans (execution is not quite there IMO, and Meghan Trainor does not appear to be in on the joke), Lady Antebellum takes the stage to perform their recent #1 song, “Bartender,” which is now attempting a pop (or at least HAC) crossover. Some pitch bobbles but decent enough.
Carrie’s back up to introduce Florida Georgia Line, who perform their recent #1 hit, an attempt to show that they can do an actual country song with substance. I’m pretty sure there’s some “enhancement” during the chorus and their pitch wanders a little but honestly, I’ll take this over their atrocious current single.
Brad apologizes to anybody who tuned in tonight hoping to see 1 of their favorite show – the CMAs, he admits, are no Black-ish, but he hopes viewers will enjoy the beautiful front row, which he calls Whitish. Heh.
Next up is Keith Urban performing his current t10 single “Somewhere In My Car.” Love that cry in his voice. Probably loses pitch a little bit as the chorus gets too big for him, but if there is a more magnetic live performer in country music, I don’t know who that could be.
Darius Rucker and Tim Tebow present the CMA for Song Of The Year to Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves for “Follow Your Arrow”!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG THE RIGHT SONG WON! Kacey Musgraves exclaims, “Do you know what this means for country music?” She’s thrilled, and thanks the fans for spreading the word about the song. I mean, it’s not like she can thank country radio. She also acknowledges her co writers Brandy and Shane.
After Carrie and Brad do a sight gag about the IPhone 7 (so giant it may as well be a tablet), they introduce The Band Perry to do their cover of a previous Song Of The Year winner, Glen Campbell’s “Gentle On My Mind.” The Band Perry absolutely slays this song. Gorgeous performance, showing off what Kimberly Perry does best – understated vocals, with great supporting harmonies from her brothers Neil and Reid.
After giving a shoutout to this year’s Country Music Hall Of Fame inductees, Mac Wiseman, the late Hank Cochran, and Ronnie Milsap (who is there, but whom the camera cannot find) Carrie introduces last year’s New Artist Of The Year who is “still 1 of country music’s most exciting artists,” Kacey Musgraves who, along with her big hair, launches into a cover of Loretta Lynn’s “You’re Lookin’ At Country” against a red barn Opry backdrop. Will Loretta join her? She does! The crowd immediately rises to its feet, and the rest of the song is just sweet and spunky, with some nice harmonies between the 2 ladies.
Lee Brice and Brantley Gilbert present the CMA for New Artist Of The Year to Brett Eldredge. OK he’s no Brandy Clark, but he’s the least bro of the 4 male nominees and I did have a thought that his likability would see him through to a win. It’s extra lame that he’s 1 of 3 New Artist nominees not performing tonight.
We’re back from commercial, and Carrie introduces Jason Aldean (not nominated tonight despite being 1 of the genre’s t2 commercial performers), who performs his recent #1 smash “Burnin It Down.” I don’t know. He’s just kind of there.
A baby-carrier-wearing Brad is munching on Cheetos as he announces his pregnancy cravings and tells Carrie he needs to throw her a baby shower. His gifts to the baby include a George Jones CD, the latest Blake Shelton CD to put the baby to sleep, tiny booties that Brad claims Jason Aldean just wore on stage, and…yea, just like me, Carrie is over this baby shower. The most charming part of it may have been Carrie popping a Cheeto in her mouth when it ended. They introduce Little Big Town and Ariana Grande.
Little Big Town is clad in light-up costumes that change color, and 2 rows worth of drumline as they perform their current t5 single “Day Drinking.” As they wrap that, the drumline segues into “Bang Bang,” and out comes Ariana. The performances are vocally on point, as you’d expect, but what was the point of this, exactly?
Tim McGraw is up to perform his current t10 single, “Shotgun Rider.” He gets a great response, maybe because he’s the rare country guy willing to act like an adult?
Brandy Clark, Brett Eldredge, and Kip Moore are up to present Vocal Duo Of The Year to Florida Georgia Line. Because an award should go from the sublime to the ridiculous? I don’t get this presentation decision at all. FGL’s speech is perfectly sincere and grateful but UGH, they even refer to their spouses as “girls.”
Quick throw to Cole Swindell, who performs a verse and chorus of his 1st #1 hit “Chillin’ It,” awkward hand moves and all, before announcing and congratulating the CMA Broadcast Radio winners.
After an introduction from Brad & Carrie talking about how country music saw lots of drinking songs this year, though none flew higher than his, Dierks Bentley performs his summer #1 smash, “Drunk On A Plane.” It takes him a verse to get on tempo, and his vocals are buried in the mix during the chorus – likely because unlike many of tonight’s performers, he didn’t use a supplementary vocal track. Dierks is the real deal, and I really want to recommend his excellent album, Riser. “Drunk On A Plane” may be its biggest hit so far, but there’s a lot of depth and emotion on the album – on songs like its title track and also its current single, “Say You Do.”
Connie Britton and Martina McBride banter about Rayna James and Martina making an album together 1 day, before presenting the CMA for Album Of The Year to Miranda Lambert for Platinum. “Somethin’ Bad”‘s video gets plenty of play as Miranda makes her way to the stage. She compliments the other nominees, and talks about pouring her heart into this one more than ever, writing with a lot of her friends, singing with a lot of her friends, and recording with a lot of her friends, and turning to new topics as she turns 30. She thanks the fans for connecting to it and country radio for playing it. It’s a really strong album, though I would’ve been just as happy to see Dierks Bentley or Eric Church win here, I love “Holding On To You,” “Bathroom Sink,” “Girls,” Babies Making Babies,” “Little Red Wagon,” “Hard Staying Sober,” “Priscilla,” and more from Platinum.
Now dressed in red (dress #8, I think), Carrie introduces her cohost Brad Paisley to perform his current single “Perfect Storm,” a nice midtempo romantic ballad. Another guy who is not using any lead vocal enhancement or pitch correction.
Brad throws it over to Blake Shelton, who performs what will likely be his next single (and will be a huge smash IMO), “Lonely Tonight,” featuring Ashley Monroe. Again, raw, real vocals with no enhancement, and it’s a pretty wobbly performance for both (Ashley is not helped by a very short skirt and sky high heels). Ashley doesn’t have the biggest voice, so she struggles a little to be heard over the instruments, but you can just feel Blake urging her on. It’s not the best performance but I’m not mad. Thank you Blake for giving such a wonderful artist this showcase.
The CMA is placing its most popular female act and its most popular male act in the prime slot – closing the 2nd hour, with Carrie & Luke up next.
Carrie Underwood is up to perform her new single, “Something In The Water.” Let me just say, this song is a bear to sing. With a waterfall simulated in the background, Carrie has to fight emotion and the loud instrumental track a bit, and it takes her a little bit to really center herself on pitch. But even while pregnant, her voice is so pure and right on pitch, especially on those big notes, and her conviction is undeniable. The crowd is on its feet, and a choir joins her for the “Amazing Grace” portion of the song.
Lucy Hale present the CMA for Vocal Group Of The Year to Little Big Town! Between the 4 of them, I think they cover thanks to everybody, and also demonstrate why they’re probably the most likable current act being played on country radio. Let me take this opportunity to recommend their new album, Pain Killer, especially songs like “Girl Crush,” “Quit Breaking Up With Me,” “Faster Gun,” “Live Forever,” “Good People, “Save Your Sin,” and many more.
Luke Bryan has to go hard to overcome some monitor issues as he sings “Roller Coaster.” Also get buried in the mix on the chorus, but he fights gamely through. He gets a standing ovation from the crowd in appreciation of his efforts.
Carrie introduces Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town to perform Miranda’s new single, “Smokin’ & Drinkin.” They sell it with their stage presence and charm, but if I’m being honest, the harmonies are a little off on the verses. A standing ovation follows, and Brad & Carrie follow by singing a chorus of a Vince Gill‘s “When I Call Your Name.” The cheers are now for the beloved Vince, whom Carrie calls “the best friend country music has ever had.” Cue a tribute montage, and Carrie & Brad presenting Vince with the Irving Waugh Award Of Excellence for only the 2nd time it’s been presented (the other time was to Johnny Cash). Vince follows with a speech that is just all class, good humor, kindness, and did I mention class? I can’t do his speech justice by recapping, but the speech included both some pointed remarks about how the bros should treat a lady, and a genuine appreciation of the same generation for the camaraderie among the artists. Thank goodness he wasn’t cut off.
Eric Church joins George Strait for a performance of “Cowboys Like Us.” Bit wobbly when they sing together, tbh, but I think it’s pretty cool that 1 of country music’s biggest current stars, who has a current single out, who probably had the option of performing himself, is instead backing King George.
Trisha Yearwood presents the CMA for Male Vocalist Of The Year to Blake Shelton. *sigh* Really? Power couple mania still? Whatever. Blake says he thought Luke wound win. He talks about it being a huge night for his family. You don’t say. Blake Shelton now has the same number of CMA Male Vocalist wins as Vince Gill, and that’s just wrong. But I’ll moderate my pissiness about this on account of Blake’s VERY classy shoutout to Earl Thomas Conley, who, as Blake notes, never won a CMA Award.
Thomas Rhett takes the stage for a mercifully short performance of a song that is among those that Maddie & Tae call out in their hit “Girl In A Country Song.” So I’m just going to post their song:
The Doobie Brothers are joined by Hunter Hayes (on guitar), and Jennifer Nettles and Hillary Scott on vocals for a rousing rendition of “Listen To The Music.” Fun!
Lilly Aldridge and Sam Hunt present Female Vocalist Of The Year to Miranda Lambert. She’s run out of things to say but she’s grateful. Honestly, the whole pwoer couple thing is just old and I really do think Blake winning tonight almost takes away from Miranda’s wins because you know it’s politicking that’s at work here (but I have NO problem with Miranda winning Album or Female Vocalist this year). You may have 1 more speech yet, tonight, Miranda!
Carrie & Brad welcome Garth Brooks back to the CMAs, plug his upcoming album Man Against Machine. Garth then presents the CMA for Entertainer Of The Year to…..Luke Bryan! It’s his very 1st CMA win, and it’s the top award of the night! Luke hugs Garth, then announces he’s never met Garth, and asks to hug him again. Luke movingly thanks his brother and sister who are watching over him from heaven, and goes on to thank just about everybody else, including his peers. He’s a good guy capable of making much better music than he does. But he is also country’s biggest seller, and from that point of view, hard to argue against a win for him here. From a bloc POV, George and Miranda split the anti-bro vote, Blake & Miranda split the power couple vote, and Luke was the beneficiary.
Back to Brad & Carrie, who plug Jimmy Kimmel Live’s special Nashville/Hollywood episode, and then introduce Michael McDonald and the Doobie Brothers to close with “Takin’ It To The Streets.” Methinks the CMAs missed a prime trolling opportunity here…they could’ve teased a Taylor performance, and then brought out Hicks to do 1 of his signature AI songs!
So what did you think about tonight? I’ll be filling out this blog with additional observations, so please join in!
My overall thoughts on the night: Honestly, this was a pretty good show. To give credit to the producers, there was a concerted effort to showcase country music to offset the pop moments (hence a couple of the night’s highlights – Kacey’s collab with Loretta Lynn and The Band Perry’s cover of Glen Campbell). There was a pretty wide range of songs being sung…pop to pop country to contemporary country to traditional country to gospel to R&B and a little bit of rock (a lot less rock than usual on a country show, to be honest). The producers also made a concerted effort to showcase female talent, mostly from the genre, and that helped make for a balanced show. For the 1st part of the show, I heard quite a few lead vocal backing tracks dominating choruses, but that seemed to end around the halfway point, where the stronger singers took over (and had to fight overbearing audio mixes). Brad & Carrie’s monologue was pretty funny, but it didn’t top last year’s hilarity and you could tell that they struggled to find material in a year of so much tragedy. Carrie’s delivery as co-host, it must be said, gets better and better every year. It appears that she actually topped her record for outfit changes in a show…though I lost count there.
The awards? The power couple domination stretching into a 5th consecutive CMA year turned them into a pile of “meh,” however deserving Miranda may have been this year of a couple of her wins. But the “Follow Your Arrow” Song Of The Year win was the show’s top award moment, and it was nice to see Brett Eldredge get a win too. Oh, and Vince Gill? Makes EVERYTHING better. He’s a gem.
Entertainer Of The Year
Luke Bryan – WINNER
Female Vocalist Of The Year
Miranda Lambert – WINNER
Male Vocalist Of The Year
Blake Shelton – WINNER
Album Of The Year
Dierks Bentley, Riser, produced by Arturo Buenahora, Jr., Ross Copperman, & Jaren Johnston
Luke Bryan, Crash My Party, produced by Jeff Stevens
Eric Church, The Outsiders, produced by Jay Joyce and Arturo Buenahora, Jr.
Miranda Lambert, Platinum, produced by Chuck Ainley, Frank Liddell, & Glenn Worf – WINNER
Keith Urban, Fuse, produced by Benny Blanco, Nathan Chapman, Ross Copperman, Zach Crowell, Mike Elizondo, Dann Huff, Jay Joyce, Stargate, Keith Urban, and Butch Walker,
Vocal Group Of The Year
Eli Young Band
Little Big Town – WINNER
The Band Perry
Zac Brown Band
Song Of The Year
“Automatic,” Nicolle Galyon, Natalie Hemby, and Miranda Lambert
“Follow Your Arrow,” Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally, and Kacey Musgraves – WINNER
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church & Luke Laird
“I Don’t Dance,” Lee Brice, Dallas Davidson, & Rob Hatch
“I Hold On,” Dierks Bentley & Brett James
Single Of The Year
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert – WINNER
“Drunk On A Plane,” Dierks Bentley
“Give Me Back My Hometown,” Eric Church
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“Mine Would Be You,” Blake Shelton
New Artist Of The Year
Brett Eldredge – WINNER
Vocal Duo Of The Year
Florida Georgia Line – WINNER
Love & Theft
Vocal Event Of The Year
Bakersfield, Vince Gill & Paul Franklin
“Meanwhile Back At Mama’s,” Tim McGraw featuring Faith Hill
“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert duet with Carrie Underwood
“We Were Us,” Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert – WINNER
“You Can’t Make Old Friends,” Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers
Video Of The Year
“Automatic,” Miranda Lambert, directed by Trey Fanjoy
“Bartender,” Lady Antebellum, directed by Shane Drake
“Drunk On A Plane,” Dierks Bentley, directed by Wes Edwards – WINNER
“Follow Your Arrow,” Kacey Musgraves, directed by Honey & Kacey Musgraves
“Somethin’ Bad,” Miranda Lambert & Carrie Underwood, directed by Trey Fanjoy
Musician Of The Year
Sam Bush, mandolin
Jerry Douglas, dobro
Paul Franklin, steel guitar
Dann Huff, guitar
Mac MacAnally, guitar