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2014 ‘CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock’ Lives Up to Its Name

Miranda Lambert Carrie Underwood
Larry Busacca, Getty Images

They don’t call it ‘Country’s Night to Rock’ for no reason.

Some of the biggest stars in country music showed their rock influences during the 2014 broadcast of ‘CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock’ on Tuesday night (Aug. 5) on ABC. Hosted by Little Big Town, the massive three-hour broadcast showcased the blending of genres that has become more and more the norm for country music in recent years.

Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood kicked off the program, which recapped the highlights of the 2014 CMA Music Festival in Nashville. The pair joined up for their recent collaborative single, ‘Somethin’ Bad,’ which definitely leans more toward rock and pop than traditional country.

There were several other rockin’ collaborations. Eric Church joined with Halestorm front woman Lizzy Hale for a jaw-dropping performance of ‘That’s Damn Rock and Roll,’ from his latest album, ‘The Outsiders,’ while Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora teamed up with Zac Brown Band for Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’

Justin Moore also paired with Motley Crue front man Vince Neil for his cover of the metal band’s hit power ballad, ‘Home Sweet Home,’ from the new Motley Crue country tribute album.

Other standout performances included Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line, who were awarded a plaque to commemorate selling seven million copies of their career-making hit, ‘Cruise.’ Brantley Gilbert was joined by Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett for ‘Small Town Throwdown,’ and hosts Little Big Town also performed their fun summer single, ‘Day Drinking.’

Not all of the performances leaned toward rock music, though. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill paired up for a subdued, beautiful rendition of their current hit, ‘Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,’ and Darius Rucker brought the program to a close with his enormously popular and engaging cover of Old Crow Medicine Show‘s ‘Wagon Wheel,’ which must be one of the most crowd-pleasing singalong songs in recent years.

During Tuesday night’s broadcast, Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood were confirmed to return this year to host the CMA Awards for the seventh consecutive year.

NEXT: The Top 10 Country Acts Who Rock

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