The 2015 CMA Awards kicked off in style with Hank Williams Jr. and Eric Church performing Williams Jr.'s brand-new single, "Are You Ready for the Country."

As in the recorded version of the song, Williams Jr. took the lead on the first verse of the song and the chorus, while Church belted out the second verse. The two artists were backed by a full band and a choir of backup singers.

The song, originally written and recorded by Neil Young, was recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1976 and became a Top 10 hit for the singer. "Are You Ready for the Country" is Williams Jr.'s first single from his forthcoming record, It's About Time, and his first song on Nash Icon.

“We have made an album that is pure magic,” Williams Jr. says. “The songs — some I wrote and others I got from great songwriters — are typical Hank Jr. songs and I think will connect with anyone who hears them.”

When their performance was announced in October, CMA Awards Executive Producer Robert Deaton explained why Williams Jr. and Church were picked to start the evening of music and awards: “[The song] is the perfect narrative for the night. It sets up musically everything that is going to happen for the rest of the show.”

Sarah Trahern, CMA chief executive officer, added, "If you don’t see the first 15 minutes of the CMA Awards live, you will be grasping for straws at the proverbial watercooler the next morning. It is that good, and it is just the beginning of a great night of entertainment.”

Church is among this year's multiple nominees at the CMA Awards, including for Entertainer of the Year, Single of the Year and Song of the Year.

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