On April 2, 2023, the city of Austin, Texas, hosted the CMT Awards, on of the biggest nights in country music. The event was held at the Moody Center, and the city had been preparing for months to make it a night to remember.
Leading up to the main show, there were free events for fans to enjoy from Wednesday through Sunday. A large section of Congress Avenue was closed down for a live show featuring Tyler Hubbard, Kane and Katelyn Brown, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. Some of these recordings were used as part of the televised main event Sunday night.
Darius Rucker and The Black Crowes filmed an episode of CMT Crossroads. Crossroads shows the far-reaching roots of country music by pairing country artists with musicians from other genres.
There were more live shows throughout Saturday and Sunday featuring several up and coming artists. This culminated with a red carpet celebration on Sunday evening featuring the University of Texas Marching Band. Celebrities such as Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefanie made their grand entrance, and Kelsie Ballerini shared her “hard launch” of her new relationship with Outer Banks star Chase Stokes!
As the night progressed, the main show began with a bang. There were incredible performances from some of the biggest names in music, including Blake Shelton, Carly Pearce, Kelsie Ballerini, Jellyroll, and Cody Johnson. Austin’s own Gary Clark Jr. paid tribute to legend Stevie Ray Vaughn with an epic guitar and vocal performance.
My 90’s self fan-girled as there were multiple throwback performances featuring rock and pop stars paired with country standouts. Gwen Stefani rocked “Just A Girl” with Carly Pearce, and I was in awe! She is just as gorgeous in person as you’d imagine. Darius Rucker and The Black Crowes performed “Talk To Angels” and it immediately took me back to my teenage years. Aerosmith was my first concert, and The Black Crowes were their opener and were virtually unknown at the time! The next surprise was Alanis Morisette along with Lainey Wilson and few other rising country female stars belting out “You Oughta Know”. Pardon me while I pull up my 90’s play list on Apple Music….
The night ended with a tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Fellow music legend Peter Frampton introduced the set by paying homage to Gary Rossington who passed away on March 5 th . The tribute featured a collaboration between some of the biggest names in country music and rock including Slash, Billy Gibbons, Warren Haynes, Chuck Leavell, Paul Rodgers, Cody Johnson, Wynonna Judd, and LeAnn Rimes to perform a pair of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s biggest hits, “Simple Kind of Man” and the ever loved “Sweet Home Alabama”.
The Moody Center and the city of Austin worked tirelessly to prepare for this event, and their hard work paid off. The show was a huge success, and it was clear that Austin was the perfect city to host it. There has been no announcement yet if Austin will be hosting the event again next year, but it seems likely given the success of the show. Overall, the CMT Awards in Austin, Texas was a night to remember, and fans and performers alike will be talking about it for years to come!