With the CMA Awards only a week away, I’ve found myself binge watching old videos from past country music award shows. I’m talking about the good, the bad, the ugly. Over the past 15 years or so, there has definitely been more bad and ugly than good, as the CMAs decided for awhile to make the ceremonies about anything but country music.
However, if you go back 20 plus years ago, the CMA Awards were absolutely electric to watch, as it was filled with country music icons from past and present, and we didn’t have the influx of pop stars we have today, like Beyoncé performing back in 2016. Nothing against Beyoncé, but there are so many great country music artists don’t get a moment in the sun… ever.
With that being said, after going down a few CMA Award rabbit holes, I found this old gem.
This one goes all the way back to 2003, only a couple of months after the legend himself Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71. The CMAs decided to put together a tribute to the Man In Black, by rounding up some of his good friends and other fellow country stars to perform a medley of his greatest hits.
The medley kicked off with Willie Nelson (who was a member of the country supergroup The Highwaymen alongside Cash) singing “I Walk the Line.” Next up was Hank Williams Jr. singing “Ring of Fire,” while giving his best Cash impression with the extra deep voice.
Then Travis Tritt and Sheryl Crow singing a fiery rendition of Cash and June Carter Cash’s “Jackson,” followed by Kris Kristofferson (who was also apart of The Highwaymen) was next up, singing “Folsom Prison Blues.”
And last but not least, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gave a nice bluegrass rendition of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” and the rest of the singers in the tribute joined in. Needless to say, I think Johnny was smiling down from the Heavens during this impressive performance.