Montgomery Gentry singer Eddie Montgomery hit the stage for his first public performance since the death of his partner, Troy Gentry, to pay tribute to Gentry at the 2017 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 8).

Dierks Bentley began the performance, delivering the lower range vocal part that Montgomery sang in the verse on the original recording. Rascal Flatts joined in next, with singer Gary LeVox sporting a Batman T-shirt in additional homage to Gentry as he sang Gentry's high-octane parts in the chorus.

Montgomery strode powerfully to center stage midway through the song, taking the mic to sing the final verse of the hit from 2002. He imbued the final tagline, "And maybe later, me and T-Roy will show you around our town," with an extra measure of emotion in memory of Gentry, who died in a helicopter crash on Sept. 8 prior to a planned Montgomery Gentry concert in New Jersey.

"This is my town baby!" Montgomery roared to finish the high-energy performance, which reflected the rock and roll attitude Gentry brought to the duo's music.

Gentry's wife and daughter watched tearfully from the audience during the performance, which drew a standing ovation from the crowd at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.

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