Old school met new school at the 2015 CMA Awards with the opening number, a unique collaboration between Entertainer of the Year nominee Eric Church and country legend Hank Williams Jr. The rocking performance of “Are You Ready for the Country?” was the perfect high-energy tune to get stars and fans in the audience on their feet throughout the arena from the first note.

Williams began the song with a bang, lit up by the enormous electric American flag backdrop, as Church beamed at the opportunity to be on stage with the icon. The legendary artist sounded as good as ever, clad in an all-black classic country ensemble as he belted with confidence.

Church took over the second verse, wearing his slightly more modern country-rock attire complete with a wine-colored leather jacket and trademark aviators, keeping his edgy demeanor intact.

The guys played off each other flawlessly, backed by a powerful choir and impressive band, literally ending with bang. Pyrotechnics burst from the stage as the stars wrapped up the performance.

Church is nominated for five awards at the CMAs this year, including Male Vocalist of the Year and Song of the Year. He’s also slated to perform at WE Fest Aug. 4-6, 2016 in Detroit Lakes, Minn.

2015 CMA Awards Red Carpet Pictures

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