Luke Bryan Gets His ‘Country On’ at 2022 CMA Awards [Watch]
Bryan’s performance took place mid-way through the three-hour broadcast and followed the win for Vocal Group of the Year, which went to Old Dominion. Before he hit the stage, Bryan's co-host for the evening, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning welcomed the country crooner and American Idol judge to the stage.
“He’s a nominee tonight. A two-time Entertainer of the Year, and he’s here with a song that has become a country music anthem,” Manning began before inserting a cheeky joke into his announcement. “I keep telling him he’s like a brother to me. He cannot understand that’s not a compliment. Give it up for Luke Bryan."
Greeted with an eruption of cheers inside Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena, Bryan appeared backed by a full band and a massive stage set that resembled neon city lights and downtown honky-tonks. Sporting a casual buttoned-down shirt paired with jeans, he sang the feel-good tune, raising his finger up in the air multiple times to bring energy into his performance.
“Hey Nashville, keep bending them strings / Diggin' for gold, chasin' them dreams / Keep on with your songs 'til the whole worlds singin' along / Country on,” Bryan belted out the tune that’s all about sticking close to those country roots with a keep-on-keeping-on kind of message.
Written by David Frasier, Styles Haury, Mark Nesler and Mitch Oglesby, "Country On" is the lead single from Bryan's still-to-be-announced eighth studio album. The rock-leaning blue-collar anthem stays safely in Bryan's lyrical wheelhouse, giving a nod to the small-town lifestyle that many country fans live each day.
A two-time winner and 18-time nominee, Bryan was in the running for only one CMA Award during tonight's ceremony. "Buy Dirt," his collaboration with Jordan Davis, which won Song of the Year earlier in the evening, was also up for Single of the Year against Kelsea Ballerini and Kenny Chesney's "Half of My Hometown," Carly Pearce and Ashley McBryde's “Never Wanted to Be That Girl,” Cody Johnson's "'Til You Can't" and Chris Stapleton's "You Should Probably Leave."
The Country Music Association held the 2022 CMA Awards on Nov. 9 at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The show, co-hosted by Bryan and Manning, aired live on ABC.