Thomas Rhett treated fans to his chart-topping "Country Again," the title track of his fifth studio album, onstage at the 2021 CMA Awards on Wednesday night (Nov. 10).

The simple, yet heartfelt performance kept the focus on Rhett's delivery, reiterating his personal connection with the lyrics. "Country Again" dropped in the spring of 2021. Like many of Rhett's songs, its subject matter is autobiographical, revolving around the singer's conflict between the challenges of a demanding career and his desire to be at home and live a life centered around family.

It became his 18th No. 1 hit at country radio. He wrote it during quarantine amid the COVID-19 pandemic, during a time when country music's bustling touring industry had come to a screeching halt.

The message behind the song — and Country Again: Side A at large — is one that Rhett's continuing to explore in his next musical chapter, which will resume with not one, but two new albums in 2022. The first of those will be called Where We Started and is slated for early in the year. That tracklist kicks off with the singer's newest single, "Slow Down Summer."

Rhett has indicated that the second half of his 2021 project, called Country Again: Side B, will follow later on that year.

In a surprise move, Rhett recruited his mother Paige as his date for the CMA red carpet this year. His wife, Lauren Akins, is preparing to give birth to the couple's fourth daughter in the coming weeks and opted to stay at home, likely for some much needed rest.

The Country Music Association held the 2021 CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena in downtown Nashville. The show, hosted for the first time by Luke Bryan, returned to the venue — its home since 2006 — after one year at Music City Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2021 CMA Awards — Best Pictures From the Show

The 2021 CMA Awards brought surprise collaborations and electric performances from artists like Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert. Newcomers Carly Pearce and Gabby Barrett also took the stage. This gallery of pictures from the show includes candid show moments as well as pictures taken during emotional acceptance speeches. The 2021 CMA Awards were broadcast live on ABC from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 10.

50 Greatest CMA Awards Moments of All Time

Taylor SwiftCarrie Underwood and Luke Bryan all make this list of the 50 best CMA Awards moments, but so do legendary acts like Johnny CashLoretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell and Dolly Parton (multiple times!).


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