Last night’s “ACM Presents: Our Country” was exactly what we expected. One artist after another performing unplugged, and usually alone. It was fascinating to hear how they sounded without a lot of production.
It was also cool to see the wide variety of couches, chairs, basements, porches, truck beds, you name it . . . at their various houses, ranches, home studios, and in SHANIA TWAIN’s case, her barn, where she serenaded her horse and dog.
GAYLE KING was the host, and she kept it low-key and simple, which was the right tone. She talked about the healing power of music, and how we’re all in this together. Here are some of the highlights:
KEITH URBAN started it off by thanking the first responders and health care workers, and then he performed “Wasted Time”. LADY ANTEBELLUM were in separate houses and letting their kids distract them while they did “What I’m Leaving For” .
CARRIE UNDERWOOD sat alone on her couch, slipped a glass of wine, and sang a pitch-perfect version of “Drinking Alone”.
TIM MCGRAW did a kind of a Zoom conference thing as three musicians helped him with “Humble and Kind”. I swear his drummer was playing furniture at one point.
One great pairing featured BRAD PAISLEY doing “Mud On The Tires” and then he connected by computer to DARIUS RUCKER who did “Wagon Wheel”.
MIRANDA LAMBERT kept it real in a flannel shirt while sitting on her porch playing “Bluebird”. DIERKS BENTLEY performed “I Hold On” on his deck in Telluride.
Two great ACM Flashbacks included Carrie Underwood and STEVEN TYLER tearing through “Walk This Way” . . . and FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE with BACKSTREET BOYS doing “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”.
The show ended with a terrific Kenny Rogers tribute. Brad and Darius sang “Lucille” and “The Gambler”, and LUKE BRYAN did “Coward of the Country”.
And then Lionel Richie gave a heartfelt speech about Kenny before introducing their performance of “Lady” from the 2012 special “ACM Presents: Lionel Richie and Friends – In Concert”.