A Soulful Masterpiece: The War and Treaty Perform ‘That’s How Love is Made’ At 2023 CMA Awards

The husband and wife duo earned a standing ovation from their peers.


Nicole Palsa

| Posted on

November 10, 2023


8:46 am

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The War And Treaty, a first-time nominee this year for CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, performed their passionate single “That’s How Love Is Made” during the 2023 CMA Awards held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Husband Michael Trotter Jr. and wife Tanya Trotter gave a show-stopping performance with their soulful vocals and electric chemistry, earning them a standing ovation from the audience, including on-camera nods from Jelly Roll, Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, and Luke Combs.

“That’s How Love Is Made” is the first song to be released from the duo’s Lover’s Game album, which navigates the twists and turns of relationships while centering their message around the redemptive power of love.

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“It’s love unchained. It’s love with no boundaries, it’s love that says, although hate is present, love abides still and love, like The Judds say, can build a bridge,” Michael shared during rehearsals for the CMA Awards. “And with our performance, we’ll have in our minds those that are being ruled by pain and hurt right now. The wars, even different parts of our country that are struggling to see each other and to see love. And we want to show people that this is how love is made.”

Portraying Opposite Perspectives Throughout The Performance

The War & treaty; Photo by Nick Zimmer/CMA
The War & treaty; Photo by Nick Zimmer/CMA

Reflecting on their nomination for CMA Vocal of the Duo, Michael and Tanya also revealed they had different perspectives.

“Trying to put that moment and our journey into words is so hard,” Tanya says. “And every time I think about it, every time I think about what we had to go through and all the people that were a part of our journey to help us get there, you just feel that weight and you just feel so much gratitude and you just feel so blessed.”

In contradiction, Michael feels optimism and encouragement from their community. “I don’t feel that weight, I feel the wind, I feel the pushing, I feel the rooting, I feel the cheering. I feel the marching behind us from the spirit of my battle buddies who I lost in the war. And I feel the spirit of Tanya’s mom saying, ‘I told you you can do it.’ I am just really grateful for the opportunity to touch more people, touch more lives. And I’m thankful for our CMA family. I’m thankful for country music. We’re grateful for country music fans and all we can think about is just gratefulness.”

How The Power Of Music Pulled Them Out From A Dark Place

The War & Treaty; Photo by Josh Brasted_CMA
The War & Treaty; Photo by Josh Brasted/CMA

Tanya looked back on the challenges of their journey and what kept them going. “We were homeless. We were living with the family. And I looked at Michael and I said, ‘I need you to keep writing’ because at this time we just found out he had PTSD. And I said to him, I was like, ‘your writing is going to get us where we need to go. People need to hear your story, people need to, and your writing is going to do that.’ And he was like, there’s no way. He was like, ‘I have PTSD. I can barely sleep at night. We’re homeless.’ And I told him, ‘you just keep writing.’ And I stayed with him, locked arm, the whole time.”

The couple will be joining select dates of Zach Bryan’s The Quittin Time Tour in June and July of 2024. Announcing the shows in an Instagram post, they captioned the exciting news “Hey Driver, drop us off at The Quittin Time Tour 🤠”

57th Annual CMA Awards

Peyton Manning, Luke Bryan; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Peyton Manning, Luke Bryan; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Co-hosted by Luke Bryan and Peyton Manning, the 57th Annual CMA Awards aired live on Wednesday, November 8 on ABC (8:00-11:00 PM/EST). The star-studded show featured performances by Kelsea Ballerini, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Chris Stapleton, Jordan Davis, Cody Johnson, Ashley McBryde, The War And Treaty, Lainey Wilson, and more. 

Always known for epic collaborations, the 2023 CMA Awards also featured a Jimmy Buffett tribute from Kenny Chesney, Alan Jackson, Mac McAnally, and Zac Brown Band, a not-to-be-missed performance of country classics from Post Malone, Morgan Wallen, and HARDY, a performance honoring The Judds from Jelly Roll and K. Michelle, plus special duets from Carly Pearce and Chris Stapleton, Old Dominion and Megan Moroney, and Little Big Town with Tanya Tucker.  

Paula Abdul, Bill Anderson, Nate Bargatze, Kevin Cahoon, Jordan Davis, Cynthia Erivo, Sara Evans, Brian Kelley, Lady A, Martina McBride, Parker McCollum, Craig Morgan, Darius Rucker, Corey Seager, Gerry Turner, Keith Urban, Hailey Whitters and Chris Young appeared to present during “Country Music’s Biggest Night.” 

Those who are unable to watch the show in real-time can watch the CMA Awards the following day on Hulu.

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Nicole Palsa

Written by

Nicole Palsa

Nicole Palsa is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. Since 2012, she has written about the newcomers, superstars, and legends of country music for publications including Music Mayhem, Country Now, and Country Music Tattle Tale. Palsa has served as a volunteer guide with Musicians On Call since 2016 and is a Troubadour member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. She graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications and her Bachelor of Arts degree in French. In addition to being a devoted country music fan, Nicole is a family historian and genealogist who can often be found in stacks of research. She is also an avid traveler with a passion for wildlife and nature photography.