Female Powerhouses Unite As Tanya Tucker, Elle King, and Lainey Wilson Rock CMA Fest

This performance marked yet another one-of-a-kind collaboration for this year’s CMA Fest.

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 19, 2023

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Lainey Wilson, Tanya Tucker, Elle King; Photo Courtesy of ABC_Connie Chornuk

Country Music Hall of Fame inductee Tanya Tucker joined forces with Elle King and Lainey Wilson for a show-stopping rendition of her 1978 hit, “Texas (When I Die),” at Nissan Stadium during CMA Fest. 

Fans were shocked in the midst of Wilson’s CMA Fest set when she welcomed Tucker and King to the stage for the surprise performance. Together, the female powerhouses made the stage come alive as they took the crowd on a nostalgic journey as they sang, “When I die I may not go to heaven/ I don’t know if they let cowboys in/ If they don’t just let me go to Texas, boys/ ‘Cause Texas is as close as I’ve been.” 

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Tucker recorded the song and released it as the first single from her ninth studio album, TNT. The song, which speaks to the singer’s love of the Lone Star State, peaked at No.5 onon the Billboard chart. 

CMA Fest is known for delivering one-of-a-kind collaborations, and this performance from Tucker, King, and Wilson, certainly lived up to the hype.  

Lainey Wilson, Tanya Tucker, Elle King; Photo Courtesy of ABC_Connie Chornuk
Lainey Wilson, Tanya Tucker, Elle King; Photo Courtesy of ABC_Connie Chornuk

The three-hour CMA Fest special was hosted by Dierks Bentley, Elle King, and Lainey Wilson and aired on ABC on Wednesday, July 19. 

Dubbed “the music event of summer,” the special featured 30+ performances and surprise collaborations from some of Country music’s hottest stars, including Alabama, Jason Aldean, Dierks Bentley, Leon Bridges, Luke Bryan, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Dan + Shay, Jordan Davis, Vince Gill, HARDY, Tyler Hubbard, Jelly Roll, Cody Johnson, Elle King, Miranda Lambert, Avril Lavigne, Little Big Town, Ashley McBryde, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Jo Dee Messina, Old Dominion, Jon Pardi, Carly Pearce, Darius Rucker, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, and Lainey Wilson.  

CMA Fest marked its 50th Anniversary with a record-breaking celebration in Nashville, June 8 through June 11. 

Lainey Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Elle King.; Photo by ABC/Robby Klein
Lainey Wilson, Dierks Bentley and Elle King.; Photo by ABC/Robby Klein

The four-day event hosted an estimated daily attendance of over 90,000, a 12% increase from 2022, according to the Country Music Association. Additionally, the nightly concerts at Nissan Stadium saw 10% growth from 2022.

The festival also hosted fans from all 50 states as well as a record-breaking 51 countries.

Dierks Bentley, Elle King, Lainey Wilson; Photo Courtesy CMA/ ABC
Dierks Bentley, Elle King, Lainey Wilson; Photo Courtesy CMA/ ABC

“What a weekend! As we’ve spent the past year reflecting on this milestone celebration, one theme has persisted—the incredible connection between Country Music fans and the artists,” Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer, shared in a statement. “It’s magical because it still matters after all these years. From first-timers to legends, so many artists started as fans—some as far back as Fan Fair. Almost every artist who performs during the festival has had their own experience as a fan, so for many of them, taking the stage at CMA Fest is a full-circle moment. We only get the chance to celebrate our 50th anniversary once, and to do so in such an impactful way has meant the world to us. Thank you, Country Music!”   

More than 300 acts took part in CMA Fest this year, including performances at the Chevy Riverfront Stage, Dr Pepper Amp Stage, Chevy Vibes Stage, Maui Jim Reverb Stage and the Hard Rock Stage as well at Fan Fair X inside Music City Center. 

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Lauren Jo Black

Written by

Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for Answers.com and her work being featured on Forbes.com. She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.