WATCH: Carly Pearce And Jo Dee Messina Send Fans Into A Frenzy With Surprise CMA Fest Duet

The pair had fans inside Nissan Stadium singing along to every word of the beloved ‘90s country hit. 

By

Lauren Jo Black

| Posted on

July 19, 2023

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Carly Pearce, Jo Dee Messina; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

Carly Pearce had the opportunity to step onto the main stage at CMA Fest for her first-ever full set, and she made the most of her time on the Nissan Stadium stage with performances of some of her biggest hits and by welcoming a very special guest. 

While backstage at the festival, Pearce teased, “Fans can expect me to be really excited. A lot of high energy, but a lot of, they’ve made so many of my songs, big songs and some of those songs, I never thought anybody would hear them past being an album cut on my record. Just a lot of joy and I have a special guest that I do love, nineties country, and it is the 50th, so I probably need to have a big sing along.” 

Carly Pearce, Jo Dee Messina; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce, Jo Dee Messina; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

That special guest came in the form of country hitmaker Jo Dee Messina, who joined Pearce in singing her 1998 chart-topper, “I’m Alright.” The pair had fans inside Nissan Stadium singing along to every word of the beloved ‘90s country hit. 

“I’m al-, I’m al-, I’m alright/ It’s a beautiful day, not a cloud in sight/ So I guess I’m doing alright/ Oh, oh, I’m alright/ I got a good old friend here with me tonight/ And I guess I’m doing alright,” they sang. 

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“I got to perform with Carly Pearce and I just had a wonderful time. She’s so sweet and kind and we had a great time at soundcheck,” Messina shared. “The performance was, well, you see it. So anyways, I was just really honored to be asked.” 

CMA Fest also featured Pearce performing her latest chart-topping hit, “What He Didn’t Do.” The song, which hit No.1 in the spring, was co-written by Pearce alongside Ashley Gorley and Emily Shackelton following her divorce from Michael Ray. 

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The song resonated with fans far and wide and helped Pearce close the chapter on her critically acclaimed 29: Written In Stone album. 

“The hardest season of my life brought me the most beautiful redemption story. The most personal song I’ve released to radio is the #1 song in the country. I’m drinking rose and I’m in my feels and just so grateful for the life you’ve given me,” she shared when the track reached the top spot on the country charts. 

Carly Pearce; Photo by Andrew Wendowski
Carly Pearce; Photo by Andrew Wendowski

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.