Luke Bryan kicked off the 2018 Country Music Association awards on Wednesday (Nov. 14) with a guest-heavy performance of “What Makes You Country,” the title track from his chart-topping 2017 album.
Following a Garth Brooks-led tribute to the slain victims of the shooting at the Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, Calif., Bryan took center stage with his guitar to launch into his latest country anthem. Over the course of the performance, he was joined by an impressive series of co-stars, including Lindsay Ell and Ashley McBryde on guitar, Chris Janson on harmonica, and Luke Combs, Jon Pardi and Cole Swindell helping out on vocals.
This makes the second year in a row that the CMA Awards got underway with an All-Star performance, following a tribute to victims of a tragic shooting. In 2017, Eric Church began the ceremonies with a performance of “Amazing Grace” in honor of the victims of the attack at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival in Las Vegas, which led into a Darius Rocker-fronted, star-studded performance of Hootie & the Blowfish’s ’90s classic “Hold My Hand.”
Watch the performance below.