ABC to air “CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock”

By Tom Comi

One of the great things about country music is you can find it if you are a fan and you can avoid it if you’re not. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of gray area, as the genre has always struggled to find a so-called mainstream audience.

But every so often, country artists with cross-over appeal break through, such as Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, former American Idol winner Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift (pictured) and the group Lady Antebellum. And Sunday night on ABC, country fans and those just looking to test the waters get an opportunity to check out the industry’s brightest established and new singers.

At 8pm ET, CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock showcases three hours of a four-day music festival that took place in June. This event is a staple for country fans every year, but it is a rare opportunity for the rest of the nation to see some of the world’s best musicians take the stage on a major network in primetime.

Young viewers who are fans of American Idol will definitely want to tune in to see last year’s winner (Scotty McCreery) and runner-up (Lauren Alaina). Although neither has shown yet that they have the ability to break out of the country mold, their initial success does indicate that they have the talent to hang around longer than some of their Idol predecessors.

And for those who are diehard country fans, there will be plenty of performances to appease your desires, including Brad Paisley, Martina McBride, Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and Miranda Lambert.

It would be disingenuous of me to claim I am a fan of most country music, but I am also open minded enough to know that every genre produces great performers. And for those of you who are also skeptical, I suggest you tune into ABC Sunday night just to see what you’ve been missing.

You might not run out Monday morning to buy a cowboy hat and boots, but you very well could find a new performer or two you like to follow.

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Credit: ABC/Jon LeMay