Carly Pearce, Cole Swindell + More Share Their Favorite CMA Memories [Exclusive]

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

The 54th Annual CMA Awards air Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. CST on ABC from Nashville. Hosted by Reba McEntire and Darius Rucker and featuring performances from Miranda Lambert, Luke Combs, Eric Church and more, the award ceremony is one of the most anticipated events of the year. In honor of the annual award show, country artsits -- from Carly Pearce, who's nominated for New Artist of the Year and Musical Event of the Year, to Chris Tomlin (nominated for Musical Event of the Year for "Be a Light" with Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott and Keith Urban) -- share their favorite CMA memories from years past.

Carly Pearce

(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nominated for New Artist of the Year and  Winner of Musical Event of the Year for "I Hope You're Happy Now" with Lee Brice, Album: Carly Pearce, Current single: "Next Girl"

"My all-time favorite CMA Awards moment was at the 2019 CMA Awards when Dolly, Carrie and Reba performed "Those Memories of You" along with the ladies of country music. I grew up listening to the Trio album, and to see all the amazing women come together and celebrate the legendary women of country music was a really special moment."

Mitch Rossell

Singer-songwriter who penned Garth Brooks' "Ask Me How I Know" and "All Day Long," Current single: "Then Again"
"I must say, picking my favorite CMA Awards memory was a pretty easy call. Being on stage with the man himself, Garth Brooks, helping play and sing a song that I wrote, is as good as it gets and then some. Hearing that CMA crowd singing back the words to 'Ask Me How I Know' is something I will never forget!"

Joey Hendricks

Current single: "Yours or Mine"
"I used to watch the CMA awards every year with my family, and I always told my parents that I'd be on it one day. I think I owe a lot of credit to the CMA awards for showing a kid with a dream what was possible if you worked at it long enough."

James Dupré

Courtesy of artist
Current single: "Home and Away"
"I was very young, but I still remember when Vince Gill and Patty Loveless performed "Pocket Full of Gold" at, I believe, the 25th CMAs in 1991. I had just started really paying attention to country music and the vocals in particular. You can't get much better than a live performance from two of the best vocalists in history. It really solidified my love of country music from then on."

Gabrielle Mooney

Singer-songwriter, sister of Dan + Shay's Shay Mooney, Current single: "Come on In"

"My favorite CMA memory is actually from last year. My dad has this thing he does where he gets tickets for the whole fam even if it's in the nosebleeds. Me, my mom, my sister Erica, her two daughters and my dad all went last year when Shay [Mooney, of Dan + Shay] won his first CMA Vocal Duo of the Year award. They performed "Speechless" and we were far from that, LOL. Erica and I screamed from way in the back, 'that's our brother!' so loud I barely had a voice the next day. We couldn't have been more proud of him and Dan. It was such a magical night."


Russell Dickerson 

Singer-songwriter, current single "Love You Like I Used To"

"I remember watching the CMAs from my dorm room at Belmont University, thinking in a few years I'm gonna be there, right there sitting next to Tim McGraw and Garth Brooks. Now, anytime I get to go to the CMA's with all of my heroes is an actual dream come true."


Chris Tomlin

Nominated for Musical Event of the Year: "Be a Light," with Thomas Rhett, Reba McEntire, Hillary Scott and Keith Urban, Album: Chris Tomlin & Friends
"It's been amazing to see "Be A Light" resonate in 2020, and I am grateful to Thomas [Rhett] for inviting me into the song and the CMA Awards for using their platform to further spread the light. 'In a place that needs change, make a difference. In a world full of hate be a light.'"

Cole Swindell

Cole Swindell
Wade Payne/Invision/AP

Two-time CMA nominee, Current single "Single Saturday Night"

"One of my favorite CMA Awards memories was the year I was nominated for my first CMA award and I was backstage and I got to meet one of my biggest influences - Tim McGraw. I stood there and could barely speak. [Laughs.] It was seriously a moment I will never forget."

Spencer Crandall

Singer-songwriter, Album: Wilderness
"My favorite CMA memory is Justin Timberlake and Chris Stapleton bringing down the house with their performance in 2015. It was a huge moment in country music history and inspired me as an entertainer. One of my favorite moments in music history!"

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Carly Pearce, Cole Swindell + More Share Their Favorite CMA Memories [Exclusive]