Chris Stapleton and H.E.R. brought the house down with their powerful performance during the CMT Music Awards in Nashville on Wednesday night, teaming up for a collaboration on H.E.R.'s song "Hold On." Show hosts Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown told the crowd that they had watched the duo rehearse the performance and were more than a little impressed, a sentiment soon shared by viewers as soon as the pair began to sing.
Stapleton's raspy voice perfectly complemented H.E.R.'s smooth tone, and the two artists traded guitar riffs during the song's guitar solo section, their incredible talent making the performance one of the highlights of the night. Ahead of the show, Stapleton shared a photo of the two rehearsing on Instagram and wrote, "H.E.R. is without a doubt one of the greatest singer/ songwriter/ guitar players on the planet earth. Fact." "This makes me VERY HAPPY!" commented Justin Timberlake, with whom Stapleton performed another genre-bending collaboration at the CMA Awards back in 2015 that helped Stapleton become a star. H.E.R. added, "An HONOR!!"
Stapleton performed twice during the show, his first appearance a pre-taped set from Bonnaroo Farm in Manchester, Tennessee. This time, his stage partner was his wife, Morgane, who accompanied him on "Arkansas." Fans will soon be able to see Stapleton and Morgane on the road when Stapleton's All-American Road Show Tour resumes in July after a pandemic-induced hiatus, along with a number of special guests including Sheryl Crow, Caylee Hammack, Dwight Yoakam, Elle King, Margo Price, The Highwomen, Yola and Willie Nelson.
"There's nothing I'm looking forward to more than seeing the faces of people out in the crowd and hearing them sing back to me and hopefully hearing some of these new songs sung back to us because that's when music really gets life to me," Stapleton told media in a virtual press room at the ACM Awards earlier this year.
"I can write a song and I can record a song and I can sing it in the room by myself, but it doesn't mean a whole lot until it goes out to somebody out in an audience or somebody sitting home listening or somebody listening in their car, that's when it gets meaning," he continued. "And so for me, that's the thing I'm most looking forward to, it's to get back out into the world and see people and have played music with them and enjoy that experience that we have together in a room playing live music."