Jason Aldean put his recent controversies to the side in order to pay homage to Charlie Daniels at the 54th Annual CMA Awards Wednesday night. Wearing a Charlie Daniels Band shirt, Aldean took the stage alongside fellow artists Dierks Bentley, Brothers Osborne, and Ashley McBryde to kick off the night with a moving tribute to the late country music icon, who died in July at age 83 after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke.
The tribute kicked off with Bentley performing a solo acoustic rendition of "Long Haired Country Boy," with Brothers Osborne later joining for "Trudy." McBryde, a first-time Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, then took the stage for a fast-paced tribute to "Texas." Aldean closed out the tribute with a rendition of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." That song is considered to be one of Daniels' best known singles and is still considered a staple at classic rock stations. Following its 1979 release, it topped the country chart and climbed to No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart behind The Knack's "My Sharona" and Earth Wind and Fire's "After the Love Has Gone." It was featured in 1980's Urban Cowboy.
Aldean's Wednesday night appearance at the Music City Center in Nashville came amid the number of controversies in which he has found himself embroiled in recent weeks, most recently his comments regarding the 2020 presidential election. After numerous outlets called the election for former Vice President Joe Biden, who is projected to have surpassed the necessary 270 electoral college votes to secure a victory, both the country singer and his wife, Brittany Aldean, seemed to question the election results.
On his Instagram Story after the election was called, Aldean shared a meme showing President Donald Trump and President-elect Biden urinating, the image seeming to imply uncertainty with the election, echoing the president’s own claims that the election was fraudulent. Brittany, meanwhile, caught heat after she shared a photo to her Instagram Story showing herself wearing a blue sweatshirt with Trump's name on it next to an American flag. She captioned the image, "... STILL MY PRESIDENT." That post was followed by one reading, "I WILL CONTINUE TO SPEAK. FOR THE PEOPLE THAT MESSAGE ME AND AREN’T ABLE (FOR FEAR OF LOSING BUSINESS OR FRIENDS) IT IS DISGUSTING TO ME THAT 'FREEDOM OF SPEECH' APPLIES TO EVERYONE BUT REPUBLICANS."
In late October, the couple also found themselves in the middle of controversy following a visit to Disney World. During the family outing with their children – son Memphis and daughters Kendyl, Keeley, and Navy – the family opted not to wear face masks for a photo, going against the theme park's rules and recommendations from health experts.