The rocker-turned-country-star and his pals in Lady A left no doubt that they’ve found their performance pocket on Wednesday night (June 5) with a spirited run through their hit collaboration on “Wagon Wheel” at the 2013 CMT Music Awards .
Rucker started out in the audience, shaking hands, handing out fist bumps, slapping high fives and doling out hugs (including one to Carrie Underwood) as he made his way to the main stage without missing a single harmony on the swaying Bob Dylan-inspired tune. Working the crowd as Lady A hung back behind him, Rucker got plenty of support from Dave Haywood, who strummed his red and white acoustic, and Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley, who sang sweet harmonies near the backing band before making their way out front to join Rucker.
A mid-song breakdown had the entire crowd clapping with their hands in the air. Miranda Lambert and everyone else in the house were also bopping their heads and singing along. Kelley and Scott’s voices meshed perfectly with Rucker’s baritone as they brought it home, and by the time the supergroup finished things up a cappella, the whole house was on its feet.
The cover of the Old Crow Medicine Show song represented Rucker’s stage debut at the CMT Music Awards, but he made it seem like old hat with his easy-going stage presence and crowd-pleasing entrance.
Before the show, Rucker revealed that the performance was the only time he and Lady A had played the song since it was recorded, save for a quick tuneup at a recent festival date to work out the kinks.
Now, with a second run-through under their belt it seems clear that this is just the beginning of a beautiful friendship.