Luke Bryan opened the 2018 CMA Awards broadcast on Wednesday night (Nov. 14) with a very special performance of his current single, "What Makes You Country."

Some of country music's most promising rising artists joined Bryan onstage at the Bridgestone Area in Nashville for the high-energy, down-home performance, including Luke Combs, Cole Swindell, Lindsay Ell, Chris Janson, Jon Pardi and Ashley McBryde.

Playing a yellow electric guitar, Bryan delivered a strong vocal performance, with Janson and McBryde sharing lead vocal duties. Janson also contributed a wild harmonica solo, and Ell contributed some sizzling guitar solos.

Bryan managed to keep mum about who would be joining him after news of his special show opening broke on Monday (Nov. 12), but he admitted that he was excited about the chance to spotlight performers who might be lesser-known faces to the viewers at home.

“When we began talking about this performance I thought this would be a perfect time to share the stage with a few deserving artists who may not otherwise have an opportunity to be a part of the show,” he said, adding, “This genre is full of talented performers doing what makes them country and this is the perfect song to let them step in the spotlight to be seen and heard by the millions tuning in.”

"What Make You Country" is the title song of Bryan's sixth studio album, and he released it as the fourth single from the project in August. He co-wrote the song with Dallas Davidson and Ashley Gorley. The song urges everyone, no matter how they live the country life, to "just be proud of what makes you country."

Bryan is also nominated for Entertainer of the Year at the 2018 CMA Awards.

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