Billy Ray Cyrus, Lil Nas X, Keith Urban Come Together for Surprise ‘Old Town Road’ at CMA Fest 2019 [WATCH]
Many CMA Fest 2019 attendees speculated that Lil Nas X might join Billy Ray Cyrus during Cyrus' scheduled performance at Nissan Stadium on Saturday night (June 8). After all, the rising country-rap star had already graced one stage with his presence during the festival, teaming up with Cyrus to perform the viral hit "Old Town Road" during a Spotify takeover at Ole Red earlier in the week.
Still, fans got an even bigger show than they bargained for on Saturday evening, as Lil Nas X wasn't the only surprise guest Cyrus brought to the stage: Keith Urban joined in on the fun, too, adding his banjo into the performance as each of the three artists took turns singing lines of the song.
"It's really been something," Cyrus told media backstage of the phenomenon that "Old Town Road" has generated. "I know when I heard Lil Nas' original version for the very first time, I stood up and sang it, and I'd never even heard it before. There was just something about it that made me feel good."
When the rapper approached Cyrus to duet on a remixed version of the track, Cyrus continues, he wasn't sure he had anything to add to an already great song. "I said, 'Man, you don't need me. It's done. It's already a hit. There's nothing I could do to make this any better,'" he recalls. "I said, 'I'd be honored to try. I'll try to bring something different to it.' Luckily, I got in there and wrote a couple words, and they fit in, and ended up singing on it more than I ever planned on."
While the issue of whether or not "Old Town Road" is country has been hotly contested, Cyrus points out that the song's massive fanbase is also a great unifier. "It reminds me in some ways of "Achy Breaky Heart" ... no matter where you were from in the world, you could sing it in your language. You could dance to it. Kids loved it, and all ages," he points out. "Sometimes you just gotta make music like that, without limitations. That was what was magic about this song. There was something in it for everybody."
Even as it was removed from the Billboard country charts, "Old Town Road" won the hearts of many artists in the genre. Urban was an early supporter of the song, and posted a cover of it to Facebook.
LOOK: Pictures From CMA Fest 2019, Day 3