On Sunday, April 2, the 2023 CMT Music Awards concluded with a star-studded jam in honor of the late Lynyrd Skynyrd guitarist Gary Rossington.
This past weekend, the CMT Music Awards honored the Southern rock band LYNYRD SKYNYRD with an all-star tribute featuring prominent figures from both country music and the rock genre.
Billy Gibbons, Chuck Leavell, Cody Johnson, Paul Rodgers, Slash, and Warren Haynes performed “Simple Man” and “Sweet Home Alabama” on Sunday in memory of LYNYRD SKYNYRD and original founding member Gary Rossington, who just died away. With Gibbons, Slash, and Haynes on electric guitar, Johnson and Rodgers sang the lead vocals. As “The Honkettes,” LeAnn Rimes and Wynonna Judd came together.
A tape of Rossington explaining his love of music and his time spent with Lynyrd Skynyrd served as the tribute’s introduction. The audience began to sing along as Gibbons and Slash started performing “Sweet Home Alabama.” “Gimme Back My Bullets” and “Free Bird,” two iconic Lynyrd Skynyrd songs, were played after that.
Gibbons and Slash traded solos and riffs throughout the performance to display their amazing guitar prowess. They were accompanied by several other outstanding musicians, including Michael Cartellone, the drummer for Lynyrd Skynyrd, who had a powerful solo during the song “Free Bird.”
Ultimately, the tribute showed off both the continuing force of Gary Rossington and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s song as well as the extraordinary ability of the musicians who brought it to life on stage.
The CMT appearance coincided with the debut album by LYNYRD SKYNYRD’s 50th anniversary. Together with other LYNYRD SKYNYRD band members Johnny Van Zant and Rickey Medlocke, Dale Krantz Rossington, a member of the group and the late guitarist Gary Rossington’s widow, attended the concert.
The 2023 CMT Music Awards were hosted by Kelsea Ballerini and Kane Brown, and they were broadcast live on the CBS television network from Austin, Texas’s Moody Center.
Soon enough, Lynyrd Skynyrd will return to the stage as they begin their lengthy farewell tour, which includes a summer co-headlining tour with ZZ Top.