Aldean, Church, Bryan unite to kick off CMA Awards

Associated Press
Jason Aldean arrives at the 46th Annual Country Music Awards at the Bridgestone Arena on Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country music's fastest rising stars Jason Aldean, Eric Church and Luke Bryan kicked off the Country Music Association Awards by joining forces.

Playing with a large American flag behind them, the trio of performers teamed up on Aldean's new single "The Only Way I Know" from his new album "Night Train" and earned a standing ovation.

Most of country's top stars were on hand Thursday night at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena for the celebration, with many slated to perform. Taylor Swift arrived in a detailed red lace dress to some of the night's loudest cheers and mingled with fans who had made signs to draw her attention.

Still to come were a tribute to Willie Nelson featuring Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Blake Shelton and Lady Antebellum and performances by most of the night's top nominees.

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