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Move over cowboys! The 53rd annual CMA Awards opening number was dedicated to all the country girls out there. The show kicked off with a number dedicated to “Women in Country,” starting with a performance from three leading ladies of country music, Reba McEntire, Carrie Underwood, and the ever-fragrant Dolly Parton singing a rendition of Parton’s “Those Memories of You” in tight three part harmony. The women continued to pour in as country music stars including Gretchen Wilson, Maren Morris, Martina McBride, Brandi Carlile, and the Highwomen lent their voices to some country music’s most memorable songs written and performed by women, like “Delta Dawn” and “Redneck Women.” Loretta Lyne, the first ever woman to win the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year, watched from the audience and received a special shout out from Jennifer Nettles and Little Big Town for being a “living legend” before the trio launched into a rendition of Lyne’s “You’re Looking at Country.” All of the ladies joined forces to close out the opening number with a rousing rendition of McBride’s anthem “Independence Day” which ultimately begged the question, do we really need men in country music?

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