Cody Johnson + Vince Gill preview their ‘CMA Fest’ collabs

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With the annual CMA Fest television special coming up, fans can expect a slew of performances from some of country music’s biggest stars, but that’s not all. This year’s lineup also features multiple onstage collaborations, such as Cody Johnson and Reba McEntire‘s performance of her 1986 hit “Whoever’s In New England.”

“We’ve sang in the studio together when we recorded ‘Dear Rodeo,’ which was really incredible. That was the first time I had ever met Reba. And since then we’ve developed a really good working, professional relationship,” Cody tells the press backstage at CMA Fest.

“She’s the kind of person where if I need something, I can pick up the phone and she answers. And that’s a huge deal because she’s Reba and I am nowhere near that,” he notes. “Today in soundcheck was incredible. We’ve gone back and forth for six weeks about key and tempo and all the different things that we’re going to do for this song, and I think it wound up being perfect. Just she and I and the guitar.”

Reba isn’t the only ’90s country icon taking the stage this year. Luke Combs will be joined by Vince Gill for a duet of “One More Last Chance,” which Vince says will spotlight the “mutual admiration” they have for each other.

“I’m the first concert Luke ever went to as a 9-year-old boy. Fun to find that out,” Vince shares. “I’m a fan of his talent and he of mine. So it just makes for a great friendship. And when people really get on and like each other, I think all that can happen is something good.”

You can catch Cody, Reba, Vince, Gill and more of your favorite stars on CMA Fest this Wednesday, July 19, at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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