Slash, Billy Gibbons, and Cody Johnson Anchor Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute at 2023 CMT Music Awards

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Gibson Live At The Grove - Billy Gibbons & Slash - Credit: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images
Gibson Live At The Grove - Billy Gibbons & Slash - Credit: Olly Curtis/Future Publishing via Getty Images

An all-star cast of guitar heroes, vocalists, and sidemen will pay tribute to Lynyrd Skynyrd at the 2023 CMT Music Awards.

Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash, ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons, and Gov’t Mule’s Warren Haynes will all plug in their axes for a performance of two yet-to-be-named Skynyrd hits, while Texas country star Cody Johnson and Bad Company’s Paul Rodgers turn up the vocals. Chuck Leavell, the longtime Rolling Stones keyboardist, is also in the band, along with bassist Ethan Pilzer and drummer Rich Redmond.

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It’s a well-curated lineup for the Southern rock icons and boasts keen attention to detail: The tribute will even honor Skynyrd’s backup vocalists known as “The Honkettes,” with Wynonna Judd and LeAnn Rimes providing harmonies.

The salute to Skynyrd is two-fold — it marks the 50th anniversary of the band’s 1973 debut album, and remembers guitarist Gary Rossington, who died March 5 at 71. Rossington was the last original member of Lynyrd Skynyrd; he also survived the infamous 1977 plane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines.

Today, the band carries on with Johnny Van Zant (Ronnie’s younger brother) on vocals and Rickey Medlocke on guitar. Both will be at the CMTs on Sunday, along with Rossington’s widow, Dale Krantz Rossington. Skynyrd will embark on a summer tour with ZZ Top this July.

The 2023 CMT Music Awards air live from Austin’s Moody Center on Sunday, April 2, on CBS. Kane Brown and Kelsea Ballerini co-host. Other notable performances include Alanis Morissette collaborating with Ingrid Andress, Lainey Wilson, Madeline Edwards, and Morgan Wade; Gwen Stefani joining Carly Pearce; and the Black Crowes re-creating “She Talks to Angels” with Darius Rucker.

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