Aldean, Church, Bryan unite to kick off CMA Awards

CHRIS TALBOTT
Associated Press
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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)

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.