It was November 2015, and Chris Stapleton was a name that not every country music fan knew. Sure, they were familiar with his work as a songwriter, and they knew that he offered some insane backup vocals on Luke Bryan’s hit “Drink a Beer.” Yet, the magic of Chris’ voice had not been fully appreciated by the world just yet.

And then it happened.

At “The 49th Annual CMA Awards,” Chris stepped onstage with his wife, Morgane, and pop music superstar Justin Timberlake and proceeded to blow everyone away.

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Fast forward two years, and the same three people who made musical magic together that night reunited on the evening of September 23 and once again blew everyone away. This time, the setting was Justin’s Pilgrimage Music and Cultural Festival in Franklin, Tennessee, just outside of Nashville.

“This man and this woman that I’m about to bring out have inspired me so much since I met them,” Justin told the eager crowd before tearing into “Tennessee Whiskey,” “Sometimes I Cry” and “Fire Away” with the couple. Justin said he admired them, “not only as one fucking incredible artist, but as a very good man and a hell of a woman.”

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And then, Justin came up with an incredible idea.

“I think we should make a deal,” he told Chris. “Every time either one of us plays Tennessee, the other one is there.”

We’re all-in on that deal.

Tricia Despres is a senior correspondent for Rare Country, based out of Chicago. Join the conversation on Twitter at @RareCountry. We would love to see y’all there.
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