Paul Morigi, WireImage
Kid Rock has an amazing affinity for Nashville, country music and its stars. Not only has he had a couple of huge hits cross over into the country format -- 'Picture' and more recently 'All Summer Long' -- but he's good friends with such acts as Hank Williams, Jr., Gretchen Wilson and John Rich. Kid also hosted this year's CMT Awards and surprised audiences when he took to the stage to perform with Martina McBride, who also appears on his upcoming album, 'Born Free.' The new CD, which hits stores November 16, also features Trace Adkins, Zac Brown and Sheryl Crow.
"I've always been fascinated with the south and southern culture and everything along with it," Kid Rock tells The Boot. "One of the things my dad always said was, 'If you want to be a carpenter, don't hang out with a painter.' So, I was like, 'Nashville has some of the best musicians and songwriters in the world, so I think I'll start hanging out down there and learning something.'"
"People don't realize the parallels and bridges between hip-hop and country music," Kid Rock explains. "It's a community of people who write and sing songs about what's going on in their environment, which might not necessarily be the mainstream, popular culture, but it influences heavily. In that aspect alone, it was something I felt very close to just from being in hip-hop and loving country music at the same time. The people is what I'm getting at, everyone's very nice. I don't think it's the craziest thing in life to say one of my main mottos is to surround yourself with good people. That's the first thing I always try to do, and country music has some of the nicest and best people in the world.
"It's a family too," he adds. "I'm kind of the stepchild of country music. Whoever is in charge of the household of country music must keep going, 'Who let him in again? Stop! He sleeps in the garage. Stop letting him in the house.' [laughs] 'Who keeps letting him in the backdoor?'"
Kid joins previously announced performers Dierks Bentley, Kenny Chesney, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Sugarland, Taylor Swift and Keith Urban, as well as show hosts Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood. In addition, special performances will include Vince Gill singing with Gwyneth Paltrow in her live country music singing debut, top nominee Miranda with Sheryl Crow in a tribute to Loretta Lynn, Jason Aldean with Kelly Clarkson and Zac Brown Band with Alan Jackson.
Sara Evans is a new addition to the list of CMA Awards presenters, joining previously announced presenters the Band Perry, Luke Bryan, Easton Corbin, Little Big Town, Martina McBride, Tim McGraw, Jerrod Niemann, Kellie Pickler, LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker and Chris Young, as well as NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and ABC television stars JoAnna Garcia ('Better With You') and Ty Pennington ('Extreme Makeover: Home Edition'). Rodney Atkins has been tapped to hand out the Pre-Telecast Awards.
The 44th Annual CMA Awards will be broadcast live on ABC November 10 from Nashville's Bridgestone Arena.