Midland took the stage at the 2018 CMA Awards to perform a cover of Jerry Reed's "East Bound and Down," the heel-stomping theme song to the iconic 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit. The spot-on replication was both a tribute to the late Burt Reynolds, the star of the film who passed away earlier this year, and to Reed, one of the 2018 Country Music Hall of Fame inductees, and the band released their cover for download and streaming in conjunction with their performance.

With the performance, Midland -- who made their CMA Awards debut on Wednesday night (Nov. 14) -- captured the spirit of the original artist in their traditional-twang style. Band member Mark Wystrach says the song choice was an obvious one for them.

“The way Burt Reynolds and Jerry Reed operated, they’re having the best f--king time. But they took the work seriously, and were there to make the best possible film they could,” Wystrach tells Rolling Stone. “It’s just like us: We take everything seriously, but we’re also the biggest jokesters you’ve ever seen.”

Fellow Midland member Cameron Duddy says the "swagger" of Smokey and the Bandit is a match to the trio's macho vibe. Adds Wystrach, “The thing that keeps us sane on the road is working on new material ... I’d say "East Bound and Down" couldn’t have been more timely in its arrival.”

Midland were nominated at the 2018 CMA Awards for New Artist of the Year, Single of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. They released their debut disc, On the Rocks in September of 2017.

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