Let’s hear it for the Bandit one more time!
At the 52nd annual Country Music Association Awards on Wednesday night, the Grammy-nominated group Midland performed their new take on “East Bound and Down” in a tribute to the late actor Burt Reynolds.
Taking its title from trucker CB jargon, “East Bound and Down” was the theme song for Reynolds’ beloved film 1977 Smokey and the Bandit, which costarred Sally Field and spawned two sequels. The original song spent 16 weeks on the U.S. country music charts.
The CMAs performance had a vintage feel, with old-school threads, a squarish aspect ratio, and a funky split-screen effect. Footage of Reynolds and his iconic Pontiac Trans Am LE in the film played behind throughout the performance.
“East Bound and Down” has been covered numerous times, but the new Midland version was intended to pay homage to Reynolds, who died in September at 82. Midland are relatively new to the music scene, having formed in 2016, but they were nominated for two 2018 Grammys.
See the complete list of CMA winners here.