Carrie Underwood has a knack for ominous story-songs (see “Two Black Cadillacs” and “Blown Away”) and on tonight’s CMT Music Awards, she performed her latest entry in that tradition: the propulsive “Church Bells.”
For the “Church Bells” video, Underwood culled live footage from her recent Storyteller Tour, making for one of her most dynamic clips yet. She re-created that same energy on the CMT stage, a highlight of the telecast. Dressed in a dazzling black lace jump suit and cape, Underwood started the song out front on the catwalk with her banjo player flanking her. Returning to the main stage, she was soon joined by the heavenly vocal support of a gospel choir, with whom she ecstatically riffed as the song reached its turbulent, violent ending.
“Church Bells” is the third single off Underwood’s Storyteller album and focuses on a housewife who kills her abusive husband. “I love being sucked into that story: rooting for the woman and seeing that she does something powerful that she never thought she could do,” Underwood says. “People are strongest when they’re pushed to their limits.”
Underwood’s next high-profile appearance is Friday night, when she performs at Nissan Stadium as part of CMA Music Festival in Nashville.