In November, the 2018 CMA Awards brought together artists from across the spectrum of country genre -- and from across its generations, too: Joe Diffie, Shenandoah and other '90s country stars mixed and mingled with brand-new artists. For the more-established acts, watching the newcomers hone their skills onstage is one of the highlights of awards shows and other events at which country artists of all stripes come together.

"I just like to watch all of these new guys and gals perform," "Pickup Man" singer Diffie explained to The Boot in advance of the show. "I know how nerve-wracking it can be. So I want to see how they hold up."

Throughout 2018, '90s country music experienced a resurgence, with artists such as Lauren Alaina, Walker Hayes and more tipping their hat to the decade. Alaina and Hayes released the nostalgic singles "Ladies in the '90s" and "90's Country," respectively, and many other artists have been throwing it back with '90s country covers at their live shows, giving new life to hits by artists such as Diffie and Shenandoah.

"We're literally slap-dab in the middle of a resurgence," Shenandoah -- who gained fame in the '90s with hits such as "Church on Cumberland Road" -- remark. "It's not anything we intended on doing."

Shenandoah add that fresh interest in '90s music has led to new opportunities for them, and a new friendship with at least one up-and-coming country star.

"Michael Ray invited us to come out to the Exit / In [in Nashville] and do a '90s night with him and [SiriusXM DJ] Storme Warren," the band recalls. "We got out there, and he wanted to do "Two Dozen Roses." Next thing you know, it turned into a friendship.

"Numbers were swapped. Talking back and forth, tweeting back and forth, this kind of stuff," they add. "Next thing you know, we asked him to be part of our music video [for "That's Where I Grew Up."]"

The group couldn't be more thrilled that '90s country is making a comeback: "What's really happening, more than anything else in the world, is that we had the opportunity to be a part of something in the past, but also be a part of what's going on now," they say. "So it's kind of a resurgence, and we're tickled to death about it."

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