George Strait teamed up with songwriter Jim Lauderdale to perform one of Lauderdale’s first songs Strait ever cut, “The King of Broken Hearts,” at the Americana Music Awards on Sept. 21. The night was filled with tributes to artists and songs that impacted the genre, and this performance was no different.

The song was featured on the soundtrack to 1992’s Pure Country, a film in which Strait starred. Though it originally appeared on Lauderdale’s solo debut, Planet of Love, Strait recorded his version of the song for the movie. The soundtrack hit No. 1 on the Billboard Country Albums chart and No. 6 on the Billboard 200 when it released.

Lauderdale said on stage that the song was "a tribute to George Jones and a guy I wish so bad I could have met, Gram Parsons.” The two gave an all-star performance together at Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium — a fitting setting for the awards.

Before taking the stage to play, Strait also awarded Lauderdale the WagonMaster Award, named for country music biz legend Porter Wagoner. It recognizes individuals who have made exceptionally valuable contributions to the Americana genre. Lauderdale is only the second to receive the award after Wagoner himself.

“Porter was many things, but mostly, he was a consummate entertainer, a very sharp-dressed man, a fine signer and a terrific songwriter and, for many years, the host of the Grand Ole Opry,” Strait said from stage, noting the similarities between Wagoner and Lauderdale, who has hosted the Americana Music Awards for 14 of its 15 years. “[Lauderdale has been] wearin’ suits which Porter Wagoner would envy … I know him mostly as a songwriter — a really, really, really good hit songwriter.”

Strait recently appeared in the epic CMA mashup created for its 50th anniversary, "Forever Country," which starred a host of country icons from Dolly Parton to Kacey Musgraves singing three country classics blended together. He also released a record called Cold Beer Conversation in 2015, an unexpected, but welcome surprise for fans that brought singles like “Let it Go” and his most recent track, “Goin', Goin’, Gone."

See George Strait Through the Years 

How Well Do You Really Know George Strait?