Hi everyone! This past June, I had the opportunity of a LIFETIME. I was in Nashville, Tennessee for the CMA Music Festival!
This four day event was one of the most star-studded experiences of my life. The Thursday night concert at LP Field started things up. I was able to see the Zac Brown Band perform live with guest appearances by Randy Travis and Alan Jackson. Then Easton Corbin took the stage, followed by Sara Evans and new-comer Casey James. Jason Aldean rocked LP Field as 70,000 screaming fans went wild as he added some real kick-a$$ country twang to the night. Kelly Clarkson joined Jason for their song ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay,’ and Ricky Skaggs played some of the old country tunes that helped build the foundation of country music. Brad Paisley headlined Thursday night’s show, and had the whole crowd dancing to his new summer hit “Workin’ On A Tan” (definitely a fun song if you haven’t yet heard it)! Then, the boys from ALABAMA joined Brad on stage for their hit single “Old Alabama” to end the night with a great mix of new and old country!
Friday I did a tour of Nashville, where I ventured up Printer’s Alley to see all the little honky tonks. I made sure to check out Music Row – which surprisingly just looked like a typical southern subdivision. Before heading down to the LP Field concert, I stopped by the classic country hole in the wall, Tootsies, and had a few ‘beverages’ at The Stage (the bar featured in the movie Country Strong).
Friday night’s lineup continued to impress as Ashton Shepherd took the stage followed by one of my FAVORITES- Dierks Bentley. After we all got “a little bit sideways,” Lady Antebellum awed the crowd with their performance of ‘Need You Now’ — I literally had chills! Then our good ol’ Canadian girl, Shania Twain showed up to introduce Sugarland, who brought a ton of energy and stage presence to the show. Clay Walker then took the stage before Keith Urban and Jake Owen. The two did a duet of Jake’s song “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You,” and shared their excitement about going on tour together. Reba, country’s favourite redhead (alongside Wynonna) ended things off with a few classics and her new single “When Love Gets A Hold of You.”
Saturday was a day of non-stop music for me. First I hit up Nashville tourist hotspot,The Wildhorse Saloon, for a small concert with The Harters, The Civil Wars, Matt Mason, Kristen Chenoweth, Thompson Square and Joe Nichols. Thompson Square blew me away with their stories of living in Nashville for 15 years before their “over-night” success with “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not.” Joe Nichols got the crowd going wild with his infamous “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”…which I think a few girls in the crowd took a little too literally, if you know what I mean…Joe also did a rendition of Blake Shelton’s “Who Are You When I’m Not Lookin’” — which Joe actually released on his own album a few years back, but it was never a single.
Then I made my way down to LP Field for Saturday night’s concert. Chris Young started things off by giving the crowd neon bracelets to support his new album, then he won girls’ hearts with an announcement of his ‘bachelor’ status…followed by heart-melting performances of his hits (like my favourite “Tomorrow”). Little Big Town then blew audiences away with their Lady GaGa countrified version of “Born this Way.” Josh Turner ie…major heart throb with the deepest voice ever…melted girls’ hearts again with “Just to Be Your Man” featuring American Idol winner Scotty McCreery!! After that, Thompson Square took the stage again and had 70,000 fans asking “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”? Clint Black slowed things down a little, until Big and Rich made a surprise appearance with Gretchen Wilson…then Trace Adkins rocked the stage and proved why “Ladies Love Country Boys.” Martina McBride then took the stage and received a 6 MINUTE standing ovation for her performance of “Broken Wing,” before she was joined by American Idol runner up, Lauren Alaina, as they sang “Anyway.” Rascal Flatts ended things with their fan favourites, and mixed things up a bit by doing a few 70s covers with Little Big Town.
All in all – AMAZING EXPERIENCE. I will be there again next year — and expect some of you head down to Nashville with me!
– Patrice, The Country Music Junkie, Today’s Country BX93