Summer kicked off under the blazing sun at Meadowbrook Celluar Pavilion in Gilford, NH on Sat May 25th. The Country Throwdown tour was in town. The Country Throwdown tour features up-and-coming and seasoned country artists. A crowd of both young and old filled the venue for the day long event.
The day was started on the side stage with the Maggie Rose Band. This 7 piece, mostly female band drew people in with their soulful country music style. Fronted by Maggie Rose, a young singer/songwriter with a powerful voice. There was a warm reception from the crowd when the band performed their upcoming single “I Ain’t Your Mama”. They even performed a cover of the Styx classic “Renegade”.
Next was the band was Florida-Georiga Line with their powerful hard edge country sound. A five piece band with three guitars, filled the air with ripping guitar solos. With titles such as “Backwoods Beauty Queen”, “Get Your Shine On”, and “You’re Country drew a large crowd to the stage. Their upbeat style makes for great summer driving music.
To slow it down a bit, Channing Wilson, Carly Pierce and Dani Flowers performed under the tent on the Bluebird Cafe stage. Channing’s soulful voice and folk style music brought a calm to the crowd. Along with Pierce and Flowers, they drew a well rounded crowd to catch some shade and relax under the tent.
Next up on the side stage was EMI recording artist Eric Paslay. Paslay drew a large crowd as he took to the stage. This singer/songwriter has co-written Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”, Eli Young Band’s “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” and Love and Theft’s “Angle Eyes”. Backed up by a three piece band, Paslay played some of the songs that he was co-writer on. His Tom Petty like voice and meaningful lyrics showed the crowd what his true passion is.
The last act to play the side stage was Sunny Sweeney. This Texan’s southern accent shines when she sings. Sweeney has that very old school, traditional Texas twang in her voice, which pairs very well with her music. Playing hits such as “From a Table Away” and “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving” brought a warm reception from the crowd.
The night then continued on the main stage with singer Corey Smith. Back by a tight and powerful band, Smith blended soulful lyrics with a rock/country sound. As the bass player started the backbeat, they broke into the classic hit “Good Hearted Woman”. The band jazzed the song up with a funky groove and even added a sax solo.
RCA recording artist Josh Thompson was next to hit the stage. Thompson is known for hits such as “Beer On the Table”, “Won’t Be Lonely Long” and his new single “Comin’ Around”. Thompson, a crowd favorite, had the crowd on their feet when he performed his hit “Beer On the Table”. Thompson and his band started into Led Zeppelin’s Kashmir as a lead into his hit “Way Out Here”. They even performed “Good Ole Boys”, the theme song from the “Dukes of Hazard”.
Artist Justin Moore was next to take to the stage. This was Justin’s first time in New Hampshire and the crowd gave him a huge welcome. His high energy stage show brought the crowd to their feet for the entire set. Playing hits such as “Bait a Hook” and “Backwoods” were perfect for warm summer night at the venue. Moore even performed a cover of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help From My Friends” as his vocals tore through the band. As blue lights graced the stage, Moore dedicated his hit “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” to his Grandfather. His final number “Backwoods” brought the crowd to life to get ready for the final act of the night.
Then came the moment of the night everyone had been waiting for all day. Headliner Gary Allan took to the stage. Allan opened with his hit “Watching Airplanes”. Allan’s 8 piece band’s sound filled the night air as drummer Matt Billingslea laid down the backbeat for the night. Allan along with his band powered through songs “Best I’ve Ever Had” and She’s So California”. They even covered Del Shannon’s hit “Runaway”. As Gary started into one of his best known songs, “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful” he sat on the edge of the stage and the crowd started to sing the lyrics back to him, even overpowering the band at times.
Fans were given more than their monies worth at the Country Throwdown to kick off the summer concert season at Meadowbrook Cellular Pavilion.