Audio Still Magazine traveled to Nashville, TN to cover the 2014 CMA Music Fest. What a time we had while we were in music city! One thing you never have to do while at CMA fest is look for something to do. The hardest part is trying to decide who to watch perform as two of your favorite artists might be performing at the same time in different parts of town.
Thursday started off at Fan Fair and was held at the new 2.1 million square foot Music City Center. Fan Fair is part of the four day CMA Music Fest where you can meet some of your favorite artists. Checking out Fan Fair can lead to autograph signings, concerts and other activities you won’t want to miss!
The first event that we caught was LeAnn Rimes on the CMA close up stage telling stories about her career as well as singing her first hit “Blue” for the large crowd that gathered in front of the stage.
We also met a great new and upcoming artist, Elizabeth Lyons. She was so sweet and took the time to chat with us about music and photography. Lyons just released a new single “#PartyRules.” It is a great, upbeat and rocking song. Get over to iTunes now and download the single https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/partyrules-single/id885112567 and check out her other music as well.
As we checked out the events at Fan Fair, we saw Eli Young Band posing for photos and singing autographs, new artists such as Native Run showcasing their music to the crowds of people in attendance and other artists like The Henningsens bowling at XBowl. There is a little something for everyone at Fan Fair.
It was time to head out into downtown and check out all the other activities. We stopped by the Bud Lite stage located outside the Bridgestone Arena and saw Granger Smith perform for the ever growing masses. The song that seemed to get people moving was “The Country Boy Song” off Smith’s 2013 release “Dirt Road Driveway.”
We were also able to catch Cold River Records recording artist, Katie Armiger, take the Bud Lite stage as well. Her fourth studio album “Fall Into Me” was released in January 2014 with the first single, “Safe” which pay tribute to our first responders. Katie was a big draw to the fans at CMA Fest.
Up next on the schedule was the Show Dog Universal Fan Party held at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Artists performing at this event were Josh Thompson, JT Hodges, Krystal Keith, Joel Crouse and Native Run. This was a great intimate event where fans could get up close and personal with some of their favorite artists. Each artist played a hand full of songs to the packed house and took the time to meet each guest before the show.
After the Show Dog Universal party was over, it was time to start making way over the Cumberland River to LP Field for the nightly shows. Events outside Lp Field, at the BMI Tailgate Party, got fans fired up before they headed into the stadium with acts like David Fanning.
Now that everyone was ready for a great night at LP Field, we took our spot in the media area. While we chatted with other media/photographers, the stadium continued to fill with fans; you could feel the energy building. There were about 60,000 concert goers that filled the stadium for the nightly shows, thus being our biggest show to date.
The first act to grace the stage was a treat for all – Alabama. This is one group that many of us have been listening to for many years and many artists name them as a very big influence in their careers. The band consisted of the original three cousins: Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook. They played some of their hits such as, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”, “Dixieland Delight” and “Mountain Music.” Alabama was a real treat to have at CMA Fest and enjoyed by all.
Next up was Luke Bryan…….what more can we say, ladies! Luke is one artist that takes command of the stage and brings 110% to each and every performance. Luke entertained the massive crowd with hits such as, “That’s My Kind Of Night”, “Rain Is A Good Thing” and one of his biggest, “Country Girl (Shake it for me).” It is always a pleasure seeing Luke and his band perform.
The new country bad boy, Brantley Gilbert, was up next. Gilbert is no stranger to the music scene. He has co-written the huge Jason Aldean hits, “That’s My Kinda Party” and “Dirt Road Anthem.” This singer/songwriter has really made a name for himself on stage in the last few years. Brantley performed songs like “Country Must Be Country Wide”, “Bottoms Up” and he even brought out Justin Moore and Thomas Rhett for the latest single “Small Town Throwdown.”
Now that the crowd was fired up after the first three stellar
acts, Dierks Bentley was up next. To kick it off, Bentley opened with his 2012 hit “5-1-5-0.” This was one artist that we were looking forward to seeing while at CMA Fest, having never seen him before. We were pleasantly surprised……..his live shows are fantastic! He followed with songs such as, “Am I The Only One”, “I Hold On” and his current smash hit “Drunk On A Plane.”
Just as we thought the night couldn’t get any better, who came out, but Rascal Flatts. What better song to kick off their set than their 2006 cover of Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway.” This led right into their current single, “Payback” from their 2014 release “Rewind.” The next song the Flatt’s performed took the 60,000 people by surprise – an A cappela version of Pharrell Williams hit, “Happy.” Rascal Flatts are always amazing to see live!
The last act of the night needed no introduction, performing hits such as “Real Good Man” and ” I Like It, I Love It”, it could only be one artist – the one and only Tim McGraw. Throwing in others like “Truck Yeah” and “Live Like You Were Dying”, we’re sure residents all over Nashville heard the noise of the crowd at LP Field. But the moment of the night was during McGraw’s performance of his latest single “Meanwhile Back At Mama’s” when his wife, Faith Hill joined him onstage.
Our first day at CMA Fest was action packed and busy. There was so much going on in the city of Nashville during CMA Fest; I wish we were able to cover each and every event. Stay tuned soon for part two of the CMA Fest issues of Audio Still Magazine!
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.