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!
Show Dog-Universal recording artist, JT Hodges brought his eclectic sound to the Wolf Den at Mohegan Sun Casio in Uncasville, CT on Thursday April 3rd. Hodges has been hitting it hard since his 2012 self titled debut release and brought a selection of new songs that he has been hard at work on to incorporate into his live show. Sticking true to his roots, Hodges continues to write from the heart, the way song should be written.
The 90 minute show consisted of crowd favorites such as “Goodbyes Made You Mine”, “Sleepy Little Town” and his first single “Hunt You Down” with a great mix of covers such as
“Hurts So Good” by John Mellencamp and the ever popular “Sledgehammer” from Peter Gabriel. Hodges has picked more of the unique covers to add to his set rather than some of the mundane ones that you hear every band play. I feel that this sets JT apart at brings out who he is as a musician.
Hodges brought the rockin’ beat of his new single “Lay It Down” that was released just the week before this show. This edgy new track, co-written by Eric Paslay is a perfect opening into what JT’s sophomore album is going to bring and if this is the direction, big things are about to happen for JT Hodges.
If you have not seen JT Hodges live, check out his website, jthodges.com and find a show near you. You can also go to iTunes and get the new single “Lay It Down” here
The fall season was kicked off at the Washington County Fair in Richmond Rhode Island. This typical fall fair has all that you could ask for; Fried dough, tractor pulls, animals and live entertainment. Many acts grace the stage over the 4 day long fair. To close out the fair was Nashville recording artist, JT Hodges.
JT Hodges, along with his 3 piece band, entertained the ever growing crowd with not one, but two shows on the fairs last day. There were some big fans of Hodges at the fair that claimed their spot early to get that prized viewing spot. There were some fans that stayed for both performances.
Hodges has been hard at work, working on the follow-up to his 2012 release “JT Hodges” Along with playing favorites such as “Hunt You Down” and “Goodbyes Made You Mine”, JT gave the audience a preview of some of his new material. After listening to his new material, I am eager to hear the entire album when it gets released (No release date as of yet).
Still a relative newcomer to the scene, Hodges has an old school vibe to his voice. Seeing him perform, you get a sense of some of Hodges idols; Elvis, Buddy Holly and The Eagles…….just to name a few. Having had the privilege to see and work with JT on several occasions, he just keeps getting better and better. This is one performer to keep an eye on.
So keep your eyes and ears open for those new songs from Hodges, including the November 5th holiday release “Joy To The World.” Also catch JT Hodges in the Hallmark Channel’s “Finding Christmas” on December 15th. This is just the start of the next big thing from JT Hodges.
History was made at the State Theater in Portland Maine as the Eli Young band along with JT Hodges played the first country show to grace the stage. With a packed house, JT Hodges was well received as he warmed up the crowd. Playing his songs such as “Goodbyes Made you mine”, “Sleepy Little Town” and his first single, “Hunt You Down” the audience was singing much of the lyrics right back at Hodges. This is a powerful new act. Be sure to catch JT Hodges on the road.
Headliners, The Eli Young Band kept the crowd pumped up from the first to the last note of their set. Eli Young has been hitting the road hard, touring with Rascal Flatts during the summer of 2012, to launching their own tour along with JT Hodges for the fall of 2012. They are not about to stop either. You can catch Eli Young this summer on the road with Kenny Chesney. A show not to be missed.