Written by Nate Dean Photos courtesy of Steve Pouliot Images
It was THAT kinda night!! Who knew a Thursday evening in New England in September could be as hot as a June or July summer night?!? Luke Bryan sure did, as he brought his That’s My Kinda Night tour to the Manchester Verizon Wireless Arena on September 11th. With supporting artists like Cole Swindell and Lee Brice was there every any doubt? Audio Still Magazine had the pleasure of attending the show and here’s a quick run down on all the night’s fun!
Country Music Association’s Best New Artist of the Year nominee, Cole Swindell, opened the night on fire rocking out Hey Y’all. As the band laid down the groove and tore up the strings, Swindell brought the crowd to their feet! With his roots deep in songwriting, Cole has written
some of today’s hottest country music. She Ain’t Worth the Whiskey written by Swindell for Thomas Rett had the New England crowd singing along with each word. A high energy performer, who often times compares nerves on a show night to a high school football game…once that first kickoff takes place, you’re in the groove, Cole kept early crowds entertained with hot hits like Hope you Get Lonely Tonight and fan favorite Chillin It. Cole Swindell is a heavy contender for Best New Artist for sure! Keep your eyes and ears on this rising star!
Keeping the energy up, Lee Brice took the stage with the crowd swaying to his hit Parking Lot Party. One of the best sounds of the night – Brice cracking open a beer – had the audience on their feet yelling Beer right back at him. Working the crowd Lee performed songs like Woman Like You and Hard to Love. Keeping in mind and hearts the gravity the September 11th Anniversary, Brice belted out I Drove Your Truck causing the audience to ligh up the arena with cell phones in a heartfelt salute to our Country’s Troops. His set continued to rock as the drum solo lead right in to Good Man and the title track to his new album I Don’t Dance. Having experienced success as a writer before becoming a performer keeps Brice’s feet on the ground. Writer or performer, there’s no mistaking the star quality that is Lee Brice!
Rounding out the dynamic Trio of the night was Luke Bryan, stealing the stage and thunder with That’s My Kinda Night. Luke’s red hot hits set the pace with favorites like Rain is a Good Thing, Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye and Country Man. As a solemn reminder of the anniversary of our Nation’s tragedy on September 11th, Luke quieted both his band and the crowd for a moment of silence in honor of all the lives lost on that fateful day. Bryan had the crowds returning to their feet when he brought out Lee Brice to sing Eli Young’s Crazy Girl penned by Brice. The fun continued with a foot-stomping rendition of Alabama’s classic
Mountain Music and a heartfelt Do I, easily reminding all of us the reason we loved Luke Bryan in the first place! This is How We Role brought fellow songwriter Cole Swindell back onstage, as the two rocked out the Florida Georgia Line hit they co-wrote. The hits continued on with crowds on their feet dancing to Suntan City, Crash My Party, Drink and Beer, Drunk on You and more. What could be better than all of this??? Wrapping up the night with a showstopping encore of Play it Again. If this was your 1st Luke Bryan extravaganza or your 20th, there’s no denying we will all be lining up when he brings his tour back to the northeast!!
CMA Fest 2014 Part II!! Audio Still Magazine hits the ground running on Friday, as the sun comes up over the City of Nashville, for another music-packed day. While New York may be the City that “never sleeps”, Nashville can certainly be known as the City that “never stops listening”. For talented, country and southern rock music that is!!
Our first stop of the day brought us to the Chevy Riverfront Stage, the music epicenter on the banks of the Cumberland River. Joining fellow country artists like Chase Rice, Collin Raye, Kristian Bush and more, Craig Morgan rocked the riverbanks with his crowd favorites Redneck Yacht Club, International Harvester and Bonfire. Having seen Craig live earlier this year, it was clear his performance would be a fan favorite – and boy did he deliver!
Watching the crowds enjoy song after song reminded us we were on a mission to seek out and report all that was Friday of CMA Fest 2014. With that in mind, we moved over to the Bridgestone Arena area where Keith Anderson delighted crowds on the Bud Light Stage. Belting out songs such as Pickin Wildflowers, Everytime I Hear Your Name, and I Still Miss You fired up faithful, early morning audiences. Keith’s action-packed set list sent the crowds off for a day of listening fun!
Keeping on our schedule, we found ourselves in the downtown Nashville area and smack dab in front of the Chevy Roadhouse Stage. Taking the stage while we watched were the Music City Doughboys. Known for their eclectic blend of bluegrass, jazz, swing and the blues, the MC Doughboys were extremely entertaining! It’s easy to see whey their unique musical style drew in those passing by to find a spot and listen for a bit.
In addition to listening and watching some of the hottest
country/southern rock entertainers around, Audio Still Magazine caught a new addition to CMA Fest, the ABC Tent Q&A with Jonathan Jackson of ABC’s hit TV show Nashville. Known in his early acting days as Lucky Spencer on the longtime running ABC daytime soap opera General Hospital, and with 5 (yep, count ’em 5) Emmy’s already under his belt, Jonathan sat back and enjoyed the Q&A banter regarding his extremely popular Nashville character, Avery Barkley. What a great addition to an already action-packed Festival!
The chance to catch singer/songwriter Wil Hoge had us racing back to the Bud Light Stage! Having grown up on the outskirts of Nashville, it is easy to see this artist holds untapped, local talent which easily shines through his set list, captivating audiences as they passed by. If you haven’t heard anything from Wil Hoge – What the heck are you waiting for?!? This first-class musician is true to his roots and one performer who can grace any stage – Big or Small!
No stranger to country music fans, or Audio Still Magazine for that matter, Kristian Bush, one-half of the fabulous duo Sugarland, invited us to stop by and check out his set on the Chevy Riverfront Stage. Having worked with Kristian days before the Festival in Connecticut, we sat back and smiled, knowing the treat the crowd was in for. Bush belted out solo hits Love or Money and his latest single Trailer Hitch, getting fans off their seats; while throwing in some Sugarland favorites like Baby Girl. It’s clear, whether the front man or sharing the spotlight, Kristian Bush is meant for ANY stage!
Leaving the Riverfront stage, Audio Still Magazine found ourselves front and center at the Hard Rock Cafe listening to singer/songwriter Erik Dylan’s performance. Having met Erik over two years ago while touring with our good friend JT Hodges, it was a pleasure to see him mesmerize the crowd with his song Fast – the official NASCAR Sprint Cup & Nationwide Series Countdown. Erik’s heart and soul can be found in over 400 of his penned songs and it’s a sure bet this is just the beginning of his amazing country music career.
As we made our way across the river to LP Field, we were lucky to run in to our good friend Jeff Jenkins of the Brian Davis Band. Was a well-needed chance to take a breath, slow down and catch up with an old friend before heading out to see the night’s fun-filled list of entertainers.
Kicking off Friday night’s amazing lineup was an artist who needs NO introduction, Travis Tritt! With over forty charted hits, two Grammy awards and five #1 singles…Travis got the place rocking with fan favorites like T.R.O.U.B.L.E. and It’s a Great Day to Be Alive!
Following this energetic set was an Audio Still Magazine’s personal favorite, Mr. Eric Church! Fortunate enough to have worked with Eric on numerous occasions, it was no wonder the crowd was absolutely taken over by his stage presence. Opening with a perfect choice The Outsiders, Church laid the groundwork for a one-of-a-kind, action-packed performance. This is one artist who takes his fans to the edge and back. And, when you think you’ve seen and heard everything Church offers – guess again – he comes back full force with Creepin and Cold One causing a fan frenzy! Highlight of the night – hands down – was Eric escorting Lzzy Hale, lead singer of Pennsylvania’s own rock band Halestorm, on stage to rock out Church’s latest song That’s Damn Rock and Roll. Energy rolled off the stage with the same rebellious spirit known of Church. Whether in your home town or on a festival stage held by many, Eric Church is a creative and musically charged force to be reckoned with!
What next?!? I know what you’re thinking….the energy level couldn’t possibly get any higher right?? Not the case – as The Band Perry came out of the gates on fire, bringing the crowds along for
the ride. Showing exactly why they love what they do, Kimberly, Reid and Neil had fans on their feet with favorites like Done, Chainsaw and Better Dig Two. Putting one foot in front of the other in true Pioneer fashion, The Band Perry is marching forward and marking noise!!
The magic of the night continued when Jason Aldean took the stage, instantly rocking the crowd to their feet with My Kinda Party. Kicking his set off with such energy instantly set the mood. We were definitely in for some kind of party!! As if Aldean could read
his fans’ minds, he took the audience by storm, convincing everyone to Take a Little Ride revisiting his fan favorite hits like Dirt Road Anthem and She’s Country. And, when it seemed the crowd could not take a minute more, Aldean highlighted his performance, calling back Travis Tritt, and belting out Tritt’s Homesick from his 1991 release It’s All About to Change. Hands down, Jason Aldean continues to wow crowds and build fans at every turn!!
Following Jason Aldean may seem like a daunting task right? Not for the next performer, with her legendary country rock sound –
hit the stage with Fastest Girl In Town. Hypnotizing the crowd and keeping each and every one of us on our feet, we rocked alongside Miranda, singing along to Automatic. This country/southern rock Diva had more in store for her fans, as the first notes of Somethin’ Bad rang out…shocking the audience into a frenzy when fellow country Diva, Carrie Underwood, joined Miranda on stage to close out the set!! Simply A-Mazing…no other words necessary!
And last, but certainly NOT least, entertained the group, closing out another fabulous CMA Fest night! Shelton drew in fans with Boys ‘Round Here and Doin’ What She Likes. Continuing on his journey as one of the Mentor’s, from the NBC smash hit show The Voice,
Shelton paired up with fellow tour-mate and The Voice – Season 2 contestant, Gwen Sebastian, to slow down the crowd with My Eyes; bringing a perfect evening to an even more perfect end. While Blake Shelton’s songs may not rattle the windows, he sure knows his way on stage – NO better choice to close out the night’s events and bring to a close Audio Still Magazine’s tour of CMA Fest 2014.
Having given you a whirlwind review of our brief, but fun-filled, stop on the CMA Fest 2014 road, here’s where we get to brag!! This Festival, created in 1972 as County Music Association’s Fan Fair event hosting 5000 attendees, has grown into a 4-day country music extravaganza NOT TO BE MISSED! Over 400 Artists attend each year, providing over 150 hours of live music to record crowds of over 300,000 people!! Get your 2015 CMA Fest tickets today – and join Audio Still Magazine next year – there’s no doubt in our minds we will be front and center for all the action!
Audio Still Magazine gets to “listen before you can buy” with an advanced copy of I Don’t Dance by Lee Brice. Not available until later this month, Brice’s I Don’t Dance album hits it out of the park! Produced by Lee Brice himself, this hit-filled album is on shelves September 9th! Leading strong is it’s title track, I Don’t Dance. Brice shows his softer side with lyrics written for his wife for their wedding day. You can bet this single, while climbing the Country charts, will remain at the top of wedding song lists across the country. Continuing with a mix of party and dance songs like Girls in Bikinis and No Better Than This, Brice will no doubt have a hit album on his hands, appealing to all audiences.
Having seen Brice’s live rendition earlier this year, it became crystal clear this performer pours his heart and soul into every corner of his career. From writing hit songs and producing albums to singing his heart out at every live performance – all GOOD things are coming his way!
Audio Still Magazine congratulates Lee Brice on an outstanding album and thanks him for the opportunity to hear it first. Get ready country listeners, I Don’t Dance will be an easy favorite! Check out Lee Brice with Luke Bryan, September 11th in Manchester, NH and stay tuned for our review of the night as Audio Still Magazine will be front and center capturing all the action!
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!
Audio Still Magazine has been hard at work putting together the best of the best of our trip to Nashville for CMA Fest 2014 for our readers to enjoy. We are putting the final touches on Part 1 of the CMA Fest Issue. I hope that you were all able to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook during our time in Music City. Did you also catch the interview we did with Meghan Linsey about her solo career and her upcoming album release? Click the link below to read the interview.
While in Nashville for CMA Fest, Audio Still Magazine had a chance to sit down and talk with the lovely Meghan Linsey. You all may know Meghan from the country music duo Steel Magnolia. She is now getting ready to release her first solo EP at the end of this summer on iTunes and a new single within the next few weeks. Meghan has taken somewhat of a different approach to put this album out.
Meghan has turned to Pledgemusic, a crowd sourcing site, to release her new EP. Crowd sourcing is getting funding for various projects by having people pledge or donate to your campaign. When asked why she chose this route, Meghan said, “I am doing this all independently, I don’t have a label right now, I have a really great fan base and to partner with the fans to put the music out just felt like a really cool thing to do. It also gets the fans more involved and more excited. I’ve been posting a lot of fun videos and pictures that are exclusive for the pledge fans.” She has some great exclusive incentives for people that pledge including: a copy of her new CD on July 8th (pledgers only), puppy play dates, getting a mani pedi with Meghan, a private house show with Meghan playing in your living room.
We asked Meghan what direction this project is heading in musically as compared to Steel Magnolia and she responded, “I don’t think it’s completely different. I think there was always an element of soul to everything that we did, ya know, I was born and raised in New Orleans so I think I’ve kind of brought that flavor to it. With the new project I am able to kind of push on that a little more and really, really sing on this thing more; that’s been really fun. The songs are just really honest. I’ve been writing a lot with everything I’ve had go on in the last few years. I think overall it’s just really soulful and genuine and honest.”
During our talk, we touched base on the creative and writing process of a singer/songwriter. “I’m involved in every process of everything in my career which gives a blessing a curse. I try not to micro manage too much, but I do like to be involved and know what’s going on. I’m just creative by nature,” states Meghan. She has been hard at work writing the new material for her EP with people such as Corey Crowder (who produced Jamie Lynn Spears’ upcoming country release) and her friend, Julie Moriva. “I cowrite a lot…James Otto, we wrote a song the other day that I’m really excited about will definitely, if not on this EP, will be on the next one for sure.” Meghan is working with upcoming Nashville producer, Tyler Cain on this personal and meaningful project along with many talented musicians.
Steaming from her success with Steel Magnolia, Meghan has learned quite a bit that she is now applying to her solo career. “Everything that you could go through in the music business, I feel like I’ve done in the last few years, so I’ve learned a lot. I’ve had a lot of life lessons.” Despite experiencing so much in such a short period of time, Meghan says, “I feel like I am really ready to come out on my own. I’ve been touring for years now and doing interviews and red carpets and playing shows. There is a lot of stuff that I’ve learned about the business that I didn’t know; it’s really made me a business woman. It’s made me realize how much I really appreciate my team and the people around me. I try to bring people around that I really like. It’s nice to have people that you feel like you can trust and that you want around all the time.”
And what advice does Meghan have for aspiring musicians out there trying to make it big in Nashville? “Do something that’s genuine and to be honest. I think a lot of people get swept up in the idea of ‘I have to be this because this is what works on Country radio’ or ‘I have to do this because it’s what people want.’ I think the moment that I found out who I was and I started being myself in interviews and not worrying about what people thought about how I sounded or what I was wearing. I feel like people can see through.”
We really enjoyed our time with Meghan and would like to thank her and wish her the best of luck! If you are wondering how you can be a part of Meghan’s Pledgemusic campaign, here is the website http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/meghanlinsey. Check it out and pledge today!
Audio Still Magazine has returned from CMA Fest in Nashville, TN. We had a great time in Nashville for the biggest country music event in the world. I hope everyone was following us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as we were posting throughout the day during the event. Now that we have returned, we are getting to work putting everything together for you. So be on the look out real soon on Audio Still Magazine for our coverage of CMA Fest 2014!