Boy CMAFest is hot! And I don’t just mean the weather, though it is well into the 90s in Nashville.
last night the first of four evening concerts At the Nissan stadium, home of Tennessee Titans football team, was opened by country music veterans the Charlie Daniels Band. Kelsea Ballerini rocked a multi-coloured jump suit and the crowd, Dierks Bentley Got Drnk on a Plane and Simewhere on a Beach. He also introduced his new “friend” Elle King, who joined him on Different for Girls.
In fact surprise appearance was the order of the night. Charlie Daniels brought Randy Travis on stage. His appearance drew warm applause though Travis is still clearly a shadow of his former self.
Lady Antebellum made an unscheduled appearance with pop songstress Cam. They initially did two songs, there then seemed some confusion as the fans waited for headliner Jason Aldean, Lady A and Cam repeated the first song.
A bit late Aldean hit the stage and delivered his usual barnstorming rock performance.
it may just have been the time, it was after 11.30pm when Aldean started but it was notable that the crowd thinned out. A couple of rows around us on the floor of the venue were virtually empty.
So do some people buy tickets to just see favoured acts and either spend the time when other acts are on stage in the bars or simply head home once there faces have been on stage?
Having come from the UK and waited a year for this we plan to get value for money and see everyone who hits the stage.
I recently commented on a post on a Facebook group for country music fans from someone saying “country music isn’t what it used to be.”
so it was good to see how this genre has changed and adapted over the decades when we visited the country music museum and hall of fame in Nashville.
From its roots in people playing basic instruments, sometimes home made, through the influence of cowboy tunes, Western swing and the impact of mass media. Through its history country has regularly found a new voice without losing sight of the debt it owes to previous generations.
And last night at the Grand Ole Oprey we saw a live example of how acts from other genres work with country acts when Little Big Town introduced Pharrell Williams as there surprise guest. Williams joined LBT to perform their new single, which he has co-written. You can view the action here.
I know we are just two days in to the trip but the visit to the GOO is a highlight. For a country fan in the UK the GOO is one of those legendary venues and it didn’t disappoint.
Larger than I thought, the concert is a radio broadcast, so it keeps moving along, with acts performing four songs each, interspersed with promos read out by the on stage announcer.
The line we saw included Darius Rucker, LBT and Miranda Lambert.
In LA everyone is an actor, a writer, a producer, a director (or at least a would-be one) while they wait tables or serve beers. In Nashville it appears everyone is a singer and/or songwriter. The difference here is that these folk are actually out-and-about playing bars and other venues as well as working a “normal job”
The lady who sold my wife dome boots was busking with her husband, who worked in the same shop.
Meanwhile performers who are at the start of the greasy poll to fame kicked off the CMAFest on their international stage.
Among the acts were Frankie Davies and the Pauper Kings from the UK, both of whom played great sets, both of whom are recording new albums in Nashville.
The line-up of acts was drawn from rising country stars from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It’s a great idea and by doing it on the Monday it doesn’t clash with other CMA events.
The stage was set up in the car park area of the Hard Rock Cafe and it attracted a decent crowd.
Well worth checking out the performers and looking out for there recordings.
After a year of waiting we are off to Nashville this weekend, so we have time to ‘warm-up’ ahead of the CMAFest 2016. But just as we are digging out the passports Nashville announces that it’s coming over here in August.
On Saturday August 13 and Sunday 14 Canary Wharf is hosting an outdoors country concert, at Canada Sq Park.