Day two of CMA Fest events highlighted the re-emergence of genre legends along with the stars of the post-COVID era in the genre, making their mark in real time.
The two ends of that spectrum came together earlier in the evening, when rising star Lainey Wilson was joined onstage by soon-to-be Country Hall of Famer Tanya Tucker, a rising star from five previous decades (to sing “Texas,” the smash hit in 1978. (‘Till I Die)”.
The duo’s appearance – like the others that followed on Friday night – set the stage for an evening filled with creative performances, surprise artists and unexpected collaborations inside the packed Nissan Stadium.
Priscilla Block’s digital stardom achieves direct crowd excellence
Day two of the CMA Festival kicked off on the banks of the Cumberland River on the Riverside Stage with the star-making development of Priscilla Block.
The idealism of small towns driving big city Nashville is shaped in Block’s songs.
Songs like “My Bar,” “Off The Deep End,” and “You Me and The Whiskey” prove that the genre’s most authentic fanbase might use unprintable words in The Tennessean to describe their diabolical attitude while being loud and proud of their favorite local watering hole. They have or love a pair of petite jean shorts.
In a genre that celebrates whining steel guitars under clever odes to the darker side of wild, alcohol-induced behavior, there’s something lighter about Block’s material that introduces the idea that there’s always another night, perhaps a better one, that ought to be.
Reba McIntyre joins forces with Cody Johnson, shocking the audience
Cody Johnson, a CMA Award-winning outlaw rodeo star, likely surprised many of the tens of thousands of Nissan Stadium attendees.
However, those well aware of (and also lived through) the West-to-Country tradition—like his special guest Reba McEntire—were in no way surprised that rising star Johnson didn’t make his CMA debut on Lower Broadway, but rather a boat trip. across the Cumberland River.
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Yes, Reba McEntire sang her 1986 classic “Whoever’s In New England” with Johnson at Nissan Stadium. Her unannounced appearance on the CMA Fest stage sparked a collective, piercing cry from a truly shocked audience. As one might expect, the build-up from Johnson’s wistful equalizer to McIntyre’s soulful shot made for a dynamic performance worthy of a jet-engine roar of a standing ovation.
The appearance wrapped up a busy day for McEntire, who made a late-afternoon appearance at Spotify House where she sang the songs “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia,” “I’m a Survivor” and “Fancy” in a half-hour set. She also appeared at a stand-up-only event at Music City Center where she shared stories from her soon-to-be-released lifestyle book, Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Ditching Your Shoes.
Miranda Lambert’s Something Bad movie got a surprising Sk8er Boi update
Instead of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert had second thoughts to present a collaborative partner for her 2014 single “Something Bad” at Nissan Stadium: Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne.
The “Sk8er Boi” singer at a country festival?
It is not unattainable. During the 2022 ACM Awards, Lavigne and Kelsey Ballerini celebrated Shania Twain.
As much as Lambert and Lavigne sang “Sk8er Boi,” a 90-second snippet from her two-decade-old mega-hit.
And that wasn’t the only guest Lambert brought along during a high-octane set. She also shared the stage with Elle King for the duet “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” and Texas soul singer Leon Bridges who performed his new collaboration with Lambert “If You Were Mine”.
Jelly Roll, now an elusive country star, hit the 50-yard Nissan field
Jelly Roll’s redemptive journey from Nashville socialites and prison reached its climax at the city’s CMA Fest, with the announced appearance inside an NFL stadium where, for years, he was relegated to cheap seats.
The rapper-turned-country star made his debut at the CMA Festival, performing his No. 1 hit of 2023 “Son of Sin” and new radio single “I Need A Favor” on a high-lit stage at Nissan’s 50-yard-line.
Thirty-four years after he attended his first fan show and 14 years after his release from prison, Jason Deford sang the country songs he wrote in front of over 50,000 people.
“It actually means a lot to me that the kids in the juvenile prison in Parking Lot A are going to hear this,” he told The Tennessean before his surprise appearance.
Of the more than 40 times he has been in prison over 38 years, many have been in the correctional facility located next to the juvenile court located next to Nissan Stadium.
“[My success] Just keep going. I wake up every day dreaming, and before I even get out of bed, this is happening,” he said of his remarkable rise to national fame.
Keith Urban delivers, as usual, his legendary country-rock-tinged style
Keith Urban is 55 years old.
At the same time, he’s the kind of timeless country artist whose rock guitar skills give his music catalog an enduringly irresistible appeal. During Night Two of CMA Fest, he opened his short set with two songs separated by twenty years – 2022’s “Wild Hearts” and 2002’s “Somebody Like You”.
In the end, Urban became the first artist to take a walking tour off stage across half of Nissan Stadium, interacting with the thousands seated on the field.
It’s not unfamiliar territory for Urban. It is a recurring feature in his arenas and ensembles.
Slipping into a version of his 2016 single “Blue Ain’t Your Color” while on a raised stage set on the court floor inspired crowds to sing along with his lyric.
As was the case throughout Urban’s performance, his exquisite guitar work and the charisma associated with his maestro-like control of the instrument’s emotional capabilities shine brightly like a Nissan stadium floodlight.
Urban is a crossover star with his strong status as a country superstar who always attracts a fun crowd.
Did he also break into the University of Tennessee Volunteers’ “Rocky Top” fight song for a while? naturally. Urban also clearly understands how to read a crowd.
Hardy delivers heavy rock for the biggest gig in the country
“Hybrid Theory” – A Linkin Park vibe hears Big Loud’s signed HARDY rocker arrive on the CMA stage as the headliner on Night Two.
He announces his name and his curse-filled desires to drive the crowd crazy during “SOLD OUT,” the song that launched his group.
Somewhere in the history of country music, there’s a poster of Johnny Cash with his middle finger flashing forcefully in the air in front of the camera that shares the same merits of Hardy’s statement.
Thus, the heavy, hard style of the residents of Philadelphia, Mississippi, is not far removed from the many and varied traditions of country music.
HARDY’s progression of country music includes taking a rhythm-driven, alternative rock-infused ballad about brewed antics (“TRUCK BED”) to the genre’s radio dial.
Any questions about whether the move was too daring can easily be answered by the tens of thousands singing each word of the track out loud.
Noting that his trip to CMA Fest a decade earlier had been highlighted by watching Blake Shelton perform “Ol’ Red,” he released another love kill, his No. 1 single “Wait in the Van,” which was joined by Lainey Wilson. , who performs with Hardy on the song as a duet.
Moments later, he was joined by Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson for 2019’s One Beer. His three-year-old favorite “GIVE HEAVEN SOME HELL” was well received as usual.
For those on the fence about Hardy’s tough appeal, they likely weren’t impressed, but may have ended up even more intoxicated by the experience.
The CMA Festival will not, in every way, be dismissed as a celebratory experience.
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