CMA Fest’s second day of events saw the genre’s legends join the stars of the genre’s post-Covid era to finally make their mark in real time.
Both ends of that spectrum came together for the evening, with star Lainey Wilson joined on stage by soon-to-be Famer Tanya Tucker (to sing the late 1978 Texas hit (“Until I Die”)).
The duo’s appearance – like the others that followed on Friday night – set the stage for a night full of collaborations, incredible artists and unlikely collaborations in a packed Nissan Stadium.
Priscilla Block’s digital stardom gets a live public release
Day two of CMA Fest kicked off with Priscilla Block’s star-making evolution at the Riverside Stage on the banks of the Cumberland River.
The small-town idealism that drives big-city Nashville takes shape in Block’s songs.
Songs like “My Bar,” “Off The Deep End” and “You Me and The Whiskey” prove that even the most authentic fans of the genre can use unprintable words in Tennessean and do it loud and proud. Your favorite local watering hole or pair of jeans that are a hair too small.
In a genre that celebrates the shrill of steel guitars beneath mature odes to the dark wild side, an alcohol-induced demeanor, there’s something lighthearted about Block’s material, suggesting that there must always be something else, perhaps better.
Reba McEntire shocked the crowd by joining Cody Johnson
Cody Johnson, the CMA-winning star of Rodeo Outlaw, probably surprised the tens of thousands in attendance at Nissan Stadium.
However, those who know (and have lived) the western culture well — like special guest Reba McEntire — were not at all surprised that rising star Johnson wasn’t making his CMA Fest debut on Lower Broadway. Instead, take a boat ride across the Cumberland River.
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Yes, Reba McEntire in 2011. In 1986, she sang the hit “Who’s Who in New England” with Johnson at Nissan Stadium. Her unannounced appearance on stage at CMA Fest drew boos and boos from a genuinely shocked crowd. As one might expect, the crescendo build from Johnson’s mournful drawl to McEntire’s soulful beat made for a dynamic performance worthy of a jet-engine roar to a standing ovation.
The appearance punctuated a busy day for McEntire, who appeared on Spotify House in the afternoon, where she sang songs like “The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia,” “I’m a Survivor” and “Fancy” in half. The clock is ready. She also appeared in a standing-room-only event at Music City Center to discuss her upcoming lifestyle book, “Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Love, Eating, and Bots Off Your Bots.”
Miranda Lambert’s ‘Bad Thing’ Gets Amazing ‘Sk8er Boi’ Update
Instead of Carrie Underwood, Miranda Lambert had other ideas for her 2014 single “Bad Thing” at Nissan Stadium: Canadian pop superstar Avril Lavigne for a collaboration partner.
The “Sk8er Boi” singer at a country festival?
It’s not that far. At 2022’s ACM Honors, Shania Twain made guest appearances with Lavigne and Kelsea Ballerini.
To “Sk8er Boi,” Lambert and Lavigne sang a 90-second scan of the two-decade mega-hit.
And that wasn’t the only guest Lambert brought during the high-octane set. She also shared the stage with Elle King, who performed the duo’s hit “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)” and Texas soul singer Leon Bridges, who performed Lambert’s new collaboration, “If You Were Mine.”
Jelly Roll, now an unlikely country star, reaches the 50-yard line at Nissan Stadium.
CMA Fest arrives as Jelly Roll’s journey of redemption from Nashville’s social fringes and incarceration to the city’s upper echelons, where appearances in NFL stadiums have been relegated to cheap seats for years.
The rapper-turned-country star made his CMA Fest debut by performing 2023’s No. 1 hit “Sinful Child” and new radio single “I Need a Favor” on a lighted stage at Nissan Stadium’s 50-yard high. Line.
34 years after attending his first fan fair and 14 years after being released from prison, Jason Deford sang the country songs he wrote in front of more than 50,000 people.
“It means a lot to me to hear that from the kids in the juvenile detention center in Parking Lot A,” he told The Tennessean before his surprise appearance.
More than 40 of his 38 years in prison have been in the correctional facility adjacent to the Juvenile Court near Nissan Stadium.
“[My success] It just keeps going. “Every day I wake up with a dream, and before I even get out of bed, it’s happening,” he says of his dramatic rise to national fame.
Keith Urban delivers as usual in his popular, rock-tinged country style
Keith Urban is 55 years old.
At the same time, his timeless guitar prowess is the kind of country artist with a timeless appeal to his music catalog. During night two of CMA Fest, he opened his short set with two songs 20 years apart — the 2022 single “Wild Hearts” and the 2002 hit “Someone Like You.”
Eventually, City walked the half-way point of Nissan Stadium and became the first artist to interact with the thousands seated on the stadium floor.
It’s not uncharted territory for the city. It is a frequent feature of arena and stadium sets.
His break into a version of his 2016 single “Blue Ain’t Your Color” inspired the crowd to sing along to the romantic ballad while standing on a raised stage on the stadium floor.
His stellar guitar work and personality combined with his maestro-like mastery of the instrument shone as brightly as the floodlights of Nissan Stadium, as seen at Urban’s show.
Urban’s crossover superstar has always drawn an appreciative crowd with a country standout.
Did the University of Tennessee Volunteers break into the “Rocky Top” fight song for a brief moment? of course. He clearly understands how urban folk should read.
Hardy delivers heavy rock to the country’s biggest party
The “Mix Theory”-era Linkin Park atmosphere echoed as Big Load signed Rock Hardy arrived on the CMA Fest stage as the night’s two headliners.
He announced his name and his desire to drive the crowd crazy during his “SOLD OUT” kick off the set.
In country music history, there’s a poster of Johnny Cash with his middle finger in the air flashing vigorously at the camera that shares the same virtue as Hardy’s statement.
So, the Philadelphia, Mississippi native’s heavy, hard-edged style isn’t that far removed from country music’s many and varied traditions.
HARDY’S country music development included taking a beat-driven, alt-rock-leaning song about hungover antics (“bed of a truck”) to the genre’s popular radio dial.
Any questions about whether the move is too bold can easily be answered with tens of thousands singing every word of the track out loud.
Recalling his trip to CMA Fest ten years ago, the highlight was watching Blake Shelton perform “All Red,” and he launches into another love-killing ballad. Lainey Wilson, who features as a duet with HARDY on the song.
A short while later, Lauren Alaina and Devin Dawson joined for 2019’s “One Beer.” His third live set hit “Give Me Hell” was well received as usual.
For those on the fence about HARDY’s coarse-mouthed appeal, they probably weren’t swayed, but more deeply absorbed by the experience.
CMA Fest is, in every way, a festival experience, no holds barred.