On Friday, June 10th, Ed and I got downtown Nashville to the Chevy Cruz Park Stage about 11:00 just as Jason Michael Carroll was taking the stage. There was a pretty good crowd in front of him. I knew from seeing pictures over the last few months that he had started wearing a cowboy hat and sure enough, there he was on stage in a cowboy hat. My opinion, the hat needs to go. He’d take it off, then put it back on, then back off. It does nothing for him except hide his beautiful hair…but he didn’t ask me.
Was great hearing him again, it had been awhile. He did mine and Ed’s favorite, “Livin’ Our Love Song”. He talked quite a bit between songs. He told how a new song “Urgency” came about. A couple friend he had got divorced and afterwards he went to dinner with the woman and she said she still loved her ex but there was no passion, no urgency in their relationship, she wanted to feel something. So on the plane, he wrote the song.
Through FanFairX I had won tickets to see Frankie Ballard perform at the HGTV Lodge so about noon we headed over there to wait in line. Wow, was it hot. They passed out fans while we were waiting in line so that helped. They crammed a lot of people in the lodge but there were huge fans in there so it felt pretty cool.
The Property Brothers came out onstage to chat and introduce Frankie. Was so cool seeing them. I love Drew and Jonathon. Right at 12:30 Frankie came out with his sunglasses on. He’s always dressed so stylish. Was a big day for him. His CD El Rio was released. He was really excited about that….. I was too. Best CD of the year so far.
First song he did was “It All Started With a Beer”. “Sunshine and Whiskey” was next. One of our favorites off the CD, “Cigarette” was next which he said was only the second time he had done that song acoustic.
He did a little of Elvis’ “That’s Alright Mama” and we got to hear some “Blue Moon of Kentucky”. Was a lot of fun seeing Frankie again, in this setting on the day that his CD was released.
From the HGTV Lodge we headed over to FanFairX to go to the CMA Close Up Stage where Eric Paslay was going to be. It’s always interesting to hear the singer/songwriters talk about where the inspiration for songs came from and how they went about writing them.
Eric has a new CD Dressed in Black coming out in the fall. He did a couple songs from it. “Angels in this Town” that was co-written with Eric Dylan. Another was “Water Into Wine”.
Eric co-wrote Jake Owen’s hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and he shared that song was inspired by memories from being at a U2 concert, “shining like lighters in the dark in the middle of a rock show”. He sang “She Don’t Love You” which he told he wrote with John Wayne’s granddaughter.
We had to leave a bit before Eric’s Close Up was over to head back over to the Park Stage for RaeLynn at 2:30. The sun was still beaming down and it was hot. RaeLynn looked very cute in her heart shaped gold sunglasses. We’ve seen RaeLyn a few other times and as she sang it seemed she was having a hard time getting into a groove and getting the audience into it. We didn’t know any of the songs she was doing. They weren’t the normal ones she has in her set. We knew she had parted ways with her label, Valory in April and wondered if maybe this was the reason for the different set list. She was recently signed to Warner label so maybe new music coming soon from RaeLynn.
One of the songs she performed, she had written for all the kids of divorced parents. She said her parents divorced when she was 3 and all her life she felt kinda caught in the middle. Afraid of saying something to one and making that one mad so she had written this song called, “Love Triangle”, about the relationship of kids of divorced parents. I really liked the song. She finished her set with “God Made Girls” and the crowd did know this song and got into singing along. Excited to see what happens with RaeLynn and her music with her new label over the next few months.
We decided it was a good time to take a break for lunch so we went to the Music City Brisket food truck and got some brisket tacos that were fantastic. Tables beside of the convention center were easily found so was a good place to sit, eat and rest for a little bit in the shade. Temps were already in the upper 90’s.
After our lunch break we headed back to the Park stage at 4:30 for Lauren Alaina. We’ve loved Lauren since she was on Idol and try to catch her every year while she’s at CMAFest. She’s been in the news recently for breaking her silence about her struggle with bulimia over the last 4 years. When she walked on stage though you forgot all about everything except that amazing voice she has and wonderful personality. She seemed so confident on stage as she walked out and started singing “My Kind of People”.
She did a cover of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” that would give Karen Fairchild a run for her money. It was beautiful and really showed off Lauren’s voice. She had a new single coming out July 11th. A song called “Road Less Travelled” that she co-wrote with Meghan Trainor. It was a very pretty song.
For her last song she said she always got her “Next Boyfriend” out of the audience to be on stage with her and she already knew who she was going to pick. She pointed to a guy in the crowd and she said he had been singing along to every song so she had to have him on stage as her next boyfriend. The crowd made way for him to get over to the stage. His name was Jason. He was such a good sport and went right along with her. She started singing “Next Boyfriend” and he really did know every word. He would sing, dance and smile from ear to ear. She had him doing the Whip and Nae Nae and he did it perfectly along with her. Lauren sounded great and was alot of fun.
We left the Park stage and headed over to Margaritaville on Broadway for the SiriusXM The Highway Music Row Happy Hour with Buzz Brainard. We are not real happy about it being moved to Margaritaville. Really takes away from it being special to be there unlike when you got to go into the studio. There wasn’t too many people there for MRHH. We took a picture with Buzz and then Jessica, the night time DJ showed up and we chatted with her for a few minutes before it was time for us to head over to the stadium for those shows.