In the words of one WGNA CountryFest fan, “It was awesome!” What a line-up. What a beautiful day. What great music. What more could you ask for?
Humble and a regular guy, country superstar Blake Shelton – with six No. 1 hit singles, including the recent duet with Trace Atkins, “Hillbilly Bone” – topped the bill with the lovely and in-your-face Gretchen Wilson commanding the stage just before him.
And Wilson nearly stole the show right out from under Sheldon as she showcased songs from her new album, “I Got Your Country Right Here” on her own indie label, Redneck Records. Yes, alas, she and Sony Nashville parted ways recently. No bother. The lady is gorgeous and possesses a great set of vocal pipes and a stellar back-up band. It’s really Sony’s loss when you think about it because her high energy set proved that she can still hold a crowd spellbound.
The most dynamic performer that day was without a doubt Houston’s Jason Michael Carroll. The man can sing. And whether or not he really is just a “pretty boy” – to quote a slightly jealous CountryFest fan whose girlfriend was jumping up and down in ecstacy because Carroll had just signed her cowgirl hat – he is the real deal. And the man truly loves his fans, which he proved throughout his excellent set by shaking hands and signing autographs – while he was performing!
Rounding out the CountryFest line up earlier in the day were David Nail, Chuck Wicks, the JaneDear Girls and our own local brass-kickin’ country rockers, the Hillbilly Horns.
I don’t know if the total CountryFest attendance count was 30,000-plus or just 25,000 and change, but it seems amazing that the mainstream news media seems to have pretty much ignored the festival. What’s up with that? Country music is an important American music form with millions of fans all around the country.
If you weren’t there, you missed a lot of great music. If you were there, you definitely had a great time and are looking forward to next year’s festival.
Hey, WGNA, can’t we make it a two-day CountryFunFest next year? Double the performers and double the fun! What do you say?
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk. You can see more of Andrzej’s photos from this day here.