And that’s a wrap. Averaging four hours of sleep per night, around noon on Friday we finished up our last of 23 interviews for CRS week. Aside from all of these (stay tuned to watch them all here), the week consisted of exclusive performances, incredible after parties and an overload of fun.
CRS again is the Country Radio Seminar, a weeklong event at the Nashville Convention Center “created to provide a platform and structure for education and growth for the Country Music format, serving as the conduit connecting the interests of Country Radio with the Country Music Industry” (crs.org). Our job was to cover it as part of the media… therefore we hung out in the media room and interviewed artists instead of going to the educational seminars. Not a bad gig.
Day 1 was Tuesday, a day that proved just a warm up for the week ahead. We started at Warner Music where we caught up with The Dirt Drifters, HER & Kings County and Ty Stone. HKC are some of the most energetic people we had the good fortune of meeting.
“Y’all kicked our hangover to the curb like a Bloody Mary.” – HER & Kings County
You’re welcome guys.
Then it was up to the Bridge Bar (a cool lounge area located on the walkway over Commerce Street) to meet up with The Roys, DJ Miller and Mark Cooke. Six interviews ain’t bad for a days work, and then we were invited to attend the Country Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony, followed by the Sony-hosted after party featuring Brent Anderson, Wade Bowen and Jerrod Niemann. They all brought the house down, especially Niemann’s finale, a cover of the classic Pride and Joy.
Now we come to the day where we almost had TOO MUCH fun. No kidding, it was almost hard to process it all. The day started early with an interview with The Farm, a great group of people, then Gloriana, who I’ve had my eye on since their first single Wild At Heart three years ago. Then finally, I got to meet Jana Kramer who is in fact the sweetest person in the entire world.
Then came lunch at The Ryman, one of the best musical venues in the country, for a performance by nearly the entire Universal Music Group roster. I won’t mention them all, but it started off with none other than King George Strait. Let me tell you, there is not a lot that can trump watching Troubadour live in The Ryman Auditorium as the sun shines through the stained glass windows. But if there was one thing that could, it was the way they closed the show: with Lionel Richie. And he immediately brought out one of his biggest fans to perform with him: Luke Bryan. They played Easy (Like Sunday Morning) one of my favorite songs of all time, and after a well-deserved standing ovation, we were back to the media room. So yeah, that was lunch.
After this, we caught up with Marlee Scott, Frankie Ballard and Jason Mitchell. Soon thereafter we found ourselves at a meet-and-greet with most of the aforementioned artists in attendance, along with Josh Turner, Scotty McCreary, Lauren Alaina, Luke Bryan, Craig Morgan, and others. No interviews with those folks unfortunately, but all very nice people.
But we weren’t done yet: after that was the sold out Lady Antebellum concert at Municipal Auditorium. Thompson Square opened the show in incredible fashion before Darius Rucker took the stage, singing a couple Hootie & the Blowfish classics as well as a Nashville favorite Family Tradition. Then it was Lady A’s turn, and they put on one impressive show. They played all the hits, and even featured surprise cameos from Luke Bryan (performing Do I, co-written by Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood) and Sara Evans (who performed Stronger, co-written by Hillary Scott). After the show we were exhausted… oh, but not done yet.
The after party was a Warner Music gathering with an 80’s theme. Artists played one of their own songs followed by an 80’s classic. On the roster were (among others) HER & Kings County, Ty Stone, Jana Kramer, THE FARM, Jason Jones, The Dirt Drifters, Frankie Ballard, Hunter Hayes, and Big & Rich who performed a rousing rendition of Madonna’s Like A Virgin.
After Wednesday, Thursday became a blur of sleep deprivation masked with too much caffeine. Of the interviews I remember, we had Glen Templeton, Due West, Amber Hayes, Jessie James, Deborah Allen, Adam Gregory, Maggie Sajak and Bucky Covington (forgive me if I forgot anyone). By the time Bucky finished out the day our batteries were drained figuratively AND literally (Bucky’s interview ran slightly short due to the death of the camera battery).
Lunch featured an acoustic set by Alan Jackson, and shortly thereafter we had a few hours where I was able to go home and nap before the Black River Entertainment showcase featuring Glen Templeton, Sarah Darling and Due West.
An easy day today! Only two interviews with icon Billy Dean and the lovely The McClymonts, and then on to lunch with Faith Hill! She debuted two new songs during her performance, and sounded as good as ever.
After a little break, we were back for the New Faces of Country Music show. The pre-show and happy hour featured a performance by The Lost Trailers, before we adjourned into the performance hall to see Hunter Hayes, Eli Young Band, Sunny Sweeney and David Nail. Thompson Square was also set to perform, but had to cancel due to an unfortunate death in Shawna’s family. The performances were amazing, and the after party was equally as amazing with everyone cutting loose after a long week.
We have pictures of all this excitement on our Facebook page, and will be sure to post these interviews online as soon as possible, so be sure to check back often! We would also like to thank each artist for their time, their management for their patience, and everyone who was involved with CRS for their hard work and dedication to an extraordinary week. Thank you!
Below is a recap of our CRS interviews:
The Dirt Drifters
HER & Kings County