Saturday of CMA Fest had to be one of my favorite days. I saw some of my longtime favorites that I haven’t seen in years, and experienced a few up-and-coming ones at the same time. The first set of the day was Jason Michael Carroll at the Riverfront Stage. It was pretty incredible to see the way that girls went absolutely wild for him. He had them in a freak-out mode for sure! Then it was off to the Bud Light stage to see one of my favorite performers (who also just got signed to Warner Nashville), Chris Janson. This guy is one of the best performers you’ll ever see, and I stand behind that statement from now until the end of time. From the very first moment I saw him, to where he is today, he’s done nothing but get better and more energetic. It absolutely blew my mind that just two years ago there were maybe 200 people at this same stage to see his set, and this year there were thousands crowding the streets to see him.
Even better than that, I finally got to see him take the stage at The Opry and appeal to that subdued crowd just as much. By the end of his three songs he had a standing ovation. I’ve been saying for years that this guy is going places and it’s amazing to see that he is finally getting a real chance to prove that to everyone. Also great to see that a major label is on board. The Opry didn’t stop there, we got a chance to see Charles Esten (otherwise known as Deacon Clayborne on the hit ABC Show Nashville). I’d seen him earlier in the week and was pretty surprised by how insanely talented he is vocally. That guy can really KILL IT. You wouldn’t know that just by watching the show. Jamie Lynn Spears also took the stage, doing her version of Jana Kramer’s I Got The Boy, which I was surprised to hear she co-wrote! This young woman is really making her mark in the country music world, and she has such a beautiful, sweet voice that you can’t help but root for her.
Our last stop of the day was over to the Hard Rock stage to check out Clayton Anderson. It was hot as hell outside but he still had everyone grooving along to the music, giving them one last reprieve before they headed out for dinner or across the pedestrian bridge to start their night at LP Field. Which is exactly where I headed after grabbing a bite.
I’m forever a fan of Little Big Town. I’ve been following them for probably about 8 years now and the magnitude of their success always makes me smile. Seeing LP light up for them is one of those moments I won’t soon forget. Not to mention those sneaky folks in section 113 with all their Beach Balls making it even more amped up! They were the perfect band to put on before Carrie Underwood made her return to the CMA Fest stage after having baby Isaiah. And damn, did she absolutely bring it. One thing is certain, there was no lack of showmanship to indicate that she’d taken a bit of a hiatus from the spotlight, this woman turned it ON. While her set was mostly upbeat singles, including her newest Something In The Water and Little Toy Guns, I think it’s safe to say nobody was sitting around wondering where her signature ballads were. I don’t need to tell you that I was completely in love with this set, the fact that I took a million pictures should be enough to let you know how excited I was to see my girl again.
Check out some of my pictures below and then head over to Facebook for even more! Who was your favorite artist on Saturday at CMA Fest!?