Posted by: Amy | June 21, 2010

June 11 – CMA Music Fest, Day 2

Day two of CMA Fest was a hectic day. After not getting much rest on Wednesday and Thursday, I was moving pretty slowly on Friday morning. I finally got up and going in time to make it downtown for the CMA Fest debut of one of my favorite Georgia boys, Brantley Gilbert. He played a 25 minute set at 12:30 on the Chevy Stage outside of Bridgestone Arena. Although it was blazing hot, Brantley drew a large crowd. We were up front and everyone around us was singing along and was really into the show. He opened the show with “My Kinda Party” and followed it with “Take It Outside.” He also played “My Kind of Crazy” and “Kick It in the Sticks.” Midway through his set, Brantley took off his shirt much to the delight of the women in the audience. He also tossed his baseball cap into the crowd near the end of the show. He put on an awesome show and I think that it was a great introduction for fans not familiar with his music.

Brantley Gilbert and John Merlino

Brantley Gilbert

Following Brantley’s set I quickly made my way down to the chaos of the Riverfront Stage to catch Eli Young Band. The Riverfront area was extremely crowded and the sun was high overhead. The heat index had to be at least 95 degrees. It was ridiculous! But, seeing EYB was worth braving the heat. I made my way through the slow-moving crowd and entered the photo line. As I stopped to take a picture of Mike Eli, he looked at me and I waved. I think that he remembered me from Birmigham and Charlotte because he smiled and pointed. I also got a smile from Chris Thompson, the drummer. Although there were only two or three other people in the photo line, the CMA Fest workers made us keep moving and we weren’t able to stay in the line. I decided to go through the line again and this time I got a cool shot of Mike looking right at my camera. They put on a great show and had the crowd singing along to “When It Rains,” “Always the Love Songs,” “Radio Waves” and “Guinevere.” They also played “Crazy Girl” a new song from their forthcoming album. The band closed the show with one of my favorites, “Small Town Kid.”

Mike Eli

James Young

Jon Jones

Chris Thompson

When EYB finished their set at the Riverfront, I made my way to the Convention Center to meet up with my friend Christy. Brantley was signing autographs at the Chevy booth, so I stopped by and got a picture with him. We hung out in the air conditioned Convention Center for much of the afternoon to escape the heat. Instead of going to the stadium show on Friday night, Christy and I went to the Average Joes Entertainment/Full Scope Entertainment-sponsored show at The Rutledge. It was a tough choice to skip the stadium show, as Keith Urban, my favorite artist, was playing that night. But, The Rutledge show was worth it! We picked a table midway back to enjoy the show. Ty Stone, a Detroit native, opened the show with a great acoustic set. His voice is amazingly powerful and full of soul. He is produced by Kid Rock and is signed to Atlantic Records. You should definitely check out his music! Following Ty was the ridiculously talented Rachel Farley. I am blown away by her voice and amazed by the fact that she is only 15 years old. She’s a wonderful songwriter and she WILL be a superstar one day! For her set, Rachel borrowed guitarist Jess Franklin and bassist Jonathan Waggoner from The Brantley Gilbert Band. Average Joes artist Sunny Ledfurd followed Rachel. He’s got his own brand of country music with a Kid Rock kind of flavor and performed his songs armed only with a guitar and he was aided by his drummer. He is releasing an album on June 29 entitled Greatest Hits 2003-2009, which contains the most popular songs from his six previous independently-released albums. He plays a mean slide guitar using a beer bottle. His show was definitely entertaining. Brantley Gilbert was at the show hanging out and watching the other acts, but after Sunny’s set, he was talked into playing a couple of songs. He started with “My Kind of Crazy,” which is going to be his second single from the Halfway to Heaven album. He also played the crowd favorite, “Dirt Road Anthem,” the song that was originally recorded by Brantley with labelmate Colt Ford. As soon as the band starting playing the song, members of the audience rushed to the stage to jam out to the song. Brantley is so charismatic and has a star quality that can’t be taught, which was evident by the audience’s reaction to his performance. Matt Stillwell was the night’s headliner. He’s another of the Average Joes Entertainment artists and he is best known for his good-time song “Shine.” Last Tuesday, Average Joes re-released Matt’s Shine album with additional songs and appropriately titled it Shine Deluxe. Unfortunately, I had to leave soon after Matt’s set began, so I didn’t get any pictures and I wasn’t able to enjoy his performance. But, it appeared that he was putting on a good show!

Ty Stone

Rachel Farley

Sunny Ledfurd

Brantley Gilbert

Friday was a very exciting day. It was fun to see Georgia natives Brantley Gilbert and Rachel Farley shining in front of the Nashville crowd! After all of the excitement, I was completely wiped out and wound up taking it very easy on Saturday!

See of all Friday’s pictures here.


  1. You are so lucky to have hung out with Brantley. I would love that opportunity. I am so proud of his success thus far. And you’re right, Rachel is a knockout talent! She has a HUGE future ahead of her.

  2. We got to meet brantley too. He is such a SEXY BEAST<3 lol. He was so, sweet! hahaaa; i am he's future wife. and he know's it because of someone(:

    iloveyou; amy.
    Cant wait to go to another brantley concert with you(:

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