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6/10/2019
By: @KurtBardella from NYC

CHEERS

TOP SHELF

I hit the stadium to watch @ThomasRhett (Team Valory) & @EricChurch (Team Universal) on Friday and @DierksBentley (Team Universal) & @TheTimMcGraw (Team Sony) on Saturday. Perhaps no artist at #CMAFest is having the kind of run right now that TR is – his new album #CenterPointRoad is #1 all-genre – he was co-hosting #CMAFest (with @KelseaBallerini (Team Black River) and still managed to put on the kind of show that reinforces TR’s status as an all-around #Superstar who has cemented his place as an #EntertainerOfTheYear contender. One of the most enjoyable moments was when TR brought out @JonPardi (Team Universal) to perform their collaboration off TR’s new album #AintNothinThatABeerCantFix. #EricChurch put on what may be one of the most unique #CMAFest stadium performances EVER. No band, no video wall, no nothin’ but him and a guitar playing a stream-of-consciousness medly of the songs that have spanned his career. It was just bad-ass and one of the most memorable performances I’ve ever experienced. The next night I came to appreciate something about both Dierks and McGraw. There is an art-form to performing in this age of social-media moments and when it comes specifically to the art of the picture, I don’t think there’s anyone better than Dierks and Tim. I was taking with some of the official photographers who were in the media pit with me and they summed it up best when they said, “these guys are a photographers dream.” I loved that Dierks used this platform to shine a spotlight on one of the most talented women in country @TenilleTownes (Team Sony) inviting her out to perform #DifferentForGirls. The crowd went nuts when @LukeCombs (Team Sony) joined McGraw for a rendition of #RealGoodMan. BTW – did you see Tim flying around the stage making some insane leaps! Check out @MorningHangover featured #InstaStories for highlights of all my fav moments from the stadium and #CMAFest
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SOUND-CHECK

WITH YOUR HAIR-OF-THE-DOG

Start your work-week off right with the new music video from @CarrieUnderwood (Team Universal) for her #summer anthem #Southbound
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ON SOUTHERN HALO'S JUKEBOX

Just in time for #Summer it’s a little #SunshineMusic from @3Halos shot in Santa Rosa & Seagrove Beach in FL 
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ON THE JUKEBOX

Check out this new video for @DylanScottCntry (Team Curb) fan-favorite track #Anniversary
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ON THE KARAOKE MACHINE

If you're not #HeadOverHeels into @RunawayJune (Team Broken Bow) - watch this and you will be!
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ON THE HOUSE

This is particularly true due to the never-ending stream of rain/storms, but one of my favorite spots of #CMAFest was the #HGTVLodge. What a great lineup of performers and an even more amazing group of fans who literally waited in the pouring rain to see their favorite artists. I was fortunate enough to see @OldDominion (Team Sony) @ChrisYoungMusic (Team Sony) @ScottyMcCreery (Triple Tigers) @CarlyPearce (Team Big Machine). This spot was def my refuge during the day!

FRONT OF THE HOUSE

Couldn’t think of a better artist to reset the #ChevyRiverfrontStage (after a long rain-delay) than @DylanScottCntry (Team Curb). You needed a performer who could bring some energy and charisma to the stage to get the fans back engaged and excited. It’s not easy to walk into a crowd that’s probably frustrated, wet, & unsure about their day but Dylan ran into that situation head first and really shined. In my opinion, he saved the day at that stage with his energizing performance!

TAILGATE WATCH

My favorite stage of #CMAFest may very well have been the #ChevyBreakoutStage where I got to see standout performances from @AdamCraigMusic (Team Broken Bow) @BrettKissel @KelleighBannen and @CaleDodds (Team Warner). These are four artists that I personally believe in and hope you all give a chance to breakthrough in 2019!

AT THE BAR

Perhaps the best night-time spot for #CMAFest was at @BlakeShelton’s bar @OleRedNashville which partnered up with #Spotify (shoutout to John Marks) to program a lineup of performers all day and night for four consecutive days. I can’t even remember everyone I got to see but they had some of the best up-and-coming talents in #countrymusic and some amazing surprise superstar guests [@RascalFlatts (Team Big Machine) @LittleBigTown (Team Universal) @LadyAntebellum (Team Big Machine)].From an artist discovery standpoint, this may have been the most relevant stage in all of #CMAFest2019 to catch new talent. One artist that just blew me away was @CayleeHammack (Team Universal) and I have to thank the team at Green Room PR for reaching out multiple times to put Caylee’s performance on my must-see list. Another one of my fav moments was @BrantleyGilbert (Team Valory) closing the bar down on Friday night/Saturday morning and bringing @LindsayEll (Team Broken Bow) on stage to perform their killer-collaboration #WhatHappensInASmallTown. Was also glad to finally see @FilmoreMusic (Team Curb) perform live for the first time and I was really impressed with his stage presence and vocal fan base – his new single #Slower is a killer track. My favorite performance has to go to @CaleDodds (Team Warner) – you had the feeling watching him that this is a guy who could be a future #EntertainerOfTheYear – that’s how good this guy is. There is a charisma and an energy (coupled with some legit comedy chops) that Cale exudes that is just infectious.   

BAR TALK

Really enjoyed @ChrisYoungMusic (Team Sony) #CMACloseUp conversation on Saturday at #FanFairX. Chris shared stories about his music journey and revealed some tidbits about his new album including collaborations with @BradPaisley (Team Sony) @KaneBrown (Team Sony) and @Lauren_Alaina (Team Universal). Chris took some fun questions from fans directly including a bold invitation from a lovely lady to #GettinYouHome. The conversation was hosted by Lon Helton - who is the ONLY #CountryRadio figure included in this year's nominations for the #RadioHallOfFame so big congrats to Lon! Back to Chris - he delighted the capacity crowd with an acoustic performance of some of his biggest hits and some new songs from #RaisedOnCountry. He was also surprised with plaques commemorating his more than 2 Billion career streams and 12 Million singles sold. Later on that night, Chris performed at #Spotify @OleRedNashville and surprised the crowd by bringing up #LaurenAlaina to perform their new duet together live, for the very first time! It was a great moment that you should def check out on our featured #InstaStory
L to R: Paige Altone (Sony Music Nashville), Caryl Atwood (Sony Music Nashville), Randy Goodman (Sony Music Nashville), Chris Young, Sarah Trahern (CMA), Dennis Reese (Sony Music Nashville), Rob Beckham (The AMG Management), Alaina Vehec (Sony Music Nashville), Kent Earls (Universal Music Publishing Group)

ON THE BAR WALL

One of the most meaningful parts of #CMAFest is getting to spend time with the next generation of talent like @Travis_Denning (Team Universal) @CayleeHammack (Team Universal) @BrettKissel & @AdamHambrick (Team Universal)

CRUSHIN IT

Really glad I got a chance to see @AdamHambrick (Team Universal) perform on the #MauiBroadwayStage - turned out to be one of my favorite performances of #CMAFest. He had a fantastic audience that was vocal, energetic and a ton of fun. Adam really took it to another level. Someone who can write #1 hits for #JustinMoore and #DanAndShay - could you get two artists' who are further a part in style - has a tremendous amount of talent to offer. I was really blown away by the fan response Adam received. Check it out on our #InstaStory this morning if you get a chance.

WITH A TWIST

This was the week that I dived into one of music’s newest sensations #BlancoBrown (Team Broken Bow) and his globally viral smash-hit #TheGitUp ... Blanco hosted a line-dance class at #WildhorseSaloon and then went over to the #RDCountryStage to perform! BTW - this song is #1 right now on #SpotifyViral50

ALL ACCESS

One of my favorite #CMAFest experiences is attending the artist fan club parties. Had the chance to drop in @MorganCWallen (BigLoud) #ShinerBeer #FanParty and it’s just so fun to watch fans get this kind of up-close experience of meeting their fav artist and also watching him perform in a very intimate setting!

SHOT

Check out a new song from @RyanHurd (Team Sony) that is sure to be a must-add on your #Summertime #Playlist - this is #HerNameWasSummer
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