If you didn’t make it to the grandstand show at The Great Frederick Fair Friday night, here’s what you missed.
Chase Bryant, one of country music’s new-gen artists, opened the three-act show. With a stage full of instruments and amps, he made good use of the stage front and the runway stage that extended into the track seating. So did the fans.
An avid guitarist, Chase had a selection of six guitars to pick from on stage.
Wearing a black shirt, ripped-knee black jeans and his signature hair, he told his story, growing up in small-town Texas and gave a shout to the military and their families for their sacrifices for us.
He opened with the title track to his album, “Wayfarer Weather,” and “Change Your Name,” and noted that, yep, he’s single. His drummer (as is Easton Corbin’s bassist) is from Baltimore.
His set included multiple guitar solos, his new single “Little Bit of You” and his first single “Take It on Back.”
Definitely one of country’s new artists to watch!
After a short break while the stage crew packed up Bryant’s set, Kellie “Red High Heels” Pickler took the stage, wearing a silver lame jacket, black top and fashionably ripped black pants. She opened her set with the lead track from her “100 Proof” album, “Where’s Tammy Wynette”; “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind” and “Tough.”
“You can’t do country without a cheatin’ song,” she said, and sang “Ring for Sale,” from her “The Woman I Am” album. Next was her girl/women empowement song, “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful.”
Her songwriting/producer husband, Kyle Jacobs, wrote the next song for her. “But before you say, ‘Awww, that’s so sweet!” let me tell you the name of the song. It’s called ‘Ain’t No Cure for Crazy.’ I’ve been called worse!” she said.
She talked about her Grandma Faye, who raised her, and had a collection of country vinyls of traditional country artists. When Faye passed, Kellie got her record player and albums. That intro’d a duet with her guitarist of Johnny and June Cash’s “Jackson,” her grandmother’s favorite song.
“That was a quick trip to Mississippi, now were back,” she said.
Country music means different things to people. “For myself, my definition of country music, it’s about telling a story, about people’s lives, putting life in the form of a song,” she said. She took a part of her life and put into song right after the “American Idol” tour ended.
Kellie said it’s hard to believe that was 10 years ago, “I feel like an antique Idol, have to dust me off!” she said.
After the last tour show, she was given a plane ticket to go where ever she wanted. “I guess I could have gone back to South Carolina, but that would have taken me nowhere,” she said. So she told them to get a ticket to Nashville. On the flight there she wrote a song that gave her closure to a painful part of her life, one where her mother left the family and never looked back. The song: “I Wonder.”
Cranking up the Kellie attitude, her set included two of her top hits, “Best Days of Your Life” and her debut single back in the day, “Red High Heels.”
One more set peeling, and the show closer Easton Corbin and his band took the stage. The Florida native said he feels at home in fairs because as a youngster he used to show cattle at fairs. Before taking the stage, the Paul Harvey monologue of “on the eighth day, God made a farmer,” played.
Corbin opened his set with “Let’s Ride.” His stage set include a giant marquee light “E” on one side and a huge yellow marquee light arrow on the other side, center stage was a “starry night” of colored lights. Known for his style, Easton wore a print button-up shirt, blue jeans (no rips) and boots.
Easton rolled right into “Clockwork” and the title track from his new album “It’s About to Get Real.” He got everyone in a “yup” mood by getting them to singalong with “Yup,” his new single.
He talked about the music that was popular when he was growing up and some of the country artists his grandparents listened to and the ones he listened to as a youngster and launched into a series of covers that included Joe Diffie’s “John Deere Green,” Toby Keith’s “Should Have Been a Cowboy” and Kenny Chesney’s “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy.” You gotta have a fiddle and steel guitar in the band to sing classic, and he does.
He, and some of his band, made multiple visits to the runway stage, hand slapping, taking cellphones and video of himself singing (and giving them back!), and getting down to sing to those stage front.
His set included a crowd favorites, “Roll With It,” “I Can’t Love You Back,” “A Little More Country Than That,” “Baby Be My Love Song,” “Guys & Girls” and “Diggin’ On You.”
He covered Alan Jackson’s “Where I Come From,” another audience favorite, then introduced his band
members. He returned for a high-energy encore and signed tickets, slips of paper, hats and cowgirl boots before calling it a night.
I’ll miss tonight’s Josh Turner show, so you’ll have to tell me what I missed.