reporting by Eric Parker and Jon Freeman
There was barely any breathing room left for guests who came out to see the star-studded lineup at Big Machine Label Group’s invite-only CRS party at 3rd & Lindsley on Tuesday, Feb. 21.
CEO Scott Borchetta co-hosted the event with CMT Radio Live personality Cody Alan who, at times, made offstage balcony banter with CMT host Samantha Stephens.
Party arrivals walked a 45 foot red carpet where they could have their photo taken with a variety of BMLG artists from all three imprints.
Guests were treated to two hours of star-power, beginning with Martina McBride. The powerhouse vocalist kicked-off the evening with “Independence Day.” “I usually have a whole set to warm up to that song,” she said after performing the signature, followed by her current hit anthem,“I’m Gonna Love You Through It.”
New music was showcased from Ella Mae Bowen, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, and The Band Perry. New Republic artist Greg Bates featured “For The Girl.” Edens Edge captivated with “Amen” and debuted new single “Too Good To Be True.” Justin Moore revealed his next single “‘Til My Last Day.” Eli Young Band and Sunny Sweeney were also present.
Headliners Rascal Flatts were introduced by the “Banjo” music video, which was also included in their set along with “Life Is A Highway” and “Fast Cars and Freedom.” Jay DeMarcus broke the mood after performing the ballad “I Won’t Let Go,” “Couple skate is over, we are now going back to group skate.”
Gift bags were distributed as guests left, inside was a BMLG hoodie and a save the date invitation for a formal announcement for the “Outnumber Hunger” partnership between the label group and General Mills to fight hunger.
Following that party, CRS attendees and industry professionals flocked over to Mercy Lounge to see a midnight set from Grammy-winning band The Mavericks, who just signed with Valory Music. Despite the late hour, fans packed the venue and were rewarded with a blistering, spectacular hour-and-a-half performance of old favorites and new material from their forthcoming album due later in 2012.
Vocalist Raul Malo showed off his exemplary pipes, and was backed with intensity by bandmates Robert Reynolds, Paul Deakin, and Eddie Perez as well as a righteous brass section. Songs performed included “All You Ever Do Is Bring Me Down,” “What A Crying Shame” “Dance The Night Away,” “There Goes My Heart,” and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.”
Even as the clock ticked past 1 AM, the radio/industry crowd was lively—dancing and twirling to each new selection in the middle of the Mercy Lounge floor. When’s the last time you ever saw a group of country PDs and industry folks do that?