While country radio programmers and personalities from across the country have poured into Nashville this week for the annual Country Radio Seminar for days of panels and nights of hot performances, they got a chance to let loose and get a little “funky” during the recent “Warner Wednesday 3–That ’70s Showcase.’ The event was held at aVenue. Throughout the evening, the label showcased most of the artists on the roster. Each artist performed one of his or her own singles, as well as a song from the 1970s.
First on the bill were Dean Alexander and Frankie Ballard. Alexander gave a daring performance of Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” complete with a respectable rock scream. He followed it with a confident rendering of his single “Sunshine In My Rain.” Ballard sang his latest single, “Young and Crazy,” before stunning the crowd with his exceptional guitar skills on an extended version of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic, “Freebird.”
The crowd was buzzing with the news that Miranda Lambert was hanging out sidestage to watch friend and fellow Pistol Annies member Ashley Monroe‘s performance. Monroe sang the clever “One Dollar Short and Two Weeks Late” from her solo album Like A Rose, while Lambert showed full support, pumping her fists in the air to the tune. She followed it with a sweet rendition of The Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.”
Blake Shelton smartly invited wife Lambert to perform with him on “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” to the approval of the audience. He didn’t have to coax the crowd into singing along with every word when he launched into an essential ’70s hit, “Play That Funky Music.” He warned the crowd in advance that he was using his cell phone to read the lyrics to the tune; that admission did little to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm.
Newly signed artist Sheryl Crow was clearly an artist the radio attendees had been waiting to hear, as evidenced by the swell of screams and clapping upon her introduction to the stage. She treated the crowd to her new single, “Easy,” before giving one of the biggest highlights of the evening. She was confident and comfortable on a rendition of The Eagles’ “Take It To the Limit,” backed by Miranda Lambert and Ashley Monroe on harmonies. The crowd offered an extra applause when it was revealed that the ladies had no rehearsal before the performance.
The Farm performed their single, “Be Grateful,” before giving a strong performance of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine When You’re Gone.” Brett Eldredge‘s soulful voice was a perfect fit for The Doobie Brothers’ “Take It To The Streets,” as well as his upbeat and suggestive hit “Don’t Ya.”
Brantley Gilbert was also in the house, supporting fiance Jana Kramer as she performed Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now,” and her own single “Whiskey.” Hunter Hayes performed another ’70s classic, Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.” But it was perhaps Charlie Worsham who brought the biggest thrill of the evening, as he introduced John Oates to perform the Hall and Oates classic, “Rich Girl.”
The Country Radio Seminar wraps this evening (March 1) with the New Faces of Country Music dinner and show, which features Warner’s Jana Kramer, along with Brantley Gilbert, Florida Georgia Line, Easton Corbin and Kip Moore.
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