Country’s Diversity Shines at CRS New Faces Show

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Pictured (L-R): Easton Corbin, Florida Georgia Line, Kip Moore, Jana Kramer, Brantley Gilbert. Photo: Alan Mayor.

Easton Corbin, Jana Kramer, Brantley Gilbert, Kip Moore and Florida Georgia Line were showcased as part of this year’s Country Radio Seminar New Faces Show on Friday (March 1). The newcomers represented the range of sounds emanating from country radio today–from timeless traditional sounds to heartland rock-infused country to Southern rock and rap-infused styles.

CRS easton corbin

Easton Corbin. Photo: Alan Mayor

Easton Corbin greeted the crowd with his current single, “All Over The Road,” before running through his catalog of singles, “A Little More Country Than That,” “Lovin’ You Is Fun” and “Roll With It.” His time spent opening for Brad Paisley and others was obvious, as he comfortably worked the stage, repeatedly thanking the radio crowd for their support. Though the introduction video shown prior to his performance counts Merle Haggard among his influences, his voice was undeniably similar to another country pillar, George Strait, proving traditional country is in good hands.

The show made an abrupt shift from Easton’s upbeat, accessible brand of neo-traditional country to the hard Southern rock-influenced sounds of Brantley Gilbert. Kicking off with “Country Must Be Country Wide,” Gilbert slammed through his set with intensity, while offering thanks for the strong support radio has given him. “For you guys to support me means the world,” he said, before performing “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do.” Though the sounds of electric guitar power chords sliced through the air and the growl in Gilbert’s voice during each song was energetic and authentic, it seemed not quite enough to lift the tough radio crowd from the lethargy that comes after an action-packed week of CRS. “If I could give every one of you a Red Bull and take your chairs away I would do it,” acknowledged Gilbert from the stage. He finished out his performance with “More Than Miles” and “Kick It In The Sticks.”

Kip Moore kept the country-rock sounds flowing, albeit a sound closer to Springsteen than hard rock. He launched into his set with “Crazy One More Time,” while a performance of his single “Beer Money” elicited screams from the crowd. “It’s been a long grind and there is no way to express how grateful we are to get to do what we do and that’s because you embraced us,” he said. Though the majority of his set was uptempo, it was his acoustic take on “Hey Pretty Girl” that silenced the crowd. He breezed into his single “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck” before concluding his performance by jumping offstage and shaking hands with several of the radio programmers in attendance.

CRS Jana Kramer

Jana Kramer. Photo: Alan Mayor

The lone female performer of the evening, Jana Kramer charmed the crowd with her glossy pop-country. The singer and actress had no trouble emoting on ballads of regret over wrong choices such as “Whiskey” and “Over You By Now.” Her voice strong yet accessible throughout the showcase, the theme of heartbreak continued with “I Hope It Rains.” Kramer plays the angry role well. The catchy chorus of her first single, “Why Ya Wanna,” pleasantly balanced the dramatic themes of the previous songs.

CRS Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift makes a guest appearance with Florida Georgia Line. Photo: Alan Mayor

Closing out the show, it was Florida Georgia Line–with some help from labelmate Taylor Swift–who finally got the majority of the crowd on their feet. The energy was palpable from their first song, the hip-hop flavored “Iz Just What We Do.” The summertime vibes continued on “Round Here” and their current single, “Get Your Shine On,” before they closed with their big hit “Cruise.” Swift made a surprise appearance during the second verse, her youth and bubbly enthusiasm a perfect fit for the tune. The appearance got the crowd on their feet and singing along.

The evening proved country indeed has something for everyone.



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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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