Kip Moore Smolders Ryman Stage on ‘CMT Up In Smoke Tour’

KipMoore

Kip Moore performs at the CMT On Tour: Up In Smoke Tour. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Kip Moore assured Friday night’s (Oct. 17) crowd at the Ryman Auditorium that “tonight we’re just worried about having fun” and more than delivered on the promise. CMT On Tour: Up In Smoke Tour with Moore, Charlie Worsham and Sam Hunt was a party that displayed the varied incarnations of present day Country music. Moore brought his brand of blue-collar Country rock storytelling, Worsham showed off his enviable musician and vocal chops, and Hunt schooled with envelope-pushing beats and stylized lyrical narratives.

Moore offered a few new songs including “Wild Ones” (with the aforementioned lyric), “Heart’s Desire,” and “Backseat,” which is already known by plenty of fans who are anxiously awaiting his sophomore album. His raw energy onstage is as infectious as the hooky chorus on radio hit “Beer Money.” He lead a whole-crowd singalong of “Somethin’ ‘Bout A Truck,” kicked it old-school with debut single “Mary Was The Marrying Kind” and mixed in testosterone driven album cuts “Crazy One More Time” and “Drive Me Crazy.” He noted his distaste for social media—selfies in particular—during “Fly Again,” and recounted the story about the “big-wig producer” who inspired “Still Growing Up.”

SamHunt

Sam Hunt performs at the CMT On Tour: Up In Smoke Tour

Wearing one of his signature sleeveless shirts, Moore flexed plenty of muscle—figuratively and literally. But he balanced that with the right amount of mellow moments. The pace slowed for endearing hit “Hey Pretty Girl,” which included a portion of classic “Stand By Me,” and his song “Faith When I Fall” shifted into a partial cover of “Free Fallin’.” Jewel made a surprise guest appearance on new tune “Separate Ways.”

Opener Hunt zig-zagged from upbeat (“House Party”) to slower tempo (“Take Your Time”), exuding the genuine enthusiasm of a new artist. Often incorporating a spoken word style, he’s a narrator for both sides of heartbreak, and onstage he’s more believable as a nice guy than the angry character from “Break Up In A Small Town.” He’s got an album packed full of quality material, but is there another song on the project that can outdo the skyrocketing success of “Leave The Night On”? Hunt opened the show and had most of the cheering crowd on their feet by the second song. When he exited after about a half-dozen tracks, the audience wanted more.

CharlieWorsham

Charlie Worsham performs at the CMT On Tour: Up In Smoke Tour

Worsham is undoubtably making new fans at every stop on the tour thanks to his standout musicianship and crowd engagement finesse. He ushered in plenty of hand waving, and a few cover songs (Bruno Mars “Treasure”) and (Kings of Leon “Sex On Fire”). Frequently trading guitars and banjos throughout the set, Worsham showed his songwriter soul on “How I Learned To Pray,” “Could It Be,” “Trouble Is,” and “Want Me Too.” He dedicated a song to a friend who was going through a difficult time, sharing, “This is why I sing Country music.” Watch out for Worsham’s upcoming album being produced by studio wiz Frank Liddell.

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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