Rising country and R&B artist Breland took over Nashville’s historic Ryman Auditorium Tuesday night (April 12) as he hosted “Breland & Friends,” benefitting Middle Tennessee’s Oasis Center.
Joined by 17 of country music’s biggest and fastest-rising stars, all ticket sales and contributions went towards supporting the Oasis Center and its ongoing mission. The Oasis Center is a nationally-recognized organization which serves to help displaced young people in Middle Tennessee by focusing on promoting safety, belonging, empowerment, and generosity.
“This is really crazy. I never thought I would be able to sell out the Ryman this early in my career… It only took 17 other artists to help me do it!” Breland quipped. “We are out here for a really great cause—the Oasis Center in Nashville—to help teens in crisis. They’ll be accepting donations, but I just wanted to say that it is for a great cause and y’all came here for the right show. You’re going to have a great time. ”
Kicking things off, Breland opened the high-energy, stacked set by bringing out one-third of Lady A, Charles Kelley, as the pair gave their own version of the trio’s hit song “Need You Now.” Dripping in pitch-perfect harmonies, the two also shared a never-before-heard tune called “Told You I Could Drink,” which they wrote together.
Next on the docket was a chilling duet performance with rising country/Americana sensation Brittney Spencer, who sang a captivating ode to anxiety.
“Brittney and I met about a year and a half ago, and the night that we met we had a four or five hour long conversation of just bearing our hearts and souls. We didn’t have any intention of writing, but we ended up writing this song,” Breland recalled. “Sometimes you write songs and you know they’re special but you don’t know where you’ll have the opportunity to [perform it]. The Oasis Center does a lot of work with teens that are dealing with mental health issues, anxieties, and things like that, so I thought it would be fitting to sing this tonight.”
“It was our first time meeting and he came to my studio apartment and we wrote a song. We wanted to write a song that talked about anxiety and feeling overwhelmed. I know a lot of people in this room can relate, so after we finished we realized that it wasn’t like anything that we had done before but we thought it was important,” Spencer added. “To be able to share it tonight is really exciting for us because I don’t think either of us ever thought it would happen.”
The song, which could be called “Truly Sorry,” was backed by a lone acoustic guitar. You could have heard a pin drop in the beloved mother church of country music.
The night rolled on with infectious performances from the glittery Raelynn, the soulful Lily Rose, Australian-duo Seaforth, up-and-coming trio Restless Road, and singer-songwriter Tyler Braden who teased a song that is set to be included on Breland’s upcoming debut album, which is slated for release this June.
Also making appearances throughout the evening were multi-Platinum entertainer Kane Brown who gave a rousing performance of his smash duet “Famous Friends,” as well as Thomas Rhett singing his newest release with Breland called “Praise The Lord,” which brought the crowd to their feet. Iconic rapper and longtime country music collaborator Nelly also showed up to bring a burst of energy and funk to the set with Breland on “High Horse.”
The last 30 minutes of the set brought quite the punch with special guests such as Dierks Bentley, Jimmie Allen and Lathan Warlick, Mickey Guyton, and Russell Dickerson & Tyler Hubbard showing up to each take their turn singing with the young entertainer.
Bentley took the stage to sing a special duet version of his song “Riser,” as well as their No. 1 hit song “Beers On Me.”
“Dierks has had 20+ No. 1s at country radio, but I just want to be really transparent and honest here. We look for artists in town and in country music to actively show their allyship through collaboration and through opening up their tours. Dierks took this song to country radio with me on it knowing that I had never been to country radio before,” Breland explained. “You took it to No. 1 and it’s my first No. 1 at country radio.”
Allen and Warlick joined for a debut performance of “Somebody” from Allen’s collaborative album Bettie James (Deluxe), which featured stirring three-part harmonies and a welcomed fusion of funk, soul, and country sounds. Allen also delivered a solo, acoustic version of his No. 1 hit “Freedom Was A Highway” for the packed audience.
Guyton lent her vocals on Breland’s debut song, “Cross Country,” while Dickerson and Hubbard brought the party on “It’s About Time.” Dickerson also stayed to continue the highwire energy on Breland’s “Throw It Back.”
“I just wanted to say, before we [sing this last song], that this has been such an incredible night. Thank you guys for coming out here and for supporting the Oasis Center and live music,” Breland shared. “The first song that I ever put out is a song called ‘My Truck’ and I had the chance to get somebody on it that really put me over the top and helped me move to Nashville.”
Breland brought out the final special guest of the night, Sam Hunt, to wrap up the hit-filled set with his breakthrough single “My Truck.”
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