Even though I have a friend who’s been desperately trying to get me to a country gig, circumstances have conspired against me and I’m yet to experience my first one. That is all about to change thanks to seeing an advert for Country To Country online some time in December. It was a fortuitous spot as tickets were to go on sale the very next day. I had a little think, considered who would look after our 4 year old son, and then the next morning bit the bullet and bought tickets for my wife and I to go on the Sunday. So I’d be kicking off my country music live adventures in style, with 4 huge artists all on the same day.
Why did I go for the Sunday you might ask? Well, I’m going to tell you even if you didn’t. The big headliner for the Saturday is Tim McGraw, and though he’s somewhat of a legend in the country music business, I only really know him from the film Country Strong. I know, that’s a bit poor on my part, but I’ve been a country music fan for less than 12 months and there’s only so much I’ve been able to consume in that time, and Mr McGraw is one of those who has thus far slipped through the net. Vince Gill is someone I’ve heard of, but not knowingly heard any music of. Little Big Town I hadn’t even heard of before I watched the video on YouTube of the 2012 CMA Awards and saw them both being both presented with an award and being part of the motorboating hilarity. In fact, now I mention that I am going to include the video of the opening segment that was recommended to me by @NewCountryUK. Most reading this will have probably already seen it, but on the off chance you haven’t, stop what you are doing immediately and watch now. Please do not drink whilst viewing, I will not be held responsible for coke splattered monitors. For those of us that have seen it, you know we are going to watch again.
Anyway, let’s get back on track and the 4th artist for Saturday is Kristian Bush, who I only know from Sugarland, a band I do know and like. See, there are some country artists I have actually listened to! So that’s Saturday. Now compare that to Sunday: Carrie Underwood is headlining and is someone I have been listening to for all of my 11 months as a country music fan and like a lot. I am one of the few who probably don’t know Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish, and in fact I thought I didn’t know him at all. That was until I did some research and found that he was the guy who released Come Back Song a couple of years ago, and that’s a song I really like. LeAnn Rimes needs no introduction, being one of those country artists who has transcended country music into what we know as popular culture. I have owned Leann Rimes CDs since even before my recent foray into country music and unashamedly pronounce my love for Coyote Ugly. That leaves us with Brantley Gilbert, someone I was introduced to by my friend Claire, who is somewhat responsible for me getting into country music. I have both of Brantley’s albums and especially like his more rocky sound on Halfway to Heaven.
After reading that I think you’ll agree that out of the two days, Sunday was tailor made for me. To say I am excited would be somewhat of an understatement, not just for the music, but because I’ll be able to wear my cowboy hat without getting strange looks. Well, fewer than I’d ordinarily get…possibly. This is just the start though and I’d like to get to as many country gigs as I can this year, so if you know of any I should be checking out, then let me know. Please also recommend any albums I should check out from the artists above that I’ve confessed to not knowing much about – my country music education is ever expanding.