CMA Fest may not have seen it as a good move to add many female artists to their bill this year with the male artists taking most of the spots on the lineups, probably due to the ongoing struggle of female country artists getting airtime plays on the radio. However, it’s an absolute shame because for me although there may have only been a handful of women on the official CMA Fest Line-up it was these incredibly talented females who stole the show. I have many favourite moments from the 4-day festival and would be here all day if I mentioned them all. Believe me it was unbelievably hard to whittle it down but below are the performances that stood out way above the rest and just showcases the extraordinary talent of these female artists who just push above and beyond through every performance for their fans!
If you haven’t heard the name “Carly Pearce” you will do soon. Now with a number one song on country radio and a CMT award to her name, this girl is going to be a star! I have followed Carly ever since her first ever self-titled EP was released back in 2015. “Blame The Whiskey” used to be my jam! I had waited so many years to see her live so you can imagine my excitement when she was not only announced for The Riverfront Stage but also got a Nissan Stadium Arena spot! This girl is seriously going places! Carly certainly did not disappoint in fact she actually made me fall in love with her and her songs a little more, her vocals were sensational and her performances were flawless! Out of the 3 performances I managed to catch her, that first performance she did for CMA Fest on the CMT Stage was just outstanding! Singing “If My Name Was Whiskey” and “Every Little Thing” to a packed-out crowd she just captivated the whole audience and blew us all away with her beauty and stunning vocals! Down at The Riverfront stage she absolutely stole the show performing the Shania Twain classic “Man I Feel Like A Woman”. Hopefully soon she will make her long awaited debut in the UK, secretly praying for C2C 2019 announcement!
Seeing Lauren Alaina live for the very first time was another highlight! Again, another female I have followed for many years since her American Idol days in fact, but this girl just oozes with talent. Kicking off The Riverfront stage for the girls she kicked off her set with a more rockier style choosing to start the party with the Queen classic “Fat Bottomed Girls”. Combining her set with a mixture of songs from her “Road Less Travelled” album mixed with a few old songs like “Georgia Peaches” and some old classics like Backstreet Boys “Everybody” thrown in, her set was nothing but perfect with something for everyone to sing along too. What amazes me about this girl is how she speaks soo openly to the crowd about her past life and her empowering strength when singing the songs relating to these hard times! Highlight for me was actually witnessing this girl win an award live in front of me at The CMT Award’s I got to attend during CMA Fest week. I felt like a proud mum watching her collect the award it brought tears to my eyes, she really was so deserving of the Collaborative Video Of The Year award for her song with Kane Brown “What Ifs”, she absolutely owns that song in every performance she does! Another one am secretly hoping for a C2C 2019 announcement!
Managing to catch a Song Suffragettes performance was a must for me during this trip to Nashville and I actually managed to do that. Not only did I get to attend the one with two of my current favourite artists “Lena Stone and Tenille Arts” the actual winner of American Idol “Maddie Poppe” was going to be there too, I just knew this was going to be an incredible show! Showcasing their own individual writing and vocal talents and songs in an in the round kind of setting just each girl accompanied by her guitar “Tenille Arts, Lena Stone, Emily Reid, Candi Carpenter” put on a beautiful show all proving they belong within the music industry. When you watch a show like this and the amount of talent produced by these girls it’s absolutely crazy to think these incredibly talented girls struggle for any kind of recognition or a spot on the radio or to be put on a bill within the industry. These kind of shows ooze with girl power and show something needs to change and soon! Bringing on American Idol winner halfway through the show, Maddie Poppe, she proved to the audience why she was voted the winner of American Idol. Ending the set with a Dixie Chick’s cover “Landslide” brought the fantastic set to a perfect end.
Canadian Country Singer “Meghan Patrick” was another incredible highlight! Truth be told I instagrammed the hell out of Meghan begging her to be announced for CMA Fest as it was probably my only chance to see her as again we are awaiting a UK debut from this beauty! Thankfully my prayers were answered and it’s safe to say the wait and 4000 miles travelled was sooo worth it! Although I only managed to catch one of her sets which was a short set on The Hard-Rock Stage she absolutely smashed it! Dressed in a little black number with boots to die for accompanied with her guitar she managed to put her own spin and take on the classic “Jolene” with her full band which was definitely a crowd pleaser. Also managing to throw in her new single “The Bad Guy” showcasing her stunning vocal talents and stage presence it was clear that her twenty-minute set just wasn’t enough for this audience. Even with the heat her dedicated fans were willing to stick around for her to play a little longer unfortunately this wasn’t to happen due to scheduling so we just hope that a UK date is soon on the cards for this Canadian Songstress.
There must be something in the water in Canada as they seem to be producing soo many talented female country artists, my highlights couldn’t be complete without throwing this individual into the mix. During CMA Fest I think I managed to catch 3 of Lindsay’s performances, she did The Riverfront Stage and Radio Disney Country stage which were all incredible but the highlight for me was attending her fan club party. The songstress showed fans how much she appreciated them by putting on a Cracker Barrell breakfast for fans before attending her 4th annual CMA Fest fan-club party and then in a little recording studio in Nashville she performed to a room of about 75 people as many songs from “The Project” she could fit in for her fans in what was a very intimate setting, even managing to get the songs requested that she never seems to perform on tour like “Always Kiss The Girl” and “By The Way” into the set. It was an incredible experience watching her slay with her unbelievable guitar skills and the way she shows her appreciation for her fans just makes me love her even more! Can’t wait for next year’s CMA Fest Fan Club Party Lindsay!
I could go on and on about the many highlights of this festival as there were so many to mention but you will tire of reading it so these were my top 5, my first CMA Fest was absolutely incredible and the best week of my life and I urge anyone thinking about doing it to just do it as until you have experienced it for yourself you won’t understand the urge I got to go back so see you next year CMA Fest hopefully you will have a few more females on the bill too!
Katie Louise Ingram