Maddie & Tae, A Thousand Horses & More Debut New Music at CRS 2017
New music was at the forefront of Big Machine Label Group’s lunchtime Country Radio Seminar showcase on Friday (Feb. 24). Label president and CEO Scott Borchetta hosted the event, which included performances by Maddie & Tae, A Thousand Horses, Trent Harmon, Midland, Carly Pearce and Delta Rae.
A part of CRS 2017, the luncheon had each artist sharing new music and thanking the country industry for their support. An eclectic lineup that spanned genres and influences, it was a versatile showcase that had the audience on their feet several times, giving both Harmon and Midland standing ovations.
A Thousand Horses kicked off the show at 12:30PM with their fiery brand of Southern rock. The band performed the foot-stomping “Travelin’ Man” and first No. 1 “Smoke,” both off their debut album Southernality. The highlight, though, was the band’s forthcoming new single “Preachin’ to the Choir” which transported the Broadway Ballroom at the Omni Hotel to church with three-piece backing singers that felt like a gospel choir.
Moments later, Pearce made her CRS debut performing her current single, “Every Little Thing,” and “Hide the Wine.” Her stripped-down two-song set with two accompanying musicians kept the focus on her vocals and the poignant lyrics of each song.
“I’m so happy to be up here right now,” she told the audience before playing her single. “I wrote my debut single thinking that no one would ever hear it about a guy who broke my heart a few years ago. I think that we never really understand that our hearts are ultimately the ones that have to decide when we’re ready to let somebody go. I want to take you on a personal journey through snapshots of how I had to deal with that.”
Her heartbreaking tale came to life as her voice soared on the poignant ballad and quieted the industry-filled room. Maddie & Tae followed suit, with the two vocalists sharing four brand new songs with CRS attendees. Highlights included the mind-your-own-business anthem “Just Fine,” a song for girls living their lives on their own terms and not settling down despite society’s preconceptions, as well as the upbeat “Welcome to the Club” and a memorable ballad, “Somebody Will.”
Harmon received a standing ovation for his powerful song, “Her.” After singing his Top 20 single “There’s A Girl,” the 2016 American Idol champion shared with the audience the temptations he found himself dealing with in the midst of stardom.
“Over the last two years, I have had to be in situations and make decisions on my feet that I have never had to make in my whole life,” he admitted. “Fortunately, I’ve had the same young lady as my lady friend for the last six years. The last two years being on Idol I had to deal with some stuff . . . to just put it out there I had to tell folks no. ‘No, I’m good. You don’t have to come hang out with me tonight, I’m good.’ And I wrote a song about it. It’s called ‘Her’ and it says, ‘You might be sweet and kind and you might think you’re what I need but you ain’t never gonna be her.’ This song means a lot to me.”
Alone on acoustic guitar, Harmon’s soulful vocals struck a chord as he told his tale. When Harmon got to the chorus he belted, “You’ll never be her,” and he had all silently mesmerized as his voice echoed throughout the room.
Additional highlights throughout the showcase included three-piece Texas band Midland, who brought their 1970s swagger to the stage with “Check Cashin’ Country,” “Burn Out” and their latest single “Drinkin’ Problem.” Six-piece band Delta Rae impressed vocally with powerhouse singing from Liz Hopkins and Brittany Holljes during “Walk With Me,” “No Peace in Quiet” and “I Moved South.”
CRS 2017 wrapped up Friday (Feb. 24) in Nashville.
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