Willie Nelson and an All-Star Cast of Friends ‘Throwdown’ in Nashville
Friday afternoon (June 3), Willie Nelson rolled through Music City on his 2011 Country Throwdown tour, which also featured the likes of Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell, and his son's band, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real.
The festival kicked off with performances on the side stage, beginning with Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, who performed songs from their debut album. Campbell then took the stage to perform his first Top 15 hit, 'Family Man,' as well as treating fans to his upcoming new single, 'Fish.' Gilbert had the field packed with fans, anticipating the Georgia newcomer to take the stage. He opened with tunes familiar to country radio, including Jason Aldean's 'My Kinda Party' and 'Dirt Road Anthem,' both of which Gilbert wrote. He also gave fans a memorable performance of his current rising hit, 'Country Must Be Country Wide.'
The main stage performances included hour-long sets by Brice, Houser and Johnson, who brought out his special guest, 7-year-old daughter, Kylee, to help him sing his big hit 'In Color.' Brice performed his Top 5 hit, 'Love Like Crazy,' as well as hits he's written for other artists, including 'More Than a Memory' by Garth Brooks and Eli Young Band's current single, 'Crazy Girl.' Besides some of his own tunes such as 'Whistlin' Dixie,' Houser gave rockin' performances of Lynyrd Skynyrd's 'Simple Man,' among others.
Nelson took the stage last for performances of many of his legendary hits, including 'On the Road Again,' 'Always on My Mind,' 'Whiskey River' and more. His son, Lukas, played lead guitar during the set. The night ended with an all-star jam of 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken' and 'I'll Fly Away,' with Nelson bringing Johnson, Houser and Lukas Nelson back out to join him on the gospel classics.
"All my buddies are out here, and I'm getting to tour with my biggest hero for the summer," Houser told Taste of Country prior to the show. "It's amazing! There's a lot of fun that goes on behind the scenes ... we're having a lot of cookouts and writing songs and hanging out, and just getting to hang out with my buddies, instead of going off and doing my own thing this summer, and not seeing any of my friends. This is pretty cool."
The 2011 Country Throwdown tour continues on this week with stops in Arkansas, Alabama and Mississippi. For a complete list of Throwdown dates click here.
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