Country music fans turned out in full force, despite a fall heatwave, to be a part of Nashville history. CMA and the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, along with sponsor Southwest Airlines, provided an afternoon full of music and fun, with Forever Country Live. The event was a great way to kickoff the 50th anniversary celebrations of both the CMA Awards and the museum’s opening, as well as October, which is Country Music Month.
Attendees took spots on the grass or in lawn chairs as they filled Walk of Fame Park in downtown Nashville. Family-friendly activities made it a great day for all. Kids were able to create their own paper guitars, make buttons, Hatch Show prints, even try out a variety of instruments at the Musical Petting Zoo. Food trucks offered up a variety of fares, from seafood to delicious ice cream.
Charlie Worsham, who was introduced to the crowd as “the next big thing in country music”, opened the show, performing many of his own tunes, but also paying tribute to those who came before him and inspire him every day. A fun version of the late Little Jimmy Dickens’ “Out Behind The Barn” was a standout moment, as was him saying “As Minnie Pearl said, ‘I’m just so proud to be here!'” His take on Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard’s “Pancho and Lefty” also had the crowd reminiscing and left them with a smile. Worsham is a gifted musician and an all-around good guy. At one point he turned around and realized that The Time Jumpers’ Vince Gill was standing behind the stage, watching his performance. Worsham joked “the pressure’s on”, but any of any of his colleagues in the music community would surely agree that Worsham is incredibly good at what he does.
The Time Jumpers continued the fun with their fantastic sounds and harmonies. The 10 talented musicians who form the group regularly play live and in the studio for other artists, but meet nearly every Monday to perform for audiences at Nashville’s 3rd & Lindsley. Having just released their latest album, Kid Sister, they treated the crowd to many of the songs from it, along with paying tribute to their musical heroes. Gill took a moment to honor Opry member, Jean Shepard who had passed away earlier that morning. As one of the artists who helped form what would become known as the “Bakersfield Sound”, Shepard was honored by Gill and the band with their take on Buck Owen’s “Together Again”. Later in their set, The Time Jumpers were joined by Patty Loveless, who sounded as amazing as ever. Her covers of Patsy Cline’s “I Fall To Pieces” and “Crazy Arms” left the audience wowed.
The entire day was spent celebrating country music and those who’ve made it everything it is. As the first of sure to be many events leading up to the November 2nd CMA Awards, Forever Country Live was a great way to kick off Country Music Month and remind us just why we love this genre that lives in our heart and souls.