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The annual spectacle of the CMA Music Fest

Jeffrey Remz  |  June 12, 2015

The annual spectacle of Nashville, the CMA Music Festival, is fast underway, giving a chance to thousands of people to catch their favorite artists.

I mean where else could you see Gary Allan at 10 a.m.? At least that's what happened on Thursday when he opened the festival. As for today, Little Big Town opened it up at 10:15 a.m. Wonder if they got any sleep?

There are a lot of events around the festival, of course, including the CMT Country Music Awards on Wednesday where Carrie Underwood won three awards. Hopefully, Miranda Lambert is not too disappointed in only winning one award as she's been the darling of these awards shows shows lately.

I noticed today that the CMT Next Women of Country program featured five female singers. That included Angaleena Presley, Danielle Bradbery, Kelsea Ballerini and singers who go by their first name only, Cam and RaeLynn. They sang in a guitar pull setting, which is a great way to see artists.

Whether these are the future of country is highly debatable, of course. They are for what passes for country these days (and I speak with a tinge of authority as I have seen Ballerini and RaeLynn live), although Presley is the only one who bears a relationship to what the traditionalists would label country. She's the real deal (at least on her CD).

While the program certainly must have been devised months ago - well before the advent of consultant Keith Hill's female singers are tomatoes in the salad compared to men being the bedrock, the lettuce - it is a good idea to push new artists in such a setting.

The big shindig is at LP field for nightly concerts featuring the current stars of country, including Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley as headliners. The problem is that you get shorter sets from acts, like Eric Church, who are capable of doing 2 hours on their own. But fans get a bit of a taste of a lot of artists in one night.

On the other hand, there are dozens of artists most folks have never heard of (who heard of Katie Ohh, Carissa Leigh, Sister C, Michael Tyler, Brook Eden, etc., etc. etc.)? Some of the unknowns have major label deals, but have not released an album yet, and some are true unknowns. The setting provides fans a chance to experience new artists, a real positive of the festival.

Chances are that country fans can find music to their liking among the dozens of artists playing at this year's event. Here's hoping for a good rest of the CMA Country Music Festival.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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