Holler's favorite midwestern gal, Hailey Whitters, brought her heartland charm and pristine vocal talent to the Chevy Riverfront stage on Friday afternoon (June 9) during the 50th annual CMA festivities.
Backed by her trusty band, which she's lovingly dubbed The Cornstars, Whitters opened her debut Riverfront slot with an unreleased tune, possibly named 'Tie 'Er Down,' which she's been teasing on the road over the last few months. She followed it up with the empowering 'Plain Jane' and her infectiously optimistic, CMT Award-winning song 'Fillin' My Cup,' which the crowd happily raised their bottles to.
Later on, our lovely prairie girl utilized the full stage as she skipped around to 'How Far Can It Go.' Originally featuring vocals from country icon Trisha Yearwood, the small town love story saw Whitters inserting Yearwood's signature 'She's In Love With The Boy' mid-song, earning a full singalong from the Riverfront crowd.
Filling up every second of her 30-minute set, the Iowa native ripped into the sultry 'The Neon,' as well as the cleverly written 'Heartland,' with a chorus or two of John Denver's 'Take Me Home, Country Roads' sprinkled in.
"I've been living in Nashville, Tennessee for fifteen years now, y'all. I've spent a long freaking time chasing this crazy dream of country music," Whitters explained to the crowd. "They say here in Nashville that it just takes one song to turn it all around, y'all, and this song is the one for me!"
She added, "This is my first ever top-20 song at country radio! Thank you for being so good to us and loving on this song."
After guiding the CMA-goers through some light audience participation, Whitters delivered a pitch-perfect performance of her debut, Gold-certified single to country radio, 'Everything She Ain't,' and stole the whole show while she was at it.
Hailey Whitters - Setlist
From her set at the Chevy Riverfront Stage at CMA Fest 2023 on Friday, June 9, 2023.
For more on CMA Fest 2023, see below: