Stephen Wilson Jr. at CMA Fest 2023

Stephen Wilson Makes First-Ever CMA Fest Appearance

June 10, 2023 4:04 am GMT

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Alt-country newcomer, Stephen Wilson Jr., made his CMA Fest debut at the Maui Jim Reverb Stage on Friday afternoon (June 9), introducing a new crop of festival attendees to his particular brand of southern rock and bluegrass-infused artistry.

One of the newest Big Loud signees, Wilson Jr. started off his four-part set strong with the rocking 'billy' from his recently released, debut EP, bon aqua. Showing off his impressive picking skills, he gave the audience quite the show with just his guitar before busting into an unreleased track, 'Coo Coo,' which will hopefully be out later this year.

The new song, as well as much of Wilson Jr.'s discography, finds him at the intersection of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Eric Church, all marinated in a batch of 90s grunge.

"I was raised by my dad in a little southern Indiana town and had a really terrible first kiss at the roller skating rink when I was a kid. I basically head-butted this poor girl in the mouth," Wilson Jr. shared. "I started listening to grunge music after it, pretty much immediately, because it was the only thing that made sense. It inspired this song, which is the one that kind of started it all for me."

Wilson Jr. broke out into his quintessential ballad, 'Year to Be Young 1994' before closing his first-ever CMA Fest performance with the heavy rocker, and almost swampy sounding 'Holler from the Holler.'

Wilson Jr. has a sprawling list of tour dates lined up across the remainder of 2023, including supporting shows for 49 Winchester, Midland, Charley Crockett and Marcus King.

Stephen Wilson Jr. - Setlist

From his set at the Maui Jim Reverb Stage at CMA Fest 2023 on Friday, June 9, 2023.

  • billy
  • Coo Coo
  • Year to Be Young 1994
  • Holler from the Holler

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Written by Lydia Farthing
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