Festival - CMA Fest 2024 3

The Biggest Takeaways from CMA Fest 2024 – Day 3

June 13, 2024 2:20 pm GMT
Last Edited June 17, 2024 2:27 pm GMT

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Things only continued to heat up in Nashville as CMA Fest kept Music City smoldering with the best that country music has to offer.

Debut performances, show-stopping surprise appearances, at-capacity crowds and a smattering of never-before-heard songs have kept our spirits high and our cups flowing for the last three days at CMA Fest 2024.

Marking the last day of the fifth annual Spotify House, and hosting some of the hottest up-and-coming talent across the day time stages, day three was one for the books with sets from Dasha, Tucker Wetmore, Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson and so many more.

In case you weren't able to make it to Music City – or want to relive the magic like us – Jelly Roll and Ashley McBryde will host the CMA Fest TV Special, airing on Tuesday, June 25 at 8/7c on ABC, and streaming on Hulu the next day.

<p>Artist - Dasha @ CMA Fest 2024 4</p>

Dasha Proves She's Got Much More Than 'Austin' Up Her Sleeve

One of the genre's brightest new talents brought her shimmering slate of tunes to the Chevy Vibes stage on day three, ending it all with a mosh pit line dance that we'll be reliving for quite a while.

Offering up songs from her debut country album, What Happens Now?, and beyond, the California native won over a new legion of CMA Fest fans thanks to her pristine vocals on 'King of California,' 'Talk of the Town,' 'Heartbreaker' and more.

Though you could easily just call the set a success from her breakout single, 'Austin,' alone, the true gem was a little unreleased tune titled 'Didn't I' that just might blow the viral hit out of the water. Slated for release sometime in July, the catchy Swift-esque hit-in-waiting was the perfect cherry on top to an utterly delightful Saturday morning at CMA Fest.

Best Song: 'Didn't I'

- Lydia Farthing

<p>Artist - Jelly Roll @ Spotify House 2024 1</p>

Jelly Roll performs at Spotify House during CMA Fest at Ole Red on June 8, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee

Jelly Roll is the Hometown Hero

Spotify House delivered a host of incredible surprises throughout CMA Fest, with Thomas Rhett, Post Malone and Keith Urban all popping up for electric performances at Ole Red. However, when Jelly Roll burst onto the stage for a late afternoon set on Day 3, the crowd went as wild as they've been all week, with Jelly whipping the audience into a frenzy at every given opportunity.

Jelly Roll repeatedly addressed the fans waiting in line outside Ole Red on Broadway, as well as welcoming those inside the venue to his fan family. It was a set filled with warmth and connection, with Jelly showcasing his stellar vocals and unmistakable gravitas on soul-searching ballads such as ‘Son of a Sinner’ and ’Save Me’.

Jelly regaled the crowd with tales of the nights he spent performing on Broadway before making it big, reinforcing his role as Nashville's beloved hometown hero.

Best Song: 'Son of a Sinner’

- Maxim Mower

<p>Artist - 49 Winchester @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

49 Winchester Celebrate Being One of the Best Rising Acts in the Genre With a Fellow Hot Newcomer

With their forthcoming album Leavin' This Holler being one of the most anticipated country records to be released this year, it felt just right that 49 Winchester would be chosen to close out the Riverfront Stage on Saturday afternoon.

Tearing through their back catalogue, it showed just far the group have come and matured in the ten years since the release of their debut album. The crowd at the riverfront basked and danced in the late afternoon sunshine as the group, bedecked in sunglasses, ripped out one of their more bluesy, southern rock sets.

As much as we love hearing them on record, there's no better way of experiencing 49 than live and in person. Tim Hall's keys flutter and bounce with freedom as he bounds across the keys, while Justin Louthian has the group on a triumphant march before crashing through his cymbals with delightful liberty.

There's not many right now who would be better suited to join them for a joyous singalong of 'Russell County Line' than rising country star Wyatt Flores. His familiar and emotionally affected vocal gives even more weight and passion to a song about missing home while out on the road, and gives the crowd everything to punch the air about getting to see these two wonderful acts together in the flesh.

If 49 aren't the biggest country band in the world when this new album comes out, we'll have done them a great disservice.

Best Song: 'Russell County Line' (With Wyatt Flores)

- Ross Jones

<p>Artist - Riley Green @ Spotify House 2024 1</p>

Riley Green performs at Spotify House during CMA Fest at Ole Red on June 7, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee

Tucker Wetmore Shuts Down Broadway

Alongside Shaboozey, Tucker Wetmore has emerged as one of the break-out stars of CMA Fest 2024, with the smooth-singing crooner packing out the Hard Rock Stage to capacity, with fans spilling out into Broadway as they desperately sought to hear his set.

It was worth the effort if you did manage to make it in, with the up-and-comer reeling off his sleek, beat-driven anthems with charisma and confidence.

While ’Wine Into Whiskey’ and ’What Would You Do?’ are undoubtedly sultry bops, the infectious, endearing ‘Wind Up Missin’ You’ remains the keystone of Tucker's captivating setlist.

Best Song: ‘Wind Up Missin’ You’

- MM

<p>Artist - Anne Wilson @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Anne Wilson Takes Us to Church

We didn't expect to be tearing up at 3pm on a Friday, but Anne Wilson will have that effect on you.

The fast-emerging artist utilised her UMG SkyDeck set to crafted a nimbly woven tapestry of faith and country, with Wilson lacing extra layers of emotion into each track through her powerhouse vocals. ‘God & Country’ and ’Strong’ are two highlights, with Wilson stirringly delivering the final lines of the latter a cappella.

The fact that Wilson was performing the day after the seven-year anniversary of her brother's tragic passing in a car accident made this set all the more evocative. The Kentucky singer-songwriter spoke viscerally about her own experience with grief, before performing her ode to her late brother, the beautifully written, ‘Seventh of June’. It was a stunning performance that married catharsis and euphoria, heartbreak and celebration, as well as poignance and playfulness.

Best Song: ‘Seventh of June’

- MM

<p>Artist - Midland @ Spotify House 2024</p>

Midland performs at Spotify House during CMA Fest at Ole Red on June 8, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee

Midland Are the Most Underrated Group in Country

Much like Jon Pardi, who followed them at Spotify House later in the evening, Midland have got a collection of singalongs that, if released by Whitley or Jackson back in the day, would've been surefire No. 1s. It's evident right there in the intimate surroundings of Spotify House, away from any baseball diamonds or cruise ships they've been frequenting of late.

'Longneck Way to Go' is a beer-cheersing duet that you can't help but swig a cold one to live, while, Wystrach who's scruffier, grown out goatee is beginning to make him look like Matthew McConaughey, grinds and jives to insurmountable screams as he sings 'Cheatin' Songs' with his trademark cool guy demeanor.

"Y'all ready to honky tonk or what?" Wystrach demands rather than asks the packed crowd. When you take away the cheeky winks and comedic nudges, the trio are damn good songwriters, and this set at Ole Red is a celebration of that.

Best Song: 'Mr. Lonely'

- RJ

<p>Artist - Koe Wetzel @ Spotify House 2024 1</p>

Koe Wetzel performs at Spotify House during CMA Fest at Ole Red on June 7, 2024, in Nashville, Tennessee

Koe Wetzel Provides Us With Ample Sweet Dreams of CMA Fest 2024

Following Koe's raucous, spellbinding Whiskey Jam performance earlier in the week, the anticipation was high ahead of his Spotify House set at Blake Shelton's iconic Ole Red bar.

The Texan did not disappoint, striding onto the intimate stage with a fiery energy that spilled out into the crowd, with Wetzel charging through fan-favourites such as the defiant ‘Something To Talk About’ and the nihilistic ’Drunk Driving’.

Excitingly, one of Wetzel's newer tracks, ‘Sweet Dreams’, which will feature on his forthcoming album, 9 Lives, stole the spotlight. The undulating, unassuming melody collides with Koe's distinctive rasp to create an angsty battle-cry that pivots around a lyrical gem (“It's hard to have sweet dreams when I'm such a nightmare”).

Best Song: ‘Sweet Dreams’

- MM

<p>Artist - Dylan Marlowe @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

Dylan Marlowe is Leading Country-Rock's Next Generation

Dylan Marlowe has established himself as a frontrunner in the electric guitar-fuelled, punk-inspired branch of country that was largely founded by Marlowe's 2023 tour-mate, HARDY.

He showcased his ability to pen an addictive hook with his two-song Nissan Stadium Platform Stage performance, delivering stellar renditions of the rowdy, celebratory ‘Boys Back Home’ and the unreleased ‘Heaven's Sake’.

The latter is shaping up to be another caffeinated, fire-starting hit in the mould of other highlights in Marlowe's fast-growing discography, such as ‘Bat Outta Hell (With a Boat on the Back)’, and his CMA Fest stadium set has unsurprisingly left fans clamouring for ‘Heaven's Sake’ to be given an official release as soon as possible.

Best Song: ‘Boys Back Home’

- MM

<p>Artist - The War And Treaty @ CMA Fest 2024 1</p>

The War and Treaty Bring Revival to the Chevy Riverfront Stage

When you see The War and Treaty live, you can tell just how much doing what they do means to them. With each bigger and more packed venue they play, the realisation of their dreams is never taken for granted, the pair emotional and joyful as they deliver a pair of revivals, this time for the 70,000 in attendance across their Riverfront and Nissan Stadium sets.

Michael Trotter Jr., bedecked in a majestic gold-rhinestoned waistcoat that spelled out 'Pride Like Charley' on the back, beams next to Tanya Trotter as they delivered stand out new singles at the stadium from what's surely their sophomore record.

The new direction they seem to be taking is an exciting one, one that's made for their full band show-stealing sets. 'Stealing A Kiss' is a seductive and romantic cut that Stapleton would be proud of, while 'Called You By Your Name' is riotous and unwavering – a cacophony of sound that's new and exhilarating for the duo.

If Eon Productions are looking for a theme tune to the new Bond movie, The War And Treaty could be the pair to ask.

Best Song: 'Called You By Your Name'

- RJ

<p>Artist - Lainey Wilson & Keith Urban @ CMA Fest 2024 2</p>

Keith Urban: Country Music's Master Musician

Keith Urban has been a longstanding stalwart in the country genre since his arrival in 1997 and since then he's steadily supplied a long, long list of hits and beloved fan-favorites to country's loyal legions.

Though perhaps not best known for his recent releases, an Urban show is something that you must experience at one point or another. A true master musician and entertainer, his connection with every audience he meets is something to behold... and whether you want to admit it or not, he's got some infectious classics hidden in his repertoire.

Serving up sizzling renditions of the fitting 'Long Hot Summer,' nostalgic 'Better Life,' new single 'Messed Up As Me' and more, he eventually brought out the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year, Lainey Wilson, to perform their brand new single, 'GO HOME W U,' which got all 90,000 Nissan Stadium attendees up and bobbing along.

Eventually wading his way into the sea of CMA Fest fans, Urban once again reminded us that he's the real deal and that his showmanship is second to none.

Best Song: 'GO HOME W U'

- LF

For more on CMA Fest 2024, see below:

Written by Lydia Farthing
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