Written By JULIETTE VARA for Country Music Pride
The smell of wood and the sounds of country music — the HGTV Lodge in downtown Nashville is the perfect spot to get up close and personal with country’s hottest entertainers during CMA Fest 2015.
Sporting tight jeans, work boots, and his signature backwards ball cap, Kip Moore kicked off the set of performances to a screaming crowd Thursday morning.
“You can smile,” he said to the crowd as he walked out on stage. Then pointing to a female fan in the front row he added, “We might even make out in a little bit. I’m feeling crazy today!”
The flirtatious start was a fun way to engage his fans during his 25 minute set. Moore played his popular tunes including “Something About a Truck,” and he offered up his new single, “I’m to Blame.”
“I wrote this song when I was pissed off, and I was tired and frustrated,” he said. “I was in angst the day I wrote this.”
The weekend long concert series is hosted by GAC’s Suzanne Alexander and HGTV’s Kitchen Crashers, Alison Victoria, who could barely filter her excitement for Music City.
“I might move here,” said Victoria. “I love this town.”
Aside from a large downstairs where any spot is a good seat, the 3,500 sq. ft. barn like lodge also boasts an upstairs wrap around VIP viewing area fixed with comfy sofas and a bar area. And included on the roster this year are Jana Kramer, Dustin Lynch, Darius Rucker, Eric Paslay, Charles Esten, Thompson Square, Josh Turner, Brothers Osbourne, Tyler Farr, and Randy Houser — just to name a few!
On Thursday afternoon, there was no mistaking when Cole Swindell rocked the HGTV Lodge stage because the crowd exploded in cheers.
“This is one of the reasons why country music fans are the best,” Swindell told fans. “You stand out there in the beat and sweat your butts off to support.”
The charismatic and always smiling entertainer played several songs including ‘Chillin’ It,” and his new single, “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey,” and he seemed to soak in all the praise.
“Two years ago, I was playing at Hard Rock Cafe with no record deal, and the next year I had a record deal and I was on playing the Riverfront stage. Now this year I’m on LP Field,” he shouted.
Husband and wife duo, Thompson Square, who are celebrating their 16th wedding anniversary stopped by to engage their loyal followers and sing a few tunes including their hit, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” and their upcoming singing, “Trans Am.”
“We have a lot of cool music coming for you this fall. We’re not a conventional married couple ya’ll,” said Keifer. “We do crazy stuff a lot.”
Newcomer Kelsea Ballerini rounded out the day sporting casual attire and wooing the crowd with her spirited voice and new music.
It seems every year the shows just keep getting better and better at the HGTV Lodge. Make sure to check em’ out soon!