We are now officially seven stops into The Country Throwdown Tour! As this traveling music circus makes its way across the country, everyone is finding their groove out here on the road and really get to know each other. This past week we hit Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and Indianapolis – rain or shine, The Country Throwdown was a party all day. What you may not know is that the party continues all night.
After the lights go down on the main stage, the grill is cranked up backstage thanks to Tyler Reeve. Affectionately called “The BBQ Band,” Tyler and his crew cook up a feast every night after the show, and the music starts up again. You never know who’s going to play together, what they will sing, or how many shakers Sarah Buxton will pass out (and whether or not the recipients have rhythm.) In Cleveland, Cory Branan sang an Irish song that had Emily West, Sarah Buxton and Country Throwdown creator Kevin Lyman doing a jig that earned him the nickname “Crazy Legs.”
In Cincinnati, I spent most of the day soaking wet and my Texas hair was getting curlier by the minute. Some fans were covered in brown slime from head to toe after going down the mudslide. You could even catch members of The Eli Young Band out there throwing down with fans. This was the day that Mike Eli told me I had “Wal-Mart feet.” I hate to admit that my flip-flop feet were dirty from the weather, but c’mon Mike! What do you expect “when it rains”?
Fans didn’t let rain get in the way of their good time, or even their wedding! Little Big Town’s latest single, “Little White Church,” has inspired weddings at various stops along the tour. Anne Zimmerman and Josh York were the first couple married on The Country Throwdown Tour. The members of LBT even served as their wedding party. The second wedding, held Sunday in Indianapolis, IN, was a renewal ceremony for Maggie and Adam Clark.
Love must be in the air because in Chicago, I received a marriage proposal. His name was Kyle and he was a very articulate three-year-old. I told him I’d see him in 30 years.
Later that night, I caught a glimpse of Ryan Bingham and a few other artists dominating on a skateboard…or what a cooler person might call a “longboard.” All I’m saying is, protect your hands and face, fellas. Don’t hurt the moneymakers!
If you don’t see the big stars at the BBQ, you may want to check the Bluebird Café Singer/Songwriter bus. Jamey Johnson, Jack Ingram, Montgomery Gentry and Little Big Town have all spent some time hanging with these talented singer/songwriters, listening to their songs and even singing some of their own. Some lucky folks on that bus recently got to fall asleep to the sound of LBT’s Phillip Sweet singing “Bring It On Home.”
While the singer/songwriter bus is a party at night, it can be quite productive during the day. Just ask Dave Pahanish and Brad Tursi, who co-wrote the first song written on the Bluebird Café bus so far. I was able to hear the song right after it was born and let me tell ya, that baby is beautiful. Come to a Country Throwdown show and I bet you’ll get to hear “Song About You” for yourself.
You’ll also get to hear one of my new favorite bands, Jonathan Singleton & The Grove. I can hear one song and it will be on repeat in my head for the rest of the day. That is impressive, considering my mind is usually like iTunes on shuffle. Jonathan and the boys perform songs from their latest EP and some hits they wrote, like Josh Turner’s “Why Don’t We Just Dance” and Billy Currington’s “Don’t.” With so many successful songwriters on this tour, it’s exciting to see the fans react to a hit song being performed by the writer.
This is not your ordinary country music tour and it’s not too late for you to get your tickets! Next stop Charlotte, North Carolina. Fingers crossed that Eric Church sings “Carolina.”
GAC is a proud sponsor of the Country Throwdown Tour. For more information about the tour dates, tickets and merchandise visit www.countrythrowdown.com.