It’s particularly slow in Nashville tonight, for a Monday at least. I’ve found that you can come to Nashville on any given weeknight and Broadway will feel like a bustling Friday night. Maybe it only seems slow in comparison to other nights this summer when streets weren’t easy to navigate due to the crowds. Regardless, something is always going on in Music City and it’s exactly where I want to be tonight.
In cut-off denim, a black tee and platform sandals (hello, 90s), I stroll down the sidewalk until the Wildhorse Saloon sign is in view.
Inside, the famous Nashville venue has been decorated for the Big 98 Birthday Bash. Like any night, there are three dimensional wild horses coming out of the ceiling and cowboy boots on the dance floor.
Bobby Bones of the award-winning Bobby Bones Show welcomes the crowd. He and his colleagues intermittently take the stage to facilitate this shindig.
Soon, the face of up-and-coming country music takes the stage. Jordan Davis may be paying his dues as a rising star, but nonetheless, his presence is full of star power. Is it his confidence mingled with his sincerity or his commanding presence that grips the microphone while smiling at the crowd?
The crowd is into it.
This moment reminds me of the times I attended Sam Hunt shows in his early career. Having had one or two songs on the radio but receiving equal or more energy from the crowd than the headliner could receive. It’s rare.
From songs about “Slow Dancing in a Parking Lot” to “Leaving New Orleans,” Davis preforms most of his debut album Home State. I am surprised to see his set seasoned with covers of The Black Crowes’ “Hard to Handle” and Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands.”
Electric and infectious, he ends his set with his up-coming and current radio hits “Take It From Me” and “Singles You Up.”
Billy Currington’s stage is set with tiki torches, faux bamboo and candles- looking like the tribe has just spoken on Survivor. Overhead, Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” plays. I wonder if this is intentional or by happenstance. Currington seems to have gone coastal like that of country music superstar Kenny Chensey.
When the time comes, he calmly walks out onto the stage. His curly hair bouncing, his striking blue eyes are visible from the stage.
He often swaps guitars for free reign of the stage. It feels like the environment of one of those unrealistic birthday parties staged in teen movies or romantic comedies. Maybe it’s because it is a low-key Monday night show, but the energy is just right.
Billy Currington takes the crowd through the years of his music. From early songs like “I Got A Feelin'” and “People Are Crazy” to recent anthems like “We are Tonight” and “It Don’t Hurt Like It Used To.”
The eight year old version of myself kept Billy Currington’s Doin’ Something Right (2005) in my cd player consistently. Now at 20, I daydream about getting to someday work with an artist like Billy Currington.
Hit after hit, the set arrives at its conclusion.
I cannot imagine a better way to spend a Monday night in Music City.
Thank you, country radio. Happy birthday to the Big 98!