The Grand Ole Opry has enjoyed many homes over the decades, including today’s Grand Ole Opry House and the historic Ryman Auditorium. Each year during Country Radio Seminar in Nashville the Opry takes up one-night-only residence inside the host venue for a special Grand Ole Opry performance for seminar attendees.
This year’s CRS show took place Wednesday night, Feb. 22, at the Omni Hotel in front of a packed house of industry execs and media members, who were eager to whoop it up for the seminar’s opening night.
The star-studded lineup gave everyone plenty to cheer about. Zac Brown Band kicked things off with their hit “Homegrown” and closed their set with “Chicken Fried,” the tune that brought the group to national attention. Also on the bill: Lady Antebellum, Chris Lane, Michael Ray, Chris Janson, LoCash, new star Carly Pearce, Trace Adkins and Cam. In keeping with the Opry theme, the special show also featured the Opry’s latest inductee Crystal Gayle along with the duo Dailey & Vincent, who will join the Grand Ole Opry family in March.
Highlights abounded, with an early surprise moment coming when Lady Antebellum took the stage backed by a bluesy horn section. Lady A made rocking use of the horns on “You Look Good,” featuring a hot vocal exchange between Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley, and again on their smash “Downtown.” They wrapped with the tune that became their first No. 1 single, “I Run to You,” which Kelley noted as, “Still the song we’re most proud of.”
The electrifying Chris Janson entered with only his acoustic guitar and harmonica, explaining that he started playing gigs at Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge in Nashville armed with only those two instruments. Janson thoroughly engaged the crowd with the story of meeting his future wife, leading perfectly into his current single “Holdin’ Her.”
LoCash, made up of Chris Lucas and Preston Brust, rocked the house on “I Know Somebody” and their new single “Ring on Every Finger.” They gave undisputed proof of why they’re known for their live show, working every side of the stage. Dailey & Vincent also displayed duo power, blending their amazing voices on a note-perfect version of The Statler Brothers’ “Flowers on the Wall.”
No better way to get Country Radio Seminar off to a high-kicking start.