Rising stars Riley Green, Lauren Jenkins and Noah Schnacky shared the stage with pros Rascal Flatts and Brantley Gilbert at the Big Machine Label Group lunch show during Country Radio Seminar in Nashville. The diverse lineup representing the established as well as the future entertained radio executives and media members with a nicely-paced show, and Southern-inspired lunch fare, from the Omni Hotel.
Jenkins in particular proved a fresh, new voice combined with an earthy writing style, signaling a bright road ahead. Obviously a multi-talented young lady, Jenkins prefaced her set with a trailer for her short film “Running Out of Road,” which she created and stars in. It’s also the title of one of her cuts, featuring the equally clever and compelling line, I’ve got a full tank of gas/But my heart’s on empty. Though relatively recent to the scene, Jenkins writes with the confident maturity and thoughtful perspective of a more seasoned tunesmith. Jenkins also delivered “Maker’s Mark and You” from her much-anticipated debut album “No Saint,” set for release on March 15th.
While Jenkins had the audience listening intently, Gilbert had them rocking in their chairs with his brand of aggressive country rock. Gilbert’s set consisted of the raucous “Kick It in the Sticks,” “Country Must Be Country Wide” and “Bottoms Up,” along with “Dirt Road Anthem,” a song Gilbert wrote but was made famous by Jason Aldean, Then, he called upon surprise guest Lindsay Ell, who joined Gilbert for their powerhouse duet, “What Happens in a Small Town,” currently climbing the charts. Attendees gave them a well-deserved rousing ovation.
Fittingly, the show closed with superstar act Rascal Flatts, which began its career just as the calendar turned over to a new century. Though they’ve been at it for 19 years, the group still displays an unbridled enthusiasm and showmanship. The trio of Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney belted out several of their greatest hits, including “What Hurts the Most” and “Life Is a Highway,” along with their new single, “Back to Life.” Look for the Flatts guys this summer on their upcoming tour, which kicks off May 16th.