On the Brink: Country Throwdown So Far

What's going down on the Throwdown?

Jamey Johnson’s daughter, Kylee, joins him
onstage to sing “In Color.”
photo by Beth Brinker
A few of the Bluebird Café songwriters at the show
in Nashville, Tenn. (from left) Adam Hood,
Erin Enderlin, Austin Lucas and Dani Flowers
photo by Beth Brinker
Beth Brinker interviews Ben & Jerry in Vermont.
photo by Alexandra Faber

Beth Brinker is following Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour for CountryWeekly.com.
Here’s her latest report.

Beth Brinker here—your official reporter for Willie Nelson’s Country Throwdown tour! Coast to coast, I’ve got your backstage pass and behind-the-scenes access that you can’t get anywhere else!

Now that the tour is in full swing, I’ve got lots to catch you up on! Every day we roll into another town and fans get to see three stages of live music, with performers including Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Randy Houser, Lee Brice, Brantley Gilbert, Craig Campbell, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real and Drake White. Excited yet?

I love hearing songs performed acoustically by the person that penned them, so one of my favorite features on the tour is the Bluebird Cafe singer/songwriter stage where you can see Adam Hood, Brent Cobb, Austin Lucas, Caitlyn Smith, Dani Flowers and Erin Enderlin perform. Superstars such as Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson and Luke Bryan have recorded their songs!

I must admit that I am partial to the Bluebirds for another reason . . . we all live on a bus together! It didn’t take long for us to feel like family, but that may just be a Country Throwdown thing, because that’s how it is with all the artists out here.

After we kicked off the tour in Philadelphia, we traveled up to New Hampshire and Vermont for some fun surprises, like meeting Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield . . . you know, Ben & Jerry?! They came out to see their old pal Willie Nelson (he has his own flavor, after all). All the artists were pretty excited about meeting them . . . and the free ice cream, of course. Cherry Garcia will never taste the same.

New Hampshire was a special stop because we had our first after-show BBQ! Drake White, the artist that kicks off the show every day, is known as the “BBQ Band.” He pulls a huge pit behind his bus to every show and fires it up every night to feed the crew. It’s a fun time when everyone gets to hang and eat and play music. That night, Dani Flowers and I found a little trouble to get into, which will be known as the “Jiffy Pop Incident of 2011,” captured on video by Lee Brice’s multitalented guitar player, Travis Bettis. Let’s just say it seemed like a fine idea at the time. . . .

You’d be wrong guessing that every stop on the tour is the same ol’ same. Each day unfolds new adventures on the road, new collaborations onstage and new things to learn about our tourmates. My job is to give you an insider’s glance at life on the road and uncover fun facts about these sweet country folks.

Like which Bluebird artist is vegan, or who can’t keep his shirt on to save his life. Who sets up a kiddy pool by the bus and calls it a Redneck Riviera? Who speaks fluent Czech? Which guy did I catch watching The Notebook on his bus? Actually, that one is going to stay in the vault to protect the innocent (and surprisingly sensitive). But all the others fun facts will be revealed if you get On the Brink, y’all!

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