CMA Fest 2013 Night 2: Hunter Hayes, Blake Shelton and LBT Light It Up

The second night of CMA Music Festival concerts (June 7) at LP Field in Nashville kicked off with a two-time Country Music Association Male Vocalist of the Year, and closed with the current Male Vocalist champ. The packed crowd, a little damp from an early-evening shower but no less boisterous, was ready for some hard-core country and Randy Travis filled the bill right off the bat, lighting into his opening number “Diggin’ Up Bones.” Randy, the Male Vocalist of the Year in 1987 and 1988, also played a new tune that paid tribute to George Jones and wound it all up with his signature single, “Forever and Ever, Amen.”

The crowd buzzed with excitement as Kip Moore, sporting an iconic Rolling Stones T-shirt, got everyone in buzz mode with “Beer Money.” But Kip also showed that he could take it down a notch with a smooth acoustic performance of “Hey Pretty Girl.”

The young ladies in particular went wild for the next act, Hunter Hayes, who demonstrated his virtuosity on guitar and piano, respectively, on his hits “Somebody’s Heartbreak” and “Wanted.” Hunter then brought out the night's first special guest, pop star Jason Mraz, for double duty on “Everybody’s Got Somebody but Me.” Hunter closed with some blistering guitar work on his current single, “I Want Crazy,” which drove the crowd, well, crazy.

Following the hot young male acts was no easy take, but Lady Antebellum was more than up to the task, displaying their tight harmonies on “We Owned the Night.” As they sang their recent hit “Downtown,” beach balls could be seen flying into the summer night and the fans had a veritable ball batting them around. Lady A also brought out a couple of older hits that were welcome to hear again, “I Run to You” and “Lookin’ for a Good Time.”

The group theme continued with Little Big Town, tight as always on “Tornado,” complete with rumbling audio effects, their summery hit “Pontoon” and “Boondocks.” The foursome also introduced a special guest, Sheryl Crow, who warmed up the somewhat chilly evening with her hit “Soak up the Sun,” joined by Little Big Town, and a solo performance of her current single, “Easy.”

It was clearly obvious that the fans were eagerly looking forward to the night’s closing act, Blake Shelton.

The current Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year thanked the fans for staying up at the late-night hour, with the clock inching toward midnight. “I was afraid you all wouldn't hang in there with me tonight,” Blake declared. “Now, what the hell was I thinking?” Blake got the crowd up on their feet with his current “Boys ’Round Here,” inspiring a mass singalong, and a selection from his new album, the romantic “Mine Would Be You.”

Blake’s set was briefly interrupted for some good news, as his label handed Blake a special plaque for his album Red River Blue, certifying sales of 1 million copies. Then, it was back to music as Blake sent the crowd home cheering with “Drink On It” and the rousing “Hillbilly Bone.”

Another great night of music at CMA Music Festival, and there’s still two nights left!

Lady Antebellum and Little Big Town with Sheryl Crow by Donn Jones/CMA;
Randy Travis, Jason Mraz and Hunter Hayes and Blake Shelton by John Russell/CMA

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