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Darius Rucker Kicks Off CMA Fest With Charity Concert

Rodney Atkins, Jerrod Niemann, Easton Corbin and Justin Moore perform.

photo by Randi Radcliff

Darius Rucker kicked off the CMA Music Fest in Nashville Monday night (June 6) with his second annual Darius & Friends concert, to raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Darius was joined by Jerrod Niemann, Easton Corbin, Justin Moore and Rodney Atkins for the sold-out concert, which made for a night of solid entertainment for the packed house at the Wildhorse Saloon.

Darius kicked off the event with “Love Will Do That” and his 2009 hit “Alright” before bringing out touring buddy Jerrod Niemann. The crowd of country fans roared its approval of Jerrod’s 2010 No. 1 hit, “Lover, Lover,” before Jerrod led them in a rendition of the Mel McDaniel classic “Louisiana Saturday Night.”  “That’s the bad thing about having Darius & Friends—I have to bring him out,” Darius joked after Jerrod left the stage. “He’s just pretty.”

Darius gave the crowd a taste of his new single, “I Got Nothin’,” before leading into a crowd favorite from his Hootie & the Blowfish repertoire, “I Only Wanna Be With You.”

Easton Corbin thrilled the crowd with his easygoing demeanor and his hit “Roll With It.” Darius then joined Easton onstage for a rendition of Don Williams’ 1979 hit “It Must Be Love.”
Darius got the crowd in a sentimental mindset with his latest No. 1 single, “This,” before saying, "I went to New York City 14 years ago and lived there for two years. I’m way too Southern for there.” He then launched into “Southern State of Mind," and judging from the crowd's reaction, plenty of fans must have been a little Southern, too.
Justin Moore and Rodney Atkins were also on hand to perform. Justin offered his current single, “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” and the Hank Williams Jr. hit “Dixie on My Mind,” while Rodney Atkins had one question for the crowd: “Do we have any farmer’s daughters in here?" before performing his latest hit single, “Farmer’s Daughter.”
Darius told the crowd he plans to continue the concerts, which hopefully means more CMA Fest fans can look forward to kicking off the week’s festivities with a concert for a great cause.


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