Kip Moore, Frankie Ballard and Chuck Wicks Rock the Country Weekly Kick-Off Party

(From left) Country Weekly publisher Jeff Meltesen, Musicians on Call Midwest tour director Dana Sones, Musicians on Call president Pete Griffin, CW editor in chief Lisa Konicki, Kip Moore, Chuck Wicks, Frankie Ballard and CW managing editor Jon Freeman
photo by Ed Rode

The healing power of music was a recurring theme at the Country Weekly Kick-Off Party powered by NASH last night (June 2) at Nashville’s Mercy Lounge. The annual event, benefiting Musicians on Call, packed in the fans to hear outstanding performances by Kip Moore, Frankie Ballard and host/emcee Chuck Wicks, as well as support a great cause.

Chuck Wicks, one of our co-workers here in the Cumulus NASH compound, led off the night with a set of songs before assuming his role as the gregarious host, and touched on an experience he had working with Musicians on Call in an interview backstage.

“It was amazing, going into the hospital,” he recalled. “I felt kind of weird at first, like, so these people are sick, they don’t feel good, and they can’t get out of their beds—did they really want someone coming in and singing to them or just keeping them company? And they do. They want that. It’s a different pace for them. It breaks up the same ol’ same ol’ of just sitting in the hospital bed. That’s why when I was asked to do this—not only play it but actually host it as well—it was a great opportunity to get back out and support Musicians on Call and support Country Weekly.”

photo by Jon Freeman

Next up was Frankie Ballard, sporting a vintage shirt with dead pirate patches sewn into the shoulders. His scorching, bluesy set included his hit “Helluva Life,” new single “Sunshine & Whiskey” and even a cover of fellow Michigander Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock & Roll.”

Prior to the show, he touched on the importance of music in his own life.

“Ever since I was little, music has always really affected me emotionally,” he said. “It can change my mood or my sort of energy, fire me up. I know a lot of people are that way, especially when you’re not feeling good. When you’re sick, music can really change your whole attitude, which is very important—medically speaking—to have a good positive attitude when trying to conquer something. So it’s so cool that musicians would go to bedsides and play some music to try to give them that positive attitude, and that’s something I want to be a part of. It’s a great cause to me.”

Final act Kip Moore concurred with all this and the power of music to lift spirits. “I did the children’s hospital probably two or three years ago and it was a touching experience for me to go into those bedrooms and play,” he said before he took the stage. “Recently, I did it again in one of the other cities [during a tour stop] and went and hung out instead of playing. It’s a great cause.”

photo by Jason Simanek

Kip’s own set, which included hits “Beer Money” and “Somethin’ ’Bout a Truck,” also reflected how music had healed him in his own life. For one, his current single, “Dirt Road,” was borne out of confusion and frustration with a strict religious path, and new, unreleased songs like “Comeback Kid” and “My Baby’s Gone” were written as he faced heartbreak and adversity to emerge on the other side.

Thanks to all involved, including sponsors Durango and Roper, for making this great evening possible.

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