Looking back at CMAfest there are certain memories that will stay with me for years to come. One of the biggest highlights was seeing Taylor Edwards take the stage at the Visitor Center in the Bridgestone Arena. We at the Knoxville Focus have been following Taylor Edward’s career since we first discovered her at a show called “Teen Hoot.” While watching her perform at CMAfest I immediately realized how far she has grown as a professional artist in about a year. Both from a talent level and from a band management level. Her songs are amazing and for her to get an hour block of time in one of the best locations at CMAfest is just amazing. Most up and coming artists are lucky to get three songs in a bar off Broadway. It is always refreshing as a journalist to see a talented singer that you have written about in the past exceed your expectations that you set real high. Where she has exceeded my expectations is in her writing skills. “Boys In Trucks” is an amazing song that is perfect for her. Her talent is awesome. Her management team appears to be really strong. She definately has the “it factor.” For this artist, the sky is literally the limits.
My favorite off Broadway event was the held at Puckett’s. Former contestants of the hit NBC show “The Voice” performed for a sold out crowd. This was a major accomplishment considering a few blocks away LP Field was holding their major concert with Blake Shelton headlining.
Seeing Nicole Johnson perform is always special. But for this event the whole night was special. I really enjoyed hearing Audrey Karrasch of season 4. In my mind she definitely has the “it factor.” Of all the talent that performed that I have not heard before, she is the one talent that literally blew me away.
Gracia Harrison was and is just amazing. Listening to her sing is amazing. Her ability to blend yodelling with Country is just mind blowing. I was literally speechless during her performance.
The other talent that left a strong lasting impression with me is Casey Muessigmann. He drove 18 hours to perform on the set. He explained how being a former contestant has opened a lot of doors for him. He also spoke about the deep bond former contestants have. In his opinion it is similar to a family bond. He absolutely rocked the house.
As far as a business strategy, this was brilliant. With Puckett’s so far off the strip to be able to get a large crowd, a sold out crowd is simply amazing. Using a “force multiplier” effect was brilliant. Instead of having one artist headline for three songs, having multiple artists headline and all from the same show worked to perfection.
In conclusion, in 2014 I predict we will be seeing many more concerts like this occur.