Performing at the Bobby Roberts Co. showcase at the International Entertainment Buyers Assn. in Nashville today were the Kentucky Headhunters, Chris Janson and Jaida Dreyer. Pictured from left (above) are the HeadHunters’ Greg Martin (who told a backstage tale about playing a nudist colony with the band being the only ones wearing clothes), and Richard Young; Billboard’s Ray Waddell, who emcee’d the show; BRC agent Lance Roberts; the Heads’ Fred Young; Bobby Roberts, and the band’s Doug Phelps. The HeadHunters rocked the buyers in the new Omni Hotel ballroom, opening their raucous set with an ear-blasting version of “Big Boss Man” before charging into hits like “Dumas Walker” and “Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine,” along with a hair-raising take on “House of the Rising Sun,” and “Dixie Lullabies,” the title cut off the band’s new album.
Bigger Picture Group artist Chris Janson (above, left) wowed the audience with a powerful, energetic performance, with a kinetic Janson alternating between deft harmonica and acoustic guitar, leading his crack band through a relentless set. Before he took the stage, the Heads’ Richard Young (above, right) advised the up-and-coming singer/songwriter about the challenges of being a pioneer: “if you take off in a covered wagon, be prepared to get an arrow in your ass!” The Headhunters turned Nashville on its head in 1989 with the game-changing album “Pickin’ On Nashville,” and the impact of that record is still being felt today by way of artists like Janson, who melds his traditional country music influences with a robust dose of rock. Jansen’s on-stage charisma came through on such songs off his debut record as “Cut Me Some Slack,” “Better I Don’t,” “Those Days Are Gone,” and a heartfelt “When I’m Holding Her,” relating how fatherhood changed his life and subsequently advising the audience that Roberts is “the best damn agent in the business.”