Tyler Farr and Charlie Worsham (with special guest Sheryl Crow) also perform at the Country Radio Seminar's prestigious New Faces showcase
The 2014 Country Radio Seminar culminated as usual with the prestigious New Faces Show, held Friday night in downtown Nashville. The big winner of the night was country radio -- with five talented and diverse newcomers that seemed poised to enjoy long career runs in the business.
The show started with the introduction of Thomas Rhett. In his introductory video, the Valory Music Co. artist poked a little fun of the fact that he was known to many at first for being the son of veteran singer-songwriter Rhett Akins, but his star has grown quite steadily over time. The Georgia native raised the temperature inside the Nashville Convention Center with a rowdy and rockin’ set that included his recent chart-topper "It Goes Like This," as well as the raw "Get Me Some Of That." Rhett has been working steadily since releasing his debut single a couple of years back, and it looks like he is on the crest of hitting the mother lode.
Also on the bill was Republic Nashville’s Cassadee Pope. While it might be easy to look at Pope as merely a product of the hit series "The Voice," her New Faces performance was proof that she is so much more. She enchanted the audience with tracks like "I Wish I Could Break Your Heart" and the emotional "11," about her real-life experience watching her parents’ divorce as a child. Pope’s range was evident during the evening, as it served notice that she just might be around for awhile.
Tyler Farr was next on the bill, and he turned on the octane with an energy-charged set that included his recent chart-topper "Redneck Crazy" and current single "Whiskey In My Water." Farr also spent some time out in the crowd during his performance, trying to fire up the audience.
Charlie Worsham – an equal threat vocally and instrumentally – delivered as promised during the showcase – giving a strong performance on his singles "Want Me Too" and "Could It Be," and shared the spotlight with his Warner Brothers label-mate Sheryl Crow on the stunning "Mississippi In July." Though each of the tracks showcased his talent, he put it all together best on "Rubberband," the title track from his debut album. He’s got the looks, the vocal chops, and might be the best guitarist-vocalist to come down the pike since Keith Urban left the Ranch!
At the end of the night, there was one name that seemed to have the consensus vote as the MVP of the night, and his name is Brett Eldredge. His Warner debut, "Bring You Back," showcased his talents in the recording studio, but the Paris, Illinois native left little to chance on stage. Eldredge -- who told Billboard last week that he had been waiting for an opportunity to just go to New Faces in he past -- made the most of the chance in the spotlight. All in all, his performance was as good as any from the show as in recent memory. From radio hits like "Don’t Ya" and "Beat Of The Music," Eldredge left attendees wanting more with an almost-spiritual performance on "One Mississippi," a cut from the album. The only question we have isn’t will Eldredge’s airplay go up as a result of his exposure in front of some of America’s most influential programmers -- but how much? He’s that good.