Rock popped into a chair unannounced at the end of Uncle Kracker’s unplugged set for a duet on his 2008 hit “All Summer Long,” on which Kracker shares a writing credit. “Not everybody’s got a best friend as good as this motherf—er here,” Kracker told the packed crowd at Coyote Joe’s in the Detroit suburb of Shelby Township — even more stoked to see Rock because he’s not playing any formal shows in the Detroit area this year as he works on his follow-up to 2015’s First Kiss. “Not everybody will call you up at nine in the morning and set, “We gotta write this motherf—er here…” A grinning Rock replied, “Don’t get all sentimental. Give the people what they want” before breaking into the song, conducting Kracker and his two accompanists through the dynamics of the middle section.
Saturday’s show was the fourth in BMI’s inaugural series, done in conjunction with CBS Radio’s Detroit stations. The show included a guitar pull between Hunter Hayes, Sarah Buxton and Troy Verges — before which Hayes heard his latest single, “Yesterday’s Song,” on the radio for the first time — as well as an acoustic set by LoCash. Joe Nichols, Jerrod Niemann, Tinashe, Jacob Whitesides, Michael Ray, Casey Beathard, Brett Young and Wendell Mobley also played during the festival.
Dan Spears, BMI’s vice president of industry relations/licensing, told Billboard the rights agency is already thinking about what it wants to do for a sequel. “We were trying to figure a way to partner [with CBS] on something that could bring value to their listeners, value to our songwriters and shine a spotlight on the craft of songwriting,” Spears explained. “Motown is synonymous with Detroit, and there’s so much more to the city. It’s a great music town with a lot of great history. So it’s a win-win-win for BMI, CBS, our songwriters and the city of Detroit.”