Brett Eldredge, Chris Janson Fire Up Downtown Nashville at The Big 98’s Guitar-B-Que

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Brett Eldredge and Co. brought the musical cure to ease those midweek tensions as they lit up the Ascend Amphitheater stage for The Big 98’s Guitar-B-Que on Wednesday (Aug. 23).

Making it all about the St. Jude kids, each country artist on the packed lineup took on the duties of entertaining a wild Wednesday crowd during a rather brisk summer evening. The team partnered with the crew at The Big 98 to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by way of music, and their mission spread way beyond their expectations.

Michael Ray, clad in his inspirational ‘This Shirt Saves Lives’ tee from the St. Jude organization, rocked the stage first with a rowdy rendition of his track, “Another Girl.” Following smoothly with songs like “Run Away With You” and “Look Like This,” he honed back in on the family matters by dedicating his performance of “Real Men Love Jesus” to his grandfather.

Ray thanked all of the patients at St. Jude for their bravery in everyday life, as well as the men and women who fight in the armed forces, security guards, teachers and everyone else who makes a strong impact on others’ lives day after day. Taking it home with his No. 1 single, “Think a Little Less,” and tracks such as “Dust on the Bottle” and “Kiss You in the Morning,” the crowd was amped and feeling the positive energy for what was next to come.

Opting for a black-and-white theme, Devin Dawson stunned with his killer guitar licks on “War Paint” and “I Don’t Care Who Sees,” a song he claims is just about simply kissing a girl. He then told the audience that heartbreak continues to inspire him and country music as a whole, which led into an addicting yet heartbreaking admission called “Secondhand Hurt.”

“All on Me” brought the crowd back into the uplifted spirit of the night as they swayed along to the laidback beat. Dawson capped off his authentically honest set with his self-proclaimed “wholehearted truth” in the lyrics of “Dark Horse.”

But it was the sensational Chris Janson that immediately moved the crowd from their seats to their feet from the first note of “Redneck Life.” Fresh from ACM Honors held down the street at the Ryman Auditorium, Janson defined energy with a capital ‘E’ as he ran rampant across the stage to get fans to chant along the words to songs like “Everybody” and LoCash’s “I Love This Life,” which he co-wrote.

Janson kept the good vibes alive through “Name on It” and his new single, “Fix a Drink,” before romantically recalling the story of how he met his wife of seven years in the back of a Nashville pool hall before singing out the slow serenade of “Holdin’ Her.” Cell phone stars lit the way through the spontaneous church choir sounds of the audience as they all fell in love with Janson’s on-stage charisma.

Of course, no Janson show would be complete without his “Buy Me a Boat” extravaganza complete with a massive sing-a-long lead-out chorus. Saying Janson shows great promise as an legendary entertainer in the country music format would be an absolute understatement after the performance of a lifetime he gave to the Guitar-B-Que crowd.

Last night in Nashville was dreamy town! Amazing! Thanks for helpin out the kids @stjude

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The screams from Janson’s set carried right into Eldredge’s heroic introduction that turned him into his own Marvel master on “Superhero.” Marking his first time playing the Ascend Amphitheater venue, he felt proud to represent country music’s relationship with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as the headlining performer for the evening. Telling the crowd that he’s always “inspired to create music,” he glided his vocals smoothly over “Wanna Be That Song,” “Heartbreaker” and “Beat of the Music,” with the crowd not skipping a beat from lyric to lyric.

Eldredge went on to host a total karaoke moment with the crowd by taking on Train’s “Drops of Jupiter” before his own track, “Love Someone.” Feeling the love from the venue from the lawn to the stage, he happily encouraged involvement from fans as he continued to flow through some of his newer songs off of his recently released self-titled record and old radio favorites.

But by the end of the night, one thing was true to be said of The Big 98’s Guitar-B-Que concert event based on the connectivity between everyone in attendance that night: music will forever change the lives of people, both old and young.

You can help the cause too! Click the “donate now” button below to contribute to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.