Brad Paisley has been bringing the hits to country music fans around the world for close to two decades now (his Who Needs Pictures made its’ initial chart climb in 1999), and he continues to bring a winning mixture of humor and warmth whenever and wherever he takes to the stage.
This past Friday (February 23) served as a great example of this fact, as the Arista recording artist brought his Weekend Warrior Tour to the mountains of Pikeville, Kentucky – “just a couple mountains” from the state of West Virginia, where the singer grew up. The show proved to be a reminder of the singer’s connection with his fans – and also served notice that there are three other acts who could very well be destined for such a spot in the future.
Kicking the evening off was the dynamic Lindsay Ell, an artist who is seemingly starting to find her voice. During her time on stage, she delivered a brief but entertaining set that included her current single, “Criminal,” as well as the intoxicating “Champagne” from her debut album, The Project.
As talented as Ell is as a vocalist, she is equally as dazzling with her guitar skills. The only flaw about Ell’s time on stage was that it was simply too short. She’s got the talent and the stage moxie – if radio will give her a chance, she could very well be a huge star – or at least, should be.
Next up was Chase Bryant, who has scored at radio with a couple of hits, but has yet to really maintain consistency with his chart numbers. While that statement might be true, it has nothing to do with his prowess on stage, as the singer took control of the Appalachian crowd with the pomp and circumstance of a rock star. His guitar skills also garnered a strong reception from the audience, as well as for his hit singles such as 2014’s “Take It On Back.”
Rounding out the opening slots was Dustin Lynch. It’s hard to believe, but in six years, Lynch has built a career as one of the most consistent performers on the radio, but his stage show can’t be ignored either. The Tullahoma, Tennessee native attacked the stage with a vigor and a passion seen by few and there’s no doubt in our minds that Lynch is going to continue his career trajectory.
“Cowboys and Angels,” his 2012 breakthrough hit, received a thunderous ovation, as did his chart-topping “Small Town Boy.” Not to be overlooked is Lynch’s current single, the melodic “I’d Be Jealous Too,” and the future hit ballad “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone.” Simply put, Lynch will likely be the next artist to make the jump to the A-list, if he’s not already there!
When he gets there, he will join a circle of which headliner Brad Paisley has been a member of for a long time and he shows no signs of giving up that slot to anyone just yet. With a set that combined up-tempo favorites such as “Old Alabama” and “Water” and heartfelt ballads like “Then” and “Whiskey Lullaby,” Paisley delivered a winning hand from start to finish.
Of course, the evening wouldn’t have been complete without the singer pleasing fans who were fishing for his classic “I’m Gonna Miss Her,” and they weren’t disappointed. But, then again, we don’t think anyone could have been. It was a great evening to celebrate the past two decades and look forward to what sounds are coming around the bend.