CMA Fest: Carly Pearce

Carly Pearce performs on the Chevy Riverfront Stage at CMA Fest on Saturday, June 8.

Heading into the third day of CMA Fest on Saturday, the heat was turning up a notch, both with the music lineup and the weather warming up.

With blue skies and the sun shining down through sparse cloud coverage, attendees were feeling the early summer heat at the outdoor stages. Just as the heat was rising off the streets, artists were bringing their own shimmer with new releases and energetic sets.

Spotlight Stage

Over on the Spotlight Stage, Megan Barker connected to the Southern heritage of wearing new cowboy boots with her song “New Boots.”

Barker was made for the country music industry having been born into the a family tied to the industry. Her father, Bobby P. Parker, wrote songs for country legends like Ronnie Mislap and her mother, Barbara Smith-Barker was a touring artist and session singer.

Debuting for the first time at CMA Fest at the Spotlight Stage was UK duo Holloway Road. Jack Cooper and Robert Gulston stepped out sporting guitars for their spotlight performance. Before starting, Cooper asked if anyone was from the UK and was not disappointed when a large group acknowledged they were.  

“Our moms are here, this songs for our moms,” Cooper said before starting the set with “If She Falls.”

While the duo originally only performed three songs including “Get the Girl,” they had time for one more performance. Getting the crowd to participate in the chorus sounds, they sand “Get Lit.”

Following Holloway Road was Missouri native Renee Blair who’s time living in the city of St. Louis and on her father’s farm in rural Missouri led her to write music based on the variety of melodies she grew up with.

Accompanied by her younger brother on the guitar, Blair sang “Turn Up the Night,” as well as about her experience in the dating scene over the last decade with “Girlfriend.” She ended her set with “History,” before heading behind the stage to meet fans.

Close Up Stage

Kassi Ashton, California, Missouri singer and songwriter, stepped onto the Close Up stage to talk more about “The Look” and her views on fashion.

Ashton reflected on her time at Belmont University where she said everyone was into the Indie scene.

“I remember the first guy that ever came in that was wearing camo,” Ashton said. “I was like, will you be my friend. Can I hang in your truck, can we listen to Eric Church? Because everyone at Belmont, you know, was very Indie. Which is amazing because they’re so open minded.”

She went on to say that she reverted from how she was in high school and wearing blue jeans and baseball caps since it was so different.

Ashton also reflected on her celeb style icons saying she was inspired by Rihanna, Hailey Bieber and Miranda Lambert.

Riverfront Stage

More than 6,000 people packed into the Riverfront stage to see Kentucky native Carly Pearce perform as the sun shined down to light the stage with warmth.

Knowing that country music was her destined path and beginning to tour with a local band at the age of 11, quitting school at 16 and moving to Nashville, Pearce followed her dream to have several top charting songs including “Hide the Wine,” which she sang on stage with the help of the crowd singing along.

Pearce was on fire as she ramped up her set even performing a not-released yet single off of her upcoming album. 

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