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Dreamworks Records came on strong on the first night with a private showcase at a downtown club. With Flaxen blonde hair, and a cowboy hat, newly signed artist Michelle Po opened the show followed by raven-haired singer-songwriter Danielle Peck whose show left the guys in the room shouting “I Love You”, and her first album hasn’t even been released yet. (A very promising start!) Canadian guy band Emerson Drive’s (I Should Be Sleeping, Fall Into Me) rockin’ & fiddlin’ hard-core performance deserved the standing ovation it got. Recently signed to Dreamworks, ‘90's superstar Tracy Lawrence (Alibis, Sticks & Stones) is set for a comeback, convincing all who heard his latest single Paint Me a Birmingham, that that will surely happen. Performing his biggest hits and latest tunes for radio, Tracy looked and sounded in top form, with proud wife and young daughters watching from a front table. Although not listed on the bill, everyone was still hoping for a surprise appearance by Toby Keith (The Angry American, How Do You Like Me Now?), but alas, no such luck. However, Toby’s buddy, side-kick and song-writing partner Scotty Emerick was there, entertaining the crowd with new songs both serious and hilarious.

At a packed showcase, Universal South heart-throb Joe Nichols (Broken Heartsville, The Impossible) had his way with the audience with soulful singing of his biggest songs. This event also featured Texas’ Pat Green (Wave On Wave), the all-grown up Amanda Wilkinson (remember Giant Records family act The Wilkinsons?) and Cross Canadian Ragweed who ripped up the house, big time. On a happy note, we spotted Clay Walker (If I Could Make a Living) in the audience, who is very busy successfully managing his Multiple Sclerosis with a daily injection and a healthy lifestyle, working to raise money for MS research with his Band Against MS project, and celebrating the release of his first RCA album titled A Few Questions.

On another happy note, Broken Bow Records showcase featured a who’s who of relocated former major label artists, storytellers Joe Diffie (Pick Up Man), Craig Morgan (Almost Home, Every Friday Afternoon), Sherrie Austin (Streets of Heaven), Lila McCann (Down Came a Blackbird) and Chad Brock (Yes) doing a very cool guitar pull.

During CRS, the Renaissance Hotel Bridge Bar is definitely the place to be for wheeling, dealing, drinking and star sightings; on one given night these included Hank Williams Jr. rowdying it up in rare form, and manager/songwriter/artist Merle Kilgore (Ring of Fire) cooling him down as best he could. We saw a who’s who of Nashville music biz elite including Tracy Byrd's long-time publicist Melissa Migo, Cal IV publisher Daniel Hill with artist Georgia Middleman’s upcoming independent album Unchanged in hand, newcomer Dean Scallan making new friends, Chalee Tennisen (being photographed with the honorable Judge John Brown), and Emerson Drive at the back table ‘til about 4 AM. / Issue 37 - September 2018
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