We locals can see Keith Urban at the sandwich shop, Brad Paisley at the P.F. Chang's or Chris Cagle at the courthouse, so the autograph-grabbing portion of the CMA Music Festival isn't of terrific interest in the 615. The Fest has evolved into something much more than a place to get signatures, though, and many of the finest performances take place away from the big stadium stage at LP Field. Here are some can't-miss prospects for fans and casually interested types.
Wednesday, June 4 Marty Stuart's Late Night Jam has the look of a potential show-of-the-year. Any concert featuring Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives is a ride through sharp country, lonesome blues and bluegrass and propulsive rock 'n' roll, and the Late Night Jam finds Stuart and his guys joined by a bevy of remarkable performers. On a bill that includes Old Crow Medicine Show, Gretchen Wilson, John Rich, Kathy Mattea (her Coal album is splendid), Sunny Sweeney and the Charlie Daniels Band, look for Mike Farris to be the surprise of the evening for most ticket-holders. Farris and his ever-soulful howl have a way of taking over a room, and he'll be performing songs from his remarkable Salvation In Lights album. The Jam takes place at 10 p.m. at the Ryman Auditorium.
By Peter Cooper