Doswell, Virginia USA – Country music lovers arrived early to The Meadow Event Park with a perfect evening tempreture in the low 70’s. Fans filled the parking lot with plenty of Brad Paisley’s tunes coming from their vehicles while doing a little tailgating before the show. Fans of all ages turned out for what was to be a awesome evening of a Brad Paisley musical extravaganza.
Paisley has earned his place in country music history as one of the country music’s most talented and decorated male solo artists. Over the past 20 years, his songwriting and unmatched showmanship have won him numerous awards, including three GRAMMYs, two American Music Awards, 14 Country Music Association Awards and 15 Academy of Country Music Awards along with the 2010 CMA Entertainer of the Year. His works have amassed over 3.9 billion on-demand streams.
Kicking off the evening, one of Country music’s rising stars, Ashland Craft and her band hit the stage in their first Virginia appearance. She’s no stranger to the music scene, she started out at the ripe old age of 10 teaching herself to play guitar. Then proceeded to explore her musical spirit while cutting her teeth at a hometown bar in South Carolina singing Country and Rock covers. She rose to national fame as a contestant on the 13 season of The Voice (2017), where she won over audiences with her renditions of songs like Waylon Jennings‘ “Good Hearted Woman.” She made it to the Top 10 before being voted off the show. She is among Country Music Television’s Next Women of Country Class of 2021 and Pandora’s Country Artists to Watch 2021.
Craft brought her own brand of Country music to the stage Thursday night. It was a fresh, energetic kinda of Pop-Country-Rock sound that filled the air, as she danced around the stage playing “Minosas In The Morning”, “Travelin’ Kind” and what turned out to be the crowds favorite song of the evening “I Smoke Weed”. Along with several other tunes off her debut album ‘TRAVELIN’ KIND’. After warming up the approximately 15,000 fans in attendance, they were ready for the main event. BRAD PAISLEY!
For someone who hadn’t played much live throughout the pandemic, Paisley and his band were in fine form Thursday evening. Their two-and-a-half hour set kept fans on their feet the entire time, dancing in the isles while drinking a few cold brews. Paisley provided a musical journey through his career that included a set of 25 songs that consisted of most of his big hits and a few covers. One of those covers being Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” in honor of the late great Eddie Van Halen. He also engaged with his fans, getting up close and personal to them as they snapped selfies with him and he even surprised a young fan with an autographed guitar.
Paisley and his band were smokin’ hot tonight with Kendal Marcy on keyboards, banjo an vocals, Justin Williamson on fiddle, mandolin and vocals, Randle Currie on steel guitar, Ben Sesar on drums, Kenny Lewis on bass and vocals, and Gary Hooker on guitar. During the songs, videos played on a gigantic screen behind them; they included a variety of hilarious video clips ranging from a waterskiing squirrel to Andy Griffith to clips from an upcoming Paisley “Shark Week” special.
At one point, Paisley took a phone from one of his fans, turned his back to the crowd and proceeded to take a selfie, while being mirrored in the two giant video screens on either side of the stage. After taking the selfie, he said “Thank you for this”. As he examined the phone turning it over, he noticed a sticker and said, “On the back it says I love Derry. D-E-R-R-Y. Is Derry a person or a place? Is this from Stephen King?” You could see her shake her head “yes”. “You love Derry, like, from “It”?”, and she nodded yes again. “Fantastic! Are you one of the kids that fought the clown? She nodded her head no. “Grew-up, Nope! Let’s see what else you got on here”. As he started scrolling through her photos, “I like your photos, they look good. Look at that! Opps, somebody went pumpkin shopping already, check that out”. He holds up the phone so the audience could see the photo. “That’s a hell of a.. hell of a pumpkin right there! Did you buy a pumpkin?, and she nodded yes again. “Are you going to carve it”? Again she nodded yes. “Are you gonna do like, you gonna get somebody to carve my face into the pumpkin? That would be awesome.” The audience began cheering. “Let’s ahhhh, let’s post what we just took on Instagram here”. Paisley started punching up the app and his fingers were flying all over the keyboard like a true user. “OK, I’m sending it to Instagram. I’m writing a caption. I Love Derry…Too”. OK there it goes. And if you want to follow her…. I also shared it to your Facebook. Here name is Stephanie Rene 90. S-t-e-p-h-a-n-i-e-R-e-n-e-90. For those of you who can’t spell Stephanie! Paisley started to scroll through her photos again, stopping on a photo of a dog. “Is that your dog?” he asked. Again she nodded yes. “Oh, my gosh what a dog! 10th birthday! One of the best dogie’s ever! And look at that he’s wearing a bib and a hat. What’s your dog’s name?”, to which she answered, “Baxter!” And Paisley answered “Baxter. Oh, God bless Baxter! What a great.. that looks a little like our dog. Alright, I should probably give this back, you guys probably want me to sing something.” Paisley started to walk back and return Stephanie’s phone as he began singing “These days there’s dudes posting selfies. Manicures. Wax an Botox.” Paisley suddenly stopped singing “Opp.. wait a minute, you are getting followers. Look! You have five new followers! Seven new followers! Ten new followers! And Debra K likes your photo! Handing back the phone he said “Nice to meet you Stephanie. Good luck with Baxter. Take good care of him. Where was I.” Then Paisley returned to singing the song.
About midway through the concert, Paisley saw a young fan in the second row holding a sign. Paisley walked to the side of the stage to meet his guitar tech who then handed him an autographed Fender Telecaster guitar. Walking back to the front of the stage, Paisley surprised the young fan by handing him the guitar. The boy’s face broke into a wide smile as he took the guitar from Paisley, and then held out his own hat and asked Paisley if he would sign it. He accepted the hat from the boy, signed it, handed it back to him, and told him to start practicing on the guitar and he would see him back up on the stage in ten years.
Later, Paisley brought up four members of the United States Army in their dress uniforms to join him on stage. As the soldiers stood with him, he thanked them for their service to our country. With his West Virginia hospitality, he told them that the adult beverages were on him so they could enjoy them during show.