If there ever was a newcomer who could radically shake up modern country music, it would be the guitar-plucking and smoothing-talking Charlie Worsham. During his show at Nashville's 3rd & Lindsley on Saturday (June 21), the "Could It Be" singer captivated the crowd with his showmanship, scorching the stage with cuts from his acclaimed Rubberband debut. Of course, he kept his set fresh, with a cool throwback spin, performing a medley of Beatles hits (including "Come Together" and "Let It Be"), as well as a banjo-fused version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean."
With every strum of his instrument–whether it be an acoustic or electric guitar–he never missed a beat, ultimately solidifying his placement as one of the format's most promising trailblazers. If his first Top 20 hit wasn't enough to convince you of his worth, Worsham's live show certainly does the trick.
Before the crooner's explosive set, the evening kicked off with the stylings of Erin Viancourt, a sensitive singer-songwriter whose performance set the tone for traditional, down-home music. With only two acoustic guitars, the songbird delivered poise and charm, winning over every fan in the audience.
A sizable sonic shift then occurred, as songwriter Adam Sanders (who has penned tunes for Luke Bryan and Cole Swindell) saunted out onto the stage. His performance was certainly more party-happy than Viancourt's, but it offered a needed progression to the evening. His confidence was only matched by his ability to have every fan screaming their lungs out; they were especially pleased with his cover of Randy Houser's "How Country Feels." Branding his own special blend of southern-rock and today's bro-country, Sanders marked himself as one of country's Next Men; his name will most likely be the talk of the town this time next year.
And then it was the main event. Viancourt and Sanders only preempted what was one of the finest showings in Music City. Worsham is no kidder, and his passionate performance proved that he's well on his way to ursurping the Bryan and Florida Georgia Line hip-hop throne. Borrowing significant influences from Vince Gill (as he noted prior to "Tools Of The Trade"), he doesn't shy away from making his roots known, but he does so in a way that is contemporary and appeals to as wide a demographic as possible.
When you think of pushing the genre forward, while still remaining true to the greats, Worsham does so in spades. There is nothing fake or manufactured with his performance style, his musicianship or his lyrics. Rubberband, a find compilation of the best bluegrass, traditional and pop-country of the last few years, demonstrates his masterful conscientious and self-awareness.
His set also featured a re-imagined version of Bruno Mars' "Treasure," as well as cuts of his own: "Missippi In July," "Young To See" and "How I Learned To Pray."
Of course, there were two delightful surprises during his performance: Angaleena Presley (who sampled her forthcoming solo debut, which Worsham noted would "change country music" forever) and UK songstress Lucie Silvas. Both female vocalists were equally as alluring and talented as their frontman; they offered up their own tunes, as well as backed Worsham on several of his. During this female drought at radio, it was a pleasantry to see two of the most-deserving find an avenue for exposure.
From start to finish, Worsham was an A-list showman. Even after the applause settled following a high-powered closing performance (of his album's title track), there lingered a new-found sense of pride amongst the concert-goers. They had just witnessed the leader of the next generation, and they were thanful they did.
Worsham continues performing throughout the summer and will join Kip Moore on his CMT tour later this year. Keep tabs on his official website.
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