CMA Fest in Nashville is quite the action-packed four days, with shows going on in the downtown area at all times and everywhere you look. However, there was only one place we wanted to be as the festival was coming to an end, and that was Phil Vassar‘s Sunday afternoon show at the Riverfront Stage.
Phil is one of the most gifted songwriters and entertainers in the business, and if you haven’t had the opportunity to see him live, you should rectify that as soon as possible. Every set he performs is filled with energy and excitement, but the one at CMA Fest had a unique quality that his other shows do not — an equally talented and feisty redhead named Jo Dee Messina.
For those who don’t know, Phil penned Jo Dee’s hit songs “I’m Alright” and “Bye Bye”; two songs that have resonated with country music fans for decades. Leading up to his appearance at Riverfront Stage, the pair took turns teasing a Sunday surprise, culminating in a social media video announcement by Phil over the weekend that Jo Dee would be joining him during his set.
As expected, the beloved artists sang “I’m Alright,” harmonizing as if they collaborate on the tune regularly and appearing to have a wonderful time performing for the crowd full of troupers that stood in blazing heat to watch this unforgettable moment. Another surprise came next when Phil and Jo Dee wrapped up the thirty-minute set with a joint performance of his 2001 hit “That’s When I Love You.”
Two country music icons, one stage, and a crowd singing along to every word – THAT is what CMA Fest is all about! I could go on and on for days about how special this moment was for a variety of reasons; but instead, I invite you watch both videos below, travel back in time to the soundtrack of your formative days, and observe the importance of continuing to embrace the artists who had a hand in making this genre so widely loved.
Phil Vassar and Jo Dee Messina, thank you for being what country music is all about!