Blake Shelton's the headliner for the first day of country music festival Shaky Boots, but he's not the only star. The Atlanta guest list includes Brad Paisley, Dwight Yoakam, Sara Evans, and Rascal Flatts.
Saturday, May 16, launched country music's Shaky Boots Festival in metro Atlanta. Acts included superstars like The Voice's Blake Shelton, The Band Perry, Kristian Bush, and Dwight Yoakam. Other artists included Joe Nichols, Jana Kramer, The Whiskey Gentry, and Amanda Shires.
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The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that 20,000 fans showed up for the event, even in the high temperature weather. Shelton was the day's headliner and finala act for the 11-hour event.
According to Country Standard Time, the Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment Park festivities gathered all different subgenres to really highlight the changing genre. Also of note is the fact Shaky Boots is a spin-off of the Shaky Knees Festival, a venue festival for indie-rock.
Amanda Shires kicked in the festival door with hits like "The Garden" and "Wasted and Rollin'" to electrify the already anticipating crowd. A master of stringed instruments, the musician used fiddle, ukulele, and rhythm guitar.
During the set, she managed some killer solos on the guitar and amp up the crowd for later artists like The Whiskey Gentry and Joe Nichols, whose voice crooned the crowd with "Brokenheartsville" and "The Impossible."
Whiskey Gentry managed to defy a few odds, too. Working both the Shaky Knees and Shaky Boots festivals, the band fuses “shop shelf bluegrass picking with punk-rock sonic fury” to create a distinctive, electric sound heard around the venue. Gadziak puts lead singer Lauren Staley’s voice somewhere between the haunting Alison Krauss and expressive Dolly Parton.
Interestingly enough, one of the set songs was one of the most unexpected hits, “Holly Grove.” Even though upbeat, the song describes a serial killer “following our tracks” in an old grove and finally “found him in our favorite spot hidden by the trees.” Luckily, they also played toe-tapping “Dixie” and instrumental “Comrade.”
Meanwhile, Bush's best known for his work in Sugarland, but he's not above poking fun at being the quieter one in the band with Jennifer Nettles. "You’re not going to believe this, but people just figured out I could sing."
Working with Sugarland bassist Annie Clements and keyboardist brother Brandon, he belted out new release "Southern Gravity" as well as standard favorites like Sugarland's "Baby Girl." Speaking to the AJC earlier this week, the passion for the crowd and career all stem from one major concept: “If you believe in something, then just never give up. Let your hard work speak louder than waving a flag.”
Recently performing at the Grand Ole Opry, “Walk Tall” singer expressed why the song was so important. With a song turning 12, the lyrics are advice, a code of communication for the two men that will last for years. And that seems to be his ever present image. To be aware, honest, and authentic.
Dressed in his usual attire of vest and tie, rolled-up-sleeved dress shirt, and dark jeans, Bush seemed to defy the heat to wilt the crowd’s momentum. "It’s nice to see Atlanta experience a large, national country festival. And it’s magic to hear my hometown sing my songs back to me!"
Blake Shelton felt the easy tug of enjoyment, too. With some history to the town, the singer-turned-reality-star joked, “I have had things happen to me in Kennesaw, Georgia.” Referring to some of the dodgy elements of trying to make it on the small clubs circuit, the wisecracking singer launched into “Some Beach.”
As a closer, he was probably a good choice. An exhaustive, nearly 12-hour event needs a little humor as people trudge back to their vehicles and beds for round two on Sunday, May 17, where Brad Paisley is set to headline. Other entertainers fans will see include Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans, Rodney Atkins, and Ricky Skaggs.
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Sources: AJC, Country Standard Time