NASHVILLE - They came, they listened, but most of all, they sweated.
Thousands of country music lovers descended on Nashville yesterday for the first day of the 2004 CMA Music Festival. By late afternoon, a thermometer near Adelphia Coliseum inched near 100 degrees, although the official temperature was in the low 90s. Over a four-day period, 200 country artists and other celebrities will appear. There will be more than 70 hours of concerts and throughout the festival, artists will sign autographs and take pictures with fans.
For an artist, this is a great, thing. I ve done 43 interviews in two days, Charlie Daniels said. From a fan point of view, they can walk into one room and have 35 to 40 artists signing autographs. I ve run into people from all over the world. I signed one autograph for a guy from France. You really find out that there is a deep love for this music and over the planet and especially this country.
Some news from the first day:
Trent Willmon, a new artist on the Sony label, is preparing to release his debut album on July 27th. His first single, Beer Man,
has already been released and is nearing the Top 20. An interesting
note: Trent used the yellow Labrador of Sony President John Grady in the video. Casey would be the one retrieving the beer.
Shannon Lawson s wife, Mandy, gave birth to the couple s second child on June 3. Lucille Faith joins big brother River.
I m sleeping great, Shannon joked. I just put plugs in my
Count Charlie Daniels as a big fan of President Ronald Reagan.
Daniels told of getting to play for the former president at the White House.
I found him to be a very humble person - a people person, he said. I think he put a lot of integrity back into the presidency.
Sara Evans, who recently announced she and husband Craig are expecting their third child, says it s not that hard to juggle motherhood and a career. I consider myself a stay-at-home mom. My home is just the road.
She does admit the third child could be a challenge.
We re a little scared. Craig and I are now going to be outnumbered.
Buddy Jewell is headed into the studio next Monday to begin work on his second album. Last year at this time, he had just been named the winner of Nashville Star. His life has dramatically changed.
The best year has exceeded all expectations. Having two Top 5 singles and a gold album. I really couldn t top that. I feel like I m stuck in fast gear.
Terri Clark, who will be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry tomorrow night, is getting ready to release a Greatest Hits album next month.
Some days I ll wake up and can t believe I ve been doing this for nine years. I ve been blessed to have some really great songs.
And finally, Miss America, Ericka Dunlap of Florida, is making the rounds in Nashville. She said she has every intention of pursuing a country music recording contract. If she succeeds, she ll break through a troubling barrier in country music: There has not been a female African-American singer who has been a chart success in Nashville.
I am going to finish my [Miss America] term on Sept. 19 at 9 a.m. I will be boarding a flight for Nashville at 9:30 a.m. I think it s time to open the door so that all genres can be celebrated and be inclusive. Country music has influenced so many different genres. I m very serious about this, and I will succeed.