Big Machine Label Group President & CEO Scott Borchetta, CRB Executive Director Bill Mayne and BMLG artists Maddie & Tae, A Thousand Horses, Trent Harmon, Midland, Carly Pearce; Delta Rae; Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for CRSEverybody better be keeping their eyes and ears open for the stars of Big Machine Label Group because the record company’s new artists are about explode all over the country scene.
New faces lead the way throughout the special Country Radio Seminar lunch, which gave way to a future look at what tunes will soon be blasting through the speakers of every country radio listener within the next year. Scott Borchetta, CEO and President of Big Machine, introduced the stellar line-up with great excitement for what’s to come on their musical horizon.
A Thousand Horses kicked off the midday event with a heavy harmonica rock song called “Travelin’ Man,” which showcased their loud and proud repertoire of their electric guitar sound. Following up with a little bit of soul in their step, the band performed their upcoming single, “Preachin’ to the Choir,” with some help coming in stride from their ladies-in-waiting on the powerful background vocals. Shouting a big thank you out to country radio for supporting a band like them, they closed their quick set with their No. 1 hit, “Smoke,” setting the bar high for the BMLG acts to follow.
‘Highway Find’ Carly Pearce graced the stage with her presence as Borchetta explained her longwinded journey to the country music scene. At the age of just 16, Pearce left home and dropped out of high school after seeking out an ad to work within the Dollywood franchise. With great strength and gumption, Pearce developed her love of the stage under the watchful eye of Dolly Parton’s legendary presence to begin her own career singing songs and making music.
Pearce made nice about shutting down the post-breakup urges with her cheeky track, “Hide the Wine.” Set to be released on her forthcoming album, the hilarious ‘no-no’ song boasts tongue-in-cheek lyrics like, “I don’t trust myself with you,” and “It’s a dangerous thing pouring alcohol on an old fling,” that could make anyone think, “Been there, done that.” Pearce then played her current hit, “Every Little Thing,” as an ode to the heartbreak she managed to fight through thanks to her therapeutic songwriting skills.
There’s nothing like a little bit of Maddie & Tae to get the party started, and they did just that with their sassy response to life’s expectations in their new song, “Just Fine.” Rolling eyes at all of the questions regarding their futures, the girls laughed off their haters in lyric form while charming the crowd with their flawless harmonies. “Welcome to the Club” gave off the same vibes, only this time it was in breakup form. Claiming things are going to be ok even after someone leaves you high and dry, Maddie & Tae reassured that heartbreak is just something everyone has to deal with every once in a while (and it sucks).
Proving that ‘they can’t change what’s in their veins,’ Maddie & Tae garnered a chuckle or two throughout their performance of “Blame It on the Tree,” in which they point the finger at the generations before them for turning them into the strong-willed women they are today. Ending off their time at the luncheon with an emotional rendition of “Somebody Will,” they established that the duo sure knows how to tug on the heartstrings of all those who listen to their unmatched harmonies.
Bringing the good ol’ days of traditional country back into the format, Midland played tracks from their most recent EP, including “Check Cashin’ Country” and “Burn Out,” to channel the sounds of a Randy Travis-meets-George Strait vibe in trio form. Finishing off their set with a standing ovation, the guys strummed their acoustic guitars during “Drinkin’ Problem,” their debut radio single.
The minute American Idol winner Trent Harmon took the stage, the crowd felt as if he was someone special. Throwing in the lighthearted spirit of his current radio tune, “There’s a Girl,” into the mix, his vocals melted like butter throughout every vibrato mastered within the performance. But it was his bluesy love song dedicated to his girlfriend of six years that left everyone floored. “Her” told the story of how no one else, no matter the temptations or the opportunities, will ever be as good as the love of his life. The slowed-down track with its acoustic touch filled the room with goosebumps by the last powerful note.
Finishing out the showcase was the band Delta Rae, which Borchetta compared to the likings of a Little Big Town revamp. Their fiddle-driven melodies combined with the folksy harmonies gave off a hippie-meets-country sound to their tracks like “Walk with Me” and “I Moved South.” Highlighting their true talent by getting all four members to gather around one microphone, Delta Rae stunned the audience with their hauntingly beautiful song, “No Peace in Quiet.”
Fans can be on the lookout for each of these artists as they take over country music by checking their music out on Spotify now.