Mike Sudhalter | June 18, 2007
When you attend an event so jam-packed with country music like the CMA Music Festival, it's an adjustment to get back to everyday life, where not everything revolves around country.
Yes, I still wish the festival was going on. As I write this, I'm listening to the archived broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry show that I attended. Darryl Worley is singing "Awful, Beautiful Life" and Carolina Rain's up next. It's kind of cool revisiting that Opry show. I'm looking forward to July 23 when the portions of the CMA concerts get broadcast on national television.
Perhaps, the toughest thing about the festival was walking around Monday morning and realizing that Nashville is just like any other American city, not a country music wonderland. Folks were going to their jobs, and sure, a few of the honky-tonks were open. But they featured singers alone with their guitars and sparse crowds. Walking around Monday really drove home the point that the party was over.
One artist who I didn't see at the festival was Tracy Byrd. And I have to wonder why Byrd hasn't been invited to join the Opry. He was among the top artists in the genre last decade and he leans traditional most of the time. I hope he doesn't have to wait as long as Mel Tillis did.
One great thing about country music is the fact that it appeals to people from 2 to 99 years old. And that was evident in the performances as I saw everyone from pre-teen singer Aaron Kelly to 86-year-old Little Jimmy Dickens. What other genre can claim such an appeal to people of all ages?
You know when an important historic event happens, you always remember where you were at the time. I'm that way, but I also look at albums that I bought and remember where I was at the time. Brad Paisley will release his fifth album, appropriately titled 5th Gear, on Tuesday. In 1999, I purchased his debut album, "Who Needs Pictures" at an outlet mall near my hometown in Massachusetts.
I listened to it so much that I couldn't wait to buy the follow-up two years later. I went out and got "Part II" during a lunch break at my internship at a small Kansas newspaper. "Mud on the Tires" and "Time Well Wasted" were purchased in Missouri and California, respectively. I haven't anticipated a BP album this much since the debut one.