Danny Wimmer Presents: Hometown Rising – Country Music & Bourbon Festival
Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Expo Center
September 14 and 15, 2019
Hometown Rising Day Two picked right up where day one left off…big crowds, great food with even better bourbon, lots of dancing and a huge collection of exceptional artists. Among those artists you’ve got a former American Idol contestant, up and coming artists mixed with established superstars, artists that are Kentucky natives and throw a rock and roller in the middle and you’ve got the makings for an incredible day of entertainment, food, drink and dance!
My day two coverage starts on the Barrel Stage with Gabby Barrett. Remember that former American Idol contestant I mentioned earlier, well this is her! She finished third on the 2016 season of AI. As fate would have it one of the judges on that season on American Idol was none other than today’s headliner Luke Bryan. Gabby has accomplished a great deal in her young career, opening shows for Toby Keith, Cole Swindell and today’s Oak Stage headliner Keith Urban!
Following Gabby and opening the Oak stage was The Wild Feathers a country/rock band from Nashville. The Wild Feathers came out hitting on all cylinders and had the early day crowd rockin n rollin! The crowd was primed and ready for the 12-year-old phenom that is Mason Ramsey!
To be honest I was not familiar with Mason, judging by the crowd reaction I may have been the only one at Hometown Rising that didn’t know who he was. You may know him from his viral YouTube video of him yodelling Hank Williams “Lovesick Blues” at a local Illinois Walmart. To say his music career (can a career be less than 2 years?) has taken off since then would be a gross understatement. Signed to a record deal, released two EP’s and numerous singles, he has accomplished a lot in two years and he’s 12 years old! Look for Mason on the country music scene for many years to come.
LoCash was next on a day of high energy acts and they fit that rocking country description to a T! LoCash took the
stage with drinks in hand (hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere and you’re at a music and bourbon festival) and had the huge crowd dancing, singing and drinking not necessarily in that order! If you were looking for a party on a Sunday afternoon in Louisville Kentucky you are in the right place!
Speaking of partying, the next man and his band know a thing or two about parties. Bret Michaels has been singing about parties for a long time now. Yes, you read that right Bret Michaels, yes that Bret Michaels from Poison and the TV shows Rock of Love and Celebrity Apprentice. His solo albums have a real southern rock almost country sound to them so he and his band were the perfect fit. They rocked the Louisville afternoon with Poison tracks and a super cool cover of “Sweet Home Alabama”. It was “Nothin’ but a Good Time” which was also his set closer.
Kentucky’s own Dillon Carmichael was next on the Boots & Bourbon stage as the sun sunk closer to the horizon. Music Life Magazine’s own James Stamper wrote an excellent artist preview about Dillon that can be found here. With his traditional country to southern rock sound the country music world is about to learn all about Dillon Carmichael! His debut album ‘Hell On An Angel’ came out in 2018. If you’ve not heard anything from it do yourself a favour and give it a listen. I think you will agree with me, the country music fan needs to hear this record and hear him sing it live!
Jake Owen was the first of the final four on the two main stages. If his performance was any indication of what was to follow everyone at Hometown Rising was in for an incredible evening! Jake Owen set the tone and it was high energy, high octane, a tone that this huge and I do mean HUGE crowd ate up! By this time of day (around 5 pm) a lot of this throng of country music fans have been on the festival grounds all day and that generally (not always but as a rule) equals a lot of drinking of the other thing this festival offers – Bourbon. So they are ready to party and Jake Owen brought the party to them!
After a short break (around 5 minutes, one of the things I love about DWP festivals double main stages) it was Brett Young’s turn to keep this party going! And that he did! This sold-out Sunday crowd had been line dancing, east coast swinging, two-stepping or maybe just toe-tapping all day long they were primed and ready for Brett Young and tonight’s two headliners; Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. Brett started his set with a couple of songs from his latest release ‘Ticket To L.A.’ (which debuted at #1 by the way) “Catch” and “Used To Missin’ You” after those two songs he had everyone’s full attention. Hit song after hit song with several, yes several number one hits he closed out his set with “Ticket to L.A.”
This day has been full of amazing and talented artists and bands, building up to the two gentlemen left to play, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan! But for me, my day ends with Brett Young. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to stay for what (I’ve seen via images from my fellow photographers and heard from people that were able to stay) was an epic performance by both Keith and Luke.
Hometown Rising by all accounts was a smashing success. Danny Wimmer Presents hit a big league home run with their first country music festival. It was an honour for myself and Music Life Magazine to be included in the media allowed to cover the festival and I hope to be able to photograph and write about Hometown Rising for many years to come!
Check out our coverage of Hometown Rising Day 1.
All photos by Thomas Biggs
©2019. Please DO NOT copy or use without permission.
The post Hometown Rising Country Music & Bourbon Festival – Day 2 of 2 – Sept. 15, 2019; Bret Michaels, Gabby Barrett, The Wild Feathers, Mason Ramsey, LoCash, Dillon Carmichael, Brett Young appeared first on Music Life Magazine.