Charlie Worsham’s CMA Fest performances may not have involved stadium crowds and pyrotechnics, but they certainly garnered a similar amount of buzz. The country artist decided to set up shop at Nashville’s famed Ernest Tubb Record Shop for a three night residency that brought out some of the genre’s elite members.
The Lower Broadway landmark, which opened its doors in 1947, famously hosted the “Midnight Jamboree” concerts of the '50s and '60s that featured icons like Elvis and Patsy Cline.
During CMA Fest, Worsham created a jamboree for his generation, where he played songs off his new record and dueted with some notable friends. At its Thursday (June 9) night kick-off, Worsham brought out Vince Gill, Brothers Osborne, and Aubrie Sellers to play for in-the-know fans at the tiny, un-air-conditioned record shop.
Things got a little out of hand on day two, when CMA tweeted about the previously under-the-radar event. Droves of fans lined up for the low-capacity event, necessitating police crowd control. The "something big" CMA mentioned happened to be superstar Eric Church, fresh off his festival performance at Nissan Stadium.
Those who made it through the door got to see Worsham and Church perform sweaty covers of The Band’s “Ophelia” and Merle Haggard’s “Heaven Was a Drink of Wine." Later, singer/songwriter Brandy Clark joined him to cover Buck Owens’ “Together Again” and duet on Clark's new track “Daughter.”
Inter-song stage banter primarily focussed on the lack of air circulation. “Reminds me of a place called Whiskey Dick’s in Columbus, Ohio, where it was 121 degrees," Church told the audience. "...and s---, I think this might be hotter. Good God! ...Let’s do it, before people die.” Clark compared the tropical climate to a hot yoga class.
For its third and final night, the event was relocated to aVenue, an (air-conditioned) event space down the street. Saturday night's show saw Kid Rock get rowdy on “Gimme Good Lovin,’” as well as performances by Hunter Hayes, Margo Price, Lucie Silvas, and Brent Cobb.
Worsham is set to release his sophomore LP later this year, which follows up 2013’s Rubberband. Check out recap videos of the "Midnight Jamboree" shows below.