Although I had to depart Music City to tail the acts of some of country music’s finest, I found out that the lengthy trek to Tunica, Mississippi was well worth the musical journey. The two-day Delta Country Jam stayed true to its name as it was “jam” packed with country artists that made concert-goers want to swing their hips and rattled out lyrics all weekend long. With a line-up comprised of artists such as Jerrod Niemann, Thompson Square, Kellie Pickler, Randy Houser, Brantley Gilbert, Billy Currington and Tim McGraw, one would be tempted to throw a cluster of jerseys on the group and call them the All-star team and watch them play. And play they did.Friday afternoon kicked off the festivities that lasted until the wee hours of Sunday Morning; filling the venue with jingles that shook the speakers and the spirits of the attendees. Randy Houser got comfy in his home state of Mississippi as he warmed up the stage for Thompson Square when he performed his newest single “Runnin’ Outta’ Moonlight” while each crowd-singer silently thanked the sky Gods for the hours of remaining moonlight and loads of good songs to come. The ACM & CMA Vocal Duo of the Year, Thompson Square, followed Houser with their hit that skyrocketed them to stardom, “Are You Going To Kiss Me Or Not.” They continued to impress country fans as their love took over the stage when they wholeheartedly caroled “If I Didn’t Have You.” Billy Currington graced the festival mob with his catchy rhymes as he added to the feel-good vibe by belting out all six of his number one hits including “People Are Crazy”, “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer” and “That’s How Country Boys Roll” to name a few. The Friday night show left the crowd craving more, and good thing because Saturday night would prove to be just as entertaining, if not more.
ZUUS Country teamed up with Delta Country Jam to put on Battle of the Bands, a contest that allowed the winners the opportunity to perform at the Delta Country Music Jam. The first place winner, The Shane Givens Band, secured the opening slot on the Saturday itinerary where they sang to the early bird concert-goers, giving the upcoming artists the opportunity to get their name out there and their tunes blaring. Many notable artists would follow their lead throughout the day but the crowd gained momentum as Kellie Pickler stepped foot on the stage as nighttime fell. Picker performed her hit songs “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful”, “Best Days of Your Life” and “Makin’ Me Fall In Love Again” which had the excited crowd dancing in the rain. AMC’s New Male Vocalist of the Year, Brantley Gilbert, switched gears from Pickler’s uppity pop tunes to country rock at its finest. After rocking out to some of his greatest hits, Brantley assured the rockers before him, that he is in fact a big teddy bear on the inside. At that, all the ladies swooned and continued to do so as he picked up his guitar and intensely strummed while displaying his hard-on-the-outside yet soft-on-the-inside attitude. The crowd resembled that of a flash mob as the Brantley-lover’s hands were in sync with one another as he brought the house down during “Country Wide.” The night concluded with legendary country artist, Tim McGraw who performed some of his newer hits including “One of Those Nights” and “Southern Girl” but stayed true to the ditties that made him a household name. It’s more accurate to say that Tim did not, in fact, perform “Something Like That” as he stopped singing and he let the fanatics take it away, singing most of the song as Tim smiled in amazement. Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end but luckily for the 2013 Delta Country Jam attendees craving more and those who missed out on the fun, this isn’t goodbye, just see ya’ later- until next year!Billy Currington