This year’s CMA Fest week started with a bang as Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Levi Hummon and Barrett Baber performed at the Nash Country Kick-Off party Tuesday night (June 7) at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom.
Barrett Baber, who finished third on Season 9 of NBC’s The Voice, opened the show, followed by newcomer Levi Hummon, who performed several songs from his new self-titled EP, including current single “Life’s for Livin’.” “Kelsea is an awesome friend and she’s just inspiring,” said Levi. “Getting to open up for her and hang out with her is always a blessing.”
Next up, Jon Pardi hit the stage and launched into a rowdy set that left his fans wanting more. “I’m proud to make the best music I can,” Jon said. “I’m giving you my best and my all every show.”
Headliner Kelsea Ballerini proved she can command any stage as she danced and belted out songs from her debut album, The First Time, including “Yeah Boy,” “Peter Pan” and her back-to-back No. 1 hits “Love Me Like You Mean It” and “Dibs.” Kelsea worked the room, laughing and joking with her fans as if they were 800 of her closest friends. “These are the biggest country music fans that are in town right now. It’s like hanging out with our friends this week. It’s a nice thing because normally on tour I’m still going to places that I haven’t been and introducing myself with my set. I feel like tonight’s more of a hanging out with friends kind of thing. It’s fun.”
Because CMA Fest week attracts artists as well as fans, Kelsea called upon one of her friends to help round out the show. Hunter Hayes surprised fans when he joined Kelsea onstage to sing a duet of his hit song “Wanted.” To finish out the night, Kelsea had one more surprise up her sleeve when she introduced Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and joined her on a rockin’ version of “Downtown.”
All the proceeds from the show benefit Musicians On Call, an organization that brings music to the besides of hospital patients. Special thanks to the sponsors that made the evening possible: Roper, Durango, Wal-Mart and Coco-Cola.