Review: Missed Neal McCoy at Country Jam 2016? You REALLY Missed Out!
Acting as his own hype man, Neal McCoy introduced himself to the Country Jam 2016 crowd as the Entertainer of the Year from every conceivable country music awards organization (and then some) for 15 years running. He was joking, of course, but after watching McCoy's hour-long set on Friday (June 17), many festival-goers were likely ready to write those organization's voting bodies and lobby for him.
Prior to his show, McCoy told Taste of Country that he and his band don't work from a setlist, preferring instead to wing it — and, man oh man, does that work well for them. It can be tough for early-in-the-day acts to draw a big crowd in the Colorado heat — especially up in the VIP section — but McCoy had a pretty full crowd, and they were into it.
After sound-checking immediately before his set, drawing the crowd in with some amusing one-liners while playing some blues and gospel-style tunes, McCoy officially began his Country Jam set with a cover of the Beatles' "Come Together" and his own "The City Put the Country Back in Me" and "The Shake." The crowd got into it instantly, clapping and singing along, and even obliging McCoy as he stopped his band twice to allow the crowd to properly add Grand Junction into the lyrics of "The Shake."
McCoy mixed his own hits, such as "They're Playin' Our Song," "No Doubt About It" and "Billy's Got His Beer Goggles On" with covers: Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror," Charley Pride's "Kiss an Angel Good Mornin'" and even "How Great Thou Art." His cover of Sam Hunt's "House Party" — a staff favorite at the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival earlier this month — found its way into McCoy's show, as did "Wink," one of 1994's most-played country tunes.
At ToC Fest, McCoy told Taste of Country that he makes sure to say the Pledge of Allegiance every single day, and at Country Jam, he began and ended his set by honoring his country in this way. Both times, the audience happily joined in, as they had every time McCoy asked for their assistance throughout his performance. By the second time, though, it was no surprise: The singer had festival-goers in the palm of his hand, and had put himself in contention for the weekend's best show — only two days into the four-day festival.