GAC Kicks Off CMA Music Fest With Fan Breakfast
Country music fans got a special treat Wednesday morning at GAC's fourth annual Kick-Off Breakfast. Lee Ann Womack, Ashton Shepherd, David Nail and Laura Bell Bundy entertained the crowd at Nashville's Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum for nearly two hours, before signing autographs and taking pictures with fans.
Storme Warren of GAC's 'Headline Country' took the stage shortly after 7:00 AM and joked with the audience. "First one who yawns, leaves. Anybody get over five hours of sleep last night?" he asked. The energetic host then introduced David, Laura Bell and Ashton, who also kept the audience laughing throughout their set.
The trio took turns telling the stories behind their hits and poking fun at one another. In fact, the intimate concert almost turned into a live comedy hour with David and Laura Bell frequently taking digs at each other.
Ashton kicked off the performance with 'Sounds So Good,' a track off her debut album, to which Laura Bell later commented, "You sound so good this morning!"
After she greeted the fans, Laura Bell asked, "Anybody else have issues with David Nail?"
Ashton later came to his defense, calling David a gentleman while he joked that he and Ashton bonded while waiting for Laura Bell to show up.
"At least I showered," Laura Bell replied. Their entertaining onstage banter continued throughout most of the show and kept the audience entertained for 90 minutes. David's 'Red Light' impressed with stunning vocals and light guitar accompaniment while Ashton's sassy 'Look It Up' had the room singing along word for word.
"When I get mad, I'm a little vindictive," Ashton said. "I thought this song would be fun and people have responded to it from the get-go. It's the first time I ever had a song make it to the Top 20 countdown and I thank y'all for that."
Laura Bell got off her stool and said she was feeling sassy after Ashton's performance before she segued into her energetic hit, 'Giddy On Up.' Always the animated performer, she danced up to David to smell his shirt while she sang the lines, "I've been through your pockets and smelled your shirts/I don't wear Bath and Body Works."
A few songs later, host Storme took the stage once again, this time to interview each artist. Ashton explained that she began performing at 8-years-old and explained how she met her husband (in a bar) with her brother when her brother's band was looking for a singer.
"Talk about redneck. I went to the bar and they all had way too much to drink," she quipped. Her brother kept telling her now husband that he had to hear his sister perform while he thought, "Good grief, everybody has a sister that can sing."
An actress and singer, Laura Bell explained the difference between acting and performing in the country music world. "When you do a play you're playing a character. That's the biggest difference. I'm learning to be comfortable enough being me. Country music is all about telling stories. I love telling stories," she said. "Country music is so much more of a personal relationship. Country music is about real people singing real things to real people."
After a brief Twitter discussion, David explained that he got his start playing at Nashville's Tin Roof on Monday and Wednesday nights. The owner showed interest in him and if he hadn't, David is certain he would have given up and moved back to Missouri. Lucky for him, that didn't happen and he'll be on the road with Taylor Swift this summer.
Ashton, David and Laura Bell each finished their set with personal ballads that captivated the audience's complete attention before thanking all for their continued support. Shortly after, Lee Ann Womack took the stage and performed six tracks.
With breathtaking vocals alongside her fiddle and guitar player, 'A Little Past Little Rock' began her set. The emotional 'Never Again, Again' followed suit with Lee Ann saying she didn't know how much time she had onstage.
"You have two hours!" one fan excitedly screamed.
The remainder of her set included 'I May Hate Myself In the Morning,' 'Last Call' and 'I'll Think of a Reason Later.' "I'm not sure if the themes of my music are appropriate for a breakfast. More like a late night show," she said.
Lee Ann then told fans that she quickly learned to always perform 'I Hope You Dance' at every show, no matter how short the set. The one time she left it out, a man yelled, "You suck!" As a result, Lee Ann didn't disappoint and she had every fan in the room singing along to her poignant, career-changing hit.