Friday, June 10 – Approximately 19,000 country music fans gathered at Hunter Mountain Resort (Hunter, NY) on Friday to kick off the 4th annual Taste of Country music festival. The opening day lineup for the 3-day event included Jana Kramer, The Cadillac Three, Big & Rich, and Kid Rock appearing on the Ram Guts and Glory Main Stage. On the more intimate Bud Light Stage, Friday’s performers included Dylan Jakobsen, Logan Brill, and Annie Bosko.
From beginning to end, the theme for Friday was high-energy, ground-pounding, country rock! The day kicked off with American actress turned country singer, Jana Kramer. Kramer performed many of her own tunes including “Pop That Bottle”, “Whiskey” and “Why You Wanna”. The only break Kramer took from her upbeat, sassy style was for a beautifully melodic version of Brad Paisley’s “Whiskey Lullaby”.
The TGIF party continued on the main stage with Nashville’s The Cadillac Three. The three member Southern rock band presented a seamless blend of hard rock, country, and blues. From their debut album The Cadillac Three, TC3 played “I’m Southern”, “I’m Rockin” and “Tennessee Mojo”. “White Lightning” slowed things down just a bit before the guys picked it back up with “Days of Gold” (Jake Owen) and “Raise ‘Em Up” (Keith Urban), both of which frontman Jaren Johnston wrote.
Next, the multi-talented duo of Big Kenny and John Rich took to the stage. Big & Rich played a 90 minute set and performed a vast range from their catalogue including “Comin’ to Your City”, “Lost in this Moment”, “Look at You” and “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy”. In an emotional show of patriotism, the boys led the audience in a version of “God Bless America”. To close out the set, they performed a rockin’ version of “Rollin” aka “The Ballad of Big & Rich”.
Perhaps Kid Rock’s comment summed it up best when he said, “I’m as confused as you are. I don’t know how I keep getting invited to these country music shows”. Rock’s style of music, whatever genre that may be, was certainly the “hardest” country music heard all weekend. His family-unfriendly show scared off a few, but most of the crowd stuck around for the wildly entertaining show. Rock played many of his chart-topping hits including “Bawitdaba”, “All Summer Long”, “Cowboy”, and “Picture”. He also mixed in a few lesser known tunes like “Born Free” and “Wasted Time”. Whether you think Kid Rock fits the country music genre or not, one thing you can’t deny is that he puts on one hell of a show!