Saturday, June 11 – On day two of the Taste of Country music festival (Hunter Mountain Resort, Hunter NY), Mother Nature made her presence known. Saturday morning brought wind, rain and severe thunderstorm warnings which kept campers and festival goers on their toes throughout the first part of the day. But as if on queue, only minutes before the first act was to hit the stage, the clouds parted and the sun came out allowing the 23,000 spectators to enjoy a beautiful day of weather, music, and festival activities. Saturday’s lineup included William Michael Montgomery, Old Dominion, The Swon Brothers, Eric Paslay, Frankie Ballard, and Kenny Chesney, all appearing on the Ram Guts and Glory Main Stage. The Bud Light Stage included performances by Elizabeth Lyons, McKenna Faith and Keith Walker.
William Michael Morgan was the first to perform Saturday. He delivered an hour long set of mostly traditional-style country tunes, some from his debut album William Michael Montgomery and some covers. Highlights from Morgan’s set included a Georgia Satellites’ cover “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” and a performance of his own current single “I Met a Girl”.
Nashville’s Old Dominion took to the stage next. They thrilled the audience with a diverse and unique hour long set with the music being a cohesive mix of alt-rock, country, contemporary pop, and a pinch of hip-hop. In addition to playing their two most popular songs “Snapback” and “Break Up With Him”, the quintet played other songs from their debut album Meat and Candy including “Said Nobody” and “Song for Another Time”.
The Swon Brothers, best known for their 2013 third place finish on The Voice, performed next. Their set included four songs from their January-release EP, Timeless, including “Just Another Girl”, “Nobody”, “Throwback” and “Killing Me”. The brothers also showcased their vocal and guitar talents by playing a handful of great cover tunes like “Workin’ Man Blues”, “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody”. Both Zach and Colton were energetic, personable, and entertaining.
Following The Swon Brothers was Texas singer-songwriter, Eric Paslay. Most of Paslay’s setlist came from his 2014 album Eric Paslay including “Keep on Fallin’”, “Friday Night”, “Song About a Girl”, “Like a Song” and “She Don’t Love You”. Rounding out his performance, Paslay played several tracks from his upcoming album to be released later this year. Those included “Water into Wine”, “Angels in this Town” and the current hit single “High Class”. Besides being an amazing vocalist and performer, Paslay is also an accomplished songwriter. During his set Paslay performed two songs he had written for other artist including “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” (Eli Young Band) and “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” (Jake Owen).
As the sun was setting over the Catskill Mountains, singer-songwriter and guitar master Frankie Ballard took to the Ram Guts and Glory Main Stage. Ballard’s set mostly consisted of tunes from his 2014 album release Sunshine & Whiskey and El Rio which was released opening day of the festival! (June 10, 2016). From Sunshine & Whiskey he performed “Young & Crazy”, “Helluva Life”, “Drinky Drink” and “Sunshine & Whiskey”. Off of his latest, El Rio, Ballard played “Cigarette” and “It All Started with a Beer”. As a self-admitted Elvis fan, Ballard played hommage by playing a version of The King’s “Hound Dog”. He closed with Eric Clapton’s “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. Throughout the energetic and entertaining set, Ballard constantly showed off his masterful guitar skills.
Besides being amazingly talented, Kenny Chesney is also known for his highly energetic and entertaining concerts. This performance was certainly no exception. Chesney performed a two hour set of top-5 songs covering the entire span of his illustrious career. Reaching all the back to 1999, he performed old favorites like “How Forever Feels” and “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” (from Everywhere We Go). From his 2000 Greatest Hits album he played “Don’t Happen Twice” (as the evening’s encore). The majority of the show was filled with hit after hit from the period of 2002-2006. They included “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem”, “I Go Back”, “Living in Fast Forward”, “Summertime” and the evening’s opener, “Beer in Mexico”. Touching on some more recent stuff, Chesney played “Somewhere with You”, “You and Tequila” and “Reality” all from Hemingway’s Whiskey (2010). From his album The Big Revival (2014), Chesney gave the TOC fans “American Kids” and “Save It for a Rainy Day” (with Old Dominion). He also performed “Noise” from his to-be-released album Some Town Somewhere (July 2016).