CMT Music Fest 2016: Maple Leaf Stage Day 1 Photo Review

Before the skies opened up and dropped a heap of rain on us at CMT Music Fest 2016 we were able to take in 4 emerging country acts on the Maple Leaf Stage – and they all did their best to impress us with what they had to offer.

And none of them failed.

Eric Ethridge

First on the stage, kicking off the 2-day festival was July’s CMAO Artist of the Month, Eric Ethridge. With great energy and enthusiasm, Ethridge and his full band (all freaking 7 of them) were in a mood to start a party – which was good because they started the set with We’re Gonna Start A Party. And they kept things going with a cover of Boondocks, and originals Between Me And You, and finished things up with I Like You Like I Like Beer.

Also, Eric gets high fives for working in a t-shirt toss, which is always a good way to get an early crowd to remember your name and cheer like they’ll never see another t-shirt again.

CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge-6981CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge-6965CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7749CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7722CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7712CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7769CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7757CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7755CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7763

Ben Hudson

Ben Hudson was next to hop up and entertain the growing crowd as the afternoon wore on. 6 strong on stage, Hudson and his band were smooth and tight – and with his great voice leading the way it was easy to see why he was nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Rising Star Award this year.

It’s also worth noting (although we’re sure it has nothing to do with his talent) that Ben has great hair, even if he wore a Toronto Maple Leafs cap over it.

Keep your ears open for more from Ben Hudson, tracks like One Of Those Nights are going to keep him on radio and at festivals like this for a long time to come.

CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-7000CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-7827CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson Band-7845CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson Band-7864CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-6999

James Barker Band

Our second to last side stage act of the afternoon/early evening was the James Barker Band – a group of dudes that have impressed us more and more every single time we’ve seen them up on stage in the last year.

As a group, these guys are all talented and tight on stage – busting out originals like I Get You (really could be their next radio single), Just Saying, and their current single, and one of the catchiest summer tracks of the year, Lawn Chair Lazy. And they aren’t afraid to mix it up a little either with their super fun rendition of Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Rage Against The Machine’s Killin’ In The Name Of, and Thomas Rhett’s You Make Me Wanna.

Note: The most precious moment on the side stage came during the James Barker Band set when a courageous young man proposed to his girlfriend – and after she said yes they had their first dance as an engaged couple while the band played for them and the crowd.

CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band-7916CMT Music Fest - James Barker-7901CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Tayler Abram-7875CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band-7924CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Connor Stephen-7883CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Bobby Martin-7884CMT Music Fest - James Barker-7888

Andrew Hyatt

The last act on the Maple Leaf Stage before the rains came down in Kitchener was Andrew Hyatt. We talked to Andrew about his summer when we hooked up with him for a quick chat at the CMAO awards, and he told us he was excited for this set, and it showed.

In a ballcap and jeans, Hyatt played his guitar, led the band, and sang for the fans at the stage, the people in line for beer, and anyone within earshot. His current single MGR (Me and a Girl and a Radio) got toes tapping, heads nodding, and country music listeners singing along – which is always a good sign for an emerging artist.

You’re going to hear more from Andrew Hyatt. Be ready.

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt-7013CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt-7015CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt Band-7988CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt Band-7997

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CMT Music Fest 2016: Maple Leaf Stage Day 1 Photo Review

Before the skies opened up and dropped a heap of rain on us at CMT Music Fest 2016 we were able to take in 4 emerging country acts on the Maple Leaf Stage – and they all did their best to impress us with what they had to offer.

And none of them failed.

Eric Ethridge

First on the stage, kicking off the 2-day festival was July’s CMAO Artist of the Month, Eric Ethridge. With great energy and enthusiasm, Ethridge and his full band (all freaking 7 of them) were in a mood to start a party – which was good because they started the set with We’re Gonna Start A Party. And they kept things going with a cover of Boondocks, and originals Between Me And You, and finished things up with I Like You Like I Like Beer.

Also, Eric gets high fives for working in a t-shirt toss, which is always a good way to get an early crowd to remember your name and cheer like they’ll never see another t-shirt again.

CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge-6981CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge-6965CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7749CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7722CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7712CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7769CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7757CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7755CMT Music Fest - Eric Ethridge Band-7763

Ben Hudson

Ben Hudson was next to hop up and entertain the growing crowd as the afternoon wore on. 6 strong on stage, Hudson and his band were smooth and tight – and with his great voice leading the way it was easy to see why he was nominated for the Country Music Association of Ontario’s Rising Star Award this year.

It’s also worth noting (although we’re sure it has nothing to do with his talent) that Ben has great hair, even if he wore a Toronto Maple Leafs cap over it.

Keep your ears open for more from Ben Hudson, tracks like One Of Those Nights are going to keep him on radio and at festivals like this for a long time to come.

CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-7000CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-7827CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson Band-7845CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson Band-7864CMT Music Fest - Ben Hudson-6999

James Barker Band

Our second to last side stage act of the afternoon/early evening was the James Barker Band – a group of dudes that have impressed us more and more every single time we’ve seen them up on stage in the last year.

As a group, these guys are all talented and tight on stage – busting out originals like I Get You (really could be their next radio single), Just Saying, and their current single, and one of the catchiest summer tracks of the year, Lawn Chair Lazy. And they aren’t afraid to mix it up a little either with their super fun rendition of Eminem’s Lose Yourself mixed with Rage Against The Machine’s Killin’ In The Name Of, and Thomas Rhett’s You Make Me Wanna.

Note: The most precious moment on the side stage came during the James Barker Band set when a courageous young man proposed to his girlfriend – and after she said yes they had their first dance as an engaged couple while the band played for them and the crowd.

CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band-7916CMT Music Fest - James Barker-7901CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Tayler Abram-7875CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band-7924CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Connor Stephen-7883CMT Music Fest - James Barker Band - Bobby Martin-7884CMT Music Fest - James Barker-7888

Andrew Hyatt

The last act on the Maple Leaf Stage before the rains came down in Kitchener was Andrew Hyatt. We talked to Andrew about his summer when we hooked up with him for a quick chat at the CMAO awards, and he told us he was excited for this set, and it showed.

In a ballcap and jeans, Hyatt played his guitar, led the band, and sang for the fans at the stage, the people in line for beer, and anyone within earshot. His current single MGR (Me and a Girl and a Radio) got toes tapping, heads nodding, and country music listeners singing along – which is always a good sign for an emerging artist.

You’re going to hear more from Andrew Hyatt. Be ready.

CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt-7013CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt-7015CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt Band-7988CMT Music Fest - Andrew Hyatt Band-7997

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