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Country Showcase shines with spirited performances

Photos: Andrew Hunt

After a cold and rainy preview day, the 2015 Country Music Showcase opened to a full house of students and visitors Saturday night with four spirited acts of all facets of country.

The night kicked off with a explosive joint performance by all the lead vocalists for the night with one of the most high-energy openers of the showcase season, featuring flashing, colorful lights and a busy stage.

Betsy Lane was the first act of the night, and her happy electricity and twang put the crowd in a good mood with her “love letter” song “Nashville Nights.” Dancing and working to the edge of the stage with her hands to reach out to the small crowd that gathered around, she took her second song “Fell Through” to a somewhat darker place while still maintaining her high energy.

Lane finished off the night with her own haunting, bluegrassy version of Dolly Parton’s country staple “Jolene.”

Wearing none other than a Johnny Cash T-shirt, Matt Enik took the stage next. While not as energetic as Lane, his classic country vocals and lyrics and the heavy beat-drive still captivated the audience in “Leave the Night On” and “Still on the Way Down,” a song he wrote after performing in his first showcase event freshman year.

“If I don’t win tonight, maybe I’ll get most improved,” he said, marking a solid performance that had the crowd clapping along.

Baylor Wilson, the winner of the night, brought a rock n’ roll flavor to the showcase, showing off heavy guitar and percussion while the lyrics seemed to just roll off the tongue.

The second song of her set, entitled “Daddy’s Girl” was a soulful but tough croon, a song Wilson wrote based off her experience with her parents’ divorce. By her third song, called “Speakers,” she and her band were working the stage while her light and airy vocals and her quick tongue complemented the heavier acoustics of the song.

Jackson Road was the last act of the night, taking country somewhere a little funkier. With lead vocalist Marshall Cunningham dancing all over the stage and the rest of the band jamming out, the group’s good chemistry was obvious as they went into “Tennessee Girls,” one of the first songs that Cunningham and bandmate Shawn Hawkins ever produced.

Finishing up a little smoother and more laid back, the band ending the night with the crowd clapping along to their spirited crooning.

The Country Music Showcase is the last genre showcase of the season, but Wilson can be seen at the Best of the Best Showcase which will be held on April 11 at 7 p.m. in the Curb Event Center

Best of the Best will also feature previous Belmont showcase winners Taylor Agan, Cam and Staying for the Weekend.

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