If you walked into the Curb Event Center Saturday night with your eyes closed, you may have thought you were down at the Wildhorse Saloon.
However, the Curb was decked out as always with a stage, lights and plenty of seating, ready to welcome Belmont students and preview day attendees to the 2017 Country Showcase.
The first performer to grace the stage was Brittany Ray, and her Shania Twain-esque voice was quick to grab the audience’s attention. The resemblance was fitting – Ray does look to Twain as an inspiration, after all. Ending with a cover of Keith Urban’s “Love Somebody Like You,” Ray was a great opening to what proved to be a great showcase. Despite some minor issues with the right screen going blank, all eyes were on Ray and her band.
Lauren McLamb took the stage next, kicking off her set with an original song called “Leaving Looks Good On You.” The song had the iconic country woman vibe and showed off McLamb’s vocals right away.
Her next song set a completely different mood. Inspired by the heartwarming relationship of a friend’s grandparents — a very Nicholas Sparks relationship, McLamb said — the song “I’ll Follow You” was another one of McLamb’s originals.
McLamb ended her set with a very well-known hit — “Strawberry Wine” by Deana Carter. After urging the audience to sing along, she ended her set on a literal high note.
Beginning the second half of the show, Kenzie Palmer strutted onstage and didn’t waste a minute. Her first song was “It Ain’t My Fault” by the Brothers Osborne, and it was clear that Palmer was entirely comfortable in front of everyone. The high-energy song and her great voice got the audience excited and ready to hear more.
Her second song slowed the night down a bit with an emotional performance of her song “When a Grown Man Cries,” but Palmer picked the tempo right back up again with her last song, another original, called “Boss Babe.” Her energy and attitude ended her set with a bang, leaving the audience eager to hear from the last band of the night.
The Olson Bros Band, after a small blip with the audio cutting from the microphones, combined what sounded like rock and country to create its unique sound.
It wasn’t just the music keeping the audience listening, though — Luke and Isaac Olson had a fun time onstage joking with each other in between songs.
The Country Showcase, despite a few technological glitches, ended up being a great night with great performers. Of course, that’s only to be expected from a city like Nashville, right?
Palmer ended up being the night’s winner, and it was a victory well-earned. She will be joining the rest of the showcase winners at the Best of the Best Showcase later this semester.
Pictures taken by Cooper Smith.