In concert: WMZQfest Country Throwdown at Jiffy Lube Live
By Emily Yahr
Though he was the only Academy Award-winning singer on stage at WMZQ Fest on Sunday, Ryan Bingham certainly didn't act the part. Rather, the wiry, unassuming 29-year-old who snagged a Best Original Song Oscar this year (for co-writing "The Weary Kind" in "Crazy Heart"), casually strolled on stage with his guitar, nodded at the crowd, and without any big introduction, launched into a riveting 30 minute set with his band, the Dead Horses.
Bingham and his gloriously gravelly voice provided an unintentional, chilling moment while singing "Hard Times" - which he dedicated to those affected by the oil spill - when a light rain turned into a downpour, suddenly matching his intensity.
The Lost Trailers, Eli Young Band, Jack Ingram, Eric Church, Little Big Town and Jamey Johnson, all part of the Country Throwdown Tour, also performed during the day-long country music concert held at Jiffy Lube Live. Johnson even broke his trademark glare once, as he couldn't hide a smile when he turned the microphone and let the audience belt the chorus of his smash, "In Color." Headliner duo Montgomery Gentry ran through their list of hits, and during "Something To Be Proud Of," brought a group of young men and women up on stage who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Singers on the lower stage (known as the Outlaw Stage) included Tyler Reeve, who won for best opening line with, "Anyone been to jail before? . . . Me too." Heidi Newfield sang, as did Jonathan Singleton and the Grove, and Emily West boasted lyrics that resembled a deranged cheerleading routine: "It's alright! It's ok! My boyfriend left me yesterday!"
One disappointment, however, came when the infectious Sarah Buxton was relegated to singer-between-sets, performing only two songs with duo member Jedd Hughes as the crew set up for Montgomery Gentry. Next year, she deserves at least Outlaw Stage status.
June 7, 2010; 12:15 PM ET
Categories: In concert | Tags: Eric Church, Jack Ingram, Jamey Johnson, Montgomery Gentry, Ryan Bingham
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