While Nashville, Tennessee was dealing with inclement weather in the form of snow, ice, and more ice, South Florida was enjoying some country music-flavored entertainment. Though show headliner Kellie Pickler was snowed in in Nashville and unable to make the trip south, local and American Idol hopeful Emily Brooke and Big Machine Label Group’s A Thousand Horses made sure that the absence was less painful, providing setlists of perfection.
The show opened with Emily Brooke, a sixteen-year-old with whom South Florida has become extremely familiar and has warmly embraced throughout her young career. Performing staples from her catalog, Emily, once again, made her hometown proud, eliciting a strong, supportive response from show-goers.
Kicking off her set with one of her newest additions, Maddie & Tae’s “Girl in a Country Song,” Emily won the crowd over instantaneously, setting the stage for a night of incredible music. Transitioning between cover songs and originals, Emily communicated hilariously with her audience, introducing every song, even giving an impressive sales pitch for her friend/videographer/photographer, Sara Kauss.
The highlight of Emily’s set came when she performed Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” the song she performed for her Nashville American Idol cattle call audition and which set her in motion on the path she is currently traveling today. Following the stellar performance of the 1968 hit song, Emily’s guitarist, Marc, jokingly asked her where she was when the song topped the charts. In true Emily fashion, she adorably answered that her “parents probably weren’t even thinking about [her] yet.”
No doubt that not only her parents are thinking about her now, but all of America has Emily Brooke in their minds at this juncture; and this is only the beginning for our star that is shining so brightly on the national stage.
Following Emily’s knockout performance was Nashville recording artist, A Thousand Horses. The four-man band, which also shares its stage with several other talented individuals, ranging from background vocalists to percussionists to keyboardists, opened their show with their explosive track “Landslide.” Introducing themselves to the Jupiter crowd, the band boasted about living life as you wish, doing whatever it is that makes you happy. Exuding the country rock vibe that A Thousand Horses has become known for, the crowd began to immediately increase, drawing in onlookers who began as mere passersby.
Other songs that were absolute standouts for the group with gritty, gravelly vocals and hard hitting instrumentality included “Drunk Dial,” “I Won’t Back Down,” and current single “Smoke.” Those who were familiar with A Thousand Horses prior to the show were likewise familiar with “Drunk Dial,” the song that put the band’s name on the proverbial map. A slow tempoed offering, the track demonstrates a vulnerable side to the otherwise confident seeming quartet. As the band members spotlighted their intricate harmonies and uniquely husky blend, the crowd swayed along to this emotional tune.
“I Won’t Back Down” paid homage to Tom Petty, igniting the audience’s flame. As the band covered the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks Number 1 hit from 1989, the crowd sang along, supporting the men who were brave enough and capable enough to slay a song that was so flawlessly recorded by an iconic artist. In fact, if A Thousand Horses hadn’t already won a plethora of new fans earlier in its set, the deal was sealed the moment lead vocalist, Michael Hobby, hit the first note of this cover.
Where there’s fire, surely there’s “Smoke,” and A Thousand Horses was heating up an already warm night when its new, rising single was delivered to a packed amphitheater. A track that our Country Music #CMchat team has on repeat, “Smoke” was sensationally performed live exactly as it sounds on the recorded version. Once again revealing a sultry, smoky (pun intended) voice, Hobby (along with vocal support from Zach Brown and Graham Deloach, and accompanying guitar by Bill Satcher) made comparing a woman to a cigarette seem like the most attractive metaphor that there ever was.
A Thousand Horses closed its show with another original, “First Time,” but before doing so informed the audience that an album is scheduled for a June 9th release. Before the show, this was an album on our radar; but after, it is very much atop our “it can’t come soon enough” list.
Thank you to 103.1 WIRK for putting together another phenomenal event for their loyal listeners! While the weather in Nashville was freezing cold, South Florida was warm in temperature and blazing hot in talent.