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NFL Draft Puts the Super Spotlight on Nashville Performers in Music City

by Rich and Laura Lynch

Nashville, Tennessee is known as Music City but from April 25-27, 2019 it was Football City. Nashville hosted the NFL Draft which was the main event over the three days however music was also a big part of the game plan. Besides many NFL legends and stars to be - musical headliners at the Draft Main Stage at Lower Broad included Moon Taxi on Thursday. Tim McGraw took the stage on Friday and Dierks Bentley ran the clock down on Saturday.

NFL Draft Puts the Super Spotlight on Nashville Performers in Music City
Charlie Worsham is an artist on the rise in Nashville and beyond.

Across the river at the Draft Experience Music Stage presented by Oikos Triple Zero a wide array of local talent was winning over new fans. Although we did not catch their set on Thursday we are confident that Striking Matches scored at the Draft. Two days earlier this capable duo comprised of Sarah Zimmermann and Justin Davis showed guitar enthusiasts gathered at a Gibson Brands event just how to work the equipment during a quick set of compelling blues and searing slide work. Saturday one of many musical highlights was Charles Esten who is known for his role as country singer Deacon Claybourne on the American Broadcasting Company/CMT drama Nashville, which he played from 2012 to 2018.

Our team spent much of Friday at the NFL Experience which took place on the grounds of Nissan Stadium - home of the Tennessee Titians. This free, family friendly event had plenty of activities for fans of all ages. The 40-yard dash was one of a number of displays that tested attendees' football skills. In addition to games there was face painting for kids, photo opportunities, radio stations on site, the Vince Lombardi Trophy and much more.

The Draft Experience Music Stage showcased Nashville players all day. The first act that we caught was the energetic and engaging Kid Politics who are making a name for themselves with an arena like live show packed with anthems huddled with hooks. The rhythm heavy trio had folks on the move with their animated muse. We learned that the name of the group was inspired by the idea that "people should be nice" and treat each other as kids do on a playground where no creed or color takes precedent before getting to know one another. Some have compared Kid Politics to Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons along with OneRepublic. With their earnest lyrics, sing-along melodies and lively performances Kid Politics have the potential to be a top pick at festivals and we hope to see more of this young band in the future.

NFL Draft Puts the Super Spotlight on Nashville Performers in Music City
Johnny P. gets upstaged by the Titans Cheerleaders but he didn't seem to mind.

"Suppose all music is apple pie," says Jonny P. "Every genre is apple pie, but soul music is the only one that's served hot with ice cream on the side." In just a few years the Bronx-born, Nashville-based singer- songwriter has served up some truly delicious tunes rooted in the sounds of the past but anchored firmly and irrevocably in the present, defined by disarmingly direct arrangements, a superlatively smooth vocal style, and an undying belief in the power of soul."

The self-proclaimed in-between of soul music contemporary stalwarts Leon Bridges and Raphael Saadiq - Jonny P kicks in a modern spin to minimalist soul music. At the Draft, Jonny P was supported by a full band and scored extra points when the Titian Cheerleaders presented dance drills to his solid set of covers and originals. Jonny P had a suave stage presence to match his silky vocals as showcased on the sweet "Good To You" and the Bob Marley classic "No Woman, No Cry" was another score in his winning soulful repertoire.

NFL Draft Puts the Super Spotlight on Nashville Performers in Music City
The Kid Politics singer had so much energy he could have run a good time at the combine.

Later, we caught Charlie Worsham at the Draft Experience Music Stage. Charlie grew up in Grenada, Mississippi and about 13 years ago moved to Nashville to tackle his musical goals. Worsham has toured with Taylor Swift plus he has opened for Miranda Lambert among others. Sporting a Titans shirt Charlie opened his set with a song for those who moved to Music City to pursue their dreams - perhaps autobiographical and definitely relatable. Worsham continued with that theme with a tale about not quitting your dreams that blended a little bit of country with jam.

We thoroughly enjoyed Charlie's visual lyrics and solid musicianship. We found out later that other Nashvillians have already scouted out his talents. Worsham's debut album Rubberband featured well-known musicians Vince Gill and Marty Stuart. His sophomore release Beginning of Things along with the lead single "Cut Your Groove" landed Charlie a nomination for International Act of the Year at the 2017 British Country Music Association Awards.

The NFL Draft was obviously about football first, however the organization shared the spotlight with Nashville by featuring so much great music during the three day event. Many of the NFL graphics on the gigantic Main Stage were music themed. Across the Cumberland River at the NFL Experience live performances were one of many endeavors that fans enjoyed along with plenty of food and drinks. The NFL Draft was a brilliant blend of music and sports. It has been reported that this was the biggest NFL Draft celebration to date and the largest multi-day spectacle for Music City - so one might say the 2019 Draft was like a Super Bowl win for both!

NFL Draft Puts the Super Spotlight on Nashville Performers in Music City
Nashville and the NFL Draft were a match made in Music City.

Related Links: For more information on the NFL DRAFT and the other organizations mentioned please visit the following links -- NFL Draft | Kid Politics | Johnny P. | Charlie Worsham | Nashville #1 Pick | Nashville Is a Player's Town | Nashville Draft Gets Rolling | Fine Dining at the NFL Draft | NFL Draft Experience


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