Joe Nichols, Jerrod Niemann Jam Out, Sell Out Country Jam
The NRA Country Jam presented by Bushnell is fast becoming the event for younger Annual Meeting attendees looking to crank up the nightlife and get down. In essence the Jam is an intimate country music concert that’s reasonably priced and filled with fun. It also recognizes and honors the families of our fallen heroes via the Folds of Honor Foundation, an organization that provides educational scholarships to the spouses and children of service members injured or killed in the line of duty. This way fans can enjoy a professionally produced, up-close and-personal show while supporting the service members and their families who make it all possible. Country music acts are carefully selected for their willingness to help this mission, and therefore Country Jam fans are treated to special performances. This year’s Jam, the fourth in its red-white-and blue-colored history, was no exception.
Held in downtown Indianapolis’ Crane Bay Event Center on Friday, April 25, red-hot act Jerrod Niemann kicked off the night before country music veteran Joe Nichols took the stage. The show was perfect timing for Niemann, the songwriter-turned-performer whose single "Drink to That All Night" was holding at No. 1 on Billboard’s Country Airplay charts from the prior week. It was also perfect for fans who may not have been familiar with him as an artist, although if they’d ever listened to Garth Brooks, Neal McCoy, John Anderson or other country music icons then they’d probably heard his songs, as Niemann has written songs performed by all of the named. Niemann played in front of a sell-out, standing-room only crowd that guarded the small, patriotic set like it was Old Glory itself. Niemann established the good-time vibe before the baritone-voiced Nichols took the stage and finished out the two-hour show.
Although Nichols has released seven studio albums producing fourteen Top-10 hits and four No. 1 singles over a 20-year career of touring, this was his first NRA Annual Meeting. He received a first-hand look at the wares on the exhibit hall floor when he signed autographs in Jam sponsor Bushnell’s booth mere hours before the show.
"I own plenty of guns," said the Arkansas native before his performance. "… some ARs, an AK and a Desert Eagle." But Nichols wasn’t there to expand his collection, though he might have; he was there to sling his Guild guitar and entertain. He played most of his hits, including many from his new album Crickets, classics like "Brokenheartsville" and perhaps his most popular song ever, "Sunny and 75" to a crowd that seemingly didn’t want the good times to end—ever. The good news is that NRA Country Jam will be back next year, only more fun than ever while in country music capital Nashville, TN. So go to NRACountry.com to buy your tickets as soon as possible. Based on the Jam’s history, it’ll be a sellout for sure.