Craig Morgan, Joe Nichols,
Colt Ford & Sunny Sweeney
800 Ask Gary
By: Staff Journalist Connie Breeden
Photos by: Leland Colley
have always enjoyed looking up at the sky on a night when
there is a full array of stars, and tonight was no
exception. But as I looked skyward, I couldn't help
thinking, I wouldn't be getting a crick in my neck tonight
because all of the stars were on stage in Tampa, Florida.
First up was the very beautiful, Texas native, Sunny
Sweeney. She sang several songs from her self titled,
sophomore album. The first single to be released off the
album is "From A Table Away." This song is currently
climbing the charts but, after listening to the entire album
and seeing her in concert, I think there is plenty of chart
material in there, including “Staying’s Worse Than Leaving,”
which Sweeney co-wrote with Radney Foster.
With her alluring traditional country sound and charming
persona it's not difficult to see how she so easily
captivates her audience, and the next artist to take the
stage had his own unique way of doing the captivating.
Take a little country and mix it with a little hip hop n'
rap and you get Colt Ford. “There ain’t been too many
300-pound boys in cowboy hats up there being a country
artist, so that separates me pretty good,” he says.
Much to his surprise and delight he has received his first
ACM nomination for his work with Jamey Johnson on a song
called ‘Cold Beer,’ which is up for Vocal Event of the Year.
Not surprisingly, I found myself singing along, swaying back
and fourth, and hollering for the bartender by the middle of
this clever song!
Thang" is the first release from his upcoming album and it
is set to hit stores this summer. He wrote the song with
"Peach Pickers", Rhett Akins, Ben Hayslip, and Dallas
From the moment he took the stage, he lived up to his "Mr
Goodtime" reputation. He brought the rowdy crowd to their
feet, fist pumping, and singing along, with his back to back
hits, "Chicken & Biscuits" and "No Trash In My Trailer."
Ford and his unique band was the most wildly entertaining
show I have seen in quite a while, based on their renditions
of the Black Eyed Peas song "Boom Boom Pow," T-Pain's "Apple
Bottom Jeans" and "Sweet Home Alabama" I feel compelled to
warn Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd that Colt Ford is in the
Even the awe-inspiring display of fireworks, that were the
prelude to his performance, could not hold a candle to the
beautiful baritone voice of the very talented entertainer,
Joe Nichols. He opened his show with the simple question
"What's A Guy Gotta Do" and judging by the screaming
audience response, well, the answer seems to be, just be a
very handsome, country singer.
is on tour to promote his "Greatest Hits" album, which
consists of four number one hits and six that made it into
the top ten. Among those was the song that held the number
one spot for three weeks, "Gimme That Girl." This song was
also the second most played song on country radio in 2010.
His newest single, and one of my favorites, "The Shape I'm
In" was ranked the number one watched video on CMT earlier
CMT says "the music video for 'The Shape I'm In' got high
praise from viewers because of its theme and inspiring
tone." Nichols and director Trey Fanjoy took things in a
different direction than a typical music video, and used the
opportunity to praise America's servicemen and women,
highlighting those who have returned from combat with
injuries, but who overcame obstacles and have gone on to
live their lives to the fullest. During his introduction to
the song, Nichols stated, "I want to take a minute and thank
all of the soldiers and veterans around the world since they
had a big impact on this song, I thank them and thank you,
all of the country music fans, for making it a hit for me."
Next we were treated to some of his greatest hits, "The
Impossible", "Brokenheartsville," "Cool To Be A Fool," "Size
Matters," "I'll Wait For You," "Gimme That Girl," "Let's Get
Drunk And Fight," before he closed his portion of the show
with another delightful hit, and a real crowd pleaser,
"Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off."
waiting for Craig Morgan to take the stage, I have to admit
I was starting to get a little cold but as soon as I heard
"a little bit of guitar / a little bit of truck / a little
bit of hound dog / a little bit of luck," coming from the
speakers, well, I was all set for a lot more music and "A
Little Bit Of Life."
Morgan gave his fans a taste of his spiritual side when he
belted out "Amazing Grace," a song he says he likes to do at
every show, and well, if you can imagine having goose bumps
on top of goose bumps, I'm sure I can speak for everyone
when I say, that's what we were experiencing.
After asking everybody if they have ever been cow tippin',
he kicked it up a notch with "I'm Country." He kept the
audience fired up with his short renditions of Bad Company's
"Rock N Roll Fantasy," Ozzy Osbourne's "Iron Man," and
AC/DC's "Back In Black," while introducing his band. I was
fascinated to learn all his band members just happen to be
from the state of Florida and if that wasn't enough to
garner a very vocal crowd approval, well, they got even
louder when he introduced his electric guitarist, who was
Morgan sure made me want to get up and dance in the aisle,
with all the hip shakin' knee swaging moves he had on stage
while singing "I Guess You Had To Be There." He may have
been able to give Elvis some competition and he sure got all
the ladies attention when he sung "My Kind Of Woman." Even
though I wasn't wearing my John Deere ball cap tonight I
thought he might be singing about me.
Morgan worked the boisterous crowd into a frenzy by twirling
his mic, dancing around the stage, while singing
"International Harvester" and "Redneck Yact Club," before
slowing it down with his hits "This Ain't Nothin" and "Love
closing the show Morgan asked "Are ya'll still cold out
there? If so I think we can start a "Bonfire" and
"what a good idea" I thought as I leaned back and looked up
to the sky one more time. I couldn't help but thinking that
all those stars high in the sky were sure in stiff
competition from all the bright and shining stars we
witnessed on our very own stage. Yep, as I glanced skyward
one last time, I couldn't see one constellation that shined
brighter than the collective talent who entertained us
tonight in Tampa.
I just wanted to make mention that Craig Morgan is the
spokesperson of the organization "Not Alone," a service
provided in helping combat soldiers and their families, with
the diversity it takes in returning to a everyday normal
life. The single "Not Alone" was inspired by a trip he made
earlier this year overseas to entertain troops, and will be
included on his upcoming album.
I also wanted to mention Joe Nichols dedication to our
military, the "The Shape I'm In" video was made in
partnership with the
I want to give a heartfelt HOOAH
for these two amazing, compassionate, talented artists.