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"Take Me Out To The Bash: Song by Song"
By Chris Macon

If Los Angeles had a Fan Fair (oops, I mean a "CMA Music Festival") of itís own, Iím sure it would look something like KZLAís annual Country Bash. A product of the stationís ever progressive musical mind, this yearís Bash featured Kid Rock, Uncle Kracker and Bret Michaels of Poison, alongside Lee Ann Womack, Chris Cagle, SHeDAISY, Josh Gracin, Julie Roberts, The Jenkins, Shiloh, Rascal Flatts and guest host, Reba McEntire.

Rather than analyze each artist (which would take just about forever), I thought Iíd count down the top ten performances of the evening:

10. Julie Roberts "No Way Out"

Though the sound mix didnít seem to be the greatest, Julie turned out a solid performance of probably the best up-tempo track off her self-titled, debut album. Also included in her set was current single, "The Chance," top-25 hit "Break Down Here" and my favorite song of hers, "Wake Up Older."

9. Bret Michaels "All I Ever Needed"

Dude, Bret Michaels was awesome. Who wouldía thought that heíd be as good country as he was rock? "All I Ever Needed" is a stone-cold country love song that I know youíll dig if you give it a chance. "We didnít need fortune / Didnít need fame / Just a little shelter from the rain..."

8. Lee Ann Womack "Iíll Think Of A Reason Later"

Attitude, attitude, attitude. "Iíll Think Of A Reason Later" has always been one of my favorite Lee Ann Womack songs (alongside "Something Worth Leaving Behind" and "I Hope You Dance"), so I was pretty happy when she didnít disappoint with her live rendition of the "you took my man, so screw you!" ditty.

7. Chris Cagle "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out"

A great song, a great performance, and a quiet, quiet audience. "I Breathe In, I Breathe Out" is no less powerful now, then it was when it was released to radio a few years back. Who canít relate to it?

6. SHeDAISY "Come Home Soon"

Okay, so Iíve officially seen them four or five times now, and this was easily the best take on "Come Home Soon" that Iíve seen. The girls rock and this song will break your heart. Also of note from their set was an outstanding version of "Lucky 4 You (Tonight Iím Just Me)." Sadly missing was concert-favorite "Get Over Yourself."

5. Kid Rock "Rock & Roll Paintrain"

Kid was sick, but that didnít stop him from turning out an energetic, driving set of newfound classics. This track, off his current self-titled disc, is about as hard rock as it gets. Everyone was off of their feet, moviní and rockiní out, thatís for sure. I still really want to hear him do "Feel Like Making Love," live, but "Rock & Roll Paintrain" just might be too hard to top.

4. The Jenkins "He Feels Like Home"

Thatís a really romantic metaphor donít you think? The Jenkinís arenít terribly wonderful on stage. Kinda shy, kinda forced, but I tell you what, they can sing more than just worth a darn. "He Feels Like Home" and "Getaway Car" were the clear highlights of their set.

3. Bret Michaels "Every Rose Has Itís Thorn"

Oh, another Bret Michaels song. Music has no boundaries, thatís all Iíll say. A great song, is a great song, is a great song.

2. Lee Ann Womack "20 Years & 2 Husbands Ago"

"20 Years..." is one of the two new tracks Lee Ann previewed for us off of her upcoming album "Thereís More Where That Came From." The other "Iíll Hate Myself In The Morning (But Iím Going To Love You Tonight)" was good, but this one was great. As an aside, whatís with the super-long song titles, Lee Ann?! The new album should be a treat.

1. Uncle Kracker "Writing It Down"

So much emotion and so much charisma. Uncle Krackerís vibe is the future of country music. And this song, this song is wonderful.

Special thanks to KZLA for bringing this caliber of talent to Southern California each year. I said it a couple of lines ago, but just in case you forgot, this yearís Bash helped prove one thing Ė music has no boundaries.


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