Lindsay Ell Highlights 2019 CRS New Faces of Country Music Show
Lindsay Ell pulled off the biggest moment of the night on Friday evening (Feb. 15) during the 2019 CRS New Faces of Country Music show, wrapping up the 2019 Country Radio Seminar in downtown Nashville.
Rising stars Russell Dickerson, Jimmie Allen, Lanco and Dylan Scott also took the stage in the ballroom inside the luxurious Omni Hotel in Music City to cap off CRS 2019. Each year, CRS brings together radio programmers, artists, labels, journalists and other country music insiders for three days of panels, networking, performances, interviews and more, giving artists and labels a chance to preview the new music they've got coming for the year. The event helps set the agenda in the country music industry for the rest of the year, and inclusion in the New Faces show is a rite of passage for virtually every future superstar in country music.
Ell's set highlighted a very special CRS 50 year anniversary performance that kicked off with a guest appearance from Tim McGraw, who was on hand to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his own career-altering New Faces performance of "Don't Take the Girl" by replicating it for the delighted industry audience. Keith Urban also put in an appearance, presenting country radio legend and CRB head Bill Mayne with an award marking his overwhelming contributions to the genre over a decades-long career. Mayne has announced that he will retire in May.
Dickerson took the stage first to offer up a strong, high-energy set punctuated by hits including "Every Little Thing," "Blue Tacoma" and "Yours," but the unexpected standout moment was a rave-up performance of "My Girl's Night Out" that referenced both Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."
Ell was next, delivering by far the most polished and musically accomplished set of the evening that ran through "Criminal" and "Castle" before she paused to offer a new song that she said even her label hasn't heard yet, from a new album she announced she's been working on. "I'm the Heaven That You Wanna Go To" is an even more refined version of the perfectly-on-point, no-fat-on-the-bone kind of tight lyrical and melodic sense that Ell brought to her acclaimed album The Project, and she threw the crowd a curveball by segueing into U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" to round it out.
See Lindsay Ell's Best Guitar Solos!
The 2018 Taste of Country RISER closed her set with an impassioned rendition of "Space" that featured the hands-down best vocal performance of the night. Ell's stellar performance had even some of the battle-hardened radio people in the room taking videos like starstruck fans, and by the time she peaked with an incendiary electric guitar solo at the end of the song, one couldn't help but feel that her stock in country music had risen considerably. Ell was the undisputed star of Friday evening, whose vocal and musical talents stand out far in front of the other worthy young performers on the bill.
Allen delivered a set that was highlighted by powerful performances of "Underdogs" and "All Tractors Ain't Green," and Lanco debuted a strong new song titled "Save Me" during their New Faces set. Dylan Scott closed out the bill with a set that included hits "Hooked" and "Nothing to Do Town," demonstrating a kinship with more traditional country music with a surprisingly faithful acoustic rendition of the Keith Whitley classic, "Don't Close Your Eyes."
Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina, Carly Pearce, Michael Ray and Midland were all part of the New Faces Class of 2018. The 2020 Country Radio Seminar will take place in Nashville from Feb. 19-21 at the Omni Hotel in Nashville.
Country Music's All-Time Best Guitarists: