Entertainment Music Country BRELAND Dazzles with Help from Friends Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Mickey Guyton and More The rising star uses his magnetic powers to attract a star-studded bill for a one-of-a-kind benefit concert in Nashville By Nancy Kruh Published on April 14, 2022 10:55 PM Share Tweet Pin Email BRELAND. Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty A year and a half after moving to Nashville, BRELAND knew he'd pulled off the impossible dream on Tuesday night. "I never thought I'd be able to sell out the Ryman this early in my career!" he told the packed house at Ryman Auditorium, country music's "Mother Church" that stands as perhaps the most symbolic benchmark of success in this notoriously 10-year town. Of course, BRELAND was quick to add — to audience laughter — "it only took 17 other artists to help me do it." Indeed, the "BRELAND and Friends" bill was packed with names far more familiar than the headliner. (Just for starters: Dierks Bentley, Kane Brown, Sam Hunt, Nelly, Lady A's Charles Kelley, and Russell Dickerson.) And sure, the show was a fundraiser for the Oasis Center, a local nonprofit for at-risk youth, so that must have helped sell some tickets, too. BRELAND Tearfully Opens Up About His First Award Show Nomination: 'I Don't Take It for Granted' But none of that is reason to doubt the 26-year-old artist's own magnetic superpowers these days. Granted, he may not have sold out the 2,300-seat Ryman on his own, but that's not the point. Who else with so little history in this dues-paying city could have ever attracted such a star-packed bill? The fact is, the Nashville music community has found BRELAND's fresh talent absolutely irresistible almost from the day of his 2020 arrival from Atlanta, and for 90 minutes on Tuesday night, he put on a show that exquisitely displayed why. Undeniably, BRELAND was the star of the evening, singing, dancing and sparkling his way through collaborations on 17 of the 18 songs performed. But part of his magic was also how he curated this one-of-a-kind show, filling it with a masterful combination of surprises, sure-fire crowd-pleasers and welcome new sounds. The man knows how to entertain, and that was apparent from the moment he invited his first guest, Kelley, to the stage and the two launched into a jaw-dropping — and thrilling — duet of Lady A's signature torcher "Need You Now." Don't ask why or how, but it worked. Charles Kelley and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty BRELAND, Morgan Wade, Ashley Cooke Make Spotify's Hot Country 2022 Artists to Watch List: 'Grateful' Throughout the evening, BRELAND also proved he hasn't made his friends simply on his showmanship. He's also put in the work. The people he brought out on stage were invariably the ones he's also collaborated with, either in songwriting or recording sessions. He and Kelley segued into debuting their country-pop co-write, "I Told You I Could Drink" — and the songwriting collaborations just kept coming as BRELAND showed off his ability to explore all the creases between country, R&B, pop and hip hop with a variety of musical partners. Brittney Spencer, another Nashville newcomer, emerged to perform a duet of their co-write, "Truly Sorry," which featured a tender melody and powerful lyrics inspired by emotional anxiety. BRELAND and Brittney Spencer. Jason Kempin/Getty Australian duo Seaforth then teamed with BRELAND on their "Alone at the Ranch," which BRELAND described as "a country sex jam" — and the three men delivered it with Luther Vandrossian heat. (BRELAND promised the song would be on his upcoming debut album, due out in June.) Seaforth and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty For another song debut, BRELAND brought out Tyler Braden, who's been making waves as a semifinalist on NBC's American Song Contest. Their soulful ballad, "Good for You," came out of their first songwriting session. Tyler Braden and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty Rapper Nelly, who's been following his own country beat, turned up the volume — and lifted the audience to their feet — when he joined BRELAND on a romping "High Horse," a BRELAND-Nelly co-write that Nelly featured on his 2021 EP, Heartland. BRELAND and Nelly. Jason Kempin/Getty Evoking another strong crowd reaction, Jimmie Allen joined BRELAND and Lathan Warlick for the jazz-infused "Somebody," which the three wrote for Allen's 2020 album, Bettie James. Jimmie Allen and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty BRELAND, Jimmie Allen and Lathan Warlick. Jason Kempin/Getty Mickey Guyton brought her stellar pipes to "Cross Country," a BRELAND duet they released as a single last year. Mickey Guyton. Jason Kempin/Getty BRELAND Takes PEOPLE Behind-the-Scenes of His Thought-Provoking New Video for 'Cross Country' Dierks Bentley made his stage appearance for "Beers on Me," his current collaboration with BRELAND and HARDY that the three co-wrote. Now that the song is poised to become BRELAND's first No. 1, Bentley joked that the beer was on BRELAND, and they changed the lyrics to reflect it: "The beer's on BRE." Dierks Bentley and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty Dierks Bentley Wants to Buy Y'all a Drink — but Until That Day Comes, He's Serving Up New Single 'Beers on Me' Thomas Rhett was an unbilled surprise: He showed up, filled with the spirit, to duet on BRELAND's new gospel-steeped single "Praise the Lord," the co-write that they recently performed at the ACM Awards. Thomas Rhett. Jason Kempin/Getty Then Russell Dickerson, who's just completed his headlining tour with BRELAND, came out with Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard in tow, surprising everyone — including BRELAND. The three men took turns on Dickerson's "It's About Time" (a single that featured FGL). Then Dickerson, standing in for Keith Urban, brought his own electricity to "Throw It Back," which BRELAND and Urban released as a single last year. Russell Dickerson and Tyler Hubbard. Jason Kempin/Getty Throughout the evening, BRELAND made sure other music besides his own was in the mix, though he ceded the stage only once, to Allen, who performed his No. 1 hit (and Brad Paisley collab), "Freedom Was a Highway," as an acoustic solo. RaeLynn and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty Otherwise, BRELAND kept the duets going, merging his expressive voice with Bentley on his No. 1 hit, "Riser"; RaeLynn on her recent single with Mitchell Tenpenny, "Get That All the Time"; Restless Road on their current single, "Growing Old with You"; Lily Rose on her single "I Don't Smoke"; and Kane Brown on his No. 1 hit with Chris Young, "Famous Friends." Lily Rose and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty Kane Brown and BRELAND. Jason Kempin/Getty The encore was reserved for BRELAND's 2020 breakthrough platinum-selling single, "My Truck," and Sam Hunt — who appeared on a remix of the song — emerged for the raucous finale that had the audience thundering back the chorus' now-famous command, "Don't touch my truck!" BRELAND and Sam Hunt. Jason Kempin/Getty These days, does anyone doubt that BRELAND's command over country music is even louder?