Epidemic Entertainment? Livestreams from Keith Urban, Morgan Wallen and Dierks Bentley Keep Cooped-Up Country Fans Amused
The stars bring out their hits, cover songs and down-home humor as the COVID-19 epidemic continues to keep them off the road
Our shelter-in-place days just keep coming, and so do the livestream shows.
Once again, PEOPLE has a brand new batch of archived ones for you to pick from (all previewed from the comfort and safety of social distancing). More shows are being announced every day, so keep watch over your favorite artists’ social media accounts — or check out the Opry’s helpful calendar of livestreaming music and entertainment.
KEITH URBAN, 31 minutes:
The second edition of “Urban Underground” comes to you from his private Skye Studios, and he performs another six-song set, this time on ganjo, electric and acoustic guitar. Once again, his audience of one, wife Nicole Kidman, is there to dance to the music, which includes new single “God Whispered Your Name.” Memorable moment: Urban offers a tribute to hero Kenny Rogers, who died March 20, with a reverent reading of “The Gambler.”
Bonus: Barefoot and clad in all black, Kidman offers a charming performance as Urban’s roadie, changing out his instruments between songs.
DIERKS BENTLEY, 50 minutes:
Bentley delivers his cheerful charms and a setlist of six songs, including the apropos “Riser” and “I Hold On,” from a stool in the kitchen of his Colorado home. His alter-ego, Hot Country Knights lead singer Doug Douglason, also makes a cameo appearance to perform a saucy song (“It ain’t my fault / It’s that asphalt”) from his ’90s band’s upcoming album, The K Is Silent.
Memorable moment: You’ll either laugh at or totally identify with Bentley’s heroic efforts trying to figure out a live Instagram video chat with Thomas Rhett. Success at last: TR remotely performs new single ” Beer Can’t Fix” (duet partner Jon Pardi is in absentia, of course).
CHRIS LANE, 34 minutes:
This show is short on music — Lane performs only two songs — but the adorable banter between him and his reality-TV show alum wife, Lauren, could qualify this for a series pilot. Memorable moment: Lane gives viewers a tour of the newlywed couple’s new home, complete with comic color commentary (in the master bedroom: “This here, ladies and gentlemen, is where all the magic happens!”).
Bonuses: The Lanes’ sweet mutt, Cooper, makes several well-behaved appearances. Also, Lauren Lane answers a viewer question about the possibility of a “corona-baby.” “I’d rather not refer to it as that, if it was in existence,” she mischievously answers. “Maybe … I’m not opposed to that!”
THE GRAND OLE OPRY, 90 minutes:
After Vince Gill’s memorable show last week with Marty Stuart and Brad Paisley, he returns to the hallowed stage with talented family members in tow: his wife, Christian artist Amy Grant, and two daughters, Jenny Gill, 37, and Corrina Grant Gill, 19. Each takes a turn performing an original song and a cover.
Memorable moments: Gill and Grant always earn superlatives, but the next generation’s gifts are also exceptional. Jenny Gill has forged a modest music career in Nashville, and here she shows she deserves more with “Mama Needs a Lullaby” and a John Mayer cover. Corrina Grant Gill, a college music student, is a revelation as a singer, songwriter and musician (on piano). Another Gill triple threat! (The first 30 minutes, by the way, are Opry promos and previews.)
ASHLEY MCBRYDE, 23 minutes:
McBryde’s second livestream, featuring all covers, continues to mine her eclectic memory bank of songs, no doubt assembled from her years of working bars and clubs. Among the surprising selections are beat-the-blues novelty songs, one dedicated to potatoes, to the tune of “The Mexican Hat Dance,” and another with sea creatures figuring prominently in the lyrics (“I lobster and never floundered”).
Memorable moment: Who would expect to tune in to a country artist and hear The Supremes’ “Can’t Hurry Love”? Bonus: McBryde wears a dinosaur onesie for most of the show.
MORGAN WALLEN, 34 minutes:
The great Mulleted One brings his bountiful charisma to the livestream, putting the “social” in social distancing with at least five other people (two band members, a band member’s girlfriend, a photographer and a cousin) present in his Nashville quarters.
Memorable moment: Of course he plays his hits, “Chasin’ You” and “Whiskey Glasses,” but he also delivers a moving a cappella performance of “How Great Thou Art.” Bonus: Boots, Wallen’s excitable new German Shepherd, who looks less than a year old, gets introduced. Mayhem ensues.
JIMMIE ALLEN, 64 minutes:
Shunning a home setting, Allen sets up in a large practice space with two guitarists and a drummer to essentially perform an entire 16-song concert, complete with live tracks. Alas, it’s not exactly a visual feast: The dim lighting and the remote stationery camera mean you’re never able to make out Allen’s face.
Memorable moments: Allen creatively reimagines his first No. 1, “Best Shot,” with a lengthy bluesy intro, accompanying himself on keyboard. He also introduces a new song, “Those Days Were Made for These,” that’s ready-made for these perilous times (“Remember to tell yourself forever isn’t right now”). To note: the show starts at 14:19.
SCOTTY MCCREERY, 24 minutes:
From his Raleigh, North Carolina, home, McCreery offers a four-song set with down-home introductions and storytelling in between. Memorable moment: McCreery soldiering through his emotions when he hits the “Five More Minutes” verse about his late grandfather.
Bonus: Dressed in a New England Patriots sweatshirt, he announces he’s definitely sticking with his Tom Brady-less team — even if they play Tampa Bay, Brady’s new team.
CAYLEE HAMMACK, 62 minutes:
Setting the mood by lighting a faux religious candle to “St. Dolly,” Hammack proves her larger-than-life stage presence translates well at home in front of a cellphone camera. Drawing on her years playing Nashville honky-tonks, she entertains with covers ranging from “I Will Survive” to “Stand By Your Man.” And don’t deprive yourself of your biggest laugh of the day, which is certain to arrive when she performs her own self-written song, “Knocked Up.”
Memorable moment: Hammack’s guitarist texts with an offer to chug a beer for every verse of Smash Mouth’s “All Star” she’ll sing. Hammack calls him up, sings two verses and is heading toward a third when you can hear him beg for mercy: “You’re killing me!”
AVENUE BEAT, 47 minutes:
Hankering for some hang time with your best girlfriends? This newbie threesome, who share an apartment, offer the perfect virtual substitute. Sami Bearden, Savana Santos and Sam Backoff’s music — and sublime harmonies — mostly come in snippets during this show, but their banter, teasing and easy camaraderie are just plain fun to watch. Memorable moment: When label head Scott Borchetta calls in and, right on the spot, promises to release one of their newest songs as a single on April 10. Entitled “Anxiety,” it couldn’t be more fitting for a global pandemic (“Thank you, anxiety, for making me scared of everything”).
Bonus: A friend — keeping her distance — arrives at their doorstep with a care package that includes Doritos, Double-Stuf Oreos and White Claws, and Bearden, Santos and Backoff dissolve into paroxysms of delight. “I’m so happy!” Backoff exclaims. “My soul has ignited!”
GRATITUNES, 3 to 5 minutes:
Nashville’s Music Row and its at-large creative community have launched this initiative, which gives artists a chance to musically celebrate the staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Brad Paisley kicks off the project with a lively acoustic “Southern Comfort Zone.” Other artists already queued up include Dustin Lynch, Lauren Alaina, Amy Grant and Sara Evans. All performances are archived at www.gratitunes.com, and keep checking back for new music. You can also show your support by posting a message on social media using hashtags #Gratitunes and #VUMCHeroes; all posts are populated in real-time on the Gratitunes website.
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