Taste of Joliet Country Night Satisfied Appetites For Music

On June 24, the Taste of Joliet, a three-day festival located in the southwest suburb of Chicago, held their country music night on ATI Field at Joliet Memorial Stadium. Reaching crowds over the years an average of 10,000, the country night’s lineup is always highly anticipated, and this year’s crowd attendance was record-breaking. The Taste of Joliet has gained widespread circulation in the area (even expanding out to surrounding states) for bringing massive headliners to the lineup, as well as familiarizing attendees with the fresh faces of country newcomers. This year, the talent straight from Nashville consisted of Stephen Neal, Kane Brown, A Thousand Horses, and Billy Currington.

Let’s talk for a minute about the first opener, originally from Shorewood, Ilinois – Stephen Neal. His stage presence was confident and eager to share his music. He had a set of songs ranging from covers of pop artists, such as Ed Sheeran’sChampagne Problems,” to Keith Urban’sWasted Time” as well as introducing the audience to his own unique sound with new songs from his recently released EP, Forgetting Everything. The “WOW” factor in Stephen’s performance was the title track to his latest EP, “Forgetting Everything.” The song has flat-out smash hit potential and based on positive crowd reaction and this performance alone, it won’t take long before it ends up in the ears of the right person to catapult it to the next level. Be on the watch because Stephen Neal is about to take off!

YouTube Sensation turned RCA Nashville recording artist, Kane Brown, was next up. My first impression was that I never expected such a baritone sound to bellow from a seemingly young man, but it worked for him. His set exploded with a mix of cover songs like the throwback jam “Stacy’s Mom” to his life story in the heart-wrenching song, “Learning,” off of his debut album, and finally to his internet-famous singles, like “Used To Love You Sober.” Immediately the crowd was singing right along, clearly well-versed with his music, and understandably so as it is certainly catchy. Check out this clip from his latest single, “What If’s.”

Preceding the headliner, A Thousand Horses was revved up and ready to keep the crowd going before Billy Currington made his appearance. Their country-rock set was fast-paced and lively, mostly featuring songs from their latest album, Southernality. What stood out most about this band was their ability to meld different sounds, from rock to soul to country, while keeping the audience entertained with their plethora of instruments used – including the harmonica.

Just when we thought the atmosphere couldn’t possibly get any rowdier, Billy Currington and his 100-watt smile took over the Taste of Joliet stage. When an artist has been making music for 14 years, including 12+ number one singles, you know it’s going to be a good night! He played all of his familiar hit songs, including “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer” and “Don’t It” and the crowd was completely enthralled from start to finish. He closed the night out appropriately with an encore that had Currington covering Garth Brooks’Friends In Low Places” – complete with the third verse, of course!

The Taste of Joliet Country Night nailed it with a mix of different styles of country music, providing a little bit of everything to satisfy the appetites of all of the listeners. We’re already looking forward to next year’s lineup!

Author: Tiera Bolt

Mix 1 part momma + 1 part writer + 1 part hairstylist. Add the love of laughter, adventure, and caffeine. Blend well with a passion for country music and hockey. Sprinkle with sass, and that's me.

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