Country Music Comradery and Gratitude Shined at Stars and Strings

On November 15, 2017, CBS Radio’s third annual Stars and Strings took over the Chicago Theatre for a much-needed night of country music in an atmosphere of unity. The stars featured this year were Lindsay Ell, Kelsea Ballerini, Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Sam Hunt. The stripped-down acoustic music format mixed with the comradery between the artists and the abundant gratitude towards our veterans made for a unique show experience.

Before Stars and Strings officially began, Jim Cornelison (Official Anthem Singer of the Chicago Blackhawks) raced across town from his performance at the Blackhawks game just 45 minutes before setting foot on the stage of the Chicago Theatre to grace us with the National Anthem. Next, rising artist, Lindsay Ell, brought a foot-stomping, girl-powered set to kick off the night with a bang.

(Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for CBS RADIO)

The first heat of performers featured Kelsea Ballerini, Brad Paisley, and Chris Young. Ballerini stated that not only was this Stars and Strings concert her first since her release of her sophomore album, Unapologetically, but it was her last concert performance of the year, as she is preparing to get married to her fiancé, country music artist, Morgan Evans! Another “first” at Stars and Strings was Chris Young performing the title track off of his latest album, Losing Sleep in an acoustic format for the first time ever. Enjoy a clip of “Losing Sleep.

Brad Paisley was a comical genius as he usually is (his goofiness in the Nationwide Insurance commercial isn’t far off from his real personality) but he turned to his serious side as he zoned in on what this type of show is centered around, and that’s to honor our military. He told a story about how his song, “Mud On The Tires” inspired soldiers overseas. Watch a clip of the speech and the performance below.

The second and final heat of Stars and Strings featured Darius Rucker, Lady Antebellum, and Sam Hunt. As Sam Hunt was about to play the song that changed his life in Nashville, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum stopped him and commented that Lady Antebellum almost cut the song but they had just released a single and passed on it for the time being. Also seen in this clip: friendly comradery between Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, and Darius Rucker over Sam being the “full package” so to speak. This is a must watch.

The encore? Lady Antebellum, Sam Hunt, and Darius Rucker came back to the stage to leave the crowd in awe of a performance of “Hold My Hand” reminiscent of his performance at the CMA Awards the week prior. Watch!

Stars and Strings has quickly become one of the most desired concert tickets in Chicago. Between the beautiful music, all of the unscripted comradery between the artists, and the gratitude towards honoring our veterans, it’s understandable why. As Darius Rucker told me prior to the concert…

“Those people who are willing to sacrifice everything for our freedoms is motivation enough to do shows like this, to thank them. I’m so proud to be in their presence. There’s nothing like it.”

*photos CBS Radio- Getty Images

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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