Concert Review: Taste Of Joliet Country Music Night

The Taste of Joliet, a three-day festival located in a southwest suburb of Chicago, held a country music night on the ATI Field at the Joliet Memorial Stadium on June 25. Reaching crowds over the years of an average of 10,000, the night’s lineup is always anticipated. The Taste of Joliet’s country concert has gained widespread circulation in the area as an event which brings massive headliners, as well as familiarizing attendees with the fresh faces of country newcomers. This year, the talent consisted of Stephen Neal, Raelynn, Granger Smith, Frankie Ballard, and headliner Trace Adkins.

Stephen Neal

There could not have been a better way to get the audience engaged from the start than with the high energy set from local rising artist, Stephen Neal. Neal wowed with his infectious stage presence and a mix of original songs and crowd-pleasing covers. The stand-out moment during his time on stage was when he momentarily slowed the pace with an original song, titled, “Lay it on my Lips” which you can watch an exclusive clip of below. This is certainly someone that I hope to see back in the future.


As the sole female artist in the lineup, Raelynn brought just that to the festival. Dressed in a pink, high-waisted skirt with matching pink sunglasses, she performed a calm, relaxing set with a girly vibe. After a story about her first encounter with her biggest musical influence, Dolly Parton, Raelynn belted a glorious rendition of Dolly’s hit song, “Jolene” as the crowd sang back in approval. Closing out her stage time was the song that put Raelynn on the country charts, “God Made Girls.” Catch a glimpse here!

Granger Smith

Granger Smith has future headliner written all over every aspect of his performance – from the chemistry with his band, to the of the execution of his songs, and down to the face-to-face interactions with his fans via handshakes and selfies while performing. Though Smith has been a touring artist for nearly a decade, he has only recently become nationally recognized on the radio, and has just notched his first No. 1 with “Backroad Song.” Throughout the night, his gratefulness to his fans sincerely radiated. As the exhilarating performance continued, it was clear that fans in Joliet were quite familiar with what “yee yee” is all about, and that erupted more so when the Earl Dibbles Jr. favorite, “Country Boy Song” finished the set. Check out a clip of Granger Smith’s latest single, “If The Boot Fits” from the Taste of Joliet.

Frankie Ballard

The main takeaway from Frankie Ballard’s performance was that not only is he a fantastic singer, but he also absolutely slays at playing the guitar. His set included all of his popular singles, a few songs from his brand new album, El Rio, as well as a few covers of fellow guitar slingers such as Keith Urban and Elvis. Frankie Ballard dominated with a cool demeanor which can be seen in this clip during his No. 1 single, “Sunshine and Whiskey.”

Trace Adkins

It truly takes a special artist to not only headline festivals, but continue to captivate fans both new and seasoned, after 20+ years in the industry. Trace Adkins exemplifies that artistry. He flaunted his signature deep vocals in a fairly mellow set that kept fans dancing and clapping along. Excitement was surely in the air during Atkins’ set, especially during the performance of his latest single, “Jesus and Jones.” However, nothing could prepare one’s ear drums for the loud roar that was felt as the crowd cheered, sang along, and shook their back side to “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” As Atkins says, “Ladies love country boys!” I think the ladies of Joliet extra loved the “country boy” that is Mr. Trace Adkins!

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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