Kacey Musgraves, Chris Young, Martina McBride Perform at Grammy Block Party

Nashville Music Industry Treated to Diverse Music at Casual Event

A few hundred Recording Academy members and their guests crowded Nashville’s Owen Bradley Park to soak in the hospitality and music of the city’s annual Grammy Block Party.

Held Tuesday evening (May 13) in a leafy park adjacent to Music Row — the epicenter of Nashville’s country music industry — Kacey Musgraves, Chris Young and Martina McBride entertained the crowd while barbecue and drinks were served not far away.

Stars from the hit ABC drama Nashville could be spotted chatting in the audience, while a short performance inspired by the show became a highlight of the family-friendly event.

The party coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Nashville chapter of the Recording Academy’s founding.

With a tower crane looming behind the stage illustrating Music City’s expanding significance, pop country’s current cage-rattler Musgraves drew the crowd in close for a two song, hits-only set of “Merry Go ‘Round” and “Follow Your Arrow,” complete with the electrified suits her band wore in January on the 56th annual Grammy Awards show.

Musgraves walked away with two gramophone trophies that night — best country album for Same Trailer Different Park and best country song for “Merry Go ‘Round.”

She and pop superstar Katy Perry will be featured on the next installment of CMT Crossroads , slated to premiere June 13 on CMT at 10 p.m. ET.

By apparently cutting her set short, Musgraves made some time so her friend and frequent co-writer Brandy Clark could perform.

A darling of the songwriting community for songs like “Follow Your Arrow,” Miranda Lambert‘s “Mama’s Broken Heart” and The Band Perry‘s “Better Dig Two,” Clark also sang two tunes — “Stripes” and “Hold My Hand” — from her debut album, 12 Stories. She sweetly thanked everyone in attendance for helping her achieve her musical dreams.

Young was happy to offer eight songs with his powerful baritone turned up to 11, while McBride followed a similar thought process, loading the stage up with an 11-piece R&B band to perform songs from her recent covers album, Everlasting.

Each rallied the low-key crowd with favorites like McBride’s “A Broken Wing” and current radio staples like Young’s “Who I Am With You.”

But the act that received the most attention, by far, was the sugar-sweet sisters Lennon and Maisey Stella who play Daphne and Maddie Conrad on ABC’s Nashville. On the show, they’re the musically-gifted children of superstar Rayna James. In real life it doesn’t seem like a stretch at all.

They only performed one song, “A Life That’s Good,” from the show and had to deal with some technical difficulties at the start, but they handled it all with poise and earned a heartfelt response from the audience. We all would have welcomed a few more songs, but at only 10 and 14 years old, let’s not push the poor girls.

In addition to hosting the festivities, two-time Grammy-winner Jim Lauderdale delivered a few new songs from his upcoming album, I’m a Song, and tossed in fan favorites like “The King of Broken Hearts” and “Halfway Down.” Australian-born Christian-rock duo For King & Country opened the event, while throwback foursome Vintage Trouble capped off the night, declaring themselves “the new protocol of soul” and providing ample evidence.

View photos from the Grammy Block Party.
Chris lives in Nashville and has written for CMT.com and CMT Edge since 2007. The devil made him do it the first time, the second time he done it on his own.