Since its 2015 inception with Kelsea Ballerini and Jana Kramer, the annual CMT Next Women of Country Tour has featured some of country music’s most empowering vocalists. In 2016, Jennifer Nettles headlined the tour with Brandy Clark, Lindsay Ell and Tara Thompson. The 2017 lineup starred Martina McBride, Lauren Alaina, Maggie Rose and Post Monroe.
Wednesday (Feb. 14) marks night two of the 2017 run, and every performance promises an evening of soul-baring music by three of the genre’s most colorful storytellers, Sara Evans, RaeLynn and Kalie Shorr.
During a recent interview with CMT.com, Evans said her set will be heavy on new arrangements of her biggest hits, her latest single “All the Love You Left Me” and a special collaborative encore with RaeLynn and Shorr on Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
“It’s just all about great music to me,” Evans said. “Like the regular Sara Evans show, we’re playing the hits; we’re doing songs from the new album and a new encore … It’s just fun to be able to make a song your own and come full-circle with it. But hopefully, this [cover] is going to work.”
Both members of CMT’s Next Women of Country program (and good friends), RaeLynn and Shorr say have been forever fans of Evans and consider it an honor to be on tour with one of their idols.
“I’ve been wanting to be part of this tour for a while,” RaeLynn says. “It’s just an amazing community of women, and an amazing community to be part of, to celebrate the music that we’re all creating. I was a little nervous going into rehearsals for ’Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ because Sara can sing super high, but it ended up turning out really well.”
The CMT Next Women of Country tour marks Shorr’s first national run. For years, the world has been coming to her in Nashville as part of the city’s popular songwriting series for women, the Song Suffragettes. The coalition hosts weekly sellouts at the local Listening Room Café, and Shorr was one of the series’ first regular performers.
“It’s my dream tour,” Shorr tells CMT.com. “I’ve gone and seen the CMT Next Women tour with Kelsea and Jana, and I remember thinking that is so cool to have a three-month-long wine night … I’ve always adored Sara Evans. I think she’s so outspoken and such a bad-ass. And her vocal is golden, and RaeLynn has always been so supportive of my music. I love both of their new records — WildHorse and Words. They’re so good. I’ve worn those songs out. To get to hear them every night live is pretty sweet.”
CMT Hot 20 Countdown will film the Feb. 14 show in Concord, New Hampshire, for an all-new episode airing Feb. 24-25. Hot 20 airs Saturdays and Sundays at 9 a.m. ET.